40 DAYS OF PRAYER AND FASTING //

MONDAY 13 AUGUST - FRIDAY 21 SEPTEMBER

 

 

Everything of eternal value is spiritual in nature, that is, it is not accomplished just through human endeavour and human strength.

If we are going to have a significant influence in Canterbury we must first win the battle in the realm of the spirit.

Since we started the Church, Dave and Lissie have continually called our leaders and Church together to worship God and pray, before making decisions. We don’t simply offer a cursory prayer before the real business happens, we genuinely spend great lengths of time in worship, prayer and listening for God’s will.

When Jesus instructed us to engage in prayer and fasting, He was stressing an important principle for our life with God:

Don’t lean on your own strength but instead rely on the Holy Spirit’s power.

Prayer coupled with fasting is seldom met with great excitement because it doesn’t pander to our flesh. In fact, it does the exact opposite. Prayer and fasting weakens the flesh and strengthens our spirit. The practice of prayer with fasting accomplishes two critical components in our faith:
 

    >     Prayer connects us to God, so we are more influenced by Him.

    >     Fasting disconnects us from being overly influenced by the worlds values.

 

“When you fast, do not look sombre as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show others they are fasting. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that it will not be obvious to others that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” – Matthew 6:16-18 (NIV)


Historically, being close to God meant disengagement from culture. Spirituality meant avoiding and abstaining. However, Jesus presented an alternative way, an engaged spirituality. A connection with heaven that makes a difference in our everyday lives and to those around us.

One of the ways this connection happens and grows is through the habit of fasting. Simply stated biblical fasting is refraining from food for a spiritual purpose. The point is not simply to stop eating but to transfer our hunger, to begin to hunger more for God.

When we read Matthew’s words, it is clear that Jesus expected his followers to fast. It was not an optional extra for those engaging in the Kingdom. It was a habit for believers that released life in their everyday. 


WHY FAST?

There are many reasons why we might fast. We may do it to:

  • Receive breakthrough (Ezra 8:21)
  • Reveal God's direction (Daniel 9:2-3, 21-22)   
  • Reverse tragedy (2 Samuel 12:16,22 & Joel 2:12,14)
  • Release freedom (Isaiah 58)
  • Remind ourselves that He alone is our daily bread (2 Chronicles 20:3)
  • Rediscover intimacy with God

TYPES OF FAST

People can fast in different ways, just in the same way that people can pray in different ways.

NORMAL FAST: Abstaining from all food, solid or liquid but not from water. In Matthew 4, we see Jesus fasting in this way. We read that, "he was hungry" and that Satan tempted him to eat, suggesting he abstained from food but not water.
PARTIAL FAST: This is sometimes referred to as the Daniel fast. It was his custom to restrict his eating/diet but there was not a total abstention of food (Daniel 1:12,15). 
ABSOLUTE FAST: This is linked to a particular crisis or for mourning where no food or drink is taken. There are examples of absolute fasts lasting for forty days, but they must have been supernaturally sustained due to the length of time. It was normal for a period of 3 days as anything more could have been physically damaging (Esther 4:16, Acts 9:9).

OTHER FASTS: If food is an inappropriate fast for you, then there are many other (sometimes more challenging) ways to deny yourself, such as fasting television, your phone, Social media or even speaking. As well, many kids may want to fast other forms of distraction. This can be done in a fun way to learn the principle of prayer and fasting.

We are not asking people to give up food for the full 40 days, but are inviting you and your family to pray about spending some time fasting and praying during that time. The idea is to give it a go and maybe go without some meals or decide to just eat very simply for some meals. However you choose to fast, prioritise spending time in prayer and worship when you do it - focus your mind and energy on God; and be encouraged as you do so. As far as food is concerned, you may consider fasting sweet food or desserts for the 40 Days, or maybe skip a meal a day, or have one or two days in the week that you go without food, or maybe over a weekend. Many children take part in the annual 40 hour famine, so even kids can take part under supervision. It is vital to just remember to keep fluids up!

OTHER PRACTICAL TIPS ON FASTING

CHOOSING THE TYPE OF FAST: Be wise in this decision as your health may play a factor. It is vital that if you have a medical condition or are taking medication, that you consult your doctor first. Remember a partial fast is still of great value, especially where circumstances make it impossible or inconvenient to undertake a normal fast. It can be more suitable for elderly persons or those with a weak constitution who cannot manage a normal fast. It can be used as a stepping stone to the normal fast. You should never fast if you have a eating disorder nor would we recommend it if you are pregnant. 

