21 Days of Prayer and Fasting 2022
January 3 - January 23
Why Should We Fast?
Fasting is an expression of faith. Fasting is the process of converting a hunger for food into a heart-hunger for God. Fasting is an exercise in emptiness to show us where our fullness can be found. Below are some guidelines to help you with preparing for a fast:
- Set your objectives: Through fasting and prayer, we humble ourselves before God so the Holy Spirit will stir our souls, awaken our churches, and heal our land according to (2 Chronicles 7:14).
- Make your commitment: Pray about the kind of fast you should undertake. Jesus implied that all His followers should fast (Matthew 6:16-18; 9:14, 15) For Him it was a matter of when believers would fast, not if they would do it. Before you fast, decide on which fast to take. The Hebrew word for fasting means, “to cover over the mouth.” The Greek word for fasting means, “to abstain from food.” So this gives us an indication of how to fast.
- A Normal Fast – This is going without food but drinking plenty of water for a set period.
- A Liquid Fast – This is a fast that only includes broth, soups and fruit juice for a set period
- A Partial Fast– This involves giving up foods like meat, bread and sugar. This fast consists of simple fruits and vegetables. This is what some people call a ‘Daniel fast’. Daniel asked not to eat the king’s rich, choice foods but requested simple vegetables and fruit to eat and water to drink (Daniel 1:8, 12-20). This fast could be three days, seven days or twenty-one days.
- Fasting meals – This involves skipping certain meals of the day to commit the time to prayer and reflection. If you have never fasted before, start with one, two, or at most a three-meal fast.
- Other fasts– This could be giving up television, technology, social media, certain hobbies that take up your time and attention.
- Prepare Spiritually: The very foundation of fasting and prayer is repentance. Unconfessed sin will hinder your prayers.
- Prepare Physically: Fasting requires reasonable precautions. Consult your doctor first, especially if you take prescription medication or have a chronic ailment or are pregnant.
- Prepare your body. Do not rush into the prayer. Eat smaller meals before starting a fast. Avoid high fat and sugary foods.
- Eat raw fruit and vegetables for two days before starting a fast.
- Avoid drugs, even natural herbal drugs and homeopathic remedies. Medication should be withdrawn only with your physician’s supervision.
- Exercise only moderately.
- Prepare yourself for temporary mental discomforts, such as impatience, crankiness, and anxiety.
- Break your fast gradually
*Gradually return to regular eating with several small snacks during the first few days. Advance to a few tablespoons of solid foods such as raw fruits and vegetables or a raw salad and baked potato. Seek additional resources if needed.
What Fasting Is Not
- Fasting is NOT a Crash Diet. The spiritual practice of fasting is not primarily about the health benefits, weight loss or detoxing. Although these may be beneficial, the primary focus of fasting is prayer and devotion to God.
- Fasting is NOT at the detriment of our health. Please get medical advice where and if necessary. If you’re planning an extended fast, or if you are expecting, nursing, diabetic, or have a physical condition that depends on a regular diet, talk to your doctor before starting your fast.
- Fasting is NOT just for fanatics. Jesus taught his disciples saying, “when you fast” not “IF” you fast (Matt 6:16-18). This is spiritual practice for any Christian.
- Fasting is NOT about earning God’s acceptance. We cannot use fasting as a way to impress God and earn His acceptance. We start with acceptance. We are made acceptable to God simply through the work of Jesus Christ, not our fasting skills.
- Fasting is NOT twisting God’s Arm. Fasting is not some strange spiritual bribe we pay that makes God give us what we want in prayer. Instead of fasting to try to get God to respond to our requests, we should fast to respond to God’s requests.
Is prayer a waste of time? After all, God knows what we need even before we ask. As you face your day with its challenges, disappointments, joys or trials consider these fourteen reasons to pray to God.
- Prayer is Talking with a God Who Cares “Give ear to my words, O LORD, consider my sighing. Listen to my cry for help, my King and my God, for to you I pray. In the morning, O LORD, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait in expectation” (Psalm 5:1-3).
- Prayer is Following the Example of Jesus “Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed” (Mark 1:35).
- Prayer Changes Things “I tell you the truth, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only can you do what was done to this fig tree, but also you can say to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and it will be done. If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer” (Matthew 21:21-22).
- Prayer Brings Peace “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7).
- Prayer Brings Physical Healing “Is any one of you sick? He should call the elders of the church to pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well” (James 5:14-15).
- Prayer Helps Us Resist Temptation “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak” (Matthew 26:41).
- Prayer Helps Us to Fight Evil “Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints” (Ephesians 6:17-18).
- Prayer Helps Us Deal with Those Who Mistreat Us “But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you” (Luke 6:27- 28).
- Prayer is God’s Pattern for Revival “If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land” (2 Chronicles 7:14).
***This list is not exhaustive. Pray often and you will discover more!
Expect the Unexpected
When we fast and pray, the idea is to create some space in our busy lives for what is spiritually most valuable to us. This is a great time for prayer and reflection. The Lord will give you fresh, new spiritual insights. Your confidence and faith in God will be strengthened. You will feel mentally, spiritually, and physically refreshed. You will see answers to your prayers. Our hope is that many people will be enriched in their faith through prayer and fasting.