Fasting and Prayer
What is this?
Beginning: Starting on Thursday February 6th we will begin 21 days of fasting and prayer. Pray and ask God what you need to fast from. Begin fasting at any time on the 6th.
During: We will also have a prayer gathering in the BCM prayer room every night at 8pm at BCM for the entire 21 days. The code to enter BCM from the side door upstairs is 1996.
Conclusion: We will conclude the fast Thursday February 27th at Refuge (7pm) with dinner at 6:15pm at the BCM building.
We want to experience God. We are coming together as a community to fast and pray for 21 days because we are asking God:
- That I would know the Holy Spirit, interact with the Spirit, and be aware of Him working in my life and others. The Scripture readings each day (below) will be about God’s Spirit.
- Pray for 5 college students in your circle of influence. People that need a breakthrough or people you long to follow Jesus.
- Determine a prayer goal, something specific. What’s the biggest thing on your heart? Ask for that. Faith for a specific request receives specific results.
1. Romans 15:13 2 Corinthians 3:17
2. John 14:16 1 Corinthians 6:19-20
3. John 14:26 Acts 2:3-4
4. Romans 5:5 Luke 11:13
5. 1 Corinthians 3:16 Matthew 28:19-20
6. Acts 1:8 Ephesians 4:30
7. Acts 2:38 Jude 1:20-21
8. 1 Corinthians 2:11 Mark 13:11
9. Acts 5:32 John 15:26
10. Acts 13:2 Acts 19:5-6
11. Luke 3:21-22 2 Peter 1:21
12. Matthew 1:20 John 1:33
13. 2 Corinthians 13:14 Genesis 1:1-2
14. Ezekiel 36:27 Psalm 143:10
15. Isaiah 61:1 Zechariah 4:6
16. Matthew 12:32 Titus 3:5
17. Acts 10:47 Psalm 139:7-8
18. Matthew 1:8 Luke 1:35
19. Luke 24:45-49 John 3:6-8
20. Romans 8:5-6 John 16:13-14
21. John 3:8 John 15:26
Guide to Fasting
What is Biblical fasting?
The Greek word for fasting is nesteia -- a compound of ne (a negative prefix) and esthio which means "to eat." So the basic root meaning of the word simply means "not to eat."
-Fasting connects us to God. In fasting we are seeking to realign our hearts’ affections with His. Fasting enables us to cleanse our hearts from every other rival. Fasting is saying to God, “I need you more than ______________.” and “You satisfy me more than ______________.”
-Different forms of fasting:
The purpose of fasting is to go without something you depend on in order to depend on God, pushing you to communicate with Him. Suggestions on fasting from food are: Fast from eating out, fast from choice foods like desserts and sweets, from coffee, one meal a day, two meals a day, fast all beverages and drink only water, fast from meats. You can also fast from things other than food. We realize that not everyone will be able to fast from food, so here are some other suggestions. Fast one hour of sleep every morning to pray, fast from television, Netflix, all social media, fast from your phone for large parts of the day, from driving your car, fast from shopping. Fast from a combination of things. Again, the goal is to go without in order to depend on God and stay in communication with Him. During your fasting time, spend that time with God. I.E. If you are fasting from TV, the time you typically watch TV, now spend that time praying.
Giving up something that we are accustomed to having all the time helps us focus in on what our purpose is. Let it be difficult! So you fast from whatever will keep you eyes on God the most.
-Have a clear target as your prayer focus. Without a vision (a clear, prayer goal), we lose our way. Your goal may be just to find God.
-Set aside time to pray, read the Word, and…listen. Then when you go about your day, pray about everything and anything.
-Expect to hear God’s voice in the Word, conviction, visions, and revelations. Daniel prepared himself to receive revelation through fasting (Dan. 10:1–2). There is a fasting reward (Mt. 6:18).
-Prepare for opposition. On the day of your fast you can bet that donuts will be at the office or in class. Someone will suddenly be inspired to cook your favorite meals. Press through. Many times you may feel more tension build at home. Satan tempted Jesus on the fast, and we must expect the same. Discouragement may come in like a flood, but recognize the source and take your stand on the victory of Christ.
-If you fail, don’t give in to condemnation. The “to fast or not to fast” dilemma can be a major tool of the enemy. Even though you may fail several times, God always extends grace. Just hit the “delete” button and continue on your fast.
-Feel free to rest a lot and continue to exercise with supervision.
-Breakthroughs often come after a fast, not during it. Do not listen to the lie that nothing is happening. It is our conviction that every fast done in faith will be rewarded.
What fasting is not.
Something you do for God to be pleased with you. He loves you whether you fast or not. It’s also not a weight loss program.
What are the guidelines
There are no rigid guidelines for fasting. In Daniel's fast of 21 days, we are told that he ate "no pleasant bread, nor flesh, nor wine" (Dan. 10:3). Apparently, Daniel did eat something, but he abstained from pleasant foods. God has not given specific instructions about fasting because it is to be a private matter between an individual and the Lord. While the Bible does not spell out every detail of fasting, it does give the following basic guidelines, as follows:
Abstinence from food and normal physical pleasures (Dan. 10:3; 1 Cor. 7:5).
