Hope Chapel Family,
This past year God has done some new and amazing things here at Hope Chapel! We have seen God work through our church as He has brought in a new lead pastor, new worship encounter services, new youth pastor, and new mission statement. We are excited to see what God does next and want to follow Him wherever He may lead. To this end, we want to invite you to join us in asking God for His guidance and provision in 2018 by committing to a week of fasting and prayer from January 1st-7th. We will then break the fast together after our Worship Encounter service on Sunday evening, January 7th.
Why Christians Fast
I realize some in our congregation might be new to the practice of prayer and fasting and so I wanted to provide some additional instruction and explanation on why we fast and how to fast. When we fast, we forgo food as a source of physical nourishment and strength to remind ourselves of our need to rely on God for spiritual nourishment and strength. Fasting is done in combination with a commitment to pray and study God’s word. As Jesus taught, Christians “do not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4).
We want to focus this particular fast on praying for God’s will and provision for the upcoming year. To use an analogy, we give a tithe of our income to show that all we have comes from God and ultimately belongs to Him. In the same way, I want our church to fast for the first week of the year to show that we are committing the entire year to Him. We are praying that all we do in 2018 will be an act of worship to Him, in accordance with His will, and by the strength He provides.
How to Fast
When Jesus taught on fasting, he decried the legalistic tendencies of the Pharisees to turn fasting into a competition done for vain glory before men. So, I want to stress that fasting should not be legalistic, and no one should feel the need to “compete” with anyone else in terms of how they fast. There are many ways to fast and each member of Hope Chapel should feel comfortable to fast in whatever manner they feel called by God. Here are a few ways that Christians have historically fasted:
- Fasting on water alone. If you have never fasted before I DO NOT recommend a water only fast for an entire week as your first introduction to fasting. If you have special health needs (ex. Diabetes, Hypoglycemia, etc.) I would recommend consulting with your doctor before attempting a water only fast.
- Fasting from solid foods (water, juice, tea, etc. allowed).
- Time of day fasting. Christians can choose to fast during a certain portion of the day. For example, one might fast during the lunch hour and instead commit this time to prayer. Another popular form of this fast is to fast from sun-up to sundown with a small meal being eaten before dawn and/or after dusk.
- Daniel Fast. This form of fasting is modeled after that practiced by the prophet Daniel as described in Daniel 10:2-3. A Daniel Fast consists of eating only fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts and liquids, while abstaining from meat, processed foods, rich foods and sweets. For an example of the Daniel Fast see: https://ultimatedanielfast.com/ultimate-daniel-fast-food-guidelines/.
- Non-food fasts. Christians can choose to fast from things other than food. For example, one might fast from watching TV, social media, the internet, etc. and commit some of the time they would have spent on those activities to prayer and the study of God’s word.
There is no single “correct” way to fast and fasting should be neither competitive nor legalistic. If you start out fasting with one method and feel the need to switch to another method of fasting, know that God loves you just the same and desires to work in your life regardless of your method of fasting.
Commitment to pray and study God’s word
As mentioned previously, we are fasting in conjunction with a commitment to pray and study God’s word in order for Him to be our source of spiritual strength and nourishment. To this end we will hold a series of prayer meetings and open the church individual prayer.
- Wednesday 6pm in the Youth room. Prayer for the youth and young adults of Hope Chapel.
- Thursday 6pm in the Children’s Church room. Prayer for the kids (birth-6th grade) of Hope Chapel.
- Saturday 6pm in the Sanctuary. Prayer for the lost of our community and world. Those involved in Hope Chapel’s Kingdom Builders and First Impressions ministries are especially encouraged to attend.
- Sunday 5pm in the Sanctuary. Worship Encounter service and prayer for revival.
- Individual Prayer Tuesday-Thursday 7 am – 3 pm in Classroom A-West (the preschool classroom). This room will be unlocked and set up with prayer stations for individuals to come and pray. Feel free to come anytime during these hours to pray.
Blessings to all,
Pastor Eric Hernando