Season of Prayer and Fasting

Ezra 8:21-23

 …I proclaimed a fast, so that we might humble ourselves before our God and ask him for a safe journey for us and our children, with all our possessions….So we fasted and petitioned our God about this, and he answered our prayer. 
As a Church Family, we are embarking on a fast for a few reasons:
  • To be drawn closer to God as a church family, and that our ears, hearts, and minds are especially open to hear what He has to say to us as a church community.
  • To learn what His call is upon us as a church body and how we should impact the community. 
  • To hear, individually, how God has called and equipped us to serve as part of the Woodbridge Church community. 
  • For God’s will to be done in the selection of our new pastor.
  • To continue praying for God’s leading in the lives of our church members and families, community, country, and world
Determine the Length of Time for the Fast: 
Our church fast will have 2 options, a week-long fast, beginning and ending at sunset, Friday, July 9th-16th
or a 72-hour fast, sunset July 14th-16th.


The Medical Questions

It is highly recommended that you consult your physician before conducting a fast.  There are some people who should never fast:  expectant or nursing mothers, diabetics, and those on certain medications.  If you are one of these individuals, consider a fast from certain foods for the period of the fast, such as: fast foods, meats and/or sweets or a Daniel Fast (explained below). 

When fasting, we seek to glorify Him and to intensify our prayers.  Thus, the goal is to purposefully schedule extra time for prayer.  Some natural time slots would be the meal times that you are missing. You could dedicate the time you would have spent eating to prayer.  As your schedule permits, try to set aside some additional periods of time for prayer.  Some people will be able to dedicate the entire day to prayer.  Others may only be able to come up with two time slots.  


Schedule Extra Time for Prayer


Determine the Type   of Fast

There are several ways to conduct a fast:  regular fast (water only), partial fast (water and juice only), or Daniel fast (vegetables and liquids only).  It is recommended that you not chew gum or drink caffeinated beverages during the fast.  For those who cannot abstain from food due to medical reasons, you can abstain from “rich” foods (high calorie foods, meat, fast foods, and/or desserts), or eat only simple foods. To help keep you focused during the fast, you may also consider limiting or eliminating: television, telephone, Social Media, people (discipline of solitude), or speech (discipline of silence).

During extended fasts (3 days or more), it is important that you eat smaller meals with low-fat and low-sugar prior to beginning the fast and that you break the fast with juices and raw vegetables.  A 24-hour fast does not require quite the same gradations, but it makes sense to eat healthy foods/meals (low-fat, low-sugar) before and after your fast. 


Eat Healthy Before  and After


Begin with Confession, Dedication, and Prayer

Begin your fast with confession and repentance.  Pray Psalm 139:23-24.  Repent of specific sins in your life and identify with the sins of your church, city, and nation by repenting on their behalf (Nehemiah 1 and Daniel 9).  Claim 1 John 1:9 and 2 Chronicles 7:14. Ask God to fill you with His Holy Spirit (Ephesians 5:18; Luke 11:12-13).

Dedicate your fast to God’s glory and to your desire to love God with the same love and passion that the Trinity shares (John 17:26).  Also dedicate your fast to the prayer goals that you have determined.  Begin your first round of praying for those requests.  Write them down and carry them with you wherever you go during your fast, praying as often as you can for them.   Also spend significant time just praising and communing with God.  Our objective is to grow closer to God and become more intimate with Him.  Part of that intimacy is surrendering to God our heart’s desires.

In keeping with the goal of intimacy and communion with God, I would encourage you to keep a journal of your prayer and fasting time.  Writing letters to God is a great way to communicate with a close Friend.  Spend equal time just listening to God.  Journal the things that you believe you are hearing from Him.




Expect Some Side Effects

Different people will react differently to going 24 hours or more without food.  Some common side effects include headaches, bad breath, less energy, irritability, and hunger pains.  Some of these are actually signs that your body is doing some work.  Because your digestive system is resting, your body is able to work on purging itself of toxins (thus the bad breath).  Use the hunger pains as a reminder of your hunger and dependence upon God (Matthew 5:6).

As you break your fast, thank God for the communion you have had with Him.  Thank Him for the things He has taught you.  By faith, thank Him for the prayers He will answer through this time of prayer and fasting.

End with Thanksgiving

Adapted from “How to Conduct a 24-Hour Fast” by Jim Legget. Copyright 2012  Jim Legget.  
Jim Legget serves as Senior Pastor at Grace Fellowship UMC in Katy, TX.