Fasting and Prayer Resources

What Is Fasting?

In the Christian tradition, fasting has consisted of willingly abstaining from something normal, generally food, for the sake of our spiritual health. This can be done as individuals or as communities. The heart of fasting is to eliminate distractions to fully focus on and draw closer to God. This is a deep, spiritual practice that we will be pursuing together as a church this January.

As you see God working in your life, we would love to hear your stories! You can email mystory@lifechurchreno.com.

Why Should I Fast?

Pastor Tom Chism spoke about fasting here -- this sermon may help you get started on your fasting journey!

We see fasting modeled all through Scripture:
  • Fasting is commanded and modeled by Jesus. (Matthew 6:16, 4:1-11)
  • Fasting reminds us that God is the one that sustains us. (Matthew 4:4)
  • Fasting reveals things that control us. (Psalm 69:10)
  • Fasting helps us fight our fleshly desires for sin. (Romans 13:14)
  • Fasting helps cultivate hunger for God. (Psalm 34:8)
  • Fasting is an act of resistance to this word and an expression of faith in the world to come with Christ’s return. (Matthew 9:14-17)

We are fasting together to see a renewed sense of God’s presence in our church, in our city, and across Northern Nevada. We are hungry to experience more of the Lord and we long for those in our community to be open to Him.
“Fasting is a form of worship, an acknowledgment that we need God more than food. In all we do, the aim is to keep God on the throne of our hearts, the center of our lives, and the top of our minds.”
Meg Bucher

Fasting Is Not ...

We also need to be aware of and guard ourselves against what fasting is not.
  • Fasting is not manipulation or bending God’s will to ours. We are humbly aligning ourselves with God’s will.
  • Fasting is not about weight loss. There may be some health benefits to fasting, but that is not our motivation.
  • Fasting is not easy. Be prepared to face distractions and temptations. You may experience some doubt or discouragement. Prepare yourself to fight those moments with the Lord.

How Do I Start?

MAKE A PLAN 
Pick and plan a fast. Examples of fasts include:
  • Food fasts
    • Juice fast: Consuming vegetable and fruit juices and water instead of solid food
    • Daniel fast: Consists of fruits and vegetables and originates from the book of Daniel, in which Daniel fasted for 10 days
    • Length: Decide if you’ll fast one meal? One full day? A week? Determine up front and remember to ease into this practice if this is new for you
  • If fasting is not an option for you right now, consider some of these alternatives:
    • Screens: Unplug the noise of digital life in order to create space to hear God’s voice; this could be tv, computers, video games, your phone, etc.
    • Words: Consider not speaking for a specific time. This is a historic practice in church history, finding its roots when Jesus was silent before Pilate.
    • Social Media: We already know how much social media can cause unhealthy issues regarding identity and how we use our time. Although it’s not a necessity like food, this fast creates space for your identity to be re-rooted in the Lord.
    • What have you become dependent on? Maybe alcohol, sugar, criticism, anger, jealousy, shopping, or politics are things you can fast from.
  • Decide when
    • After you choose your fast, add it as an event to your calendar and write down your plan!
    • This January, we'll be fasting breakfast and lunch on Wednesdays. We'll come together Wednesday nights to worship and break out fast together as a church. 
  • Decide what you’ll do instead of eating
    • Prepare to intentionally fill that time or those hunger pains with the things of God. What is going to aid in seeking God and His presence? Here are some ideas to help:
      • Spend time reading Scripture and praying
      • Write a letter to one of the people you may be praying for
      • Visit with one of the people you’re praying for
      • Write down a verse and pray through it
      • Write down your prayers or record what God may be saying to you
      • Record what your soul wants to say to God

CONSIDER OTHERS 
How will your fast affect others? Think through your normal routine and how your fast may affect your family or friends. How can you communicate this to younger children? You may also want to consider the money you would have normally spent on food during this fast. Is there a way you could use that money to bless someone else?

PAY ATTENTION 
What’s happening on the inside?
Your body can be a drama queen. When you take away something so routine and needed as food, you will uncover the other things you’re going to for comfort, identity, hope. Be aware of your tendencies and desires and take those to the Lord.

What’s happening around you? 
Spiritual acuity increases as you fast. In order to join God in His work, it’s important to pay attention to where He’s at work in your life. Look closer around you and be aware of how the Holy Spirit is moving in the lives of others around you.

What sticks with you?
Maybe a Scripture, a conversation, or something you saw or heard keeps coming to mind. Take a minute to wonder why and ask the Lord about it. Maybe God is nudging you to do something about that. 

What Now?

You’ve fasted in January with the LifeChurch family! We pray that this has been a time of drawing closer to God and resting in all that He has for you this year. But what’s next?
  • Maintain
    • Consider if this is a spiritual practice you would like to maintain. Some Christians fast regularly just as they pray and read the Bible regularly. Maybe the Lord is calling you to fast once a week through this year. Or maybe you feel led to fast two days a month. Pray and make a plan about how you may want to maintain this practice.
  • Bible reading
  • Prayer
    • Continue spending time talking with God. Maybe try something new like keeping a prayer journal, or a prayer wall. You can keep track of what you’re praying about on sticky notes. Continue to grow in how you talk with God!

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