21 Day Fast Guide (Short)

21-DAY PRAYER & FASTING GUIDE

Fasting is voluntarily going without food-or some other regularly enjoyed gift from God-for spiritual purposes. In short, we fast from food so we can feast on God . Fasting is not our attempt to manipulate God to do what we want Him to do. Fasting does not bring God into alignment with our desires but brings our desires into alignment with God's.

Why are we embarking on a 21-day corporate fast? Two words: Dependency and Desire.

We are fasting because we are aware of our utter dependency upon God. We can do nothing without God. We cannot endure trials, be of one heart and mind, fight sin, grow in prayer, love our neighbors, or reach our world without God. We need God like we need food. And we don't just need Him; we desire God. We know God is more satisfying than food or anything else this world can offer.

We long to be closer to Him, to experience greater degrees of His manifest presence, to know Him more intimately. It is the combination of dependency and desire that moves us to fast. During this fast we are seeking the active presence of God to bless our church, resulting in greater intimacy, purity, unity, and power in our witness.

During the 21 days between January 2 - 22, 2024, we will engage corporately in a time of fasting and prayer. We are asking everyone to participate in some way.

One great model after the fast of the prophet Daniel. In this type of fast you remove meat, sweets, and bread from your diet, consuming water and juice for fluids and fruits and vegetables for food. If you are unable to participate in the Daniel Fast, we still encourage you to participate in fasting with us during these 21 days through a partial fast or distraction fast.

DANIEL FAST

Foods to Eat:

Fruits of any kind

Nuts: Almonds, cashews, macadamia nuts, peanuts, pecans, pine nuts, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds

Whole Grains: barley, brown rice, oats, millet, whole wheat, quinoa

(must be made without yeast or sugar)

Legumes: black beans, black eyed peas, cannellini beans, garbanzo beans, kidney beans, lentils, pinto beans, split peas

Vegetables of any kind

Beverages: water, V8, juiced vegetables and fruit

Other: spices, salt, pepper, seasonings, soy products, tofu

Foods to Avoid

Meat: beef, fish, pork, poultry, etc

Dairy Products: butter, cheese, cream, eggs, milk

Sweeteners: agave nectar, artificial sweeteners, cane juice, honey, molasses, raw sugar, granulated sugar, brown sugar, sweet stuff in general

Leavened Bread: baked goods, Ezekiel bread, any bread with yeast

Deep Fried Foods: chips, french fries, potato chips, etc.

Solid Fats: lard, margarine, shortening

Beverages: alcohol, caffeine, carbonated drinks, coffee, energy drinks, green tea, herbal tea, sweet tea

PARTIAL FAST

You can fast from one particular meal during the day, setting that time apart to meet with God. For example, you may choose to use your lunchtime daily. Another option is to fast daily from sunup to sundown. With this option you can fast from morning and afternoon meals and then eat dinner in the evenings.

DISTRACTION FAST

While fasting usually involves going without food, removing other unnecessary distractions from your life for the purpose of seeking intimacy with God is also spiritually beneficial. If you cannot fast from food due to medical conditions, then you may consider removing social media, TV, or some other activity in your life that can become a distraction in your pursuit of God. Even with this fast, remember, the goal is not merely to remove something from our life but also to intentionally seek the Lord.

NOTE: We encourage you to use a journal or to write prayers and reflections throughout the 21-day journey.

Week 1 Focus- Repentance and Reconciliation

Day 1

"All these things my hand has made, and so all these things came to be, declares the LORD. But this is the one to whom I will look: he who is humble and contrite in spirit and trembles at my word." Isaiah 66:2

Today we pray for heart preparation for these twenty-one days of prayer and fasting. Pray that God's Spirit would give us hearts of humble contrition. Pray that our hearts would not be like the Pharisees who were "stiff necked and slow to hear," but rather that we would have hearts that are responsive to God's word and Spirit. Pray that God would give us ears to hear what He wants to say to us and that He would give us the grace to respond with faith and repentance.

