Praying and Fasting

Dec 31, 2016

Blog Praying And Fasting

As 2017 gets underway, Pastor Gregg Matte is inviting the Houston's First family to pray and fast on behalf of our church. This is the first phase of our Praying / Giving / Going emphasis at our church taking place from January through April. Watch Pastor Gregg's message as he introduced this emphasis and talked about praying and fasting, then read ahead to learn about fasting in general and to find helpful resources, timing options for when to fast, and a prayer guide to follow while fasting.

What is fasting?

For Christians, fasting is the act of giving up something (food, drink, entertainment, etc.) for a certain period of time in order to increase our attention on God and what He has to say. There are more than 70 references to fasting in the Bible, and among those who fasted in the Bible are Moses, Elijah, Esther, Ezra, Job, David, Daniel, Peter, Paul — and even Jesus.

Many people equate "fasting" with simply "not eating" — but there are several different types of fasts. A Daniel Fast, for example, is considered a partial fast, allowing you to consume certain types of food and drink (PDF). The fast is based on one that Daniel followed:

  • Daniel 1:12 — "Please test your servants for 10 days. Let us be given vegetables to eat and water to drink."
  • Daniel 10:1-2 — "In the third year of Cyrus king of Persia, a message was revealed to Daniel, who was named Belteshazzar. The message was true and was about a great conflict. He understood the message and had understanding of the vision. In those days I, Daniel, was mourning for three full weeks."

Fasting is letting go of a physical need for a spiritual plea.

— Pastor Gregg Matte

Timing

While the staff and deacons participated in a Daniel Fast the week of Jan 9-13, Pastor Gregg invites you to participate in a fast on any dates of your choosing in January. In particular, he suggests three options as you consider how you will join in on the fast this month:

  • Daniel Fast for 5, 10 or 21 days
  • Complete fast one day a week
  • Complete fast one meal a week

Resources

These resources were compiled by Houston's First staff members and other contributors to help you and your family if you opt to follow a Daniel Fast:

  • List of foods to include and avoid on the Daniel Fast (download PDF)
  • The Daniel Fast board on Houston's First's Pinterest page (visit board)

The following external resources are not associated with Houston's First, but they might provide you with additional information and ideas — especially recipes! Some of these websites reference registering for a Daniel Fast in January, but those are separate from the one we're doing at Houston's First.

Finally, CornerBooks at The Loop Campus has the following titles available in their collection if you want to learn even more. These titles are available for you to borrow for free using your CornerBooks library card. If you do not already have a card, fill out this form to gain access to over 14,000 titles in their collection! (Each title's call number is provided in parentheses so you can locate it on the shelves, but don't hesitate to ask a CornerBooks staff member or volunteer for assistance if needed!)

You can search CornerBooks' entire collection online for other books related to fasting, prayer — or any topic you have in mind — by visiting their online search tool.

Prayer Guide

As we fast in January together, we will pray for the following ministries of our church. A prayer guide — including a suggested template and a list of prayer requests from our ministries and campuses — can be downloaded here (PDF).

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