Fasting and Prayer Guide
When we fast, we turn
away from gratifying our natural appetites and turn toward feasting on God and
his Word. In a very real way, fasting awakens us to just how much we are driven
and controlled by fleshly desires. This recognition calls us to repent and
acknowledge the truth of Jesus’ declaration: “‘Man shall not live by bread
alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God’” (Matthew 4:4).
We recognize that some
people, for medical or other reasons, may not be able to fast from food. For
them, we recommend fasting from something else that characterizes their daily
life—like social media, television, or some other habitual activity. Remember:
fasting is not a way for us to impress or manipulate God; it is a time to
recognize our complete dependence on him. What you fast from is less
important than what you are fasting for.
Suggestions for a Successful Fast
1. Pray and ask God to
reveal himself to you during this time.
2. Determine the
length of your fast ahead of time and plan for how and when you will break the
fast. You may choose to fast for 24 hours, for a set period of the day (such as
dawn to dusk), or for a specific number of meals.
3. Be sure to stay
hydrated. Water and juices are excellent for this. Avoid caffeine and processed
sugar, both of which contribute to dehydration.
4. The goal is not
merely to refrain from eating but to replace eating with prayer. So plan for
specific times of prayer through the day and be careful not to fill up your day
with activities that keep you from praying.
5. Remember that
others may be impacted by your choice to fast—family, roommates, etc. Be sure
to consider and plan for how this will affect them.
6. Keep your Bible and
a journal close by. You will want to be alert to what God might say to you as
you wait before him, making notes of any insights you gain.
1. Prayer of Adoration
“And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good.”
“How many are your
works, LORD! In wisdom you make them all; the earth is full of your
creatures.” Psalm 104:24
Look up at the vast
sky, consider all the beautiful green trees and grass, listen to the birds. All
of it is God’s handiwork. It originated in his imagination and was created by
his great power. And it shouts how great and beautiful and glorious and
creative and powerful he is. Let creation lead your heart to worship God.
God, after He spoke
long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, in
these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all
things, through whom also He made the world. And He is the radiance of His
glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the
word of His power.
The One who created
all things by his powerful word is the same One who sustains all things by that
same word. He is sovereign over all things, faithfully working in every
situation to accomplish his good purposes. Take a moment to marvel at the
sovereign goodness of God. Thank him that he is working all things together for
our good, even when we do not understand. Rejoice that, though the enemy
intends destruction in this current crisis, our God means it for good.
2. Prayer of Confession
“Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death
through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned … But the free
gift is not like the trespass. For if many died through one man’s trespass,
much more have the grace of God and the free gift by the grace of that one man
Jesus Christ abounded for many.” Romans 5:12, 15
creation has been marred by sin, sin for which we all are responsible. Paradise
lost. Death spread to all men because all sin. The effects or your sin are
devastating, for yourself and for others. What do you need to confess? What idols
do you need to cast down? Where has a love of comfort and seeking life in
things displaced your love for God?
Consider again the
sovereign goodness of God. Where has fear caused you to doubt the faithful love
of God? Confess where you have foolishly violated James 4:13–16, acting as if
tomorrow was promised to you.
End your time of
confession by giving thanks to God for the redemption and forgiveness purchased
for us by Christ Jesus.
3. Prayer of Humility
“So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.”
Certain life events
bring our mortality into focus. Our weakness and vulnerability gets exposed.
Ask God to give you a humble heart that rests in his sovereignty. And pray for
wisdom as you live each day in light of eternity. Give God thanks for the
promise of eternity with him through Jesus Christ, our Lord.
4. Prayer for
Awakening and Salvation
“When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them, because
they were like sheep without a shepherd.” Mark 6:34
As you consider your
neighbors and those who live around you, ask God to give you a heart of
compassion for those who do not know him. Pray that God would bring an
awakening to your city through this current crisis. Ask God to help people see
their need for him and bring many to salvation. Pray specifically for your One,
asking God to use this season to turn their hearts toward him.
5. Prayer for
“The LORD is trustworthy in all he promises and faithful in all he does. The
LORD upholds all who fall and lifts up all who are bowed down. The eyes of all
look to you, and you give them their food at the proper time. You open your
hand and satisfy the desires of every living thing.” Psalm 145:13b–16
Every single one of us
is dependent on God to provide for us and sustain us. And the Scriptures remind
us over and over that God cares for the widow and the orphan and the alien. His
heart is turned toward those who are oppressed and cast down. Pray that God
would use his people to provide for the needy. But also ask God to provide in
miraculous ways like he did for the widow at Zarephath (1 Kings 17) or the
multitude he fed with a few fish and loaves of bread.
6. Prayer for the
“They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the
breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe at the many
wonders and signs performed by the apostles. All the believers were together
and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to
anyone who had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple
courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere
hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord
added to their number daily those who were being saved.” Acts 2:42–47
Pray that our churches
would be marked by unity and love for one another, that we would care well for
each other. Pray that we would be blessed so that we can be a blessing to the
communities where God has placed us. Ask God to give wisdom and direction to
our pastors and leaders as they shepherd the flock of God.
7. Prayer for God’s
“He told them, ‘The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the
Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.’”
“‘Be still, and
know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in
the earth!’” Psalm 46:10
The heart of our God
longs for those who are separated from him. He is not willing that any should
perish. He promised that he would be exalted among the nations. And to that
end, he told us to pray that workers would be sent out to preach the good news.
Pray for an increased
willingness to go, asking God to stir your own heart for the nations. Pray that
hundreds, even thousands, would go to the mission field because of this. Pray
that he would open doors for missionaries to go into all the earth. Ask God to
protect those who are on the field now and keep them healthy and safe so that
they can continue to be a light in darkness. Pray that God would make this a
season of unprecedented advance of the gospel.
Adapted from Summitrdu and Radical.net