Prayer is conversation with the living God.
Our God is relational. He wants to hear from you, to speak to you, and to make you more like his Son. Prayer is the way we deepen this relationship. Put simply, prayer is a two-way conversation with God. This means that not only do we speak to God through prayer, but we also listen. The best way to learn how to pray is to practice.
Not sure how to start? Follow this acronym:
Pause: take a deep breath and focus your mind and heart on God.
Rejoice: Praise God for who he is and what he has done. Thank him for what you have.
Ask: Share with him the desires of your heart. Ask him to move in your life and the lives of others. Give him your worries, concerns, and fears.
Yield: Surrender control by confessing your sins and yielding to his rule and reign in this world.
(adapted from How to Pray: A Simple Guide for Normal People, by Pete Greig)
The goal of fasting is to draw nearer to God.
Biblical fasting is a willing abstinence from food for a set period of time. The intent is not to simply be hungry, but to focus our body, mind, and soul on God. It is also intended that the time you would normally be partaking in a meal would be given over to prayer. Fasting is an act of humility, and has been considered a core practice for Christ followers across the globe. It is used to call upon God’s mercy and to implore him to act within specific areas of our lives.
Ezra 8:21, “Then I proclaimed a fast there, at the river Ahava, that we might humble ourselves before our God, to seek from him a safe journey for ourselves, our children, and all our goods.”
It is important to remember that, without our hearts submitted to God, the act of fasting is worthless. This is not an empty ritual in which we consider ourselves “good Christians”. It is a humble practice to align our hearts with God’s, and seek his will in everything.
WHY PRAYER & FASTING?
Biblically and historically, fasting and prayer are uniquely connected.
Fasting is nearly always paired with prayer (2 Samuel, Ezra, Nehemiah, Ester, Psalms, Daniel, Luke, Matthew, Acts) and we repeatedly see it aid and amplify the prayers of the people of God.
If fasting sounds odd to you, don’t worry, you’re not alone! Fasting is not a requirement, it is an invitation. In fact, fasting is never mandated in the New Testament. Instead, it is a spiritual practice that Jesus incorporated into his own life (Matthew 4).
Our hope is over these 21 days you will be inspired, and experience a new relational depth with our God through prayer and fasting.
2 WAYS TO FAST
(we recommend: one – two days a week)
In this type of fast, you abstain from food for 2-3 meals a day while drinking only liquids, typically water with light juices as an option (often people will skip breakfast and lunch, and break their fast by eating dinner). There is not a wrong way to do this fast. The heart of this practice is simply to make a conscience decision to abstain from food for a number of meals you choose.
(we recommend: the entire 21 days)
This type of fast involves removing certain elements from your diet. One example of a selective fast is the Daniel Fast, during which you remove meat, sweets, and bread from your diet and consume water and juice for fluids and fruits and vegetables for food. Based on dietary restrictions and individual needs, the selective fast may be a better option than the complete fast.
Unable to fast?
Maybe you have specific health concerns or medical issues that prevent you from taking part in a complete or selective fast. Those with a history of eating disorders may find it unwise to attempt either. In this case, we recommend an alternative practice of self-denial.
Maybe you give up social media or entertainment for the full 21 days. Maybe you refrain from spending money 2-3 days a week. Can’t seem to quit Candy Crush or scrolling your favorite news app? Delete it! You could give up coffee, dessert, or alcohol… There is room for creativity here. We encourage you to pray and ask the Holy Spirit to convict you of an area in your life in which you could practice self-denial.