At various points of the year we call the church to a day of prayer and fasting, so that prayer & fasting becomes part of the spiritual heartbeat of our church.
HOW SHALL I FAST? There are many ways that you can get involved in fasting, there is no right or wrong way, and you must decide which way is best for you. It is important to remember that the intent of any fast is to deny yourself something that you would normally do in order to focus more specifically on God and prayer.
There are 3 main types of fasting; A Regular Fast - Traditionally, a regular fast means refraining from eating all food. Most people still drink water or juice during a regular fast. When Jesus fasted in the desert, the Bible says, "After fasting forty days and forty nights, He was hungry." This verse does not mention Jesus being thirsty.
There is a Daniel fast(Partial fast) - This type of fast generally refers to omitting a specific meal from your diet or refraining from certain types of foods, specifically the rich foods you might enjoy throughout the year and to simplify your diet. Acceptable foods to eat during a Daniel fast are;
- All fruits and vegetables
- All legumes
- Whole grains
- Nuts and seeds
- Herbs and spices.
Then there is a Full Fast - This fast is complete - no food and no drink. It is recommended that this type of fast be done with extreme caution and not for extended periods of time.
If you do choose to take part in any of the 3 Fasts mentioned and you have medical issues, please check with your doctor first, before beginning your fast.
Although not mentioned in the Bible, Christians today often commit to other forms of fasting, refraining from other activities as well. For example some give up entertainment such as TV or computer for set periods of time to concentrate on prayer.
Here are some guidelines for fasting: Biblical fasting is "not eating" with spiritual communication in mind. Biblical fasting always occurs together with prayer in the Bible - ALWAYS. You can pray without fasting, but you cannot fast without praying. Biblical fasting is deliberately abstaining from food for a spiritual reason: communication and relationship with the Father. It helps to express, to deepen, and to confirm the resolution that we are ready to sacrifice anything - to sacrifice ourselves - to attain what we seek for the kingdom of God.
Be prepared for some dizziness, headache, or nausea in the early going. Most of our bodies have never gone without food for longer than a few hours. Break a prolonged fast gradually with meals that are light and easy to digest. Trying to gorge yourself following a fast will only make you sick and will leave you with an unpleasant memory of fasting.
Enter with a positive faith that God will reward those who fast with the right motives. - Jesus gave this promise: "When you fast, your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you" (Matthew 6:18). Sometime during your fast, mix your fast with prayer, time in Bible reading and worship. Remember: fasting is not an end in itself. Seek God, not the experience of fasting. Keep checking your motives concerning your fasts. Hypocrisy and spiritual pride can easily creep in. There is a reward for fasting, but only fasting done with the right motives.
As we fast and pray together, and add more Word and prayer to our lives, I believe there will come a synergy of faith that will renew so many hearts, spirits and the church itself.
Often these days will be on a certain theme or for a specific corporate purpose, often during which you will receive a card to take away to help you focus your thoughts for the prayer & fasting days, along with scriptures to read and study and directions to help you pray effectively and in unity with everyone else taking part.