THE LENGTH OF FAST: The issue is not how long you fast, it’s what you long for when you fast. In this decision, talk with God (and maybe others) about what is the right length of time.

PREPARING TO FAST

This is a key in helping maintain the habit. What you eat and drink before a long fast is important. Eat lightly and reduce your intake of cooked foods and meats. Resist the urge to have that last big feast before your fast. If you are a regular tea or coffee drinker, it is advised you cut down on the lead up. This could help with the potential headaches. 

BREAKING A FAST

You may be tempted to eat a rich and large meal after going so long without food. This is not recommended. Solid food must be reintroduced slowly otherwise it could be uncomfortable for your body or even cause damage. After a long fast, you should make a careful transition for at least three days before returning to eating meats or fats or normal foods. Raw foods and liquids can be helpful.

Why not write a personal plan of all the things you long for, include some personal areas as well as wider prayer for others, for our church and for our region. There is nothing wrong with fasting for breakthrough or for specific answers to prayer, but at its core, fasting is to be done not so that we can gain, but to lead us into greater alignment with God's heart. It is our undivided worship and wholehearted response to Him. In forgetting the possibility of personal gain, in making a habit of fasting, we bring an offering just for Him and our heart’s change.

SPEAKING IN TONGUES

The one who speaks in a tongue builds himself up.

- 1 Corinthians 14:4

For those of you who have the gift of tongues, we encourage you to employ this gift as often as you can during this 40 days of prayer and fasting. Tongues submits your spirit to the Holy Spirit and allows Him to pray His will through you, while at the same time building up the strength of your spirit over your flesh. Why not try and pray 10 minutes a day in tongues and see what result you have in 40 days?

EACH DAY, FOR 40 DAYS

  • Spend time worshipping God for who He is. Tell Him of His own attributes you love.
  • Spend time actively listening for Him. Take note of random thoughts, pictures or scriptures that come to mind.
  • Talk to God honestly and confidently about what comes to mind, trusting that He has had opportunity to lead you.
  • Specifically lean into asking God what is He doing in this region. We want to see the whole of Canterbury transformed by the love and power of God. To help in this, we need to know the strategies of the Lord – all through the Old and New Testaments the Lord gave specific directions when His people sought Him in times of battle or difficulty. Write down what He gives you.

PRAYER FOCUS

  • Pray for people to come to know God, that they would experience the Light of the World for themselves.
  • Pray for those in our Church in this season that they would be light wherever God has called them to be
  • Pray for significant finances to be raised through the generosity of our Church family for our campus developments.
  • Pray for God’s Church to make a Kingdom difference to the seven sphere of societal influence: Religion, Business, Family, Education, Government, Media and the Arts.
  • Pray specifically for some current issues in Canterbury listed below, alongside others God may highlight to you.
  • Mental health statistics improving
  • Children and youth thriving at school and at home
  • Youth suicide eliminated
  • Businesses prospering
  • Social housing for all those in need of housing
  • Building vibrant communities – where the elderly, lonely, shut ins are connected
  • Solo parent families supported
  • Employment opportunities for those seeking work
  •  Strong support systems, counselling etc for those struggling with addiction
  • Easy access to health care for the poorest in our community
  • Blessing the strangers, visitors and migrants to our city
  • True partnership between the Treaty partners – honouring of the mana whenua
  • Just governance of our city
  • Justice for all those who need it
  • Strong unity amongst the Church city-wide

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PRAY
FOR 1 PERSON
FOR 1 MINUTE A DAY
FOR ONE MONTH

We are encouraging everyone to pray for one individual during this time, who is far from God, for one minute of the day. You can write who you are praying for on our 111 cards.

WE ARE PRAYING THAT:

1. The Father would draw them to Jesus (John 6:44)

2. We bind the spirit that blinds their mind (2 Cor 4:4)

3. They would desire to know God as their Father (Rom 8:15)

4. Believers would cross their path (Matt 9:38)

5. They would have a divine encounter (Eph 1:17)


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CORPORATE PRAYER MEETINGS

City Campus
LOTW Prayer Meeting

Every Sunday, 4.45pm - 5.45pm
City Campus 12 Aug – 16 Sept


Worship Chapel

Every Wednesday Morning,7am – 8am, Unit 5


Praying for Lost Loved Ones

First Monday of the Month
7pm – 8.30pm, City Campus

 

Beach Campus
Community Prayer Meeting

Every Thursday Morning, 7am – 8am

 

North Canterbury
LOTW Corporate Prayer

Sunday Evenings, 7.30pm – 9pm, at Pegasus Bay School, 12 Aug – 9 Sept