21 DAYS OF PRAYER & FASTING
We are so thankful for your willingness to consider the OBEDIENT RISK of joining with your church family in this intentional 21 Days of Prayer and Fasting. Fasting is a very personal experience between you and God, but when a group of people commit to seeking God together, powerful things can happen. During these days we will be praying together specifically for our own individual connection with God, our church family and community and Red Cedar leadership as well as the future Lead Pastor. We are expectant for what will happen in and through Red Cedar as we engage in these 21 DAYS together! To commit and receive devotional emails, please fill out a COMMITMENT CARD at your campus, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Fasting requires reasonable precautions. If you have any health concerns, please consult your physician prior to beginning your fast, especially if you’re taking any medication, have a chronic condition, or are pregnant or nursing a baby.
As you prepare to fast, it is important to choose a fasting plan that works for you. While this section provides some general information about types of fast, as well as some suggestions on how to create your own fasting plan, it is important to mention that there is nothing more inherently spiritual about one type of fast as opposed to another. These are simply guidelines and suggestions on different things you can do.
Do not let what you eat or do not eat become the focus of your fast. Keep the main thing the main thing, which is drawing closer to God. Remember this is a time to disconnect enough from your regular patterns and habits in order to connect more closely to God.
Here are a few tips to keep in mind before getting started:
Start Where You Are
We are all at different places in our walk with God. Likewise, our jobs, daily schedules, and health conditions are all different and place various levels of demands on our energy. So most importantly, whether you have fasted before or this is your first time, start where you are. Your personal fast should present a level of challenge to it, but it’s very important to know your own body, know your options and, most importantly, seek God in prayer and follow what the Holy Spirit leads you to do.
Remember, the goal of fasting is not just to do without food. The goal is to draw nearer to God.
Find Your Fast Zone
When most people start fasting, there is typically some level of discomfort. However, it is possible to get used to the fasting routine pretty quickly. Quite simply, you must learn to fast in a way that works for you!
The goal to having a successful fast is all about finding what we like to call your Fast Zone, and that is different for everyone and can change depending on the season you are in.
The best way to describe your Fast Zone is that it’s the place where you feel light and spiritually in tune. Your mind is easily focused on God and spiritual things. You have an increased spiritual energy – you can feel the fast working.
Let’s say you chose to go on a Daniel Fast (only fruits and vegetables). Should you eat beans? If you can eat beans and stay in your Fast Zone, go ahead. But for some people eating beans takes them out of the zone. Should you eat peanut butter? Probably not. Peanut butter is more of an indulgence, and not many people can stay in a Fast Zone while enjoying indulgences.
Should you completely cut out caffeine? It depends. The great thing is, when you fast, your body automatically craves less caffeine. If you can stay in your Fast Zone with a little caffeine, great. If you drink coffee regularly, one of the worst mistakes you can make is to cut out caffeine abruptly and completely. Please don’t do that or you will spend this time grumpy and in withdrawal instead of enjoying God’s presence.
Some people can’t stay in a Fast Zone eating any type of solid food, so they prefer all liquids and with today’s protein drinks and juicing machines, it is easy to get a healthy dose of all your nutritional needs even while taking in only liquids.
There isn’t one approach that works the same for everyone. Follow the Holy Spirit, mix it up, find what works for you, and stay in your Fast Zone!
TYPES OF FASTING
Choose Your Type of Fast
While preparing for your fast, it’s important to choose ahead of time what type of fast you will pursue. Not only will this help with making the necessary preparations to implement your plan, but also position you to finish strong.
Different Types of Fasts
Specific Food or Activity Fast
In this type of fast you omit a specific item(s) from your meal plan. For example, you may choose to eliminate all red meat, processed or fast foods, or sweets. While fasting typically refers to refraining from specific food items, you may also find it extremely beneficial to fast from a regular activity or habit. This might include things such as television, social media, etc.
In the book of Daniel we find two different times where the prophet Daniel fasted. Daniel 1 states that he only ate vegetables and water, and in Daniel 10, while the passage doesn’t give a specific list of foods, it does state that he ate no rich (or choice) foods, as well as no meat or wine. So, based on these two verses, we can see that either of these, or combinations of the two, constitute a Daniel Fast.
