how to begin your fast
How you start will often determine your outcomes. If we start sloppy, the product is often not what we want, so taking the time to prepare our minds and hearts prepares us for the best time of hearing from the Lord. Check out these 7 Steps to a successful time of Fasting and Prayer
“While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, ‘Set apart for Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” (Acts 13:2, New International Version)
STEP 1: SET YOUR OBJECTIVE
Why are you fasting? Is it for spiritual renewal, direction, growth, healing, resolution of problems, or unity with the church? Ask the Holy Spirit to guide you to His objectives for your time of prayer and fasting. Not only are we unifying the True Life body in this time of fasting and prayer, but we are praying for you that you would find personal growth as well.
The clearer your objective, the clearer your prayers will be. Through fasting and prayer, we humble ourselves before God so the Holy Spirit can work in us, our families, our church, our nation, and our world (2 Chronicles 7:14).
STEP 2: MAKE YOUR
Pray about what you should fast. Jesus implied that all of His followers should fast (Matthew 6:16-18; 9:14,15). For Him, it was a matter of when believers would fast, not if they would do it.
Before you fast, decide the following upfront:
How long you will fast—one meal, one day, a week, several weeks, forty days (Beginners should start slowly, building up to longer fasts). We are fasting as a church for 21 days, but you are free to do any part of the fast or extend it.
The type of fast God wants you to undertake (water only, water and juices; what kinds of juices you will drink and how often).
What physical or social activities will you restrict.
How much time each day you will devote to prayer and God's Word.
Making these commitments ahead of time will help you sustain your fast when physical temptations and life's pressures tempt you to abandon it.
STEP 3: PREPARE YOURSELF SPIRITUALLY
The very foundation of fasting and prayer is repentance. Unconfessed sin will hinder your prayer, so take time to prepare your heart for your fast in one or all of these ways.
Remember that God is your Father and He Loves you and is for you.
Confess every sin that the Holy Spirit calls to your remembrance and accept God's forgiveness (1 John 1.9).
Seek forgiveness from anyone you have offended, and forgive all who have hurt you (Mark 11.25; Luke 11.4; 17.3,4).
Make restitution as the Holy Spirit leads you.
Surrender your life fully to Jesus Christ as your Lord and Master; refuse to obey your worldly nature (Romans 12.1,2).
Consider the attributes of God, His love, sovereignty, power, wisdom, faithfulness, grace, compassion, and others (Psalm 48.9,10; 103.1-8, 11-13).
Begin your time of fasting and prayer with an expectant heart (Hebrews 11.6).
Do not underestimate spiritual opposition. Satan sometimes intensifies the natural battle between body and spirit (Galatians 5.16,17).
STEP 4: PREPARE YOURSELF PHYSICALLY
Talk to your doctor first, especially if you take prescription medication or have a chronic issue. Physical preparation makes the drastic change in your eating routine a little easier so that you can turn your full attention to the Lord in prayer.
WHILE YOU FAST
Your time of fasting and prayer has come. You are abstaining from all solid foods and have begun to seek the Lord. Here are some helpful suggestions to consider:
Medication should be withdrawn only with your physician's supervision.
Limit your activity.
Exercise only moderately. Walk one to three miles each day if convenient and comfortable.
Rest as much as your schedule will permit.
Prepare yourself for temporary mental discomforts, such as impatience, crankiness, and anxiety.
Expect some physical discomforts, especially on the second day. If you are going completely without food, you may have fleeting hunger pains, dizziness, or the "blahs." Withdrawal from caffeine and sugar may cause headaches. Physical annoyances may also include weakness, tiredness, or sleeplessness.
The first two or three days are usually the hardest. As you continue to fast, you will likely experience a sense of well-being both physically and spiritually. However, should you feel hunger pains, increase your liquid intake.
STEP 5: MAKE A SCHEDULE
Plan so that you are spending time with the Lord. Generally, the idea is to spend the time you would spend eating with Jesus.
Below is a possible schedule
• Begin your day in praise and worship.
• Read and meditate on God's Word, preferably on your knees.
• Invite the Holy Spirit to work in you to will and to do His good pleasure according to Philippians 2:13.
• Invite God to use you. Ask Him to show you how to influence your world, family, church, community, country, and beyond.
• Pray for His vision for your life and empowerment to do His will.
• Return to prayer and God's Word.
• Take a short prayer walk.
• Spend time in intercessory prayer for your community's and nation's leaders, for the world's unreached millions, for your family or special needs.
• Get alone for an unhurried time of "seeking His face."
• If others are fasting with you, meet together for prayer.
• Avoid television or any other distraction that may dampen your spiritual focus. When possible, begin and end each day on your knees with your spouse for a brief time of praise and thanksgiving to God.
Longer periods with our Lord in prayer and study of His Word are often better spent alone.
Create a meal plan ahead of time so that you won't be surprised and tempted to break your fast.
Do some research on the type of fast you are doing and prepare ahead of time so that you are prepared to focus on Jesus, not on what you are or aren't eating.
