2024 Abide Fasting Packet

When technology is no longer functioning the way it is supposed to, tech wizards will ask you one question every time, “When was the last time you restarted your device?” This is a timely question we can apply to our own lives. When was the last time you restarted or reset your life? We all need built-in time in our lives to reset, refocus our vision, and renew our priorities.

The word abide means to “dwell, remain, or be present.” As a young man, Joshua knew what it was to abide when he would not depart from the tent of God’s presence (Exodus 33:11). Jesus tells us that those who learn to abide will bear great fruit and apart from Him we can do nothing (John 15:5). We all want to bear great fruit so we must reset our lives to abide in Jesus.

This year, as in the past, we are calling the church to devote the first fruits of our year to the Lord through fasting and prayer. Over a 20-day period, January 8th-28th, we will be voluntarily abstaining from food for the purpose of dedicating ourselves to prayer and seeking God. Going without food or entertainment for times of devotion and prayer produces great fruit in our lives.

Life’s daily routines and the hectic pace tend to wear us down…especially when we try to live by our own strength. Little by little, we drift in our relationship with God. We don’t mean to. We don’t intend to. Life just happens and we slowly lose our closeness to God. Without that closeness, we become ineffective for the purposes He has for us.

Fasting can recharge our spiritual battery and renew our passion for God!
Although fasting lasts for a short season, it brings long-term results. It sharpens and enables us to face the challenges of life in His strength. Through fasting, you can experience spiritual renewal and direction for your life…restoration of relationships…healing…release from bondage…and so much more!

A fast is a voluntary absence from food to dedicate yourself to prayer. Going without food without including prayer is not a Biblical fast.

Why Fast?
• Fast to demonstrate humility before God and seek His face.
• Fast to repent from sin.
• Fast to empty yourself of things that compromise your life in Christ.
• Fast for spiritual breakthrough and freedom.
• Fast to see our region experience continual revival.

How do I begin? What can I do to prepare for my fast?
Before beginning a fast, think it through. Write down a plan so that you do not waiver or start justifying your appetite during the fast. Make a verbal commitment to the Lord with a committed heart.

Benefits of Fasting
• Deepens humility
• Increases hunger for God to work in our lives and ministries
• Intensifies prayer concentration
• Solidifies determination
• Feeds your faith
• Sensitizes and opens you up more to the Holy Spirit’s work in your life
• Fires earnestness, zeal, and honest sincerity in your walk with God

Four Different Types of Fasts
• Full Fast: abstain from food for a day, two, or five.
• Daniel Fast: abstain from sweets, meats, and treats.
• Partial Fast: fast from certain meals throughout the week (ex: Benedict fast).
• Media Fast: lay aside forms of social media or entertainment to seek God.

Fasting That God Does Not Honor
• Separating fasting from repentance and devotion to God. See Isaiah 58.
• Using fasting to cover other sinful motives or practices. See Isaiah 58:41.
• Fasting for appearance rather than as a genuine act of worship to God (like the Pharisees).

Purposes For Fasting

When facing impossible circumstances. 

Nehemiah 1:4 “So it was when I heard these words that I sat down and wept and mourned for many days; I was fasting and praying before the God of Heaven.”

To change the destiny of a people, a city, a nation. 

Nehemiah 9:1 “Now on the 24th day of this month the children of Israel were assembled with fasting in sackcloth, and with dust on their heads.” 

See 1 Samuel 7:6, Jonah 3:5.

To hear from God afresh and to seek His direction. 

Ezra 8:21 “Then I proclaimed a fast there at the river of Ahava, that we might humble ourselves before our God, to seek from Him the right way for us and our little ones and all our possessions.”

To receive God’s aid in battle and to defeat the enemy.

2 Chronicles 20:3 “And Jehoshaphat feared and set himself to seek the Lord and proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah.”
See Esther 4:16.

To get hold of God to receive specific answer to prayer.
Acts 10:30 “So Cornelius said, Four days ago I was fasting until this hour; and a the ninth hour I prayed in my house, and behold a man stood before me in bright clothing, and said, “Cornelius your prayer has been heard, and your alms are remembered in the sight of God.”
See Hebrews 5:7.

To seek the mind of God.
Acts 13:2 “As they ministered to the Lord and fasted, the Holy Spirit said, “Now separate to Me Barnabus and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” Then having fasted and prayed and laid hands on them, they sent them away.”
See Acts 14:23.

To prepare for ministering in the power and grace of God. 

Matthew 4:2 “Jesus’ ministry in the power of the Holy Spirit commenced after His season of fasting.”

To obtain a greater degree of God’s authority and power.
Matthew 17:21 “However this one does not go out except by prayer and fasting.” 

To afflict the soul, dig down, pull out anything in our mind, will, and emotion that would hinder the life and power of God fully expressed in our lives.

See Leviticus 16:29, Psalms 35:13, Proverbs 20:27, Hebrews 4:12.

To break the strongholds of the physical appetites.

That your physical appetites would not rule your body, but that your spirit would rule your physical appetites.

For personal renewal and sensitivity to receive more of God.

Revival followed the great British evangelist Gypsy Smith everywhere he went. When asked by a group of revival seekers, he shared with them how they could make a difference with their lives in the same way he had:

“Go home. Lock yourself in your room. Kneel in the middle of the floor, and with a piece of chalk, draw a circle around yourself. There, on your knees, pray fervently and brokenly that God would start a revival within that chalk circle.”

For salvation for family, friends, co-workers, and community to have a saving relationship with Jesus.
1 Timothy 2:3–4 (ESV) “This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.”

