This season of fasting and prayer is the best way to kick off your new year! Join us beginning January 14 for 21 days of a church-wide prayer and fasting. This is a great time to quiet the distractions of the world and get closer in your relationship with God.
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WHAT IS FASTING?
The goal of fasting is to draw nearer to God. Biblical fasting always has to do with eliminating distractions for a spiritual purpose; it hits the reset button of 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. Remember, your personal fast should present a level of challenge, but it is very important to know your body, your options, and, most importantly, to seek God in prayer and follow what the Holy Spirit leads you to do.
Here are a few easy steps to get you get started on your fast.
1. SET YOUR OBJECTIVE
Begin by deciding why you are fasting. Is it for spiritual renewal, for healing, for wisdom in a particular area, or the resolution of a specific issue? Pick the top 1-3 prayer requests or things you would like to seek God on. Don’t overwhelm yourself and make a laundry list of items. Ask the Holy Spirit to lead in deciding and clarifying your goals for fasting.
2. CHOOSE YOUR PLAN
We are all at different places in our walk with God.
3. CHOOSE YOUR FASTING SCHEDULE
You may choose to fast all or several days of the 21 days, such
4. BEGIN AND BREAK THE FAST WELL
Depending on the type of fast you choose, it is very important to prepare your body ahead of time before beginning the fast. Take a week or so to transition into your fast; otherwise, you could get sick. For example, if you would like to go on fruits and vegetables or juice fast, start eliminating meat, white grains, and refined sugars from your diet the week before.
This same principle applies to
5. CHECK OUT MORE INFORMATION ABOUT FASTING
There are also several websites and books that offer additional resources for spiritual growth, recipes and nutritional information to help you along the way. Here are a few that we recommend.
Websites for Fasting Info:
Books for Spiritual Growth:
If you would like to grow in your understanding of how spiritual disciplines like fasting and prayer can help you grow spiritually, check out the following resources:
The Life You’ve Always Wanted: Spiritual Disciplines for Ordinary People
by John Ortberg (Purchase here)
by Richard Foster (Purchase here)
The Spirit of the Disciplines: Understanding How God Changes Lives
by Dallas Willard (Purchase here)
Fasting: Opening the Door to a Deeper, More
by Jentezen Franklin (Purchase here)
Important Note: Fasting requires reasonable precautions. If you have any health concerns, please consult your physician prior to beginning your fast, especially if you are taking medications, have a chronic condition or are pregnant or nursing a baby.
TYPES OF FASTS:
While preparing for your fast, it is important to choose ahead of time what type of fast you will participate in. Not only will this help with making the necessary preparations to implement your plan, but as you commit to a specific fast ahead of time, and know how you’re going to do it, you will position yourself to finish strong. Choosing your fasting plan is a very personal decision. We are all at different places in our walk with God and our spirituality should never be a cause for comparison or competition. There is nothing more “inherently spiritual” about one type of fast as opposed to another
Vision Weeks is intentionally designed to be flexible. As with choosing what type of fast you will be undertaking, it is important to also decide ahead of time how long you will be fasting and to what extent you will be fasting. Some people may choose to fast at one level all 21 days and then culminate with a special 3 day fast at the end. Others may choose to fast one week out of the 21 days, or even fast once or twice a week throughout the 21 day period. This is a personal decision and one that should be prayerfully considered.
Important Note: Fasting requires reasonable precautions. If you have any health concerns, please consult your physician prior to beginning your fast, especially if you are taking medications, have a chronic condition, or are pregnant or nursing a baby.
SPECIFIC FOOD OR ACTIVITY FAST:
This type of fast refers to omitting a specific item(s), activity or habit from your time of prayer and fasting. For example, you may choose to eliminate red meat, processed or fast food, or sweets. It could also involve fasting from an activity or habit, such as television watching, or social media.
The Daniel fast is a great model to follow that proves to be extremely effective for spiritual focus, bodily discipline and purification in the body and soul. It is probably one of the most commonly referred to types of fasts, however within the term “Daniel Fast”, there is room for broad interpretation. In the book of Daniel, we find two different times where Daniel fasted, once in Daniel 1 and again in Daniel 10. Daniel 1 states that he ate vegetables and water, and in Daniel 10, while the passage does not give a specific list of foods that Daniel ate, it does state that Daniel ate no rich (or choice) foods as well as no meat or wine. So based on these two verses, we can see that either of these, or any variations in between constitutes a fast. Again, there is nothing “inherently spiritual” about one type of fast as opposed to another. It is important to seek God in prayer and follow what the Holy Spirit leads you to do. Here are some links that provide some suggestions of what a Daniel fast can look like as well as some recipe options.
A water fast is eating no foods and drinking no liquids except water for a period of time. Extreme precautions should be taken with a water fast and should be done under the direct supervision and monitoring of your physician.
THE 21 DAY JOURNEY WITH PRAYER
1) LEARN MORE ABOUT PRAYER.
Click here to download a prayer journal that will help you grow in your relationship with God and give you a better understanding
2) JOIN US FOR WEDNESDAY NIGHT PRAYER.
During the 21 days together, join us for corporate prayer.
Location: CapCity Kingstowne (5875 Barclay Drive Suite 5, Alexandria VA 22315)
3) PRAY WITH US!
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KIDS PRAYER AND FASTING RESOURCES:
An easy way to explain the benefits of prayer and fasting to kids is to compare it to cleaning out old toys that might no longer work, or that they might have outgrown, to make room for new ones. As we clean out our bodies and make time to connect closer to God and His Word, we make room to receive new gifts from Him.
We do not recommend that children skip meals or drastically reduce their food intake, but a modification of their diet might prove to be an easy place to start. For example, fasting from specific items such as sweets, red meats, fried foods or even introducing a form of the Daniel fast which includes legumes, nuts
Another great way to fast is by reducing some of the time and energy spent watching TV, playing video games, using the computer or phone, and instead choosing to spend time praying, reading their Bible or serving others.
CLICK HERE FOR SOME TOOLS YOU CAN USE WITH YOUR KIDS DURING THIS 21 DAYS:
The main thing is for kids to recognize the value behind setting aside special times to disconnect from some of the extra-curricular activities and treats they enjoy on a regular basis and learn how to connect to God in a closer way. Write down a few prayer requests and pray together for those things throughout the fast.
*Please note, you should always check with your child’s pediatrician before your child(ren) begin any type of fasting.