As the Church of the City family, we feel compelled to begin 2019 with an intentional time of prayer and fasting. Fasting is a discipline that brings breakthrough and we’ve been wondering, “what is God waiting to pour out on our church, or our city or our lives if we would just seek him through prayer and fasting?”
We’ve seen instances in the Bible when a community of people fast together, asking for the Lord’s direction (Lev. 23:27). This season of fasting together as a church will unify us as we collectively assume a posture of receiving from God by turning over our plates. As C. H. Spurgeon once reflected about a time of fasting in community with his congregation; “never has heaven’s gate stood wider; never have our hearts been nearer the central glory.”
Some of the most encouraging words that we can read as we prepare to enter into this season are found in Acts 13:2, which reads, “While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said…” We are encouraged and invigorated to know that our time of dedicating ourselves to the Lord in this way will result in us actually hearing from Him!
We are expectant for all that God has in His heart for us to experience as we commit the first 21 days of 2019 to prayer and fasting. We believe that prayer is the foundation of all personal, church, and city-wide transformation we are longing for. We are hoping to see our church cover these 21 days with 24/7 prayer. To sign up for a personal 30-minute time slot, click the link below!
Each day during 21 Days, we’ll be releasing a Daily Guide that will include a combination of Scripture, written content, a guided prayer podcast, and special video messages. Our hope is for this content to encourage you as you navigate 21 Days, connecting you with others in our family who are journeying alongside you. The Daily Guide is designed to be an easily accessible addition to the experience, and is available through a variety of platforms. Sign up below to receive it in the way that is most helpful for you.
Throughout 21 Days, we will be gathering together for several corporate prayer and worship times as we seek God during this time.
January 6 | 7-9PM | Prayer & Worship Night | Church of the City Franklin Theater
January 13 | 7-9PM | Prayer & Worship Night | Church of the City Franklin Theater
January 20 | 7-9PM | Prayer & Worship Night | Church of the City Franklin Theater
Each day during 21 Days, we are releasing a Daily Guide that includes a combination of Scripture, written content, a guided prayer podcast, and special video messages. Our hope is for this content to encourage you as you navigate 21 Days, connecting you with others in our family who are journeying alongside you. The Daily Guide is designed to be an easily accessible addition to the experience, and is available through a variety of platforms. Sign up below to receive it in the way that is most helpful for you.
To receive text alerts, text cotc21days to 555888.
Visit Settings in the COTC app to turn on 21 Days notifications.
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
We understand that there are different factors that lead to your decision to say yes to participation in this church-wide commitment. We want to do the best that we can to help provide 3 different ways to engage with this 21-day fast. We do not presume to be authoritative or comprehensive in the correct ways to fast, but we have chosen these pathways after thoughtful consideration about ways to include everyone in the journey we feel called to in this season. As a church, we have purposed that our fast will be directly connected to food, as we see multiple examples of this throughout the scripture.
Option 1 (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.
Option 2 (Some Meals/Altered Diet)
This will be a commitment toward fasting for a significant portion of your day, incorporating one meal into the schedule. (ex. fasting all day until 6:00 PM) 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)
Option 3 (One Meal)
This will be a commitment toward fasting for one meal out of the day, with an intentional time of focused prayer during the time period normally spent eating.
The practice of fasting is in stark contrast to most of the way we live on a day to day basis in our lives. The bible mentions fasting over 70 times directly and is inferred many more. This practice was clearly important to God, as even Jesus engaged in a 40-day fast immediately following His baptism.
Heightened Emotional Sensitivity
“Anger, bitterness, jealousy, strife, fear—if they are within us, they will surface during fasting. At first we will rationalize that our anger is due to our hunger; then we know that we are angry because the spirit of anger is within us. We can rejoice in this knowledge because we know that healing is available through the power of Christ.” Richard Foster
Changing the amount and type of nutrients that you intake on a regular basis could possibly affect your energy levels, leading to physical fatigue. Headaches have also been known to be a symptom during fasting.
Although this may seem like an obvious point of awareness, it is important to note that you may feel hunger in a way that you’ve not experienced before. This will become the primary indicator and reminder for times of prayer and listening during the fast.
What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you. – Philippians 4:9
Prepare Your Fast (See How Can I Participate?)
Prepare Your Prayer
Prepare Your Mind
Prepare Your Heart
Prepare Your Body
Prepare Your Schedule
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
For some, this will be the first time to pray in such a focused and intentional way. It may seem a bit daunting. During our recent teaching series, “The Way of Jesus,” we received a prayer guide which comes from Matthew 6:9-13. This is a great way to begin to be guided through prayer as you engage in this fast. Also, as we engage this fast together, the church will provide you with a variety of resources that will coach and guide you through this time.
It’s our conviction that we will only see the power of the GOSPEL unleashed when the church starts to truly seek God through prayer and fasting. We are excited and hopeful to see how the Lord is glorified as we head into this season!
No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it. – 1 Corinthians 10:13
But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. – Galatians 5:16–17
For because he himself has suffered when tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted. – Hebrews 2:18