Day 2

"'Yet even now,'" declares the Lord, 'return to me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning; and rend your hearts and not your garments.' Return to the Lord your God, for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love; and he relents over disaster."

Joel 2:13

Pray that God would reveal where repentance is needed in your own life. Ask Him to flood your heart with conviction and contrition. Take time to listen to the Spirit. As He brings specific sins to your mind, confess them, and ask Him to help and lead you to turn from them. Ask God to lead you in the way of repentance in the coming days and weeks.

Day 3

"Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God." Hebrews 12:1-2

This verse calls us to lay aside, not only the "sin" that clings to us, but also "every weight" that may hinder our pursuit of Christ. There may be aspects of our lives that are not sinful in themselves but hinder us from "walking in the Spirit." Like an ankle weight on the legs of a runner, these hinderances slow us down as we run the race God has put before us. Pray today that God's Spirit would reveal these hinderances in our lives that are slowing us down, which He is calling us to "lay aside." Pray that God would lead your heart to desire Him more than anything else in this world. Give time and space to listen to what the Spirit reveals in your own life. As the Spirit convicts you in specific areas, share what He is saying to you with your spouse (if married) and your Small Group for accountability.

Day 4

"If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land." 2 Chronicles 7:14

While this verse is often pulled out of context and misapplied, it nevertheless is an important verse for God's people. When rightly applied, this verse speaks to the principle of corporate repentance. To be sure, the "my people" in this verse was originally the people of Israel. God's people under the New Covenant is the Church (not America or any other earthly nation). Similarly, the "land" in this verse referred to the land God had given Israel (again, not America or any other earthly land).

All that said, this verse shows the significance of corporate repentance for God's people. It's not enough for individuals to repent of sin. We are one body; we are a people. Not only may there be sins we need to repent of in our individual lives, but there may also be sins corporately God is calling us to turn away from as a church. This verse reminds us of the importance of seeking God and repenting corporately, and it assures us that God hears and responds to this type of corporate repentance. Pray today that God would reveal to our church where repentance is needed. Pray for the Holy Spirit to lead us corporately in the way of turning away from sin and toward Christ.

Day 5

"So, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift." Matthew 5:23-24

When Paul commands us not to grieve the Holy Spirit, he does so in the context of unity and reconciliation in the church (Eph. 4:30ff). Anger, rivalries, suspicions, gossip, critical spirits, etc. in the body grieves the Spirit. Pray today that God would reveal anywhere in your own life where reconciliation is needed. Perhaps it is anger or bitterness you have been holding onto against someone in your family or the church that needs to be addressed. Perhaps you are aware that you have offended someone but have not sought reconciliation with them. Spend time listening to what the Spirit says to you. As He speaks, respond in obedience. Pray that God would lead our church in the way of reconciliation.

Day 6

"I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit-just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call- one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all… And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you." Ephesians 4:1-6, 30-32

Pray today for a Spirit produced unity in our church that is built on the gospel. Pray we would be of "one heart and one mind," as we each die to ourselves and embrace the agenda of Christ (Phil. 2:1-3). Pray that we would find our identity, individually and corporately, in the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Pray that God would give us an eagerness to protect unity in the body. Pray against "bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander… and malice" in the body. Pray for a spirit of kindness, tenderheartedness, and forgiveness in our church. Pray that the Spirit would produce deep affection for one another in our hearts.

Day 7

"Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied." Matthew 5:6

Pray that God would give us hearts that hunger and thirst for righteousness. Pray for the Spirit to produce in us both the desire and power to walk in victory over sin. Pray for a Spirit produced zeal for righteousness within us. Pray for purity and righteousness to be characteristics of our church.

Week 2 Focus- Spiritual Hunger and Delight

Day 8

"We ought to thank God always for you, brothers and sisters, and rightly so, since your faith is flourishing and the love each one of you has for one another is increasing."

