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Fasting & Prayer

Three Days of



Most of us know what fasting is. Often people fast when they want to lose weight, or do a cleanse of some sort, so you try hard to not eat food for a set amount of time, gritting your teeth through the hunger, working hard to stay occupied so you don’t think about your growling stomach, until you’re able to finally eat again. No wonder more people don’t do it! That sounds miserable! But as is the case with almost every thing in life, God offers us something far better.

First of all, fasting is something the Bible expects us to do from time to time. God’s people called for fasting in order to ask for wisdom, deliverance from enemies, protection, or to express repentance and grief over sin. Even Jesus fasted at the beginning of his ministry. In none of those cases was fasting about losing weight or detox (although those things certainly happened). Biblical fasting could be described as, “abstaining from one of God’s good gifts (most often food) to pursue something greater.” In the Bible, fasting isn’t about what you don’t get (food), fasting is about what you receive (wisdom, protection, grace, forgiveness, clarity, etc).

The call is to seek the Lord, and expect that we will receive from him. Most of the time, we pray and enjoy God’s good gifts, thanking him for our food and our drink and our job and our family, but in fasting, we say to God, we want you more than we want your gifts.


When the woman at the well in John 4 offered Jesus a drink of water, he told her that he has a kind of living water she should be asking him for. Because if she did, she’d never be thirsty again, in fact, it would produce a well of water inside of her. When the disciples showed up during that same conversation with her, they asked Jesus if he’d had lunch. He looked at them and said, I have food you don’t know anything about – it’s doing my Father’s will to completion. That’s what fuels me.

Food is good and necessary, but there’s more to life than just filling your stomach. Your soul matters far more than your earthly body. Fasting from physical food is a way of setting the table in order to eat and drink that which is spiritual food that Jesus offers. It’s a way of tasting and seeing that the Lord is good, as the Psalms say. It’s a way of saying no to my own desires, and yes to the desires of God.


So why are we fasting as a church this week? Simply put, we’re seeking the Lord for the health and direction of River City Church. We have a building team we introduced last week, and they will need much wisdom in the coming days, weeks, months. We want to follow the Lord’s lead on this project, not simply our own ideas. Last week, I mentioned hiring someone to spearhead the Youth and Children’s ministries that we don’t have currently, so we’re asking God to raise up the right person/people. I also mentioned that we want to expand our elder team, so specifically praying about who God would have to fill those positions. For our city and those who are far from Jesus – our loved ones, family, etc

And the most important reason, very simply, is that we would know the Lord. That we would not give up, that we would stay faithful, that we would grow in following him, that we would stand against the assaults of the enemy and hold fast to what is true


If you have never fasted in your life, skipping all three meals for all three days is probably not what you should do. In fact, if you’re new to fasting, I would encourage you to just skip one meal a day. Skip lunch. Almost everyone can do that. Or maybe skip lunch the first day and then two meals the next day. Ask for God’s help and start wherever you can start. We’re not going to police you in this. No one is going to come to your house and see if you’re doing it right. Long fasting isn’t a sign of deeper maturity – just doing it at all is good and you’ll benefit from it

  • DRINK LOTS OF WATER! If you are able, pick up some bottled spring water for these three days and drink lots of it during your fast. If you think you’ll need some energy along the way, keep some juice handy. But drink lots of water, regardless.
  • Don’t do a working lunch. When you skip lunch, still take the same amount of time you would have. You may even sit down at the table where you would have eaten. If you’re at work, maybe avoid the lunchroom but go sit in your car. The idea is that you use the time you would have been fueling your body physically and use that time to fuel your spirit and your soul in prayer by calling out for more of Jesus.
  • Keep a journal. We’re expecting in these days that God will give us wisdom. We’re expecting that he may open our eyes to see truths in his word we’ve never seen, or sins we’ve never confessed, or healing to people we didn’t even know were sick. So keep a notebook handy, and while you’re praying, write down the things that come to mind and hang on to them. Even when the fasting days are over, keep praying over those things. Speak what needs spoken. Repent where repentance is needed. Forgive whoever you need to forgive.
  • What if I can’t skip meals? If you have a health condition where you’re not sure if fasting would be good for you, or you’re taking medication that needs to accompany food, you may want to call your doctor and see if skipping one meal a day would be okay. If not, you may consider fasting something else that is a normal and good part of your life: phones and devices, tv, watching the news, or something else that’s a regular routine in your day. The only thing the Bible says you shouldn’t fast from is washing your face and combing your hair. No one should be able to tell by looking at you that you are fasting (Matthew 6:16-18).
  • What about my children? Should I expect my kids to fast too? That’s up to you as parents, but I would say if they can at all understand what is happening, and why fasting is important – YES! Skipping one meal during the day, and aiming for an early supper could be a great way to introduce them to this spiritual discipline. But use the wisdom God provides, and don’t get legalistic about it.
  • Pray before you begin. You have a spiritual enemy who is not fond of people calling out for more of Christ. He is not interested in more of Christ, in fact he’d love to stir up a desire for less of Christ. So expect to be assaulted with reasons why you should not participate. The enemy will try to get you to forget or quit, and then belittle you with condemnation when you do. He’ll draw your attention to your stomach. He’ll tell you fasting doesn’t matter, God loves you. He’ll tell you you’re a JV Christian if you only do one meal while the Varsity starters are doing all 9 meals. He’ll insult your intelligence coming and going, so make sure you spend time in prayer before you jump in. Remember this: Our enemy is speaking as someone who is defeated. Take your stand, Ephesians 6 says, against his schemes, Resist him, James 4 says, and you do this by rehearsing scripture out loud and praying to the Father through Jesus.



I would like to invite you, this Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, to join me in a three day fast, either one meal a day, two meals a day, or all three each day, but decide in your heart to seek the Lord for the health and direction of River City Church and that his kingdom would come here in Riverside as it is in heaven, that Jesus would take up his residence on the throne of our hearts in this church and in this city. We would like to build this into our annual rhythms as a church, so this won’t be the last time we do this. Please don’t hesitate to scroll down and send a message if you have some concerns.

Three Days of Fasting and Prayer for the health and direction of River City Church

April 23-25, 2024


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Fasting sounds so simple, and yet the world, our flesh, and the devil conspire to introduce all sorts of complications that keep it from happening. In view of helping you start down the slow path to good fasting, here are six simple pieces of advice. These suggestions might seem pedantic, but the hope is that such basic counsel can serve those who are new at fasting or have never seriously tried it.

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Fasting is freshly fashionable in many quarters today — which means Christians need to be all the more careful to take our cues on this subject from Jesus, and not popular culture. Just a generation ago, a growing number of voices were claiming that fasting is bad for your health. Now it’s flipped. Today, more and more dietitians are preaching, “When done correctly, fasting can have beneficial physical effects.” But what’s the difference between fashionable fasting and Christian fasting?

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As you fast and pray, keep a journal of what God brings to mind. It may be something just for you, it may be something you think is for the whole church to know. This is a good place to jot down that insight so the elders can see it and prayerfully consider the appropriate way to share that out if it’s for everyone.

Read More Journal here