A juice fast is simply consuming vegetable and fruit juices and water instead of solid food. Many people include whey protein in their liquid plan as well. Even if you choose not to make your entire fast liquids – only, substituting one or two meals for liquids is a great alternative.
A water fast is just that - no eating of any food or drinking of any liquids except for water. Periodic water fasts can be very beneficial, but extreme precautions should be taken. For some people, it is hard to perform effectively at their jobs and have energy for their families while drinking water only.
A total fast is where nothing – neither liquid, solid food, nor even water – is consumed for a short period of time. Complete abstinence of food and water can be very dangerous to your health. Attempting to go without water for any period of time can be extremely harmful to the body. We strongly discourage the total fast.
Fasting While Nursing or Pregnant
If you are in this incredible season of life and would still like to participate in the 21 DAY FASTING AND PRAYER, here’s some great options for you to consider – with the approval of your physician:
• A modified Daniel fast including whole grains, legumes, whey protein, calcium, and iron supplements
• Fasting sweets and desserts
• Fasting red meat
• Fasting certain diversions (TV shows, movies, social media)
If you are pregnant or a nursing mother, your priority is the health and development of the baby God has entrusted you with. Make that your guideline and go from there.
Fasting and Eating Disorders
Remember, fasting is a tool used to get closer to God, and it actually should keep us from being preoccupied with food. If your method of fasting is going to cause you to obsess about what you eat in any way, you will need to change either your approach or your mindset.
If giving up food is a stumbling block for you, then consider fasting of television, social media, shopping, or any other potential distraction.
Begin and Break the Fast Well
Depending on the type of fast you choose, it is very important to prepare your body ahead of time. Before beginning the fast, take a week or two to transition into your fast, otherwise, you could get sick.
The same principle applies to breaking your fast. When you’re fast is over, add foods back in very gradually. Although it seems like a good idea at the time, don’t break your fast with a greasy cheeseburger!
Final Fasting Tips
• Keep your fridge and pantry stocked with the items you need. Being unprepared to fast sets you up to give into temptation. • Make it a priority to attend church during the 21 DAYS OF FASTING AND PRAYER. Being around other believers will encourage you to keep going when fasting gets difficult. • If you mess up, don’t get discouraged. Just get right back on track and keep going!
Fruits, Vegetables, Juices, Water
Fruit smoothie with whey protein
Fresh fruit or fresh vegetables
Raw vegetable salad with light, organic dressing and vegetable broth soup
Fresh fruit or fresh vegetables
Fresh salad with light, organic dressing and steamed or grilled vegetables
Modified Daniel Fast
Breakfast 1-2 servings whole grains with fresh fruit juice Mid-Morning Snack Fresh fruit or fresh vegetables Lunch 1-2 servings whole grains; fresh salad with legumes and light, organic dressing Mid-Afternoon Snack Fresh fruit juice or smoothie Dinner 1-2 servings whole grains; fresh salad with legumes and light, organic dressing
FASTING FOR KIDS
How to Explain Fasting to Kids
And easy way to explain the benefits of prayer and fasting to kids is to compare it to cleaning out old toys that might no longer work, or that they might have outgrown, to make room for new ones. As we clean out our bodies and make time to connect closer to God and His Word, we make room to receive new gifts from Him.
Kid Fasting How-To’s
We do not recommend that children skip meals or drastically reduce their food intake, but a modification of their diet might prove to be an easy place to start. For example, fasting from specific items such as sweets, red meat, fried foods or even introducing a form of the Daniel fast which includes legumes, nuts and whole grains is a great way for children to participate in a safe and healthy way.*
A great way for kids to participate in the fast is by reducing some of the time and energy spent watching TV, playing video games, using the computer or phone, and instead choosing to spend time praying, reading their bible or serving others.
The main thing is for them to recognize the value behind setting aside special times to disconnect from some of the extracurricular activities and treats they enjoy on a regular basis and learn how to connect to God in a closer way. Write down a few prayer requests and pray together for those things throughout the fast.
*Please note, you should always check with your child’s pediatrician before your child(ren) begin any type of food fast.
Questions? Feel free to send us an email at email@example.com.