Congregational Fast 2011
When you fast… Matthew 6:16
…Jehoshaphat resolved to inquire of the LORD, and he proclaimed a fast for all Judah. The people of Judah came together to seek help from the LORD; indeed, they came from every town in Judah to seek him.
(2 Chronicles 20:3-4)
- Begins on Saturday, Jan. 15 and finishes on Saturday, Feb. 5.
- We will culminate this great time of prayer and devotion to God with an All Night Prayer Meeting at our building on Friday evening, Feb. 4 through early Saturday morning, Feb. 5.
- We will have a break-fast meal at 7:00 AM (Sunrise) on Saturday morning, Feb. 5 to mark the end of our fast.
Quiet Times and Study
1. Jesus speaks on fasting
– Matthew 6:1-18
What are the three practices Jesus discusses in this passage?
Read through the passage, and underline the word “when.” What is the difference between the word “if” and “when?” What does that tell you about these three practices?
Note the occurrences of the word “secret” and” reward.” What does “secret” convey to you? What about “reward?” What rewards do you think God has in mind to give us?
2. Jesus speaks on fasting (2)
– Luke 5: 33-39
What is the reason Jesus gives for his disciples not fasting during the days he was physically present? He says they will fast later, after he is gone. Why do you think that is? Could it be that fasting draws us into the presence of Jesus in an intimate, spiritual way?
The next section talks about new wine in old wineskins. How do you think this passage relates to the concept of fasting? Could it be that fasting is a way for us to put the new wine into new wineskins in our life?
3. Fasting and the Holy Spirit
– Joel chapter 2, Luke 11:1-13, Ephesians 6: 18
Note the word “afterward” in v. 28 and see its connection to vs. 12-15
What are the blessings promised them “afterward?” What are the connections between prayer, fasting and the working of the Holy Spirit in our lives?
4. Daniel and Fasting
– Daniel chapters 1 & 10
What was the nature of the foods that Daniel would not eat? What was his purpose? How was he rewarded? What does this tell you about the different ways we can fast?
5. The Power of Appetite
– Genesis 2:8-9, 16-17, 3:6; 25:27-34; Hebrews 12:15-17; Numbers 11: 4-7, 18-20; Ezekiel 16:49-50
Note the connection between food and temptation in these passages. How does fasting help to free us from being controlled by our appetite? How does fasting make us humble and dependent upon God?
6. The Power of Prayer and Fasting
– Matthew 17:14-21 (note the footnote to v. 21)
Note that the disciples had cast out demons previous to this time, but now they fail. How is it that sometimes we find ourselves unable to experience the power of God as we used to in the past? How can we lose touch with God in the ways we once enjoyed? How can seasons of prayer and fasting help restore that vital contact?
7. Fasting and church leadership
– Acts 13:1-3, 14:23
Note how the leaders of the early church fasted and prayed. What does that tell us about how we should make decisions, and how we should depend on prayer and fasting as leaders?
8. The Power of Fasting and Prayer
– 2 Chronicles 20: 1-30
What does this passage teach us about the power of fasting when we are under extreme pressure? What is the power of declaring a fast in a church or a group of people? When parents fast, what does it teach their children? How did God answer their prayers?
9. The Power of Fasting and Prayer (2)
– Esther chapter 4
Read the entire book, focusing on chapter 4. See questions above.
10. Fasting and Praying for Guidance
– Ezra 8: 21-23, Judges 20:26, 1 Samuel 7:6, 2 Chronicles 20: 3, Jeremiah 6:16, 2 Chronicles 7: 13-14, Daniel 10:12, James 1:2-8, 4:6-10
How does fasting & prayer help us have wisdom and find our way in times when we are confused and uncertain?
Reasons to Fast:
- For closeness to God/seeking God/hunger, thirst for God, humility before God
- For spiritual breakthrough (our circumstances may not change until we change)
- For deliverance from recurring sin
- For revival – in yourself and the church
- For repentance
- For the lost
- For wisdom in decisions
- For guidance for our future
- For blessing when undertaking responsibility
- For special needs and challenges: illness, finances, etc.
- For people we love and care for: marriage, children, family, friends
- For our church: leaders, events, needs