21-DAYS OF PRAYER + FASTING

A note from Pastor Chris as we begin 21-Days of Prayer + Fasting:
This is an annual season at Hope Connection Church where we intentionally minimize distractions & alter daily routines in order to "hear God’s voice" more clearly.  We've found that strategic commitment to prayer & fasting has a lasting impact on the emotional, mental, and overall spiritual strength in our lives. It also signals to God that we value His influence in our lives above ALL THINGS!      
During these twenty-one days, we will push away from some of our normal habits/routines--and our counterproductive habits/routines--as we make every effort to connect with God in a deeper way. Included in these efforts are "First Monday Prayer",  "Upper Zoom" prayer meetings (a digital gathering each Wednesday from 7:14- 7:50am), and strategic fasting plans for our individual lives.  

This season at Hope is designed for everyone! It matters not how long you've attended on the weekends or whether or not you've connected w/your Hope family in a deeper way by joining a Connect Group or serving in our various Hope Team ministry opportunities.  All that matters is your HUNGER to connect with God in a deeper way...we invite you to JOIN US ON THIS JANUARY JOURNEY!  
 – Pastor Chris

WHAT IS GOD ASKING OF YOU?

We invite you to prepare your heart & sincerely ask God what He desires of you during these 21 days. That might mean embarking on a fast again (or for the very first time!), removing certain "creature comforts" from your life, or simply taking time to read Scripture & pray daily for an allotted time. Regardless of the effort, we’re SURE God longs to draw closer to you during the next twenty-one days!

Once you hear from God and have clarity on what you will do to draw closer to Him during the next 21 days, we encourage you to write it down and share it with your community. Making your vision known to family, friends, and/or "Hope Fam" is an excellent way to ensure follow-through as you both build accountability and inspire others as you share what God is speaking to you!

Here's a few practical and/or biblical suggestions for how to strategize your 21-Day journey:

1. CHoose a fast

Fasting is an invitation from the Lord to engage with Him in a heightened way. There is no right or wrong way to fast, and there are many different kinds of fasts to choose from.

Regardless of the fast you choose to participate in, it’s important to pray about what God is leading you to do, as well as consult a doctor and educate yourself if you have any questions or health concerns.

1-Day Fast

Fast for one day each week during 21-Day Fast (no food for the entire day)

DANIEL FAST

 10-21 Days. This Biblical fast can be found in the book of Daniel. Click here to learn more. 

3-Day fast

Only drink liquid (preferably water-only) for three consecutive days. 

1 Meal per day fast

Fast one meal per day (usually lunch or dinner) as you prioritize God above your routine.

2.  “Creature Comfort" Fasting

In addition to food-related items, consider fasting some of the "creature comforts" that tend to consume your time.  In lieu of your normal intakes of media & entertainment options, substitute Bible reading, devotional books, and/or “quiet time" (including prayer & worship).  Here are a few comforts you might consider abstaining from:

**Social media (Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, TikTok)
**Entertainment (movies, streaming services, YouTube)

In another way, consider altering your budget by denying yourself a material item or expensive lunches each day and, instead, consider blessing someone who has a genuine need or feeding the homeless.  Also, January is a good time to recommit your overall budget to the Lord and align with His biblical design of supporting Kingdom ministry through giving tithes and offerings faithfully.  

3.  Fast & PRAY!

Jesus taught his disciples principles of prayer through personal example & frequent discussion.  The "Lord's Prayer" is Jesus' most famous prayer, but there are many other examples in Scripture of Jesus praying himself—or teaching about prayer itself!  Since Jesus focused so much on prayer, so should we!  Let us not merely deny ourselves of life's "basics" through food & media fasting, let's combine our denial with relational development (with God) through prayer! 
If you don't know how to pray, start small--just talk to God as you would a friend.  If you run out of things to say, try making a categorical list of things to pray about before you begin;  go through the list one-by-one for five minutes each.  Some of the items to include might be thanksgiving (what am I thankful to God for?), praise (what is it about God that is worthy of praise?), repentance (what areas of my life do I need to turn over to God and turn away from in attitude or habit?), Scriptural reading (many of the psalms are actually prayers written or sung to God), intercession (praying for other's needs, praying for spiritual leaders in my life, praying for civic leaders and governmental structures), spiritual warfare (praying against evil forces in my life or the lives of others--among those could be fear, hopelessness, lust, jealousy, anger, etc).  There are so many things to pray about!  
Scripture is clear:  something unique and powerful happens when believers PRAY & seek the Lord with all their hearts!  

You will only pray if it's a priority!  Set your morning alarm 30 minutes early to pray...  here's a good article regarding Jesus’ prayers:  https://www.focusonthefamily.com/faith/learning-from-the-prayer-life-of-jesus/

4. Read Scripture

During these 21 days, create a new habit by carving out daily time to  read the Bible. Here are a few reading challenges:

  • Start a One-Year YouVersion Full Bible Reading Plan
  • Select one of the first five books of the New Testament (Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Acts) and determine to read the entire book within twenty-one days.  
  • Use the Hope Connection Church app to develop a Scripture reading plan that is feasible to execute, based on your daily schedule