Approx 1 - 40 hours
In many faith traditions, prayer is accompanied by fasting as a spiritual practice to focus the pray-er. Fasting has been part of the Judeo-Christian tradition for thousands of years and can be found throughout the bible.
In the Old Testament, many of the prophets and heroes of faith fasted in times of mourning and repentance, whether for themselves, their family or their nation. Moses, Elijah, Daniel and King David (to name a few) used fasting to focus their attention away from themselves and onto God. In the New Testament, we see Jesus fasting miraculously for 40 days and nights and Paul who fasted after his encounter with Jesus.
Fasting is not the same as a hunger strike. Throughout the Bible it is clear that fasting is focused on going without food for spiritual purposes.
As a group, whether as a whole church or a small group, set aside a specific time that you will commit to going without food and spend in dedicated prayer for the least-reached.
You may choose to skip one meal, set aside a whole day, or go without food for 40 hours across the weekend. When you would normally be eating, spend this time in dedicated prayer for least-reached people groups. It would be encouraging to gather as a group during this time rather than fasting and praying alone.
- As a church you could forgo Sunday breakfast and lunch. After your regular morning church service you can gather together to pray.
- A youth group could go without dinner on Friday and spend their regular Friday night gathering in a time of prayer together.
- A small group could give up food for 40 hours across the weekend. You could meet for some time on Saturday to pray together. Then you can break the fast by sharing lunch together on Sunday, celebrating God’s faithfulness and grace.
Guidelines for staying safe while fasting:
Foster, R. Celebration of Discipline: The path to spiritual growth. London, Hodder and Stoughton Ltd, 2008, 61
- Fast only if your health allows it at the time (Baptist Mission Australia takes no responsibility for fasting-related health issues)
- Drink plenty of water. Feel free to eat energy sweets (like barley sugars) occasionally.
- Children should only skip food for a maximum of 8 hours.