40 Days of Prayer and Fasting
November 22 - December 31 2020
From November 22 through the end of the year, you’ll receive a jump-start prayer email each morning. (If you aren’t in our database and would like to be added, click here.) We encourage you to join us in praying these prayers each morning, and focusing especially on your prayer life during these 40 days.
We’d also love to see as many of our people as possible join together in fasting for a meal, a part of a day, or a whole day. You can sign up for a day (or a few) and learn more about fasting below. Our leadership will be joining you as you pray and fast, and as we align our hearts with God’s.
Prayer and fasting joined together become a powerful, singular discipline by which we show God a contrite spirit and a deep desire for him above all else. First Family Church is calling its members and attenders to do both – pray and fast. Our request? That God would increase our desire for and reliance upon his Word, and deepen our commitment to getting the gospel to those who have yet to hear!
WHEN WILL WE START?
We will launch our 40 Days of Prayer and Fasting on Sunday, November 22, 2020.
HOW WILL WE START EACH DAY?If you are part of FFC’s database, you will receive a jump-start prayer in your email inbox each day of this initiative. This is designed to be a morning reminder to pray each day during the 40 DPF. This jump-start prayer will be a simple sentence or two to help you focus on God’s Word.
WHEN WILL WE END?
The last day of this 40-day emphasis is December 31, 2020.
DOES EVERYONE HAVE TO FAST, TOO?
No. Anyone who wishes to can, however. If you’d like to let us know which day you’re fasting, please do so at the link above.
WHAT ARE THE REASONS WE WOULD FAST?
There are multiple reasons for fasting:
1. It is a principle taught by Jesus and modeled by the early church.
2. Jesus said in Matthew 6:16, “When you fast…” He did not say “if” you fast. Additionally, we see examples of fasting for direction in the early church. In Acts 13, the church at Antioch was led to fast and pray. “While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, ‘Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.’ Then after fasting and praying they laid their hands on them and sent them off” (13:2–3).
3. We want to draw closer to Jesus, deepen our dependance on his Spirit and his Word, and draw on his power to overcome sin.
4. Jesus intriguingly said one time that there was a type of enemy only overcome through prayer and fasting (Mark 9:29). This text seems to indicate that fasting brings us into a closer relationship with Jesus and his power in certain types of spiritual warfare than perhaps is normally experienced.
5. We want to stir ourselves and the body of Christ towards repentance.
6. Nehemiah fasted and prayed after he heard of the demise of the city of Jerusalem (Nehemiah 1:3–4).
HOW DO WE FAST?
Here are 4 general fasts, depending on one’s preferences and physical ability.
– Fasting from a meal. This can be done daily or weekly, and in this fast you forego a specific meal in order to focus on God and his work in your life through prayer.
– Fasting for a day. This can be done weekly or monthly, and, as in #1, is usually accompanied by undistracted time with God focusing on his work in your life through prayer.
– Fasting for multiple days. Please make sure you do this only after making sure you are physically able and spiritually ready. Check with your doctor regarding any medication you are taking or medical situations you have going on to ensure that abstaining from food and/or liquid will not adversely affect your health.
– Fasting from aspects of our normal diet. Sometimes referred to as the Daniel fast, this fast is centered around abstaining from specific types of food or ingredients, such as caffeine, bread, etc. Some people take this concept and apply it to other non-food elements of life as well, like electronics, recreation, or even hobbies. While Scripture doesn’t condemn this, neither does it actually give us any textual evidence for a fast that doesn’t involve some type of food or drink.
– We remind you that fasting isn’t just abstaining from food for physical reasons, but rather for spiritual reasons – to use that same time for seeking God in prayer. So as you decide how you will fast and pray, be alert to the need to focus on God and his work in your life.
Remember, fasting isn’t something done to gain attention from others (Matthew 6), but rather to focus our attention on God. So while you are fasting, try and carry on as you normally do except during the times you are getting away to focus on God in an undistracted manner.
Please join the elders, deacons, and staff in praying and fasting during these 40 days. And may God, more than ever before, create in us a thirst for his Word that is like a newborn’s longing for milk (1 Peter 2:2)!