This week, Pastor Chris shared his heart for our 2021 Renewal Fast and expressed what God’s word says about fasting. Fasting is a choice to lay something aside in order to seek God’s face and His will. It is an invitation to walk with God and fully rely on Him. Fasting helps us tune into God’s will for our lives and find sharpening and clarity for areas of breakthrough. Pastor Chris shared how the rewards of fasting far outweigh the momentary, trivial discomfort of it.
Luke 5:33–35 (ESV)
33 And they said to him, “The disciples of John fast often and offer prayers, and so do the disciples of the Pharisees, but yours eat and drink.” 34 And Jesus said to them, “Can you make wedding guests fast while the bridegroom is with them? 35 The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast in those days.”
Matthew 6:17–18 (ESV)
17 But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, 18 that your fasting may not be seen by others but by your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.
- Fasting is a voluntary absence from food for the purpose of dedicating yourself to prayer. – It is laying aside the allure of food in order to pray. It is saying no to a lesser thing in order to say yes to a greater thing.Chris coins it as “killing king stomach”.
- Fasting changes us, not God. – God needs more of our attention and affection, not the other way around. We already have all we need from God for life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3).
- Fasting is an invitation and grace. – Fasting is voluntary.Ask God daily for fresh grace to see God rightly.
- Purposes in Fasting
- Pray Isaiah 58 – 1) to loose the bonds of wickedness 2) to undo heavy burdens 3) to help the oppressed go free 4) to give bread to the hungry 5) to receive the light of revelation in God’s Word 6) for emotional and physical health and 7) for righteousness to break forth.
- When facing impossible circumstances.
Nehemiah 1:4 (ESV)
4 As soon as I heard these words I sat down and wept and mourned for days, and I continued fasting and praying before the God of heaven.
- To change the destiny of a people, a city, a nation (Nehemiah 9:1).
- To hear from God fresh and new and to seek His direction (Ezra 8:21).
- To receive God’s aid in battle and to defeat the enemy (2 Chronicles 20:3).
- For grace to understand (Daniel 10:12-14)
- To get hold of God to receive specific answer to prayer (Acts 10:30).
- To seek the mind of God (Acts 13:2).
- To prepare for ministering in the power and grace of God (Matthew 4:2).
- To obtain a greater degree of God’s authority and power.
Matthew 17:20–21 (NKJV)
20 So Jesus said to them, “Because of your unbelief; for assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you. 21 However, this kind 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.
Proverbs 20:27 (ESV)
27 The spirit of man is the lamp of the Lord, searching all his innermost parts.
- To break the strongholds of the physical appetites.
- Benefits of fasting and prayer
- Fasting deepens humility and dependence on God.
Romans 12:1 (ESV)
1 I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.
- It can deepen the hunger for God to work in our lives and ministries.
- Fasting intensifies prayer concentration.
- Solidifies determination.
- Feeds your faith.
- Sensitizes and opens you up more to the Holy Spirit’s working in your life.
- Fires earnestness and zeal – honest sincerity in your walk with God.
- Heightened awareness of God. Start to hear God more clearly.
- Gain a new perspective and a renewed reliance upon God.
- Why should you fast?
- If you feel like your dream is in a holding pattern, try fasting.
- If you feel like your marriage is maintaining the status quo, try fasting.
- If your heart is breaking for your kids, try fasting.
- If you need to make a big decision, try fasting.
- If you need a breakthrough, try fasting.
- If you’re chained to a hurt, habit or hang up, try fasting.
- Fasting is a short season that brings long-term results. – It sharpens and enables us to face the challenges of life in His strength.
- Fasting is a time of spirit-led self-examination. – Invite the Holy Spirit into your fast and to search you and know you (Psalm 139:23-24).
Daniel 9:20 (ESV)
20 While I was speaking and praying, confessing my sin and the sin of my people Israel, and presenting my plea before the Lord my God for the holy hill of my God,
Acts 3:19–20 (ESV)
19Repent therefore, and turn back, that your sins may be blotted out, 20 that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that he may send the Christ appointed for you, Jesus,
Daniel 9:3 (ESV)
3 Then I turned my face to the Lord God, seeking him by prayer and pleas for mercy with fasting and sackcloth and ashes.
Daniel 10:12 (ESV)
12 Then he said to me, “Fear not, Daniel, for from the first day that you set your heart to understand and humbled yourself before your God, your words have been heard, and I have come because of your words.
Fasting Expectations – Don’t allow failure or religion to stop you from fasting. If you break your fast, jump back on the horse and recommit yourself!
Practical details for upcoming 2021 Renewal Fast (January 4-24th)
There are four different types of fast worth noting.
- Full fast – fasting from full meals, drinking only liquids
- Daniel fast – fasting from meats, sweets, and treats (no caffeine, sugar, processed foods)
- Partial fast – fasting from one meal per day, fasting one day per week
- Media fast – fasting from social media, the news, television
- What is fasting? How is it different from a new year’s resolution or a diet?
- Why do you think the Bible says “when” you fast? What is God communicating by saying “when” rather than “if”?
- Are you on the fence about fasting? If so, share any reservations you have with the group.
- Choose a fast to follow during the 21 day fast. Write down what you plan to fast from and what you’re seeking from the Lord in this season.
- Read through the 9 benefits of fasting from point 5. Note one that you want to focus on during this fast.
- Read Isaiah 58 this week. Write down one purpose from these verses that you will seek the Lord on during this fast.