A Note From Pastor Clay
If you’re reading this fasting resource, it means that you’re prayerfully considering participating in this year’s 21-day church-wide fast. I’m encouraged by that! Over the last couple of years, this time of fasting has been a time of growing, blessing, and setting the tone for the months to come. By setting aside our first-fruits of this year, I believe God will honor that and unpack His faithful promises throughout all of 2020.
This experience will impact both us as a church and for you, personally. I challenge you to write down one thing to believe God for in your personal world as we fast. Each day, as you pray over our church-wide focal points, also bring your personal focus to God. Do that every day over these 21 days, and I believe God will move to align your situation with His will and prepare you for the season to come.
I can’t wait to hear what God has done when we get to the end of the 21 days. I am expectant! And I hope you are, too.
Pastor Clay NeSmith
By starting each year with a corporate fast, many Christians and Churches have found that God meets with us in very unique and special ways. His presence grows greater and greater with each day of the fast. Without fail, He always shows up!
Corporately fasting in January is much the same precept as praying in the morning to establish the will of God for the entire day. I believe along with many Pastors that, if we will pray and seek God and give Him our best at the first of the year, He will bless our ENTIRE year! "But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you." (Matthew 6:33)
Fasting is a principle that God intended for everyone to be able to enjoy. It's not a punishment; it's a privilege! By making fasting a way of life, you can get closer to God and grow in your spiritual walk like never before. Fasting is one of the most powerful weapons God has given us for our daily lives. Through fasting, you can experience a release from the bondage of sin ... restoration in your relationships ... financial blessings ... spiritual renewal ... supernatural healing and so much more!
Another reward of fasting has to do with your future. God has given you a vision, a divine dream for your life. When you fast, you open up the blessings and opportunities He has provided for you to pursue that dream. As you fast, pray for God's direction and guidance. Focus your faith on your dream and God will show you how you can turn your vision into a reality. Begin pursuing your divine dream today and make the rewards of fasting part of your lifestyle.
When you fast and pray, you will see amazing results from God. You will see godly changes in your home/family, prayers answered in incredible ways, wisdom gained about hard issues, and in it all, you will most appreciate that your own desires become secondary to God's. It's all about putting Him first and letting our Shepherd lead the way all year long. Without a doubt, fasting sets you on a great course every year. Psalm 37:23 says, "The steps of a man are established by the LORD, And He delights in his way." (nasb)
Many people believe the first week is the hardest during a fast. Symptoms like grumpiness, sleepiness, headaches, and cravings are all normal because your body is detoxing. The detox part can last for as few as 3 days, but it normally takes a week to feel refreshed (and stronger than ever).
What's the easiest thing about it? You can make your healthy food, like bean soups and snacks for the week ahead. Because you are eating so fresh, your meals and snacks can easily be prepared ahead of time. By the time your first week is up, you will be used to leaving your house with your healthy food. Once your body detoxes, smells that come from places like fast-food restaurants can even become gruesome instead of desirable.
You can still feed your family as normal. Fasting is a joy! It's only our flesh that complains, but the joy you can find in fasting can even show your children how good and pleasant it is to serve God.
I don't expect that every single one of you will join us in our fast but I would like you to pray about reading through the 21-day devotional and prayer guide. So if you can't fast, you can join, with equal impact, by praying for God's grace and strength for those who do! Take this time and pray for our Church. Pray for God to move with divine direction and that in 2020 He will give us dreams, revelation, and visions both corporately and individually.
James 4:8 says, "Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you." He has amazing things in store for us, and I am encouraged and excited about this time of fasting.