Tips on Fasting and Prayer

Physical considerations
• Be sure you are in good health or consult your doctor prior to fasting.
• If you are taking medication, be careful and wise in your fasting.
• Begin slowly. If you have never fasted, start with a half day, then progress to one day a week, etc.
• It is recommended that you continue to drink liquids during your fast, including water and juices.
• Professional supervision should be given to
o Those who are thin or emaciated
o Those prone to eating disorders
o Those who suffer weakness or anemia
o Women who are pregnant or nursing
o Those with ulcers, cancer, blood disease, or chronic problems with a major organ
o Those who take insulin for diabetes or suffer any other blood sugar problem

Spiritual Considerations:
• Arrange for a special extended time with God to seek His face.
• Read His Word and pray during what would normally be mealtimes.
• Read a book that will stimulate you spiritually in an area, direction, or burden that you sense God might be directing you in.
• Be aware that Satan will try to dishearten, discourage, and distract you. If you sense this happening, immediately go to God in prayer against Satanic activity in this regard. Satan knows that this can be a powerful time between you and God, so he will bring anything into your life to compromise your time and relationship with Him.
• Make time for your worship to God with praise music, readings, and prayer.
• Specifically bring your personal needs before the Lord, intercede for your loved ones, your friends, your church, spiritual leaders, your community, city, and specific issues in your life and church in carrying out the mission of Jesus Christ. Use or create a prayer list.
• Make sure you take time to listen to God. Keep a pad of paper and a pen handy to record what He speaks to you about.
• Spend time with others sharing about what God is doing in your life, share prayer burdens, and celebrate answers to prayer.
• Confess and repent of your sins as God brings them to your attention. Receive God’s grace and forgiveness and make any commitments necessary in repentance or restitution.

The 4-R’s and Supporting Scripture

Repent of the sin.

Call it what it is. It may be a heart attitude, like bitterness, rebellion, or pride. It could be a behavior, like alcohol abuse, immorality, or stealing. It could even be a feeling, like rejection, inferiority, or shame.
Note: in the instance of abuse or wounding, the initial sin is not yours. Your sin a response anger, fear, unforgiveness, bitterness, shame, etc. Recognize this sin and confess it!
Acts 3:19 (NIV) “Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord.”

Receive God’s forgiveness and cleansing.

Ask Him to fill you anew with His Holy Spirit to strengthen you in your thoughts, behavior, and emotions. 

Psalm 103:8-12 (NIV) “The LORD is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love. He will not always accuse, nor will He harbor His anger forever; He does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is His love for those who fear Him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us.”

1 John 1:9 (NIV) “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”

Rebuke the enemy’s hold on you because of this sin.

Take your rightful place of authority through the power of Jesus’ death and resurrection and renounce any comfort or “payoff” received from this sin. 

Matthew 4:10 (NIV) “Jesus said to him, ‘Away from me, Satan!’”

James 4:7 (NIV) “Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”

Replace all lies with God’s TRUTH!

Galatians 2:20 (NIV) “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”

Fasting Q&A

Can I have salt, pepper, seasonings, milk, whole grains, soy products, eggs, protein drinks, vitamins, or butter?
Fasting is a private discipline, not something that is meant to be unattainable. Decide what is feasible for you to do and make the effort. If you are on a full fast and just cannot consume broth without salt and pepper, that’s OK. Do what you can and put it in God’s hands.

What can children fast?
If they want to participate in fasting or if you want to have a family fast, consider giving up desserts, soft drinks, or an item of food that would be a sacrifice to each of you. If they want to do without broccoli and they don’t even like broccoli, giving it up wouldn’t be a sacrifice for them. Lead by example and they will understand. In addition to giving up an item of food, you could also give up television as a family and spend that time reading and discussing Bible studies.

What if I have a medical condition?
Consult your doctor before starting any fast and decide together what is possible. If your health condition prohibits you from fasting food, try fasting something else that would be a sacrifice for you and replace that time concentrating on prayer and Bible study.

What if I start and can’t finish out my fast… have I fasted for nothing?
Seeking God through prayer and fasting is never a waste of time. When you make the effort, God takes notice. Just determine within your heart that you will make an even better effort next time or try finishing up with a partial fast.

I forgot and ate something; do I need to start again?
No, think of fasting as a marathon rather than a sprint. Don’t give up! If you fall down, get up and keep trying. Conquering “king stomach” is difficult, but you’ll make it.

What type of fast are you going on? Do I have to do the same fast?
Fasting is a private and personal discipline. Consider the types of fasts and select one that works for you. You don’t have to go on the same type of fast as someone else to see God’s hand at work.

Do I have to fast food? What about TV, Sports, etc.?
Fasting food is the traditional type of fast outlined in Scripture. However, if you are unable to fast food for health reasons, feel free to give up something else that might have control in your life or prevent you from experiencing spiritual growth. Replace that time with prayer and study of God’s Word.

Do I continue to exercise while fasting?
Moderate exercise is good, but it is best to always consult a doctor about fasting and exercise. If you are on a complete fast, you may not have the energy needed to maintain a high level of exercise.

What if I have a manual labor job?
If you have a job that requires you to expend a lot of physical energy, you may want to consider a partial fast that allows you to receive enough nutrition to perform your job.

City Central Prayer Room Hours

Monday – Thursday: noon prayer (no MLK day)
Wednesday nights: 6:30 PM
All Day Prayer: Saturday Jan 27th, 8 AM to 8 PM

Join us to pray in our Prayer Room at City Central Church in Tacoma, WA.