Join us for 21 Days of Prayer and Fasting!

January 9 - 30, 2022

JFA Church Family, 

 

Welcome to 21 Days of Prayer and Fasting! We are excited about what God is going to do in your life during the next 21 days. We say this often, but at JFA, we believe that “prayer moves the hand of God.”

 

Prayer brings heaven’s influence into earthly situations. More than ever, we are in desperate need of the move of God in our world, our nation, our community, and our families. Prayer is a key ingredient in navigating this journey with the hope and assurance of Jesus. We know the God who holds the future in His hands, and we have complete access to Him through prayer! Many times, we act first and then want God to help our situation; however, prayer should be our first response, not our last resort.

 

As we go on this journey over the next 21 days, you will see that every day there is a daily focus, a daily declaration, a corresponding verse, and a prayer for that day. The Word of God is one of the most valuable tools we have to build a dynamic daily prayer life. It brings power, truth, and encouragement to our prayer time, and it can dissolve fear, worry and anxiety as we place our trust in His promises. Our intent is to have this guide help you find a new level of purpose, effectiveness, and enjoyment in your prayer life. While prayer does take commitment and can require discipline to develop into a daily habit, we also want to remember that it’s a “get to” not a “got to.” It is a privilege to be able to come to God in prayer! When you discover the beauty of daily conversation with God, you will experience His life-changing presence! You will be reminded... before the day begins, before you go to bed, before you go to work or school, before you send that text or email, before you eat, drive or travel, before you worry… in every situation… First, Spend Time in Prayer! Prayer changes everything! 

 

We love you, church! 

Pastors Rusty and Victoria Railey
 

All Church 21 Day Fast – January 9-30th.

At JFA, we encourage fasting for 21 days during January 9-30th. This is part of a season of focused prayer as a church family. You may also choose to fast at other times during the year for your own spiritual development. It’s very typical to fast a single meal, a whole day, or three days or more. The timing of your fast is not as important as the strength of your focus on Him.

A FEW TIPS AS YOU PRIORITIZE PRAYER AND FASTING OVER THESE NEXT 21 DAYS…

Scripture References.

Matthew 6:16-18… Matthew 9:14-15… Luke 18:9-14… Acts 27:33-37… Nehemiah 9:1-3

 

Prayer is most effective when it isn’t something we do every now and then, but when it’s a lifestyle we cultivate. To understand how to have a lifestyle of prayer, we can look at the example Jesus gave during His life on earth.

 

HAVE A CERTAIN TIME

Jesus got up early in the morning to spend time with His Heavenly Father. Make a daily appointment with God — whether it’s first thing in the morning, at lunch, or in the evening — and faithfully keep it.

 

HAVE A CERTAIN PLACE

Jesus had a specific place He went to pray. Having a designated place to pray helps us remove distractions and frees us to worship and pray out loud.

 

HAVE A CERTAIN PLAN

When Jesus taught His disciples how to pray, He gave them a prayer outline. We call it “The Lord’s Prayer.” Our desire is for this resource to be a guide for your time with God. As we pray every day, consider incorporating some worship music, or additional time to read the Bible or journal. Not everyone’s approach will look the same, but it does help to have a plan for connecting regularly with God!

 

The goal of fasting is to draw nearer to God. Biblical fasting always has to do with eliminating distractions for a spiritual purpose; it hits the reset button of our soul and renews us from the inside out. It also enables us to celebrate the goodness and mercy of God and prepares our hearts for all the good things God desires to bring into our lives. Remember, your personal fast should present a level of challenge, but it is very important to know your body, your options, and most importantly, to seek God in prayer and follow what the Holy Spirit leads you to do.

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Daily Prayer Focus

About Prayer

We don’t have to follow a specific formula to talk with God, but practicing different ways to pray can help us find deeper purpose and connection to Him through our prayer time.

 

This prayer guide is designed to help you get comfortable with different biblical models of prayer and for your prayer life to become more natural, effective, and enjoyable.

 

The heart of this guide is to help you find a new level of purpose, effectiveness, and enjoyment in your prayer life. While prayer does take commitment and can require discipline to develop into a daily habit, we also want to remember that it’s a “get to” not a “got to.” It’s a privilege to be able to come to God in prayer.

