Are you interested in God’s intervention in your life? Or maybe craving for God’s favour to be evident in your life? Or maybe you just want to hear God’s voice so you can receive clarity regarding the blue print for your future? Then Mavuno Church welcomes you to join us in the month of January as together we seek God in a season of prayer and fasting. Before we begin, let us answer a few questions you might have about prayer and fasting.
What is Fasting?
Fasting is the voluntary abstaining from food and/or drink for the purpose of seeking a deeper spiritual experience with God.
Why Do People Fast?
There are many reasons why people fast, Here are but a few:
– To bring Gods power of intervention into difficult situations of our lives
– To release the Spirit of God to revive us spiritually
– To seek repentance on behalf of ourselves or others
So Does The Bible Really Encourage People To Fast?
There are numerous Bible portions that exhort people to fast. Jesus, speaking in Matthew 6:17 starts by saying “When you fast…” making clear that the expectation was that Gods people ARE fasting. Moses (Exodus 34:28), Esther (Esther 4:16), Daniel (Daniel 9) and even Jesus (Matthew 4:2) and Paul (Acts 9:18-19) all took time to fast. Other useful references are Judges 20:26-28, Joel 2:12, Jonah 3:5-10, Acts 13:1-3, among many others.
Are there different types of fasts?
Generally, there are three types of fasts. The first is the “Normal Fast”, where one abstains from food but takes water. The others are the Partial Fast, where one restricts their diet to only certain portions or types of foods (such as fruit and honey) and the Absolute Fast (or dry fast), where neither food nor water are taken. There are instances where people refrain from certain activities like watching TV or Social media for a season to concentrate on prayer.
OK, so Which Fast Is Mavuno Doing?
As a community we are engaging in the “Normal Fast”, where we will daily keep ourselves from food from 6am to 6pm. However, if for one reason or another you are unable to join us for the normal fast (e.g.nursing mothers or those who are unwell), we encourage that you adopt an alternative fast (like social media, etc)
So Is Fasting Always Accompanied By Prayer?
Fasting on its own, though beneficial physically, does very little spiritually. To unlock the full extent of Gods power in our lives, we need to be waiting on him in prayer. Choosing to fast and not prayer is akin to a hunger strike, where both the body and the spirit are starved.
Is There A Guide I Can Use For This?
Yes. Mavuno has created a simple prayer plan that can guide you through the month of May. It details a number of prayer points for each day, as well as some portions of Bible Reading that can help enrich your spiritual experience. You can pick a prayer guide in church on Sunday or find daily prayer points on our face book and twitter pages. Our desire is to make the prayer points as readily accessible as possible by using every platform at our disposal. We advise that you place the prayer guide in a prominent place where you can refer to it on a daily basis.
So What Happens If I Start Late?
Don’t worry, you can start fasting on the day when you see this guide. Depending on your own desire for Gods intervention in your life, you can then craft your level of engagement. You could decide to pick up from the date you start, and simply complete the stipulated days with the rest of Mavuno, or choose to start from day one and simply count out 28 days from that date. Again, it all depends on how hungry you are for a God encounter.
Here are some useful tips:
- Ask a friend or your Life-Group to help keep you accountable to your times of prayer and fasting
- Ensure you set aside ample time to be alone with God. Convert the times you would otherwise be eating to times devoted not to other activities, but to prayer
- During the fast, expect to hear from God and long for and anticipate change. God will always meet you at your level of expectation
- Avoid strenuous physically exercise or activity especially during a long fast
- Break your fast gradually. Start by taking fluids and light meals until your body adjusts
When you fast, you need to be aware that the enemy will try to distract you from spending time in prayer. Such distractions often come in the form of unusual busyness, irritability and anger, arguing and relationship strains but might take other forms as well. Be on the watch for such signs and share with your prayer partner immediately to feel that way and turn it into a prayer.
Remember: “When we finish a fast, we cool into tempered Christians, strong with self-control. The dross and cinders of our lustful cravings are skimmed off…fasting produces a work of art – the tempered selfless Christian can be created through no other process of refinement” – Bill Bright