2 Thessalonians 1:3

Interestingly, Paul completely bypasses the things that most often drive Christian thanksgiving: material wealth, fortunate turn of events, or smooth sailing through some process. Instead, Paul gives thanks for: 1) growing faith, and 2) increasing love. Why? Because Paul understands that what we give thanks for today is what our hearts will grow to treasure tomorrow. To put it in a nutshell, our thanksgiving is formative. Want to treasure "stuff?" Then give thanks primarily for "stuff." Want to treasure the giver of grace? Then give thanks for the signs of grace, including where God has grown your faith and increased your love.

Day 9

"Therefore, we ourselves boast about you among God's churches-about your perseverance and faith in all the persecutions and afflictions that you are enduring. It is clear evidence of God's righteous judgment that you will be counted worthy of God's kingdom, for which you also are suffering, since it is just for God to repay with affliction those who afflict you and to give relief to you who are afflicted, along with us. This will take place at the revelation of the Lord Jesus from heaven with his powerful angels, when he takes vengeance with flaming fire on those who don't know God and on those who don't obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. They will pay the penalty of eternal destruction from the Lord's presence and from his glorious strength on that day when he comes to be glorified by his saints and to be marveled at by all those who have believed, because our testimony among you was believed." 2 Thessalonians 1:4-10

If in verse 3, Paul is occupied with giving thanks for unconventional things, then in verses 4 to 10, Paul is occupied with confidence in an unavoidable future. Can you hear his confidence? "You will be counted worthy." "This will take place." "They will pay the penalty." And finally, not if Jesus comes, but when Jesus comes. Paul is so confident of the future that he's bragging of the win before the game is even over! In your prayer today, declare what Paul is declaring. Two things: 1) God will give relief to the believers (v.7), and 2) God will punish evil (vv.6, 8). And just as thanksgiving forms our affection, so does declaration.

Day 10

"In view of this, we always pray for you that our God will make you worthy of his calling, and by his power fulfill your every desire to do good and your work produced by faith, so that the name of our Lord Jesus will be glorified by you, and you by him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ." 2 Thessalonians 1:11-12

How could Paul pray this? These are incredible things that Paul is asking! Check them out:

- That you would live worthy of your calling

- That Jesus would be glorified in you

- That you would be glorified in Jesus

This kind of prayer only rolls off the tongue of someone who deeply treasures God. How did Paul get there? By thanksgiving and declaration. Verses 1 to 10 is how Paul got to verses 11 and 12! Just as our exercises form our fitness, so our thanksgiving and declaration form what we treasure. Paul begins the prayer with "In view of this." In view of what? Thankfulness for the signs of grace (see Day 8) and confidence that God will put things right (see Day 9)!

Pray the same three things that Paul prayed for in the bullet points above: that you would live worthy of your calling, that Jesus would be glorified in you, and that you would be glorified in Jesus.

Day 11

"Now may our God and Father himself, and our Lord Jesus, direct our way to you. And may the Lord cause you to increase and overflow with love for one another and for everyone, just as we do for you. May he make your hearts blameless in holiness before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord

Jesus with all his saints. Amen." 1 Thessalonians 3:11-13

Could it be that your lack of diligent prayers for Faith Church is one of the reasons that she hungers for spiritual things less than what she should? Look at the way Paul prays for the Thessalonians. It's no surprise then that the Thessalonians were examples to all the surrounding churches (1:3, 7)! As you fast today, pray these things for Faith Church:

- Increase and overflow with love for the church and for the lost

- That God would make their hearts blameless in holiness

The above is what you should pray, but how should you pray? Verse 10 tells us that Paul prays very earnestly for the Thessalonians "night and day." Copy him. And as you pray for the church, also pray that God will make way for you to go to them (digitally or physically) to encourage them with your love (2:17-20) and strengthen their faith (3:10).

