There are seasons, as the people of God, when the most important thing we can do is pray. This is one of those seasons. And it seems that more than ever, we need God to move. But we are not the first to be in such a place of need. So we turn our hearts toward Heaven. We have an anchor for our souls in turbulent seasons, and we have an open door to enter and call out to our God.
“Consecrate a fast; call a solemn assembly. Gather the elders and all the inhabitants of the land to the house of the LORD your God, and cry out to the LORD” (Joel 1:14).
During the next month, we call our church family to fast and pray — not just say prayers but in humility cry out to God. We’ll spend the next four weeks in focused prayer together. Each week, we will follow a theme and pray around that theme. You can use the daily readings and prayer points in this guide to help direct your praying.
In addition to following this guide, we want you to consider fasting each Tuesday during these next four weeks. Fasting highlights our need for God. It has a way of showing us how driven we are by the desires of the flesh. Nobody has to tell us we need to eat and drink. So why aren’t we as “in tune” with our need to pray and seek the face of God? Fasting helps us focus on the real source of our life and strength.
There will be other opportunities for you to join with others to pray. You might consider how you can invite others with you on this journey. Feel free to use this material to engage with neighbors, co-workers, etc. Pray with your small group and your family. Pray without ceasing. Our greatest desire is to see God restore us inwardly so that we can reach outwardly and bring glory to God.
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What Is Fasting?
For Christians, fasting is the act of giving up something (food, drink, entertainment, etc.) for a certain period of time in order to increase our attention on God and what He has to say. There are more than 70 references to fasting in the Bible, and among those who fasted in the Bible are Moses, Elijah, Esther, Ezra, Job, David, Daniel, Peter, Paul — and even Jesus.
Biblical fasting always has to do with eliminating distractions for a spiritual purpose; it restores our soul and renews us from the inside out. It also enables us to celebrate the goodness and mercy of God and prepares our hearts for all the good things God desires to bring into our lives and in our church.
You can fast with other believers as well. If it will help you overcome any fear you might have of fasting, ask another believer to join you. Biblically, there are instances of corporate fasting where entire nations fasted together (Esther 4; Ezra 8). So feel free to fast together and pray for one another. Our church-wide fast will lend itself to this opportunity because the people around you will be fasting at the same time.
Timing of a Fast:
Over the next four weeks, we want to encourage you to fast for at least one hour every Tuesday. This is part of our Columbus365 - 28 Days of Prayer and Fasting, a season of focused prayer as a church family. You are also encouraged to fast at other times during this season for your own spiritual development. It’s very typical to fast a single meal, a whole day, or three days or more. The timing and type of your fast is not as important as the strength of your focus on God as you fast.
Types of Fasts:
Full Fast: Drink liquids only. Please consult your doctor first.
Daniel Fast: Eat only vegetables, fruit, water and juice (minimal amount of carbohydrates).
Partial Fast: Not eating one or two meals on a specific day or abstaining from certain kinds of food.
All-day Food Fast: Abstaining from food one day or multiple days per week
Activity/Media Fast: Forgoing a time-consuming activity such as entertainment, hobbies, television, internet, sports, etc.
Scripture References
Matthew 6:16-18
Matthew 9:14-15
Luke 18:9-14
Acts 27:33-37
Nehemiah 9:1-3
Set Goals and Write Them Down
Begin with a clear personal goal for your prayer time. Align your goals with those shared in the devotional guide. Fasting is a powerful tool if done correctly. We must have correct motives. The enemy knows the power of prayer and fasting, and he will do everything in his power to stop you. Trust God to bless your commitment. We encourage you to call upon the Lord. He has promised to show us great and mighty things. May God bless you and increase His anointing and the power of the Holy Spirit in your life and in the life of Columbus Avenue Baptist Church.