I. What is a Fast?
The Hebrew word for fasting means “to cover the mouth.” The Greek word for fasting means “not to eat.” Simply put, fasting means to abstain from food. Fasting involves turning away from foods that the body craves in order for our spirit to concentrate on God in worship, service, and praise.
Fasting has been a part of Christianity through the ages. It is a form of spiritual and scriptural sacrifice. Fasting does not change or impress God. Fasting changes us. Through fasting, Christians are empowered to discipline their daily relationship with the Lord.
The fast will consist of abstaining from food. In other words, you are fasting if you are not eating food. The primary method of fasting will be one (1) meal each day.
II. Why Should We Fast?
John Wesley, the original organizer of the Methodist Movement, fasted. In fact, he fasted twice a week. More importantly, Jesus Christ fasted! We fast as a Church Family because God’s blessings reside in our unity. This special time encourages us to be “like-minded, having the same love and being of one accord and of one mind” (Philippians 2:1-3).
III. Who Should Fast?
Prayerfully, each member will participate in the Church Family Spiritual Fast. Please consult your physician about your fasting if: (1) you are pregnant; (2) you are on prescribed medication; (3) you are under a doctor’s care; (4) you have experienced illness on a previous fast; (5) or, you do not normally eat anyway.
YOUR PHYSICIAN’S ORDERS TAKE PRECEDENCE OVER THIS FAST! FOLLOW YOUR PHYSICIAN’S ORDERS!!!
IV. Why Fast?
The benefits include:
1. Having a closer relationship with God, our Father, who created us;
2. Focusing you on Jesus, the Supply, and Supplier of your benefits and blessings;
3. Becoming more sensitive and responsive to the Holy Spirit;
4. Presenting the opportunity for you to spend more time waiting on the Lord;
5. Intensifying your prayer life;
6. Aiding in removing unbelief;
7. Breaking yokes of bondage;
8. Sharpening your intellect, skill, discernment, and understanding;
9. Aiding in clarity of spiritual hearing when guidance or a decision is needed from the Holy Spirit;
10. Hastening emotional, spiritual, financial, and physical healing for both individuals and the community;
11. Fostering personal discipline that will help to reduce impulsive fleshly urges that do not align with Scripture.
12. Demonstrating (to yourself) an act of scriptural obedience.
V. How to Fast
The primary method of fasting for the Church Family Spiritual Fast will be one (1) meal each day eaten after 6:00 p.m. Meals should be completed within 75 minutes from the moment you put food into your mouth.
Fasting Options include:
“Veterans” – Veterans are those members who have participated in the Church Family Spiritual Fast two or more times.
“First Round Draft Choices” – (First Rounders are those persons who have never fasted or have only participated in a Church Spiritual Fast one time.) First Rounders will eat two (2) meals per day, one at breakfast before 8:00 a.m. and one after 6:00 p.m. Be consistent; eat the breakfast meal at a routine hour. Complete your meals within 75 minutes from the moment you put food into your mouth. Please pray the daily prayer petition during the time of the skipped meal (lunch meal) and during your regular prayer time for the day.
“Special Teams” consist of persons who are under a doctor’s care, pregnant, or unable to miss a meal for health reasons. Special Teams should eat regularly scheduled meals. Participation in the Church Family Spiritual Fast will consist of abstaining from foods such as sweets, carbonated beverages, breads, meats, or any food that you feel “you must have at least a little of every day.”
It is important for the Church Family to be of one mind and heart. Please fast in accordance with the above-listed instructions. Fasts such as a “cleansing fast,” “grapefruit fast,” and others are not appropriate during this special time.
VI. Requirements for Fasting
1. No nibbling! If you feel hungry (that’s expected and normal), drink water and pray.
2. No sweets (including sweeteners), chips, candy, chewing gum, soft drinks, or any other junk food should be eaten at any time during the fast by Veterans, First Rounders, or Special Teams.
3. If you experience headaches, fatigue or weakness, faint feelings, nausea, fever, and/or extreme hunger, eat a piece of fruit, slice of bread, crackers, or vegetables (preferably raw). Consult your physician if these feelings persist.
4. Water only! Please restrict your liquid intake to water. No sodas, juices, fruit juices, lemon water, or flavored water. If you are fasting no food, please drink at least 64oz – 80oz of water each day. Raw vegetable juices are permitted if you are fasting no food.
5. If you experience “blackouts” while exerting energy, please eat a light, nutritionally-balanced meal.
6. If you are eating once a day, it is recommended that you do not exercise during the fast.
7. As I Corinthians 7:5 tells us, no love-making for married folk! (Single Christians are already abstaining.) Both spouses should agree to the fast as a sacrifice of consecration to the Lord. If one of the spouses is not in agreement with I Corinthians 7:5, then do not abstain. There must be agreement between marital partners.
8. Individual prayer times for each day are 6:00 a.m. and after 7:00 p.m. If your schedule does not allow for these hours, please adjust your schedule to include a morning prayer time and an evening prayer time.
9. If you “fall off” the fast, get back on. Do not allow the devil to condemn you. Ask your covenant partner for help.
VII. What Are We Praying About During the Fast?
You will receive a Church Family Power Guide that lists the prayer topic. The guide contains the prayers that we will pray during the fast and Fall Feasts. Please pray each prayer on the appropriate day as designated by the Prayer Topic Calendar.
VIII. How Can We Be a Blessing While Fasting?
In Isaiah 58:6-2, the Lord explains that an acceptable fast to Him includes feeding and clothing those in need. In addition to praying, you can bless others by using some of the money you would spend on eating out or buying groceries to provide food and clothing for others.
IX. Schedule of Fast
Sundown, Monday, October 3rd until sundown, Wednesday, October 12th
X. Recommended Readings
1. God’s Chosen Fast: A Spiritual and Practical Guide to Fasting by Arthur Wallis
2. Prayer and Fasting by Dr. Kingsley Fletcher
3. Celebrating Biblical Feasts in Your Home or Church by Martha Zimmerman
4. A Family Guide to the Biblical Holidays by Robin Sampson & Linda Pierce
5. The Messianic Church Arising by Dr. Robert D. Heidler
XI. You Can Fast in Jesus’ Name!
While fasting, keep your countenance positive. Matthew 6:16-18 tells us not to “advertise our fasting.” Keep your fasting a secret. Be sensible and do your best. God does not smile upon “super fasters.” Expect God to be AWESOME and to do AWESOME things through you and the Church Family.
God bless you!