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Why fasting?

We are starting 2022 alongside the wider Vineyard Movement in a season of intentional Prayer and Fasting. During this time we are praying and asking God for a fresh move of His Spirit in our churches, our towns and cities and our nation as a whole.

Biblical fasting is refraining from food for a spiritual purpose. Our primary focus in fasting is to fix our eyes on Jesus and to listen to hear the voice and direction of God. It is vitally important for us to pay attention to our motives behind the commitment we’ve made .

“Say to all the people of the land and the priests, ‘When you fasted… was it for me that you fasted? – Zechariah 7:5–6

“If our fasting is not unto God, we have failed. Physical benefits, success in prayer, the ending with power, spiritual insights—these must never replace God as the center of our fasting.” – Richard Foster

“First, let [fasting] be done unto the Lord with our eye singly fixed on him. Let our intention herein be this, and this alone, to glorify our Father which is in heaven.” – John Wesley

Fasting helps us to realize the things that control us. Practicing the discipline of fasting allows the Lord the venue to help us to bring these areas into alignment. Just as David once wrote, “I afflicted myself with fasting…” in Psalm 35:13, we will be intentional to provide the Lord the venue to instruct us and bring clarity to our lives.“

I have the right to do anything,” you say—but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”—but I will not be mastered by anything. – 1 Corinthians 6:12

"Fasting from any nourishment, activity, involvement or pursuit—for any season—sets the stage for God to appear." – Dan B. Allender

"We fast because it helps to give us balance in life. It makes us more keenly sensitive to the whole of life so that we’re not so obsessed by our consumer mentality." – Richard J. Foster

How to take part

You may wish to fast for 21 days consecutively, starting Monday 3rd January and ending Sunday 23rd January, or you may wish to fast week days only, (taking the weekends off) meaning you will break your fast on Monday 31st January. We understand that there are different factors that lead to your decision to say yes to taking part in this time of prayer and fasting. Below are three ways you can engage with this fast.  Biblicaly it is our conviction that fasting is directly connected to food, so please do not take any unnecessary risk with your health and do consult a health professional first if you are unsure.

Option 1 - Varied Fast
Week One: A commitment toward fasting from all food except water, juice, and other broths for the first 7 days.
Week Two: A commitment toward fasting from all meals, except the incorporation of one meal into the schedule during days 8-14. (eg: fasting all day until 6pm)
Week Three: A commitment towards fasting for one meal out of the day, with an intentional time of focused prayer during the time period normally spent eating, during days 15-21.

Option 2 - All Meals
This will be a commitment toward fasting from all food except for water, juice and other broths for the duration of the 21 days of the fast.

Option 3 - Some Meals/Altered Diet
This will be a commitment toward fasting for a significant portion of your day, incorporating only 1-2 meals into your schedule. (eg. fasting all day until 6:00pm) Or, due to medical and other considerations, it may be necessary to participate by altering your diet for the duration of the fast. (This may be with vegetables only, or something known as the Daniel Fast)

For each day of our fast Vineyard Churches has put together a series of Daily Prayer Points.

Prayer Points

Prepare your Fast

  • Consider the ways that we are praying together for our church.
  • Download the daily prayer points so that you can follow along with the daily prayers.
  • Identify some friends and partners to be praying with through this time.

Prepare your Heart

  • Take some time to ask God to identify potential areas of difficulty during the 21 days. Do you see the potential for emotions like anger, anxiety, and fear to rise up during this fast? Are there areas of sin that you are aware of and have not addressed in your life?
  • Spend some time in confession and repentance concerning these areas to which the Spirit leads you. As it says in 1 John 1:9, “if we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” Asking yourself difficult and direct questions and answering them in honesty may help you to enter the fast with a posture ready to receive. (eg. Am I honest in all my acts and words or do I exaggerate? Do I confidentially pass on what has been said to me in confidence?)
  • Ask the Lord to show you any areas of discord or disunity in your life relationally and seek to address them.

Prepare Your Body

  • Drink plenty of water, maintaining proper hydration and water intake leading up tothe beginning of the fast.
  • Eat healthier foods (fruits and veg) directly before the start of the fast in orderto make for an easier transition. Avoid overindulging. When the fast is complete, be mindful of easing back into your regular diet, as to not shock your system.
  • If you have potential medical concerns, you should visit your doctor to make sure that you are physically able to participate as you intend. A chronic or severe medical condition, such as diabetes or heart disease, may prevent you from fasting in the manner you’d like. You should also seek advice if you are pregnant or nursing in order to enter into the fast in the most informed way.

Prepare Your Schedule

  • Take time to pre-plan what types of juices, liquids, and supplies you will need while engaged in the fast. This practice will keep you from being at the mercy of having to buy expensive individual servings.
  • Think about when you will set aside time to pray and when you will partake in liquids throughout the day.
  • Discuss with family and those in your household about what the upcoming days will look like together.

Prepare Your Response

“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. – Matthew 6:16–18

  • In hopes to avoid pride and self-appreciation, we don’t want to broadcast our decision to fast publicly. But, when addressed about it directly, we should prepare a thoughtful response, rather than feeling the need to be dishonest or making a bigger issue of it.
  • When someone asks why you aren’t eating, consider simple ways to communicate that you are dedicating yourself toward a time of prayer and listening to God. Seek to respond in a simple and straightforward way without belaboring the point.
  • Consider beforehand how to graciously communicate with those that may invite you to a meal or gathering when it may conflict with the fast.

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