Note again that Daniel did not abstain from food completely, but only from "pleasant bread." From this example, we see that there are many ways of observing a fast. One can abstain entirely from all foods and drinks (See Jesus in Luke 4), or abstain only from those that are more tasteful and desirable.
Fasting must not be for show: “When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show men they are fasting. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that it will not be obvious to men that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” Basically Jesus says to not make a show of fasting. Do it quietly and in secret with your brothers and sisters in Christ. Don’t make it obvious that you are fasting—be humble.
is a Biblical fast?
The Bible sets no specific time length for fasting. Daniel fasted 21 days. Esther and Mordecai fasted 3 days and nights. The Lord Jesus fasted 40 days in the wilderness. But frequently the Bible simply does not say how long people fasted. We are not told, for example, how long Ezra fasted before making the journey to
Promise of Prayer
Let our prayers reflect the true nature of God. Let’s pray for the impossible, the big things, the things we can’t do. We read and believe that God parts the waters, raises the dead, and draws the masses to revival. But when was the last time we asked God to do this in your life? In others? Just as Jesus invites Peter to get out of the boat and step out on the water (Matthew 14:22-36), He is inviting us to seek Him and believe with all our heart. Mark 11:22-24 states, “’Have faith in God’, Jesus answered. ‘I tell you the truth, if anyone says to this mountain, Go, throw yourself into the sea, and does not doubt in his heart but believes that what he says will happen, it will be done for him. Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.” As seen with the faith of the Centurion (Luke 7:1-10) and the sick woman (Luke 8:42-48), our faith combined with his grace produces supernatural God encounters.
Guide to Prayer
Biblical fasting is "not eating" with spiritual communication in mind. How do we know this? Because Biblical fasting always occurs together with prayer in the Bible - ALWAYS. You can pray without fasting, but you cannot fast (Biblically speaking) without praying. Biblical fasting is deliberately abstaining from food for a spiritual reason: communication and relationship with the Father.
Practice silence: Sit with God without saying anything. Just sit, believe in faith He is with you, and listen.
Abide: means to stay, to remain. There is a time for focused prayer. Though to remain with Jesus, we don’t regulate prayer to a specific time/place. Pray when you drive, walk to class, etc.
Friends: Initiate a time of pray with your friends. Go to the lake together or gather you roommates before bed. If this is new, then push through the awkwardness, and create a new way.
Private Prayer Guide:
(Adapted from DesiringGod.com)
The “closet prayer” offers a test of authenticity for our public praying. As Tim Keller comments on Matthew 6:5–6, “The infallible test of spiritual integrity, Jesus says, is your private prayer life. Many people will pray when they are required by cultural or social expectations, or perhaps by the anxiety caused by troubling circumstances. Those with a genuinely lived relationship with God as Father, however, will inwardly want to pray and therefore will pray even though nothing on the outside is pressing them to do so. They pursue it even during times of spiritual dryness, when there is no social or experiential payoff.” (Prayer, p.23)
Jesus said, “When you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.” (Matthew 6:5–6)
1. Create your closet.
Find a place to pray. It may simply be a clear desk, or someplace you can kneel. Many have found that beside the bed proves more fruitful than laying in bed. Maybe you can find an actual closet, with enough space to sit or kneel, and enough light to read and even write. Maybe it’s outside next to a lake, or on your back porch.
Turn off your cell phone. Ask God to take all distractions from you as you quiet your mind. Be intent on finding God.
2. Begin with the Bible and Holy Spirit.
There are 2 authorities: The Bible and the Holy Spirit. Because prayer is a conversation we didn’t start, but a response to God’s initiation, start with the Bible for about 5 minutes. Ask the Holy Spirit to make it come alive to you. Suggestion: Psalm 23, internalize the Father’s generosity and provision. Then transition, through meditation, into a focused mind on the presence of God.
3. Adore, confess, thank, ask.
ACTS: adoration, confession, thanksgiving, supplication (asking). First, adore God with praise, then confess your own sins, then give thanks for his grace and mercy, and finally supplicate — petition him, ask him — for requests for yourself, your friends far from God, your family, etc.
4. Divulge your desires.
This is open prayer where we pray our hearts, and what burdens and anxieties are on us that day and in that season of life. In private prayer, we are our most honest with God and with ourselves. Express your heart to your Father. He knows it already, and he wants to hear it from you. This is an unspeakable privilege. Communicating with our Father, through the power of the Holy Spirit, changes our hearts like nothing else.
“Come near to God and he will come near to you…Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.” James 4
"Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened." Matthew 7:7-8
"This is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests which we have asked from Him." 1 John 5:14-15
"Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you." Jeremiah 29:12
"If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you." John 15:7
Prayer room at BCM:
There is a prayer room at the BCM for individual & group prayer. Journal, sleep, write prayers on the walls, or sit and listen. To enter the building after hours, the entry code is 1996.