Prayer and Fasting

Freshwater Staff   -  

We opened 2023 with a time of prayer and fasting throughout our church, a week that laid the foundation for a year in which the Spirit moved in some incredible ways, not only for our church family but for many of us individually.

As we wrap up our sermon series of Family Conversations in the opening weeks of the New Year, our leadership is once again calling the church to a time of prayer and fasting in 2024, beginning Sunday, January 14.

Below, you’ll find the introductory content from our Prayer & Fasting Guide, with general information about fasting as well as instructions for safe ways to participate. The guide also contains daily devotional content to read throughout the week along with Scripture to take you deeper into each day’s topic.

Printed copies of the Prayer & Fasting Guide can be picked up in the foyer Sunday morning, or you can download the guide here and follow along on your phone or other device.

What is fasting and why are we doing it?

Fasting is giving up something good to intensify our expression of need for something greater, namely God and His transformative presence. Historically, food was often given up during a period of fasting since preparing meals throughout the day required hours of time and energy. Fasting from food meant that you could devote that time and energy to prayer and seeking God. We can still choose to fast from food, but there are many other “good things’’ which occupy our time and energy that we can prayerfully consider giving up. As we continue following after Jesus together, we want to fast and pray as a church family with a desire to see personal and corporate renewal; growing closer to God and to each other.

Our attitude during a fast should be one of surrender with an acceptance of the temporary discomfort we experience. We should listen for and to the Spirit’s “still, small voice” to guide us into deep communion with God. Times of fasting can be exciting with God’s voice ringing loudly, and other times it can seem melancholy and quiet. Either way, we should pursue the deep and exciting things of God. Be prepared for God to do something unexpected in your life, in our church family, and in our surrounding communities.

Please know that if you choose not to fast, no one will look down on you. If you are new to this, consider reviewing what Scripture has to say about fasting, including: Matthew 6:16-18, Matthew 9:14-17, 1 Samuel 7:5-6, 2 Samuel 12:16, Nehemiah 1:4, Daniel 10:3 and Acts 13:1-3.


While types of fasts and length of time can vary, we have chosen a one-week fast for our church family to seek renewal and to receive a fresh indwelling of the Holy Spirit. During this time, please intercede for our Freshwater community, family, friends and neighbors. And since we aren’t meant to follow Jesus alone, we encourage you to fast in community by gathering with others during the week to pray with and encourage each other.

If you are sensing that you should fast from food, there are numerous ways you could consider: a full fast, one meal a day, or cutting out certain foods or beverages that we desire (such as a “Daniel” type of fast: no meat, dairy, alcohol or any rich foods). But keep in mind that food is not the only thing that we can fast from – anything that occupies our time, energy and attention (electronics, entertainment, social media, etc.) could be considered.

Regardless of what you are led to fast from, it must be coupled with prayer – otherwise it’s just a diet or an extended period of charging your mobile device. Remember, this is about surrendering to God and seeking Him and His transformative presence in our lives, individually and as a church family!

Depending on your level of fasting, be prepared. Spiritually, be ready for God to show up and to move. Be prepared to pray for extended periods of time along the themes prepared for each day of the week. Use the suggested daily prayer and the meditation guides as prompts for Scripture reading and prayer, but add to it as the Holy Spirit leads. If He brings other things to mind (people, situations, etc.) that are strongly consuming your thoughts even if you don’t know why, spend extended time in prayer about that. However God leads your time through this, that is the right way to do it.

Physically, you should plan ahead. For example, if you eliminate caffeine (could it be that some of us rely on caffeine more than we rely on God?), consider beginning to wean yourself off it prior to the week starting. If you plan to skip a certain meal every day, make a plan ahead of time. If certain foods will be off limits (sugar, anyone?), you may want to tell the others in your household and put those foods in a different place. You will likely get hungry and cranky (“hangry”), so consider increasing your water intake. And, of course, if you have health issues/chronic medical conditions, please consult your physician before partaking in a substantial fast.

Finally, consider writing down what God reveals and speaks to you during the week. When we are in His presence, He will often provide supernatural words of encouragement, love and direction. You will want to hang onto those and not lose them to a foggy memory as life returns to normal.

A Beginning Reflection

“So they drew near to the village to which they were going. He acted as if he were going farther, but they urged him strongly, saying, ‘Stay with us, for it is toward evening and the day is now far spent.’ So he went in to stay with them. When he was at table with them, he took the bread and blessed and broke it and gave it to them. And their eyes were opened, and they recognized him. And he vanished from their sight. They said to each other, ‘Did not our hearts burn within us while he talked to us on the road, while he opened to us the Scriptures?’” Luke 24:28-32

Lord, we urge you to stay with us, speak to us, open your Scriptures to us, feed us, bless us, open our eyes, and make us BURN for you!