 

The most important step is committing to regularly entering God’s presence through prayer.

Prayer Models

To get started, choose which model you want to use today in prayer. As you pray, focus on the process the model reveals, giving yourself time to pray intentionally. If your mind wanders, use the model to restore your focus.

Types of Fasts

Complete Fast

(Example – Esther’s fast, Esther 4:16; Acts 9:9)…

 

Refraining from all food and all liquid for three days. It’s a desperate act for desperate times and the Spirit can and does lead people do to it.

Regular Fast

(Example – Jesus temptation in the wilderness, Matthew 4:2)…

 

Refraining from all food and drink except water; no nourishment is consumed, including juice, alcohol, or sweeteners. Although this form of fasting may seem extreme to someone who has never done it, it’s quite feasible. A regular fast can last anywhere from one day to several weeks.

Partial Fast

(Example – Daniel’s fast, Daniel 1:8-16)…

 

Refraining from part of your nourishment. You may decide to skip a certain meal every day, or you may restrict your intake of certain foods.

A partial fast is a great first step toward a more complete fast. Even if health reasons prohibit you from undertaking a regular fast, God will bless the partial fast that you choose.

Liquid Fast

You partake of liquids such as juices, clear broth, and water, but you take no solid food for a determined period of time. People who undertake extended fasts will use this form, even adding nutritional supplements to help sustain them for the duration.

Other Fasts

In the 21st century, there are several additional types of fasts that we can consider. These aren’t in the Bible because these elements were not a part of the life of the Jews or the early Church: Entertainment, athletic events, reading material, computers, social media, speech, sleep and work.

Fasting Guide

What Does The Bible Teach About Fasting?

Fasting means voluntary abstinence from food (or other personal appetites) for spiritual purposes.

 

In the Old Testament, Israel celebrated certain annual fasts, the most prominent being the Day of Atonement. There were also occasional fasts tied to specific historical events, sometimes individual and sometimes corporate. Here are a few of the occasions for fasting: at a time of grief (I Sam. 31:13; Nehemiah 1:4), at a time of repentance (I Sam 7:6; I Kings 21:27), as an expression of humility (Ezra 8:21; Psalm 69:10), and as an expression of a need for God’s guidance and help. What all of these fasts share in common is that they were an expression of dependence on God.

 

Several New Testament passages give us insight about fasting.

Fasting teaches us that God’s Word nourishes us:

Matthew 4:1-4 records the only example of Jesus fasting, just prior to His being tempted in the wilderness. He faced temptation with these words, “Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.” Jesus is quoting Deuteronomy 8:3-5 which talks about the 40 years Israel spent in the wilderness, depending daily on manna to sustain them. He says that God humbled them and let them be hungry in order to teach them to depend on God’s Word to sustain them. By His example of fasting, Jesus reminds us that food alone can’t sustain us. We need to be nourished by God’s Word.

Fasting teaches us that doing God’s will sustains us:

John 4:31-35 records Jesus’ encounter with the woman at the well. When the disciples return, they encourage Jesus to eat. He responds by saying, “I have food to eat that you know not of.” Then He adds, “My food is to do the will of the Father.” Again, Jesus reminds us that food alone is not enough. We are sustained by doing God’s will.

Fasting teaches us that Jesus Himself sustains us:

In John 6:48-50 Jesus says, “I am the bread of life. Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. This is the bread which comes down out of heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die.” We see this pictured symbolically in the bread and the cup of the Lord’s supper. Jesus is the source of eternal life. Fasting is feasting on Jesus.

 

Jesus assumed that fasting would be a part of His disciple’s spiritual life. In Matthew 6:16-18, He says, “when you fast,” not “if you fast.” He warns us not to fast to impress people, but to be near to the heart of God.

What Is The Purpose Of Fasting?

Fasting is designed to intensify our dependence on God by weakening our dependence on food and other things.

Fasting reveals and heals our dependence on food

(and other things)

To fill the discomfort caused by low self-esteem, unfulfilling work, unloving relationships, uncontrollable circumstances, etc. It removes the false peace derived from the pleasure of eating.

