Thursday, January 3, 2013

21 Days of Prayer & Fasting

Prayer & Fasting is a powerful way to begin a new year.  The purpose is to remove distractions and roadblocks that prevent one from seeing and hearing God more clearly.  A season of prayer & fasting at the beginning of the year intentionally says to God, "You're my hope, strength, and salvation.  I'm putting You first place in my life!  I'm surrendering this new year to You."  That worshipful posture with God causes Him to pour over our live's with blessing.

Life Church has taken that worshipful posture with God every January since 2008 and this year is no different.  Sunday, January 6th - 26th will be our annual 21 Days of Prayer and Fasting.  Each day during the fast I will be posting a blog that coincides with our daily SOAP Bible reading plan.  You'll be encouraged, directed, and inspired as you fast and pray.

There are many different fasts in scripture.
* During a time of prayer in a singular day. - Acts 13:2-3
* 1 Day for a time of mourning or to repent of sin. -  Judges 20:26, 1 Samuel 7:6
* 3 Days without food or water to seek direction and consecrate oneself to God.  - Esther 4:16
* 7 Days to mourn a loss. - 1 Samuel 31:13
* 10 Days eating vegetables and drinking water. - Daniel 1:12-15
* 21 Days eating vegetables and drinking water praying for breakthrough. - Daniel 10:12-14
* 40 Days (Jesus - Matthew 4:2, Moses - Exodus 34:28, Elijah - 1 Kings 19:8)  

Some fasted for short periods during a single day and others fasted long extended periods.  Some didn't eat or drink, while Daniel ate vegetables determining not to eat meat, drink wine, or eat "pleasant bread".  All in all, the removal of food was always replaced with prayer.  If you only fast for 21 days and don't pray you might lose some weight, but you won't move yourself closer to God.  [I strongly encourage you to consult your physician before doing anything extreme with your diet.]

I'm challenging everyone who considers LC their church to fast something.  Fast a specific meal each day like lunch.  Do the "Daniel Fast" of only fruits and vegetables.  Maybe do an all liquid fast.  Stephanie and I got a juicer this year to take our season a step further.  I also want to encourage you to cut back on other influences like TV, social media, music and movies that can be a distraction.

Finally, have a specific focus to the 21 Days of Prayer & Fasting.  Daniel was seeking a breakthrough.  Esther needed clear direction and God's confidence.  What are you believing God for?  Salvation for loved ones and friends?  Wisdom?  Direction?  A new career?  Physical, emotional, financial, relational, or spiritual healing?  Whatever it is, be specific as you fast and pray.  I'm believing God does something miraculous, not just during the 21 days, but during all of 2013!

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