Day 12

"And I pray this: that your love will keep on growing in knowledge and every kind of discernment, so that you may approve the things that are superior and may be pure and blameless in the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ to the glory and praise of God." Philippians 1:9-11

Continuing where we left off yesterday, we will pray for our church the way Paul prayed for the Philippian church. Paul prays for a love that grows, but not one that grows in cheap sentimentality or "niceness." Rather, he prays for a love that grows in knowledge and discernment. Why does Paul pray this? Because Paul understands that the human heart is engineered in such a way that it always chooses what it discerns to be best. But just as it is impossible to drive a car without gas, so it is impossible to rightly discern what is best ("things that are superior") without the love of knowledge and discernment. To have this kind of love means that your church will have far more than the elementary ability to choose between right and wrong, but the advanced ability to choose between best (such as the things that will stir up their spiritual hunger) and good (such as a good education). Pray this today for as many members of Faith Church that you can think of.

Day 13

"I pray that he may grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with power in your inner being through his Spirit, and that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. I pray that you, being rooted and firmly established in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the length and width, height and depth of God's love, and to know Christ's love that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God." Ephesians

3:16-19

What do you look for in a church? Great music? Insightful preaching? Relevant programs? Genuine relationships? Here's a "spiritual" one: vibrant evangelism? Surprisingly, Paul mentions none of these. Instead, Paul wants a church with members who are "filled with all the fullness of God." Not just partially filled, but all, from head to toe, filled. What do you want the Holy Spirit to do? Start a revival? Perform miracles? Speak audibly? The Spirit can and has done all these things. But in this passage, what Paul specifically asks for is that the Holy Spirit would enable us to be, in a never- be, in a never-ending way, swamped by the love of Christ, not just privately by ourselves, but with "all the saints!"

To put it in a nutshell, what Paul looks for in a church is the filling of the Holy Spirit. Members who are swamped by the love of Christ. Today, get together with other church members ("all the saints") and pray toward that end.

Day 14

"For this reason, also, since the day we heard this, we haven't stopped praying for you. We are asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding, so that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him: bearing fruit in every good work and growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, so that you may have great endurance and patience, joyfully giving thanks to the Father, who has enabled you to share in the saints' inheritance in the light." Colossians 1:9-12

Paul makes it clear in verses 4 and 9 that he has never met the Colossians (Paul's only "heard" about their faith from word of mouth but has never personally "seen" it). Yet he's been praying for them! What did he pray? Colossians 1:9-12. And what happened as Paul prayed for these "strangers"? His heart burst into praises for Jesus (see 1:13-20). In other words, Paul's experience of the deepest satisfaction, which resulted in Colossians 1:13-20, one of the greatest Christological texts in all of the Bible, was birthed not out of Paul praying for his personal needs and wants, but out of consistently praying for strangers ("we haven't stopped praying for you"). Beginning today, consistently pray for what Paul prayed for Christians in China, Egypt, the Middle East, or other parts of the world.

- Pray for knowledge

- Pray that God would fill them with knowledge of His will

- Pray that God would give them all wisdom and spiritual understanding

- Pray for a worthy walk

- Pray for fruit-bearing fruit in every good work

- Pray for growth in the knowledge of God

- Pray for empowerment by God's glorious might

- Pray for endurance and patience with joy, regardless of circumstance

Week 3 Focus- Presence and Power

Day 15

"If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you." John 14:15-17

We have prayed through repentance and spiritual hunger over the last two weeks. As Jesus shared with the disciples before His crucifixion, this places us in readiness to experience the active presence of the Holy Spirit who we should know and recognize. Pray that God would increase your receptiveness to His communication to you by the Spirit. Pray that the Spirit would grow your daily mindfulness of His dwelling place with you. Pray for the Holy Spirit's help in completing this time of corporate fast.

Day 16

"When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you. All that the Father has is mine; therefore I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you." John 16:13-15

Pray for your recognition of and your trust in God's manifest voice, for there is no disunity in God. The Word declares the will of the Father; the Spirit reveals the truth of the Word. Pray for our church to be directed by the Spirit of truth over the convictions of men in both vision and action. Give thanks to God that He is a God of truth, that He is a God who communicates, and that He is a God we can trust.

