2020 Fasting Resources
WHEN ARE WE FASTING?
Our churchwide fast will run from January 20 - February 9 for a total of twenty-one days. Throughout the Bible we see God's faithful followers fast on many occasions and for varied lengths of time. We are selecting a twenty-one day period for fasting following the example of Daniel found in Daniel 10:1-3:
"In the third year of the reign of King Cyrus of Persia, Daniel (also known as Belteshazzar) had another vision. He understood that the vision concerned events certain to happen in the future—times of war and great hardship."
" 2 When this vision came to me, I, Daniel, had been in mourning for three whole weeks. 3 All that time I had eaten no rich food. No meat or wine crossed my lips, and I used no fragrant lotions until those three weeks had passed." (NLT)
WHY ARE WE FASTING?
As we have emphasized in our message series, Pursuing God through Fasting, we are not fasting to manipulate God into doing what we want him to do for us. Instead, we are fasting because we want to experience more of Him in our lives. We want to see Him move, and by moving see Him made much of or glorified. By fasting we declare that we want the Deliverer more than deliverance, the Provider more than the provision, the Healer more than the healing, the All-knowing God more than His direction, and the Comforter more than the comfort. We are simply saying through prayer and fasting that "God we want you more than _____!"
Fasting in the Bible is always in reference to food. In Biblical times or in agricultural societies food preparation took a great deal of time. They couldn't shop for groceries online or go through a drive-through. Farming, gathering, hunting, and preparing food took up a great deal of time in the ancient world. Going without food freed up a good amount of time to devote to seeking God.
Today we might find that our time is not taken up so much in eating but in entertainment, social media, surfing the web, or involvement in a hobby. All the above are good things if being enjoyed within the guidelines of Scripture, but often times we allow our schedules to become so full with the time we spend on these extra-curriculars that we leave no room to just be with God and seek Him.
I go back to our prayer for 2020 found in Jeremiah 24:7,
"I will give them hearts that recognize me as the Lord. They will be my people, and I will be their God, for they will return to me wholeheartedly."
Oh that we would pray this verse back to God! "God give me a heart that recognizes you as Lord, as supreme in all areas of my life. God help me to seek you with all of my heart. Help me to return wholeheartedly to you!" If we will make this our prayer this year I know God will show up, show off, and cause us to stand in awe of Him! He also promises us that those who seek him with all their heart will find Him (Jeremiah 29:13).
Your pastoral staff and their wives have already been fasting for ourselves but also for you as you fast and seek the Lord, that He would overwhelm you with His presence and power as you seek Him through fasting. Below are a few different types of fasts that you could choose to do during our churchwide fast this year! If you should have any questions about your fast or fasting in general please don't hestitate to contact me or the church office.
TYPES OF FASTS
A complete or full-fast is going without food for the entire time of fasting. Usually, those doing a complete fast drink water and juice during their fasting period. Beverages such as Ensure or other nutritious beverages can be helpful in seeing that you get the nutrients you need during your fast. A complete fast is what we see Jesus model for us in Matthew 4.
A partial fast is where a person chooses not to eat certian foods for the length of the fast. While this could be as simple as giving up one certain food, we see a great example and description of a partial fast when looking at Daniel. One could describe Daniel's fast as a vegetarian's meal plan. Daniel ate only fruits and vegetables during this twenty-one day fast. Water, freshly squeezed fruit juice, nut based milks, and plant based smoothies or other liquids are allowed. Participants of this type of fast avoid all meats, processed foods, sugar, and dairy.
God might even lead you to fast every Wednesday during our churchwide fast or to fast from lunch everyday for twenty-one days. If God leads you to fast on a certain day or fast from a certain meal during our fast, then just be obedient.
Media or Entertainment Fast
I had a lady in our church tell me just yesterday that she would be unable to fast from food due to health reasons, but that she could fast from television. I am so grateful and challenged by her heart's desire to pursue God with all she is! Fast from television, social media, or playing games either on your phone or gaming system. Replace the time that you would usually spend on being entertained with investing in your relationship with God. Pastor Bradley challenged us last night to only listen to Christian music during our fasting to help us focus our minds and attention on Him as well.
As we approach our churchwide fast for this year, above all I would encourage you to pursue God in fasting without getting caught up in what someone else is doing or not doing, eating or not eating, and simply just be concerned with being obedient to the fast that God has led you to seek Him through!
Download John Piper's book Desiring God by clicking the link above for free.
21 Days of Devotions and Videos from Jentezen Franklin
The YouVersion Bible App also has several devotional plans pertaining to fasting.
For Partial Fasting
For Social Media and Entertainment Fasting