At SJA, we fast corporately at the beginning of each new year. This year's fast began on January 8th, and will continue through February 1st. During this time, we are seeking the Lord's will, petitioning for His intercession in our lives and drawing closer to Him. How you fast is up to you, and we've included some information below on how to start, what to fast, and what to expect.

FASTING

According to the Bible, there are three duties of every Christian: give, pray, and fast. Biblical fasting takes a lot of discipline and strength - strength which you can only receive from God. Your private discipline will bring you rewards in Heaven, according to Matthew 6:18.

When you give God your first through fasting, prayer and giving at the beginning of the year, you set the course for the entire year. This is the Old Testament principle of First Fruits.

Why Should I Fast?

  1. Are you in need of healing or a miracle?
  2. Do you need the tender touch of God in your life?
  3. Is there a dream inside you that only He can make possible?
  4. Are you in need of a fresh encounter?
  5. Do you desire a deeper, more intimate and powerful relationship with the Lord?
  6. Are you ready to have heightened sensitivity to the desires of God?
  7. Do you need to break away from bondages that have been holding you hostage?
  8. Is there a friend or loved one that needs salvation?
  9. Do you desire to know God's will for your life?

Do any of those reasons speak to you and why? Fasting lays the ground work for effective prayer and breakthrough in your life, why wouldn’t you want to?

TYPES OF FASTS

Full Fast - Drink only liquids (you establish the number of days).
The Daniel Fast - Eat no meat, no sweets and no bread. Drink water and juice. Eat fruits and vegetables.
3-Day Fast - This fast can be a Full Fast, Daniel Fast or give up at least one item of food.
Partial Fast - A partial fast is from 6:00 am to 6:00 pm or from sunup to sundown. You can select from three types of fasting: a Full Fast, Daniel Fast or give up at least one item of food.
Non-Food Fast - Giving up a non-food item, such as TV/Netflix, social media, video games, etc.

HOW TO BEGIN

Start with a clear goal. Be specific. Why are you fasting? Do you need direction, healing, restoration of marriage or family issues? Are you facing financial difficulties? Ask the Holy Spirit for guidance. Pray daily and read the Bible.

Preparing Spiritually

Confess your sins to God. Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal areas of weakness. Forgive all who have offended you and ask forgiveness from those you may have offended (Mark 11:25; Luke 11:4; 17:3-4). Surrender your life fully to Jesus Christ and reject the worldly desires that try to hinder you (Romans 12:1-2).

Preparing Your Family

Begin talking about the fast now and how the family can be involved. Preparation is key. Children should not fast food completely but should be encouraged to give up something for the period of the fast (e.g., sweets, music, TV, texting). Also consider setting goals with your family and posting them in a public place, as this creates momentum.

Deciding What to Fast

The type of fasting you choose is up to you and how the Lord is directing. You could go on a full fast in which you only drink liquids, or you may desire to fast like Daniel, who abstained from sweets and meats, and the only liquid he drank was water. Remember to replace that time with prayer and Bible study.

Deciding How Long

You may fast as long as you like. Most can easily fast from one to three days, but you may feel the grace to go longer, even as much as 21 to 40 days. Use wisdom and pray for guidance. Beginners are advised to start slow.

WHAT TO EXPECT

When you fast, your body detoxifies, eliminating toxins from your system. This can cause mild discomfort such as headaches and irritability during withdrawal from caffeine and sugars. And naturally, you will have hunger pains. Limit your activity and exercise moderately. Take time to rest. Fasting brings about miraculous results. You are following Jesus's example when you fast. Spend time listening to praise and worship music. Pray as often as you can throughout the day. Get away from the normal distractions as much as possible and keep your heart and mind set on seeking God's face.

ENCOURAGE ANOTHER

Fasting is a challenge, one that some are reluctant to begin because they perceive it to be too difficult. Scripturally speaking, Ecclesiastes 4:12 speaks to the power of accountability and encouragement. Please consider partnering with two others in fasting and prayer, sharing requests and needs in your journey. Confidentiality must be honored in this season of drawing close to the Lord, so participate with those that will hold your information faithfully. Coming together with others is a powerful event as it expands our perspective on God’s Kingdom work.

HOW TO END

Don't overeat when the time comes to end your fast. Begin eating solid food gradually; eat small portions or snacks.

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