Day 17

"But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth" …Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a Sabbath day's journey away. And when they had entered, they went up to the upper room, where they were staying…All these with one accord were devoting themselves to prayer." Acts 1:8-14

The disciples at Jesus' ascension were given an assignment contingent upon a promise. We too want God to do what only God can do through our lives and our church for His glory. Pray with expectation and endurance. When you grow weary of praying or impatient with waiting, pray with the honest humility of the demon possessed boy's father: "I believe; help my unbelief (Mark 9:24)!" Pray for the readiness to join God at work quickly and the tenacity to continue seeking Him unceasingly.

Day 18

"When the day of Pentecost arrived, they were all together in one place. And suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. And divided tongues as of fire appeared to them and rested on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance." Acts 2:1-4

Pray for steadfast unity in prayer - that as we complete this season of corporate prayer, prayer would not be returned to the shoulders (and knees) of a few. Pray for God's manifest works by His Spirit to shatter the limits of our anticipation to exalt His glory above the talents and skills He has graciously given each of us. Pray that the church corporately, in Community Groups and in households, would be mesmerized by the awesome, revealed nature of our God.

Day 19

"Now there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men from every nation under heaven. And at this sound the multitude came together, and they were bewildered, because each one was hearing them speak in his own language. And they were amazed and astonished, saying, "Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? And how is it that we hear, each of us in his own native language? Parthians and Medes and Elamites and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabians--we hear them telling in our own tongues the mighty works of God." And all were amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, "What does this mean?" Acts 2:5-12

We are vessels of the glory of God for the glory of God. We have been called sons and daughters of the one and only, true King Jesus for the reconciliation of our brothers and sisters still walking in their blindness and death. Pray that whether they are churched or unchurched, religious or secular, destitute or wealthy, self-loathing or self-sufficient, pray that their unbelieving hearts would be amazed and perplexed by the manifestation of the Gospel. Pray that we would be faithful to proclaim the whole Gospel in our neighborhoods, our city, and the foreign outposts God has granted us around the world. Pray Ephesians 2:8 over the lost in all these places that "the gift of God" would be revealed in through salvific faith in Christ Jesus.

Day 20

"And when they had prayed, the place in which they were gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and continued to speak the word of God with boldness." Acts 4:31

The book of Acts is testimony to the relational nature God designed for Christians to experience with the Holy Spirit. The early church did not move on from Pentecost as if that was all of the Spirit they needed. Pray that we would continue to seek the leadership and affirmation of the Spirit in all things as our spiritual ancestors did. Pray that the word of God would be spoken boldly from the pulpit for exhortation and instruction. Pray that the word of God would be spoken boldly in Christian relationships for encouragement and accountability. Pray that the word of God would be spoken boldly to unbelieving family and friends. Pray that the word of God would be spoken boldly in missional pursuits and unplanned encounters. Pray that each believer will be baptized in the Holy Spirit and that the gifts of the Spirit will be active in their lives and in the church!

Day 21

"Now an angel of the Lord said to Philip, "Rise and go toward the south to the road that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza." This is a desert place. And he rose and went. ...And the Spirit said to Philip, "Go over and join this chariot." So, Philip ran to him...And when they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord carried Philip away, and the eunuch saw him no more, and went on his way rejoicing. But Philip found himself at Azotus, and as he passed through, he preached the gospel to all the towns until he came to Caesarea." Acts 8:26-40

The life-altering leadership of the Lord does not always match our sensibilities or logic. Like Noah commissioned to build an ark in preparation for a flood when it had never rained, pray for the courage to obey God's direction even when it doesn't coincide with your previous experiences. Like Joseph before his brothers, torn between bitterness or forgiveness, pray for the grace to give God praise over the difficulty of past events and the wounds of sinful people. Like Philip leaving a fruitful ministry to take a hike in an abandoned desert, pray for the faith to follow God's changing assignments in your life. Pray that you will say yes to God out of your obedience and love for Him. Pray that you will walk by faith and not by sight.

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