The goal of fasting is to draw near to God. Biblical fasting always has to do with eliminating distractions for a spiritual purpose; it hits the reset button of our soul and renews us from the inside out. It also enables us to celebrate the good- ness and mercy of God and prepares our hearts for all the good things God desires to bring into our lives. Remember, your personal fast should present a level of challenge, but
it is very important to know your body, your options, and, most importantly, to seek God in prayer and follow what the Holy Spirit leads you to do.
TIMING OF A FAST
This year at NCC we are encouraging different kinds of fasting during a 21 day period in the month of January. This is part of 21 Days of Prayer and Fasting, a season of focused prayer as a church family. You may also choose to fast at other times during the year for your own spiritual develop- ment. It’s very typical to fast a single meal, a whole day, or three days or more. The timing of your fast is not as import- ant as the strength of your focus on God as you fast.
• Matthew 6:6-18
• Matthew 9:14-15
• Luke 18:9-14
• Acts 27:33-37
• Nehemiah 9:1-3
TYPES OF FASTS:
In this type of fast, you drink only liquids, typically water,light juices, coffee, or tea.
This type of fast involves removing certain elements from your diet. One example of a selective fast is the “Daniel Fast”, during which you remove meat, sweets, and breadfrom your diet and consume water and juice for fluids andfruits and vegetables for food. (Daniel 1:12)
This fast is sometimes called the “Jewish Fast” and involves abstaining from eating any type of food in the morning andafternoon. This can either correlate to specific times of theday, such as 6:00 am to 3:00 pm, or from sunup to sun- down.
This fast is a great option if you do not have much experi- ence fasting food, have health issues that prevent you from fasting food, or if you wish to refocus certain areas of your life that are out of balance. For example, you might choose to stop using social media or watching television for the du- ration of the fast and then carefully bring that element back into your life in healthy doses at the conclusion of the fast.
STRUGGLES DURING FASTS
During your fast, you may have struggles, discomforts, spiritual victories, and failures. In the morning you may feel like you are on top of the world, but by evening you may bewrestling with the flesh-sorely tempted to raid the refrigera- tor and counting how many more days are left in your fast. This is especially true if you are new at fasting. To counter- act temptations like these, take extra time with the Lord,remembering that you are choosing to sacrifice a certainthing, like food or entertainment, in order to spend that time getting closer to God. Step outside for some fresh air and talk to Him as you walk along. And in the process, always keep on sipping water or juice frequently during your waking hours.
If you ever feel like you are having serious, adverse reac- tions to fasting, or if you are experiencing severe abdominal pain and/or swelling, stop fasting and consult a doctor.
We want you to be safe during your fast! If you feel like you are unable to completely fast or selectively fast from foods, choose a soul fast. God loves your heart and will honor yourdesire to sacrifice to get closer to him!
“It isn’t the body’s posture but the heart’s attitude that counts when we pray.”