Why prayer & fasting? In this 60th Anniversary year, we want to know God renewing our hearts and having mercy on our neighbourhood. That is why we are inviting the whole church to fast and pray every Wednesday in the run-up to Easter. You can pray at home (see ‘Help to pray’) or join others at church at 12noon and 8pm.
What is fasting? Fasting is restricting what we eat in order to humble ourselves before God in prayer (eg, Ezra 8.21) – sometimes out of mourning or repentance (eg, Nehemiah 1.4), sometimes to seek His deliverance or mercy (eg, Esther 4.16), and sometimes for preparation or empowering (eg, Acts 13.2-3). Fasting provides us with more time to pray, and in a practical way it shows God that His Kingdom is more important to us than our comfort.
Kinds of fasting There is no wrong way to fast. God looks at our hearts, not at how severe our method of fasting is! Our aim is to surrender to God’s power instead of to the desire to eat. But it is not easy: it will take discipline to sacrifice food on one day each week for seven weeks – even if you are only able to skip one meal. However, you might like to try one or more of these, as the weeks progress:
Full fast – drinking only water;
Juice fast – drinking only water and fruit juices ;
Partial fast – eating only bread, fruit and vegetables;
Sweet fast – no chocolate, sweets, cake or biscuits; and no fizzy or caffeine drinks either (including tea & coffee!).
When not to fast! While most of us should cope with the “sweet fast,” anything beyond that can be dangerous if you are not in a generally good state of health. So if there are clear medical reasons – eg you suffer from diabetes or anaemia, have long term illness, are low in bodyweight, or are pregnant/nursing – do not fast. Also, if you do lively/physical work or play sports, it might be better and safer for you not to fast, or to choose a different day.