Week of Prayer & Fasting | January 11-15
A Word From Pam:
“I encourage you to spend intentional time with Jesus, this week.
Before you begin each day invite the Holy Spirit to speak to your heart, revealing what He desires for you to hear this week.
Take your time with the readings & reflections.
I like to write out Scripture as it helps me focus more clearly on the words. It is a form of meditating on God’s Word for me.
Read through the passage each day at least twice, on the third time, read it through voiced as a prayer.
Invite God to do a work in your life that is new in regard to Jesus being the true vine and the Father the gardener or vinedresser.
This week is just a small excerpt from the book. I encourage you to get your hands on a copy if any of what I share speaks to your heart.
May you be blessed the way I, and others have been, by Beth’s words and more importantly by the words of Jesus.”
What is Fasting?
Fasting in its simplest definition is understood as “voluntary abstinence from food or drink, especially as a religious duty.” As followers of Jesus, the purpose of all spiritual disciplines, including fasting, is to help us to become more like Jesus. We follow in His footsteps. Fasting helps us – personally and corporately – become aware of how God desires to work in us and through us.
We should never be motivated by the idea that our fasting will move God to do what we want; we cannot manipulate God. The purpose of our fasting is to draw us closer to God and to seek His will for our lives.
In the book of Esther, the Jews were on the verge of destruction because of Haman, one of the king’s advisors. Haman was filled with anger against a Jew named Mordecai because he didn’t bow or worship him. Haman looked for a way to destroy all of Mordecai’s people, the Jews, throughout the whole kingdom of Xerxes.
Mordecai knew he was in trouble so he sought help from Queen Esther, who was his niece. Now, for Queen Esther to approach the king for help without being summoned first was very dangerous – she would literally be risking her life. So Esther called a fast.
“Go, gather together all the Jews who are in Susa, and fast for me. Do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my attendants will fast as you do. When this is done, I will go to the king, even though it is against the law. And if I perish, I perish.” (Esther 4:15-16 NIV)
Those 3 days of prayer and fasting changed history forever.
This is her moment. Esther goes to see the king, knowing she is quite possibly walking to her death. However, because Esther approached the king on behalf of her people, they would became a nation not of defeat but of favour and rescue.
When God’s people fast with proper motive – seeking His will – and with a humble and repentant spirit, amazing things happen.
This is our moment. We’re going to pray and fast as a church community. We’re going to seek God’s will for our lives, our church, our communities, our country, and our world.
Deciding How Long to Fast
For this prayer focus, decide if and how long you’re able to fast. You may fast for as long as you like; however, use wisdom and pray for guidance. Ask the Holy Spirit to lead and guide you when making this decision.
Beginners are advised to start slowly. Keep yourself hydrated at all times. Drink plenty of water and juices. Remember to replace your time of eating with prayer and reflecting on the Word. We’ve provided 5 days of guided prayer and Scripture for everyone to lean into together as a community, regardless of how long you choose to fast. If you’re unable to fast, still join us in praying!
Important Words of Caution
- Please consult your family physician before attempting to fast if you have a physical condition that’s affected by your food intake, have any type of chronic illness, and/or are taking any kind of prescription medications. If you’re unsure whether you should participate for any reason, please consult your family physician.
- Infants and small children should not fast. Older children who can understand fasting can participate by choosing a food they usually have each day and giving that up during the fast. The important thing is to explain that we’re giving up something for the purpose of focusing on God.
What to Expect
When we fast our body detoxifies, eliminating toxins from our system. This can cause mild discomfort such as headaches and irritability during withdrawal from caffeine and sugars. Naturally, we’ll have hunger pains. It’s important to limit physical activity and exercise moderately; to take time to rest.
We’re following Jesus’ example when we fast. Spend time listening to praise and worship. Pray as often as you can throughout the day. Get away from the normal distractions as much as possible and keep your heart and mind set on seeking God’s will for us.
As we enter this time of heightened spiritual devotion, it’s important to be aware that Satan will do everything he can to pull us away from our prayer and Bible reading time. When we feel the enemy trying to discourage or distract us, we need to immediately go to God in prayer and ask Him to strengthen us in the face of difficulties and temptations.
How to End a Fast
Don’t overeat when the time comes to end the fast. Because our digestive systems have most likely reduced enzyme production, overeating or ingesting certain foods too quickly may cause nausea, stomach aches, or diarrhea. Introducing regular foods slowly will help break a fast safely, without disrupting the digestive system.
Regardless of how long or if you choose to fast, we encourage everyone to engage in 5 days of prayer January 11-15, 2021 as we seek God’s transforming power individually and as a community at FAC.
Monday, January 11 – Fasting
One of the greatest spiritual benefits of fasting is becoming more attentive to God — becoming more aware of our own inadequacies and His adequacy, our own contingencies and His self-sufficiency — and listening to what He wants us to be and do.” (E.L. Towns)
- Relax. Be still and quiet. Slow your mind and heart. Prepare your heart. Take a few deep breaths and wait on God.
- Watch Day 1 video segment on Fasting
Before you begin watching, invite the Holy Spirit to speak to your heart, revealing what He desires for you to hear and do with regards to fasting.
What is impacting you from the video?
What is God saying to you about fasting?
Are you able to fast this week? How will you do it?
How do you need to prepare yourself to fast this week?
- Record what God did
What did God speak to you through these words on fasting?
Conclude your time by talking to God about what He has shown you, asking Him to provide for you all that you will need in order to fast.