On 19 January we start the 21 days of prayer and fasting. This is a special time during which we dedicate more time and awareness to God.
21 DAILY DEVOTIONS
Do you want to receive a daily WhatsApp message with a reflection during this period? Register by sending a message to +31 (0) 6 51 02 16 65. We also hold 2 Deeper Nights during this period on 23 and 30 January. Put this on your agenda. We also have 2 Deeper Nights during this 21 day period on 23 and 30 January – save the dates! OR – join us!
What is Fasting
Would you agree that the pinnacle of our Christian walk is to grow a deeper, fuller, and more passionate relationship with God? As Christians, we grow closer to the Lord as we block out the everyday noise of the world, and lean in closer to the voice of the Father. We block out these daily distractions by doing as Jesus called each of us to do in Luke 9:23: “And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.” By taking up our cross daily, we are putting down the heavy things of this world that act as distractions, picking up what God has actually called us to bear, and following where he leads. The act of dying to yourself and picking up your cross to follow Jesus is sometimes easier said than done. It can be easy to fall into the trap of distraction as we go from day to day. Whether it’s work, school, kids, stress, social media, finances, relational challenges, or unexpected dilemmas or delays that pop up throughout the day – it can all become so overwhelming and completely time and thought consuming. With every distraction, it can be easy to slip into “autopilot” in our relationship with God. However, we were never meant to have a passive, neutral relationship with God.
Every now and then in our walk with Christ, we can greatly benefit from hitting the pause button on our day to day routine, and hitting the refresh button in our spiritual lives. The best way to reset and refresh our spiritual lives and relationship with God is to set aside a designated time to intentionally seek the Lord through fasting and prayer. Fasting is not a “get-fit-for-the-New-Year-quick” crash diet; it is an integral spiritual discipline that is meant to help us as believers take our focus off of something for a period of time (food, social media, TV, etc.), and focus our time, attention, and hearts fully on Jesus. By fasting, we are setting aside distractions, even necessities, such as food, in order to stir up a deeper hunger for the Lord. Some signs that it might be time to intentionally fast and pray are: when you find yourself heavy with a burden, stuck in a particular pattern of sin, when you are being oppressed by the enemy, when you are seeking an answer or direction from God, or even when you just need a spiritual refreshing. Fasting often reveals the raw state of our hearts. The purpose of fasting is not to lose something, but to gain something; a deeper, more intimate relationship with God.
Fasting can be done in various ways. The most common way people choose to fast is by fasting food. Fasting from food can be done in different ways. The first type of fast is called a dry fast. This type of fast consists of no food or beverages for a period of time. With a dry fast, it is important to consult a doctor before beginning, as it could present or worsen certain health issues. Water fasts are when a person only consumes water, no food or other drinks, for a period of time. A partial fast is when someone refrains from eating a particular food or food group. Liquid fasts are when solid food is not consumed, just liquids.
Fasting is not just limited to food. It can also be done by abstaining from TV, social media, extra spending, music, or whatever else the Lord places on your heart to set aside for a designated amount of time.
Ultimately, it is important to seek the Lord about what particular kind of fast He is asking you to choose.
How to Fast
Pray. Be in faith as you prayerfully and thoughtfully step into this season of fasting. Fasting is more than simply going without something. It is supplementing the absence of something that feeds your flesh with prayer in order to feed your spirit.
Commit to a type of fast. Do not decide on a day-to-day basis. Commit before the fast, and be determined. Fasting options include:
- Water only
- Liquid only
- One meal only
- Traditional fasts (sun-up to sun-down, Monday through Friday)
- Other kinds of fasts (e.g. no TV, no social media, no discretionary spending)
Prepare your body gradually for the fast. Start eating smaller portions and meals made of raw fruits and vegetables two days before you begin. Avoid food that is high and sugar and fat.
Plan Your Calendar. Limit physical and social activities during the fast, conserve energy, and spend more time in prayer and reading the Bible. If you wish to pair this guide with a Bible reading plan, consider ‘A chapter a Day‘ reading plan on the YouVersion Bible app.
Consult a physician if you need to. If your situation does not allow you to fast food, determine an alternative that will work best for you. Such circumstances include pregnancy, a physically demanding profession, and medical conditions.
Ask friends and family to be your prayer partner throughout the fast and join with them together in the prayer points in this guide. Consider doing the fast within the benefits of community rather than in solitude.
A few ways to fast
Daniel Fast: Consume only fruits & vegetables
Modified Daniel Fast: Consume only fruits, vegetables, whole grains & legumes
Liquid Fast: Consume only liquids
Fasting Alternatives: Refrain from media, television, secular music & texts, or going out
PARENT’S FASTING GUIDE FOR KIDS
We believe God wants to work in the hearts of kids through prayer and fasting, just like he does for adults. And we’ve found that kids will respond and grow spiritually when we teach them and give them the opportunity to participate. If kids are going to be lifelong followers of Jesus, they must experience him in a real and personal way. A time of prayer and fasting is a great way for kids to encounter Jesus’ presence.
We also believe that when a child fasts, it should come under the guidance and direction of his or her parents.
The following points will help us teach our kids why we fast:
- Fasting helps us focus on God instead of our comforts and conveniences.
- Fasting reminds us that God provides every good and perfect gift.
- Fasting helps us open our hearts to hear from God, no matter our age.
Here are some practical ways to fast with kids:
- Make different food choices. 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. Fasting from specific items such as sweets, fried foods, sodas, or even meat and bread is a great way for children to participate in a safe and healthy way. Choose healthy foods for snacking. Please note, you should always check with your child’s pediatrician before beginning any food fasting with your children.
- A digital fast. Another great way to fast is by reducing some of the time and energy spent watching TV, playing video games, or using the computer or phone. Instead, encourage them to spend time praying, reading their Bible, or serving others. This could be as simple as not using the DVD player in the car or as advanced as complete abstinence for 21 days.
- Refer to this website as an additional resource for you and your kids during the 21 day fast, along with the fasting guide.
- The important thing is for the kids to recognize the value behind personal sacrifice. By setting aside special times to disconnect from some of the extra-curricular activities and treats they enjoy on a regular basis, they 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.
Remind your child each time they want “that thing” they’re fasting from, they should use their desire as a reminder to pray and spend time focusing on God and telling him how much they love him. Seek God, pray big prayers, pray for people to come to Christ, and ask God for breakthroughs for ourselves and others. We believe we will see God do some amazing things during these 21 days.