Cornerstone/Grace Church Prayer & Fasting Guide
Jan. 15 to Feb. 5
Prayer connects us to God! John 15:7 CEV
Fasting disconnects us from the world! 1 John 2:15-17 ESV James 4:7-10 ESV
Prayer & Fasting Guide
Family and friends:
There is no better way to transform your spiritual life than starting the New Year in prayer and fasting. Each year Grace Church- Southern Pines dedicates 21 days to seeking God’s direction for our Church and personal lives. Cornerstone Community Church will join them in 2023.
The following guide and suggestions are to help you have a successful time of prayer and fasting. We provide you with some prayer points to help focus this time of prayer (see gracechurchsp.org/events page). We are replacing time spent on meals and meal prep with time spent with God in prayer and His word. Each year the Grace Church staff do their daily devotions from the One Year Bible reading plan. This builds unity and helps us recognize how God is speaking to us. We encourage you and your family to join us.
What is fasting?
There are different types of fasts to consider, Since this is an extended fast, we recommend following some simple instructions for the 21 days. Before Jesus began His public ministry He spent 40 Days in prayer and fasting. This prepared Him to accomplish the Father’s will for His life (Read Luke 4:1-14). Jesus explained the need for His disciples to pray and fast. (Read Mark 2:18-22; Matthew 17:14-21).
The prophet Daniel states: “In those days I, Daniel, was mourning three full weeks. I ate no pleasant food, no meat or wine came into my mouth, nor did I anoint myself at all, till three whole weeks were fulfilled.” (Daniel 10:2, 3) The Daniel Fast is a partial fast and is one option. We are doing an extended fast, 21 days, which means we eliminate some common things from our daily diet, but will have other generous options available. The Daniel Fast focuses on eating fruits and vegetables that are pure and simple. If you select this type of fast, a list of foods to eat and foods to avoid can be found at:
www.daniel-fast.com . See the resource guide at gracechurchsp.org/fast for help deciding on your specific fast.
What if I have a medical condition?
*Consult with your doctor first, before beginning a fast, if you have any medical conditions. If you have any condition which would prohibit you from fasting foods, there are other options.
A Message to Families
About Prayer and Fasting Together…
Your children may want to participate in the upcoming 21 Day Prayer and Fasting emphasis. They may wonder if this is something that they can do along with their family, and the answer is yes! As a family, sit down together and explain to your children that fasting will help them grow stronger and more aware of Jesus. When they take special time out to pray to Jesus and at the same time, take special effort to not enjoy a favorite food/snack item or activity during a certain period of time, they are fasting. Start small and simple with baby steps.
Decide on the goal and schedule for your fasting and prayer. There will be times when children will find it hard to fast and may even want to change their minds in the middle of the fast; however, as parents, gently encourage them and help them keep the commitment they made to the Lord and they will see how He answers their prayers.
How to fast…
These are just suggestions. You and/or your family should prayerfully consider how and what you will fast and then be committed to staying the course.
Focus: Start with a clear, personal goal in addition to our Church wide goals. 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 your Bible. Cultivate a new and fresh closeness with the Lord. Your mental, and spiritual focus should grow more Christ centered during the fast.
Fasting in the Bible primarily involved abstaining from foods for a brief time period. Since this is an extended fast, we encourage you to consider a Daniel Fast or an abbreviated partial fast. For example here are some options but, you need to pray about which one is right for you:
- Skip one meal a day for the entire 21 days.
- Do a partial-fast skipping an additional meal each day for 3 days, (M, T, W) then start over the next week. It depends on you, your spiritual goals and what your body can handle.
- Juice Fasts – Drinking natural fruit juice will decrease your hunger pains and give you some natural sugar energy. The taste and lift will motivate and strengthen you to continue.
- Other options: Choose something from your daily routine to fast: i.e. specific foods or beverages, like sweets, television, other technology like video games, recreational computer activities, etc., and fast those things for the next 21 days.
Remember, the details are not as important as the spirit in which you participate. Fasting is about humbling yourself before God (Psalm 69:10, “When I wept and humbled myself with fasting…”). There is an aspect of self-denial, becoming more dependent on God by spending time in prayer and reading your Bible, that we must give ourselves to during the fast.
Journaling is a great way to reflect and process what God is speaking to you during this time. Along with recording your prayer focus going into the fast, also record any new things God is placing on your heart as you are spending time in prayer and reading your Bible (We encourage everyone to DAILY participate in the One Year Bible Reading Plan). http://oneyearbibleonline.com
- Is there a scripture that stands out, and why?
- Is there anyone God has placed on your heart? Why? What should I do about it?
- Are there any areas/relationships in my life that God is convicting me to change?
- How is God moving in my life? What is He revealing to me in answer to my prayers?
- This is a great time to use bible reading skill questions: Ask who, what, why and how does it apply to
me, as you read the Bible and journal your thoughts.
One of the most important aspects of fasting is breaking it properly and safely. Your body needs time to adjust as you re-introduce foods you had abstained from. Start with small portions, eating every few hours and gradually increasing the amount every day. Your digestive system has gone without some food and you may experience adverse reactions like nausea (stomachache) if you immediately eat a full meal after breaking your fast. (See Resources for more information)
Join us every Thursday at 7pm in the sanctuary for Intercessory Prayer.
7 Basic Steps to Successful Fasting & Prayer
How to Turn Parenting into Prayer
7 Basic Steps to Successful Fasting and Prayer by Bill Bright
Shaping History Through Prayer & Fasting, by Derek Prince, Whitaker House, 2018
The Daniel Plan, Rick Warren, Daniel Amen, Mark Hyman, Zondervan, Grand Rapids, MI, 2013
Fasting: Opening the Door to a Deeper, More Intimate, More Powerful Relationship with God, Jentzen Franklin, Charisma House, 2004
The Beginners Guide to Fasting, Elmer Towns, Bethany House Publishers, Bloomington, MN, 2001
God’s Chosen Fast, A Spiritual and Practical Guide to Fasting, Arthur Willis. CLC Publicaitons 2011