21 Days of Prayer & Fasting
January 4-24, 2021
 
Freedom NW Prayer Gatherings
 
We will be gathering each week for corporate prayer. Please join us for one or all…

Mondays, 7-8 PM
Wednesdays, 7-8 PM
Sundays, 10-10:20 AM
 
We will conclude the 21 Days of Fasting with a celebration for the entire church on Sunday, January 24!
 
Week #1 Prayer Focus: Knowing God, Glorifying God
 
Week #2 Prayer Focus: Freedom Church/The Body of Christ
 
Week #3 Prayer Focus: National/Global
 
What is the Purpose of Fasting in the Bible?

Freedom Family, during the month of January we will be participating in a fast as a church. Some might be wondering: “What is the purpose of fasting?” Fasting is basically abstaining from food for a certain period of time. There are different types of fasting in the Bible, however, and not all of them involve food. Many people in the Bible fasted, including Moses, David, and Daniel in the Old Testament, and Paul and our Lord Jesus Christ in the New Testament. Many important figures in Christian history attest to fasting’s value, as do many Christians today.
 
Biblical fasting is closely linked to both repentance, passionate prayer, God’s Word, and godly action. Fasting without these biblical ingredients can still be healthy, but it misses the point of growing in our relationship with God.
 
EXAMPLES
The following are a few examples that help us understand biblical fasting…
 
TYPICAL
Typical biblical fasting is done by abstaining from all food, both solid and liquid, except for water and clear liquids. This is the type of fasting JUDAH’s King Jehoshaphat called for when his country was confronted with invasion (2 Chronicles 20). The Lord defeated their enemies, and the people of Judah praised and blessed the Lord. Another example is when our Lord JESUS fasted during His forty days in the wilderness being tempted by Satan (Luke 4). When Jesus was hungry, Satan tempted Him to turn the stones into bread, to which Jesus replied, “Man shall not live by bread alone”. We see from the example of Jesus how powerful God’s Word is in our lives. Each time He was tempted He responded with Scriptures from the book of Deuteronomy, using God’s Word to fight powerfully against temptation.
 
PARTIAL
Another type of biblical fasting is the PARTIAL fast. The prophet DANIEL spent three weeks fasting from certain foods (Daniel 10). Daniel says, “I mourned for three weeks. I ate no choice food; no meat or wine touched my lips; and I used no lotions at all until the three weeks were over”. Note that Daniel’s fast to express his grief on this occasion only omitted “choice” foods, and it also involved relinquishing the use of oils and “lotions” for refreshment. Today, many Christians follow this example and abstain from certain foods or activities for a short time, looking to the Lord for their comfort and strength. Why was Daniel fasting? He had discovered a biblical prophecy that had not been fulfilled. He took that unfulfilled prophecy from 70 years prior and began to pray to the Lord for its fulfillment. Most of us know that God has unfulfilled desires in His heart that have yet to be realized in our personal lives, our families, our marriages, our work, in our nation, and in the world. He desires that we partner with God to release His will on the earth through the prayers of His people.
 
TOTAL
Also mentioned in the Bible is the TOTAL fast, or the full fast, where no food or water is consumed. When Esther discovered the plan for all the Jews to be killed in Persia, she and her fellow Jews fasted food and water for three days before she entered the king’s courts to ask for his mercy (Esther 4). Another example of an absolute fast is found in the story of Saul’s conversion. The murderous Saul encountered Jesus in His glory on the road to Damascus. “For three days he was blind, and did not eat or drink anything” (Acts 9). Immediately following that time of blindness and fasting, Saul dedicated his life to preaching Jesus Christ. In the example of Esther, we see the power of fasting and intercession on behalf others. With the example of Saul, we see the power of fasting, dedication, and consecration in our personal life. In both cases of the total fast, it only lasted three days. We do see examples of Elijah and Moses took part in miraculous, forty-day total fasts. This is something God did special in their lives. Although fasting food for a prolonged period of time is good, fasting water is discouraged.
 
HISTORICAL
Revivalist John Wesley instituted a type of fasting known as a “Wesley fast” that entailed abstaining from food from 8:00 PM on one day until 4:00 PM the following day. Basically, Wesley would eat dinner on any given day, go to sleep, fast breakfast and lunch (utilizing the time he would normally be eating as a time for extended prayer), and then resume eating again after 4:00 PM. This was more of a lifestyle fast (see below) that could be done once/week or several days/week. What is the point? Abstaining from food or certain activities is always an opportunity to spend more time focused on God and His desires instead of my bodily appetites.
 
LIFESTYLE
The Bible not only provides examples of instances of fasting, but we would encourage you to embrace times of prayer and fasting on a regular and consistent basis throughout the year. Consider fasting for longer seasons than just 21 days. Perhaps God would lead you to fast one day/week for 6 months, or a year in order to bring about greater breakthrough in your life. Some people struggle in certain areas of their life with addictions that may require longer seasons of abstinence and continued prayer.
 
Conclusion
As you consider how to participate in fasting, please use wisdom and prayer. If you have not fasted before, consult others who have fasted and learn from them. Study the biblical examples of fasting and prayerfully consider how Holy Spirit would lead you in participating. If you work a very labor-intensive job, consider adding liquids such as apple or cranberry juice to your fast in order to help stabilize your blood sugar and keep your energy up. You may find that going more than a day or two without protein does not provide enough energy for your particular work.
 
Overall, the purpose of fasting is not to get God to respond as a “genie in a bottle” to grant our every wish. Fasting, whether it is typical, partial, total, is a seeking after God’s heart – all other blessings and benefits being secondary to God Himself. This is what sets apart biblical fasting from other religious and cultural practices.