As a new year provides a wonderful opportunity for a fresh start, we like to begin each January with a dedicated time of prayer and fasting to align our personal and church-wide goals with the will of God. This year's time of prayer and fasting will run from January 11 - 31. We encourage everyone who calls MorningStar Church home to participate to the extent you feel comfortable. Below, we have provided some practical guidelines.
During this time, we also invite you to pray corporately with us over areas concerning our church, our local communities, and the Church around the world. Click the link below to download the prayer calendar.
What is fasting and why should I participate?
Simply stated, biblical fasting is refraining from food for a spiritual purpose. It’s pushing back the plate so you can focus more time and energy on drawing near to God. Just as in any relationship, the more time you spend together, the more intimately you can know each other. As a result, in a biblical fast you can expect to gain a more intimate relationship with God, and seek clarity in how He wants you to live your life. A fast is also a wonderful time to dedicate earnest prayer to specific areas of your life or the lives of loved ones. Of course, a fast requires quite a bit of discipline and strength, too—strength you can only receive from God. But it’s definitely worth it.
How to Begin
Start with a clear, specific goal. Why are you fasting? Ask the Holy Spirit for guidance. Some examples are: Are you in need of a fresh encounter with God? Do you desire a deeper, more intimate and powerful relationship with Jesus? Do you need to break away from spiritual bondages that have been holding you hostage? Do you have a friend or loved one who needs to find Christ? Do you desire to know God's will for your life? Are you in need of healing or a miracle? Do you need direction, healing, or restoration in your marriage? Are you facing financial difficulties?
Deciding What to Fast
The type of fast you choose is up to you. Below is a list of some common types of fasts. Whichever type of fasting you choose, remember to replace that time with prayer and Bible study, otherwise it’s little more than a diet.
Types of Fasting
There are several types of fasts found in the Bible, and the one you choose is between you and God. Below are some examples:
- Full Fast—Drink only liquids. You establish the number of days.
- Partial Fast—A partial fast is from 6:00 am to 3:00 pm, or from sun up to sundown.
- The Daniel Fast—Eat no meat, no sweets and no bread. Eat fruits and vegetables and drink only water and juice. And again, you establish the number of days.
Deciding How Long
You may fast as long as you like. Will it be one meal? One day? More than that? Most can easily fast from one to three days, but you may feel the grace to go longer, even as much as 21 to 40 days. Use wisdom and pray for guidance. Beginners are advised to start slowly, and perhaps even consult a physician (especially if you take prescription medication or have a chronic ailment).
Confess your sins to God. Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal areas of weakness. Forgive all who have offended you and ask forgiveness from those you may have offended (Mark 11:25; Luke 11:4; 17:3-4). Surrender your life fully to Jesus Christ and reject the worldly desires that try to hinder you (Romans 12:1-2).
Eat smaller meals during the days leading up to your fast, and avoid foods that are high in fat and sugar. Eat raw fruit and vegetables.
What to Expect
When you fast your body detoxifies, eliminating toxins from your system. This can cause mild discomfort such as headaches and irritability during withdrawal from caffeine and sugars. And naturally, you will have hunger pains. Limit your activity and exercise moderately. Take time to rest. 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 face.
Sharing Your Experience Along the Way
We would love to encourage you along the way, and of course we are praying for YOU during this time, as well. We would love to hear how this experience has affected you. Give us a call (813-960-3030), send us an email (firstname.lastname@example.org), or visit MorningStar’s Facebook page and tell us what God is doing in your life. You may also be encouraged by what you read from others.
How to End
Don't overeat when the time comes to end your fast. Begin eating solid food gradually. Eat small portions or snacks.
For further reading and study, here are some scripture references for fasting: Matthew 6:16-18 , Matthew 9:14-15 , Luke 18:9-14
Relation to Prayer and Reading of the Word: 1 Samuel 1:6-8, 17-18, Nehemiah 1:4, Daniel 9:3, 20, Joel 2:12, Luke 2:37, Acts 10:30, Acts 13:2
Corporate Fasting: 1 Samuel 7:5-6, Ezra 8:21-23, Nehemiah 9:1-3, Joel 2:15-16, Jonah 3:5-10, Acts 27:33-37
*most the above information was borrowed from jentezenfranklin.org.