Read: We continue to look at the subject “Arise, Shine”, believing that after seasons of cleansing and trial, comes blessing, increase, promise and fulfilment. As we enter a 21 day season of prayer and fasting as a church, we are looking at the subject of fasting, to see how it helps the believer to arise and shine in their walk with God.
To fast*, is usually to do without food, so we can devote ourselves to prayer. One teacher states “fasting is closing down a human appetite, so a divine one takes it place”. Let’s see how fasting can help our spiritual walk:
Fasting Leads to Divine Encounters
Read Daniel 10:2-7
1) In this passage Daniel fasts meat, choice foods, wine and face cream! If fasting is about bringing our normal human appetites under control, to release a divine appetite in us, what other things do you think you could fast?
2) At the end of his three week fast, Daniel had a divine encounter with the Lord. If you knew fasting would lead to such encounters, do you think you would engage in it more often?
3) When Daniel encountered the Lord, only he could see Him, even though the others felt His presence. Why do you think fasting might help sharpen our ability to see into the spiritual realm?
Fasting Leads to Heavens Help
Read Daniel 10:12-14
4) In this passage the answer to Daniel’s prayer is sent from heaven the minute he prays, but is held up by heavenly traffic jams and wars! Prayers are most often abandoned by us, rather than unanswered by God. What difference do you think it would make to your prayers, if you knew the answer was on its way the moment you started to pray? How could this give us perseverance in prayer? What emotions and thoughts hinder our perseverance?
5) Are there prayers and requests you need to re-awaken, now you understand that God may not have said “no”, but rather, the answer was “on its way” to you? Discuss.
Fasting Releases Grace
Read James 4:6-10
6) Psalm 35:13 says “I humbled my soul (my mind, emotions and will) with fasting”. If fasting humbles us, what good do you think it will bring into our lives, according to James 4:6-10?
7) Why do you think fasting humbles us?
8) How might increased grace affect your life in a day to day way?
Fasting Releases Authority & Faith
Read Matthew 17:14-21. In some bibles, you need to include the footnote “But this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting”.
9) Why do you think the disciples could not heal the boy?
10) Has anyone in the group ever faced a difficult situation, where they employed extra prayer and fasting as a means to see breakthrough? Tell your stories.
11) Does anyone in the group have a situation that they think extra prayer and fasting may help with? Discuss.
In this 21 days of prayer and fasting, discuss each of the areas we are praying for below, and then pray for each other, and New Life, that we would see breakthrough in all these things:
“I am Seeking God to,
Be closer in my walk with Jesus
Release health, healing, refreshing and protection across New Life
Release God’s favour for a new building for New Life
Increase our fruitfulness across East Yorkshire
Plus, something personal…………………………………………………….”
*Please note, you should not engage in fasting from food if you have a medical condition that may be aggravated by fasting.