• Sam Hamstra

FASTING 101



21 DAYS OF PRAYER & FASTING :: JANUARY 3-23, 2021

Calling all Anthem people! We are asking that anyone who calls Anthem home joins us in a special time of prayer & fasting from January 3-23, 2021.


Prayer meetings will take place Monday - Friday from 6a to 7a & Saturdays from 9a to 10a in-person at Anthem Church at 6947 Hohman Avenue in Hammond as well as online at www.weareanthemchurch.com/live.


In preparation for special time together, I wanted to lay out some basics of fasting. Below you will find an overview of what biblical fasting is, different fasting options to choose from, and what you can expect after the fast is over.


WHAT IS FASTING?

Fasting may very well be one of the least practiced biblical disciplines. So what exactly is fasting?

FIRST, WHAT FASTING IS NOT:

  1. Fasting is not merely going without food for a period of time. That is called dieting…maybe even starving yourself.

  2. Fasting is not punishing yourself although it may feel like it for a few days. God does not want you to punish yourself.

  3. Fasting is not something that is just done by fanatics or super religious people. On that note, the practice of fasting is not limited in scripture to ministers or special occasions.

WHAT FASTING IS:


Simply stated,

Biblical fasting is refraining from food for a spiritual purpose.

Fasting is finding things that have gotten in the way of your connection with God & getting them out of the way. We don’t fast so we can get more of God; we fast so God can get more of us. The discipline of fasting releases the anointing, the favor, and the blessing of God in the life of a Christian.

FASTING IN SCRIPTURE:


There is great precedent for fasting all throughout scripture:


Matthew 4:14-15 NLT

One day the disciples of John the Baptist came to Jesus and asked him, “Why don’t your disciples fast[e] like we do and the Pharisees do?”15 Jesus replied, “Do wedding guests mourn while celebrating with the groom? Of course not. But someday the groom will be taken away from them, and then they will fast."


Acts 13:2-3 NLT

"One day as these men were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Appoint Barnabas and Saul for the special work to which I have called them.” 3 So after more fasting and prayer, the men laid their hands on them and sent them on their way."


2 Corinthians 11:27 NKJV

"in weariness and toil, in sleeplessness often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness..."


So what is fasting? Biblical fasting is refraining from food for a spiritual purpose.


WHAT KIND OF FAST SHOULD I DO?

Throughout scripture you see different kinds of fasts. The three main types of fasts found in Scripture are the absolute fast, the normal fast, and the partial fast.

ABSOLUTE FAST

An absolute fast is extreme and should be done only for very short periods of time. On an absolute fast, you take in nothing—no food, no water. Depending on your health, this fast should be attempted only with medical consultation and supervision.

NORMAL FAST

Then there is a “normal fast” where you typically go without food of any kind for a certain number of days. You do drink water, and plenty of it! Depending on the length of the normal fast, you may also choose to just do juices in order maintain your strength.

PARTIAL FAST

Then there is a partial fast which can and is interpreted many ways. The one way it cannot be interpreted is to include that time between about 11:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m.—when you’re sleeping! A partial fast usually involves giving up particular foods and drink for an extended period of time. The most commonly used example of a partial fast is found in the Book of Daniel where you see Daniel only ate fruits and veggies for 21 days. You can boil that down to kind of no meats & no sweets.

WHAT WE ARE ASKING

We are asking our church for this season to do something you have never done before.

For example, if you did the Daniel fast last year push yourself a little bit further. My first time I fasted I fasted pop & back then that was a big deal for me. If you have never fasted before maybe start with one meal a day. If you have fasted before, ask the Lord what you are supposed to do this year.

WHAT KIND OF RESULTS CAN I EXPECT?

Isaiah 58 is a whole chapter of the Bible talking about fasting. Here is what Isaiah 58:8-9 says about what you can expect when you fast God’s way.


Then your light shall break forth like the morning, Your healing shall spring forth speedily, And your righteousness shall go before you; The glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard. Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer; You shall cry, and He will say, ‘Here I am.’


God says 3 powerful things happen when you fast:

When you fast God says I will bring healing!

When you fast God says I bring holiness!

When you fast God says I will give you help!

A WORD OF ENCOURAGEMENT

I encourage you to keep a prayer journal and begin praying about what you are expecting God to do specifically in your life through these next 21 days. I’m believing that God is going to do what only God can do through this special time together!

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