Check out these thoughts on Prayer and Fasting from one of our leaders, Jeremy Stuber:
The first time I heard about 21 Days of Prayer and Fasting I thought it sounded daunting! Let’s be real, abstaining from something for 21 days can be difficult, especially if you’re not trying to take the easy way out. For me, fasting social media would be simple. With where I’m at in my life currently I don’t think I’d even miss it. In an attempt to be transparent with myself and not take the easy way out, I had to ask myself "what should I fast”? I scoured my brain searching for the perfect answer and along my search I came to find one question that helped me.
"Does it matter what I fast as much as why I'm doing it?"
The answer was a resounding no! I realized the most important part of the process was not what I was fasting, but why I was fasting. The logical next question to ask myself was, “Why am I doing this?” As a result of this internal dialogue, I came to the realization that I was participating only because we were doing it as a church, but I ended up in a much different place.
Once I determined my “why”, I realized I want to fast and not just follow along. I want to grow closer to God. I want to remove the stress and busyness that so easily overtakes me. I want to hear God's voice.
What is your why?
Participating in the 21 days of prayer and fasting isn't about doing what the church is doing. It isn't about giving up something to better ourselves. For me, this 21 days of prayer and fasting is about me realizing that what I want is something I can accomplish whether it's during our fast, this summer, or next year. You see, fasting shouldn't be a religious discipline that we do because it's in the Bible or our church community is plugging it, rather, it should be something that can help us grow closer to God.
We don’t become a better person during prayer and fasting just because we make the time to talk to Him and become more disciplined with ourselves. However, we do become a better person as a result of our life becoming less about "me" and more about Him. We are better people when we set aside ourselves and focus on other's. Jesus modeled that for us and told us to do as He did. If we are to follow Jesus’ example that would mean we are continually working towards loving our neighbor more than we love ourselves. Although that is a challenge (one that none of us are able to live up to all the time), it is still a challenge I hope to continually improve in.
That's what fasting is all about - being willing to lose control of parts of our lives, submit them to God, and learn to follow Him better. Whether it's social media, food, sugar, or any of the other countless things that I know people are fasting, I encourage you to view the rest of this fast as our opportunity to grow in our knowledge of God and become a little more like him.
Faith is often called a journey because journeys take time and effort; they are a process. I pray that as you finish your fast that you experience more of who Jesus is and that you let that light shine for all those around you to see. I pray that you don't end the 21 days of fasting and prayer and wait until next time the church does it, but that you find ways to incorporate it into your life going forward.
That's been my biggest take away from the first portion of our 21 days. Growing to know Jesus and be more like him is the goal and fasting is just one way to help us on our journey.