STEP 6: END YOUR FAST GRADUALLY
Begin eating gradually. Do not eat solid foods immediately after your fast. Suddenly reintroducing solid food to your stomach and digestive tract will likely have negative, even dangerous, consequences. Try several smaller meals or snacks each day. If you end your fast gradually, the beneficial physical and spiritual effects will continue good health.
STEP 7: EXPECT RESULTS
If you sincerely humble yourself before the Lord, repent, pray, and seek God's face; if you consistently spend time in His Word, you will experience a heightened awareness of His presence (John 14.21). The Lord will give you fresh, new spiritual insights. Your confidence and faith in God will be strengthened. You will feel mentally, spiritually, and physically refreshed. You will see answers to your prayers.
A single fast, however, is not a spiritual cure-all. Just as we need fresh infillings of the Holy Spirit daily, we also need new times of fasting before God.
If you fail to make it through your first fast, do not be discouraged. You may have tried to fast too long the first time out, or you may need to strengthen your understanding and resolve. As soon as possible, undertake another fast until you do succeed. God will honor you for your faithfulness.
17 Ways to Experience & Maintain Personal Revival
Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal any unconfessed sin in your life.
Seek forgiveness from all whom you have offended, and forgive all who have hurt you. Make restitution where God leads.
Examine your motives in every word and deed. Ask the Lord to search and cleanse your heart daily.
Ask the Holy Spirit to guard your walk against complacency and mediocrity.
Praise and give thanks to God continually in all ways on all days, regardless of your circumstances.
Refuse to obey your carnal (worldy) nature (Galatians 5:16,17).
Surrender your life to Jesus Christ as your Savior and Lord. Develop utter dependence on Him with total submission and humility.
Study the attributes of God.
Hunger and thirst after righteousness (Matthew 5:6).
Love God with all of your heart, soul, and mind (Matthew 22:37).
Appropriate the continual fullness and control of the Holy Spirit by faith on the basis of God’s command (Ephesians 5:18) and promise (1 John 5:14,15).
Read, study, meditate on, and memorize God’s holy, inspired, inerrant Word daily (Colossians 3:16).
Pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:17).
Fast and pray one 24-hour period each week. Prayerfully consider becoming one of the two million Christians who will fast for forty days before the end of the year 2000.
Seek to share Christ daily as a way of life.
Determine to live a holy, godly life of obedience and faith.
Start or join a home or church Bible study group that emphasizes revival and a holy life.
Six Vital Questions About Prayer
Q: What Is Prayer?
Simply put, prayer is communicating with God. When we pray, we express our devotion to our heavenly Father. We also invite Him to talk to us as we talk to Him.
Q: Who Can Pray?
Though God is at work drawing us to Himself long before we receive Jesus as Savior, relationship with Him doesn’t truly begin until the moment of salvation (John 14:6). Praying with a clean heart is also vital to successful prayer. We cannot expect God to answer our prayers if there is any unconfessed sin in our life or if we are harboring an unforgiving spirit (Psalm 66:18; Mark 11:25).
For God to answer our prayers, we must have a believing heart and ask according to His will (Matthew 9:29; 21:22; 1 John 5:14-15).
Q: Why Are We to Pray?
God’s Word commands us to pray (Luke 18:1; Acts 6:4; Mark 14:38; Philippians 4:6; Colossians 4:2; 1 Timothy 2:1-2).
We pray to have fellowship with God, to receive spiritual nurture and strength to live a victorious life. We also pray to maintain boldness for a vital witness for Christ.
Prayer releases God’s great power to change the course of nature, people and nations.
Q: To Whom Do We Pray?
We pray to the Father, in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, through the ministry of the Holy Spirit. When we pray to the Father, our prayers are validated by Jesus Christ. They are interpreted to God the Father by the Holy Spirit. (Romans 8:26-27,34).
Q: When Should We Pray?
God’s Word commands us to “Pray continually” (1 Thessalonians 5:17). We can be in prayer throughout the day, expressing and demonstrating our devotion to God as we go about our daily tasks.
God wants us to be in touch with Him constantly wherever we are. We can pray in the car, while washing the dishes or while walking down the street.
Q: What Should We Include in Our Prayers?
Although prayer cannot be reduced to a formula, certain basic elements should be included in our communication with God:
Together, the four elements form the ACTS acronym.
A - Adoration
To adore God is to worship and praise Him, to honor and exalt Him in our heart and mind and with our lips.
C - Confession
When our discipline of prayer begins with adoration, the Holy Spirit has opportunity to reveal any sin in our life that needs to be confessed.
T - Thanksgiving
Thanking God for who He is and for the benefits through belonging to Him, enables us to recognize that He controls all things — not just the blessings, but the problems and adversities as well. As we approach God with a thankful heart, He becomes our strength.
S - Supplication
Supplication includes petition for our own needs and intercession for others.
Pray that your inner person may be renewed, always sensitive to and empowered by the Holy Spirit. Pray for others — your spouse, your children, your parents, neighbors and friends, your nation and those in authority over you.
Pray for the salvation of souls, for a daily opportunity to introduce others to Christ and to the ministry of the Holy Spirit. Finally, pray for the fulfillment of the Great Commission.