Some people have asked me “Why 21 Days of Prayer and Fasting at the beginning of this New Year?” 2017.
We read in Daniel 10 that he is pressed in by a great need and longing for Israel’s captivity to end. He goes to a place of prayer for three weeks (21 days) and enters into a partial fast. He was disciplined, sensitive, consistent, uncompromising, bold and attentive toward the reality of his life’s journey (and that of Israel’s) but always pressing towards God’s expected best. He does three things that bring an end to Israel’s captivity:
• He prayed (3 times a day) and fasted.
• He repented for himself and his people.
• He was receptive to the Word of God, with open hands ready and willing to receive God’s direction.
As a result he awakened to God’s preferred future for his life and Israel’s future; he was prepared to do what God wanted him to do; and he was ready to be a blessing to those around him.
Why 21 days of prayer and fasting? Prayers aren’t arrows shot into the sky. They are conversations that bring you onto the path of God’s presence. They are the most important conversations of our lives. Add to your praying the practice of fasting and your eyes see clearer. Your ears hear better the very voice of God as you discern His purposes in your life. It generally takes 21 days to form new habits.
21 days of praying and fasting is the right practice to start believing God for all that He has for you in 2017. We set it as a priority to faithfully seek God first, growing in our trust in His power alone to create lasting impact in our lives and our church and our world.
A word about fasting. The goal of fasting is to draw nearer to God. Biblical fasting always has to do with the eliminating of distractions for spiritual purpose; it hits the re-set button of our soul and renews us from the inside out. It enables us to celebrate the goodness and mercy of God and prepares our hearts for all the good things God desires to bring into our lives. A personal fast should present a level of challenge, but it’s very important to know your body, your options, and most importantly to follow what the Holy Spirit leads you to do. If you have never fasted make this a simple selective fast – choose something that you enjoy and do without it for 21 days. For example, if you like drinking fizzy drinks, abstain for 21 days so that every time you have an urge to get one from the fridge you turn to prayer instead.
My prayer for you in these 21 days is that you will be awakened to the presence of the Lord and His provision for your life. You will be prepared to go where He wants you to go, do what He wants you to do and be what He wants you to be.
Prayer and Fasting Resource:
“7 Basic Steps to Successful Fasting and Prayer” by Bill Bright at www.cru.org/train-and-grow/spiritual-growth/fasting/7-steps-to-fasting.html. Learn how to begin your fast, sustain your fast and break your fast, including both the spiritual and physical aspects during each of these times.