 

Richard Foster says, “More than any other discipline, fasting reveals the things that control us. This is a wonderful benefit to the true disciple who longs to be transformed into the image of Jesus Christ. We cover up what is inside us with food and other good things, but in fasting these things surface. If pride controls us, it will be revealed almost immediately. David writes, “I humbled my soul with fasting” (Psalm 69:10). Anger, bitterness, jealousy, strife, fear—if they are within us, they will surface during fasting.”

Fasting teaches us that we can go without getting what we want and survive.

Fasting can free us from having to have what we want. Therefore, fasting can teach moderation or self-control, not only in relation to food, but in other areas as well. It teaches contentment. (I Timothy 6:6)

Fasting expresses and deepens our hunger for God.

Richard Foster says, “Fasting reminds us that we are sustained “by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God:” (Matthew 4:4). Food does not sustain us; God sustains us. In Christ, “All things hold together” (Colossians 1:17). Therefore, in experiences of fasting, we are abstaining from food or other activities and feasting on God’s Word. Fasting must always, first and foremost, center on God. It must be about Him.

Step 1: Clarify the purpose of your fast

Why are you fasting? Ask the Holy Spirit to clarify His leading and objectives for your prayer fast. This will enable you to pray more specifically and strategically. Fasting is God-led and God-initiated. That means that He fuels a desire to fast and pray. He loves it when we fast.

Step 2: Specify the kind of fast you will do

Pray about the kind of fast you should undertake. Jesus implied that all of His followers should fast. (Matthew 6:16-18; 9:14,15) For Him it was a matter of when believers would fast, not if they would do it. Before you fast, decide the following up front:

 

How long you will fast - one meal, one day, one week, several weeks, certain days (beginners should start slowly, building up to longer fasts)?

  • The type of fast God wants you to undertake?
  • What physical or social activities you will restrict?
  • How much time each day you will devote to prayer and God’s Word?

 

Making these commitments ahead of time will help you sustain your fast when physical temptations and life’s pressures tempt you to abandon it.

Step 3: Prepare your heart, mind, and body for fasting

Fasting is not a spur-of-the-moment thing. It is planned. We must prepare. The very foundation of fasting and prayer is repentance. Un-confessed sin can hinder your prayers. There are several things you can do to prepare your heart.

 

  • Fasting requires reasonable precautions. Consult your physician first, especially if you take prescription medication or have a chronic ailment. Some people should never fast without professional supervision.
  • Do not rush into your fast. Prepare your body. Eat smaller meals before starting a fast. Avoid high fat and sugary foods. Eating raw fruit and vegetables prior to your fast is helpful. Physical preparation makes the drastic change in your eating routine a little easier so that you can turn your full attention to the Lord in prayer.
  • Prepare your heart and mind: Remember that God is your Father, and He loves you and is for you.
  • Confess every sin that the Holy Spirit calls to your remembrance and accept God’s forgiveness (1 John 1:9). Seek forgiveness from all whom you have offended and forgive all who have hurt you (Mark 11:25; Luke 11:4; 17:3,4). Make restitution as the Holy Spirit leads you.
  • Surrender your life fully to Jesus Christ (Romans 12:1, 2). Meditate on the attributes of God, His love, sovereignty, power, wisdom, faithfulness, grace, compassion, and others. (Psalm 48:9,10; 103:1-8, 11-13)
  • Begin your time of fasting and prayer with an expectant heart. (Hebrews 11:6)
  • Do not underestimate spiritual opposition. Satan sometimes intensifies the natural battle between body and spirit. (Galatians 5:16,17)

 

Finally, and of deep importance, Jesus instructs us in Matthew to not let others know about your fasting. The strict details of your fast should not be something you constantly talk about to others. It should remain between you and God.

For Kids

Hey Parents! We know that you are the biggest influencers in your child life. We want to equip you and your child to better understand that praying with Jesus is not only something that we need in our lives; it should be something that we want to do. The more we learn about prayer, the easier it becomes. We hope your kids will use this prayer journal to make their prayer life more personal. When you find out how to have real conversations with Jesus every day, then you will experience the presence of God, and that will change your life in the best way possible.