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January 2, 2015 - January 31, 2015 30 Days Prayer & Fasting

Simply stated, biblical fasting is refraining from food for a spiritual purpose. From the beginning, fasting has been a normal part of a relationship with God. As expressed by the impassioned plea of David in Psalm 42, fasting brings one into a deeper, more intimate, and powerful relationship with the Lord. When you eliminate food from your diet for a number of days, your spirit becomes uncluttered by the things of this world and amazingly sensitive to the things of God.—Fasting, by Jentezen Franklin

Fasting is not an end in itself; it is a means by which we can worship the Lord and submit ourselves in humility to Him. We don’t make God love us any more than He already does if we fast, or if we fast longer. [. . .] Even if we wanted to, we could not manipulate God. We fast and pray for results, but the results are in God’s hands. One of the greatest spiritual benefits of fasting is becoming more attentive to God–becoming aware of our own inadequacies and His adequacy, our own contingencies and His self-sufficiency–and listening to what He wants us to be and do. [. . .] Christian fasting focuses on God. The results are spiritual results that glorify God–both in the person who fasts and others for whom we fast and pray.—Fasting for Spiritual Breakthrough by Elmer Towns

During the years that Jesus walked this earth, He devoted time to teaching His disciples the principles of the Kingdom of God, principles that conflict with those of this world. In the Beatitudes, specifically in Matthew 6, Jesus provided the pattern by which each of us is to live as a child of God. That pattern specifically addressed three duties of a Christian: giving, praying, and fasting. Jesus said, “When you give . . “ and “when you pray . . . “ and “when you fast . . . .“ He went on to say, “The Son of God fasted because He knew there were supernatural things that could only be released that way. How much more should fasting be common practice in our lives? According to the words of Jesus, it is the duty of every disciple, every believer, too fast.”—Fasting, by Jentezen Franklin

What the Bible Says About Fasting

1. Fasting must not be for show–”16Morever when ye fast, be not, as the hypocrites, of a sad countenance: for they disfigure their faces that they may appear unto men to fast. Verily, I say unto you, they have their reward. 17But thou, when thou fastest, anoint thine head, and wash thy face; 18That thou appear not unto men to fast, but unto thy Father which is in secret: and thy Father, which seeth in secret, shall reward thee openly” (Matthew 6:16-18).

2. Biblical fasting is “not eating” with spiritual communication in mind. How do we know this? Because Biblical fasting always occurs together with prayer in the Bible. You can pray without fasting, but you cannot fast (Biblically speaking) without praying. Biblical fasting is deliberately abstaining from food for a spiritual reason: communication and relationship with the Almighty.

3. God said that when you seek Him with all your heart, He will be found by you (Jeremiah 29:13). When a man or woman is willing to set aside the legitimate appetites of the body to concentrate on the work of praying, he/she is demonstrating a serious seeking of God with the whole heart.

4. Fasting is an expression of wholeheartedness. This is clear from Joel’s call to the nation of Israel: “Therefore also now,” says the Lord, “turn ye even to me with all your heart, and with fasting . . .” (Joel 2:12).

21 days of prayer & fasting, starting 12:00 AM Thursday January 1, 2015 – midnight Thursday January 21, 2015

The Purpose of Prayer & Fasting:  To have the mind of God, and seek direction for 2015

Choice of Fasts

1. Absolute–an extreme fast that should be done only for very short periods of time. You take in nothing–no food, no water. Absolute fasts should be attempted only with medical supervision.

2. Normal–no food is eaten for a certain number of days. You do drink water–and plenty of it. Depending on the length of the fast, you may also choose to drink clear broth and juices to maintain your strength.

3. Partial–giving up particular foods and drinks for a time. The most common example is recorded in Daniel 1:11-14, when Daniel and his three companions ate only vegetables and drank only water for 10 days and, as a result, were blessed more than the king’s men (who ate the richer, royal diet).

4. Selective–giving up foods that are unnecessary but pleasurable (fast food, ice cream, candy, Coke, etc.). This fast is often used by people who are taking medicine, have medical conditions, or are too young or old to follow another kind of fast. The point is that you abstain from something that is a delicacy for you.

5. Sunup to Sundown–eating each day only after sunset. During the day, you drink water and pray during normal eating times.

6. Infants and small children should NOT fast. Older children can participate in a fast by choosing a food they usually have each day (cookies, candy, favorite snack, etc.) and giving that up during the fast. The important thing is to explain to them that we are giving up something for the purpose of focusing on God.