Throughout Scripture God’s people have modeled prayer and fasting as a normal part of the Christian life. They have also chosen to set aside special seasons for prayer and fasting for various reasons:
- To reset their spiritual lives, and draw nearer to God in an intentional way
- To pray for specific breakthrough in their personal lives, for a particular situation, or even for their nation
(Esther 4:16, 2 Chronicles 7:14)
- To pray for the advancing of God’s Kingdom on earth and for the church
(Acts 14:23, Matthew 6:10)
There are many reasons Christians have chosen to fast and pray to, but one of the primary goals is simply to draw nearer to God and grow in your relationship with Him. Biblical fasting always has to do with eliminating distractions or food 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.
Jesus modeled a lifestyle of prayer for his followers and he taught about fasting in His most famous sermon–The Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7).
The Lord's Prayer
“And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.
And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him. Pray then like this:
Our Father in Heaven,
Hallowed by your name.
Your kingdom come,
your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
and forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.
And when you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces that their fasting may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, that your fasting may not be seen by others but by your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you."
In this type of fast, you drink only liquids, typically water with light juices as an option.
This type of fast involves removing certain elements from your diet. One example of a selective fast is the Daniel Fast (Daniel 1:11-13), during which you remove meat, sweets, and bread from your diet and consume water and juice for fluids and fruits and vegetables for food.
This fast involves abstaining from certain meals throughout the day. For example, you may choose to skip lunch every day in order to spend your lunch hour in prayer.
This fast is a great option if you do not have much experience fasting food, have health issues that prevent you from fasting food, or if you wish to refocus certain areas of your life that are out of balance. For example, you might choose to stop using social media or watching television for the duration of the fast. Or you may choose to “fast” from an area of personal struggle in your life such as alcohol, complaining, or gossip. You can use a soul fast to focus on specific areas of your life that are not under the lordship of Jesus Christ.
PERSONAL PRAYER MODELS
1. Use the Lords Prayer as a personal prayer outline
A. “Our Father in Heaven”
Begin by connecting with God relationally.
Before asking for anything from God, take time to connect with him relationally. Talk to Him as you would a friend or a father.
B. “Hallowed be your name”
Worship His Name.
Take time to acknowledge and worship God for who He is:
Sovereign, Creator, Healer, Savior, Shepherd, Provider, Sanctifier, Forgiver, Deliverer, etc…
C. “Your kingdom come,
Your will be done,
On earth as it is in heaven.”
Pray His agenda first.
Pray for God’s will to be done and His Kingdom to come in your families, at your place of work, at your school, in our nation, in your neighborhood, and everywhere else the Lord leads you to pray.
D. “Give us this day our daily bread”
Depend on God for everything.
Take some time to acknowledge (with thanksgiving) that everything you have is from God. And bring any + all of your needs to him in prayer.
E. “Forgive us our sins, as we also have forgiven those who have sinned against us.”
Get your heart right with God and others.
Ask God for forgiveness for any wrongs that you have done or sins you have committed, and take time to pray for those who have harmed you in any way.
F. “And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.”
Engage in spiritual warfare every day.
For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rules of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Ephesians 6:12
Pray for God’s protection over every aspect of your life including your marriage, your family, your finances, your health, and everything else that comes to your heart. And ask for God’s strength to overcome every temptation that you face each day.
A - ADORATION
- Begin your time of prayer with praise and adoration of Jesus
- Simply tell him how amazing He is
- Thank him for His love, power, wisdom, grace, mercy, wisdom, leadership, etc…
C - CONFESSION
- Ask the Holy Spirit to show you areas in your heart that are not under the Lordship of Christ.
- Often during times of prayer God will begin to open your eyes to specific areas of your life like anger, lust, pride, greed, gossip, negativity, selfishness, etc., that He wants to help you overcome.
- Take some time to ask forgiveness for these areas and seek God’s help
T - THANKSGIVING
- Spend some time thanking God for all the blessings he has given you
S - SUPPLICATION
- Close by asking God for specific prayer requests
- Pray for our church, for your family, for your health, finances, for our government, or for anything else you are be facing in life.
- Remember, God is a good Father and He knows what you need before you even ask. He loves it when we bring everything to him in prayer.
1 THESSALONIANS 5:16-18
Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
BEYOND THE 21 DAY RESET
Our spiritual growth will continue beyond the 21 Day Reset series. A great habit that results in spiritual growth is regular Bible reading. This habit can be cultivated in a healthy way by following a helpful reading plan. Click here for several reading plans you can utilize to grow in your Bible reading this year.