As a church family, we start each year with 21 days of prayer and fasting. We believe that it’s in such times of seeking God that He reveals His heart and changes ours. We will begin our 2023 fast on Wednesday evening, January 4, 2023 at our church prayer gathering from 7 to 8 pm and meet for prayer each of the next three Wednesdays, January 11, 18, and 25. (childcare ages 6 & under) The sanctuary will also be open for prayer before our Sunday Gatherings from 9:15 to 9:45 am.
Why do we fast? Consider the following verses:
“Seek the Lord while he may be found; call upon him while he is near; let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the Lord, that he may have compassion on him, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.” ~ Isaiah 55:6-7
“”Yet even now,” declares the Lord, “return to me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning; and rend your hearts and not your garments.” Return to the Lord your God, for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love; and he relents over disaster. Who knows whether he will not turn and relent, and leave a blessing behind him, a grain offering and a drink offering for the Lord your God?” ~ Joel 2:12-14
“And when you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces that their fasting may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, that your fasting may not be seen by others but by your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.” ~ Matthew 6:16-18
“While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said ..” ~ Acts 13:2
“First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.” ~ 1 Timothy 2:1-2
Different types of fasts to consider:
Complete Fast: Only drink liquids (i.e. water, light juices, etc) for the entire day, or multiple days. We see this type of fast in the Book of Esther. Queen Esther called the entire nation of Israel to fast for three days for their deliverance (Esther 4:16).
Selective Fast: This is a common type of fast since the Bible talks about abstaining from certain foods or drinks. The Daniel fast found in Daniel 10 is one example of a selective fast (no meats, breads, and sweets for 21 days).
Intermittent Fast: This was a common type of fast for the Jewish people. For this fast, you’d designate certain times of the day for fasting. For example, no eating from sun up to sundown or choosing to eat only in the morning or the afternoon.
Soul Fast: A Soul fast typically means removing luxuries outside of food. Its purpose is to guard the types of things that enter your mind and heart during this season, including but not limited to social media, music, movies & TV, smartphone usage, or screen time either for a certain period or the entire period.
A Prayer Focus for each day:
WEEK 1: SEEK THE LORD
Thursday 1/5: 1. Call upon the Lord and pray to Him — Jeremiah 29:12-14a Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you, declares the Lord ..
Friday 1/6: Serve God with a whole heart and willing mind — 1 Chronicles 28:9 And you, Solomon my son, know the God of your father and serve him with a whole heart and with a willing mind, for the Lord searches all hearts and understands every plan and thought. If you seek him, he will be found by you, but if you forsake him, he will cast you off forever.
Saturday 1/7: Turn from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it — Psalm 34:12-16 What man is there who desires life and loves many days, that he may see good? Keep your tongue from evil and your lips from speaking deceit. Turn away from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it. The eyes of the Lord are toward the righteous and his ears toward their cry. The face of the Lord is against those who do evil, to cut off the memory of them from the earth.
Sunday 1/8: Keep His commandments — 1 John 5:3-5 For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome. For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?
Monday 1/9: Have clean hands, pure heart, and no false gods — Psalm 24:3-6 Who shall ascend the hill of the Lord? And who shall stand in his holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to what is false and does not swear deceitfully. He will receive blessing from the Lord and righteousness from the God of his salvation. Such is the generation of those who seek him, who seek the face of the God of Jacob.
Tuesday 1/10: Seek righteousness and humility — Zephaniah 2:3 Seek the Lord, all you humble of the land, who do his just commands; seek righteousness; seek humility; perhaps you may be hidden on the day of the anger of the Lord.
Wednesday 1/11: Cast our burdens on the Lord — Psalm 55:22 Cast your burden on the Lord, and he will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved.
WEEK 2: RECEIVE HIS WORK IN US
Thursday 1/12: Receive the Holy Spirit —Acts 1:8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.
Friday 1/13: Freedom from bondage – Galatians 5:1 For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.
Saturday 1/14: Healing from sickness – Isaiah 53:5 But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed.
Sunday 1/15: Blessing over trouble – Philippians 4:19 And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.
Monday 1/16: Victory over the enemy – 2 Corinthians 10:3-5 For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ ..
Tuesday 1/17: Miracles for the impossible – Matthew 19:26 But Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”
Wednesday 1/18: Vision for living – Habakkuk 2:2-3 And the Lord answered me: “Write the vision; make it plain on tablets, so he may run who reads it. For still the vision awaits its appointed time; it hastens to the end—it will not lie. If it seems slow, wait for it; it will surely come; it will not delay.
WEEK 3: RETURN TO OUR MISSION TOGETHER
Thursday 1/19: Praying His Kingdom come — Matthew 6:9-10 Pray then like this: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
Friday 1/20: Revival in our land – 2 Chronicles 7:13-14 When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command the locust to devour the land, or send pestilence among my people, if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.
Saturday 1/21: Jesus building His church – Matthew 16:18-19 And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.
Sunday 1/22: Fighting for Our Families – Nehemiah 4:14 And I looked and arose and said to the nobles and to the officials and to the rest of the people, “Do not be afraid of them. Remember the Lord, who is great and awesome, and fight for your brothers, your sons, your daughters, your wives, and your homes.”
Monday 1/23: Living out the Great Commission – Matthew 28:19-20 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.
Tuesday 1/24: Salvation for this generation – 2 Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.
Wednesday 1/25: Thanksgiving — Psalm 9:1 I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart; I will recount all of your wonderful deeds.