The fast will officially begin on Sunday, January 15 at 9:00 pm and conclude on Friday, January 20 at 9:00 pm. We were guided by the following:
Fasting from food
Commit to fast for a part or all of the week, depending on your personal circumstances. For persons who are new to fasting, it would be wise to do a modified fast, like one meal each day (lunch or dinner is practical). For those who have fasted before, based on your past experience with fasting and your faith for this fast, you should commit to a partial or full fast. Obviously, minor children are not among those who are expected to fast.
Please also note: These persons should not fast at all:
- Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding;
- Those on medication;
- Those with any kind of medical disorder, even if not on medication; and
- Those who are malnourished.
If you are going to fast for any length of time, please closely read the fasting guidelines below to help you fast wisely, physically and spiritually.
Fasting from Electronic Mass Media
For the entire 5 days, commit to fast fromwatching/listening to electronic media (television and radio, video games, casual internet surfing, etc.). These are not wrong in and of themselves, but they can distract from and dilute our time of consecration.
It is a reality that when we sit in front of a television or turn on a radio, we do not have full control of the images and content that will bombard our minds. Sadly, much of it makes us numb and dumb to things that stifle our growth in godliness. Much of what we take in also promotes a cluttered, junky mind that is contrary to the clear mindedness we are called to as followers of Christ.
- This does not include listening to recorded worship music that is conducive to feeding our spirits and encouraging us to worship. Listening to worship music is encouraged (but not religious television and radio stations…much of the music lack meaningful spiritual calories..they are a type of spiritual popcorn!).
- To keep abreast of news, we can read newspapers (those who read the Punch might consider fasting from it as well for this week of consecration, and even after!), but even reading newspapers requires discretion and discernment because this too can prove distracting and thus diminish God’s work in our hearts this week.
- Fasting from viewing/listening to electronic media would be most effective if the whole family participated. Requests of this nature easily reveal how addicted we are to electronic media, especially television. One suggestion for families with small children who would perhaps be noisier without television is to allow them to view Bible based videos instead of television programs.
Gathering corporately each night
As you are able to, please make best efforts to gather corporately at the church building each night, Monday through Friday, from 7:30 pm to 9 pm. Please note that on Wednesday night, our time together will be focused on families so we are encouraging all families to come out with all members of the family, if at all possible.
The Word and Prayer
For those who are fasting this week, we encourage you to commit to using time that would otherwise be spent eating food or watching/listening to electronic media to feast on God’s Word (or read other biblically based material), to pray, and to listen to God. Pray and ask God to turn your hunger for food into hunger for Him.
The main auditorium will be available during the day for those who wish to come by for private prayer during their lunch break or at other times.
Corporately Breaking the Fast
We will corporately conclude our week of consecration and fasting at 9 pm on Friday, January 20, with a time of sharing, after which we will have hot beverages and appropriate fast-breaking food prepared for those who wish to remain behind to break the fast together, and for fellowship and further sharing about the week of consecration.
For those who are fasting, after you have committed to the length of your fast, you should:
- Start each day allowing adequate time to pray, to read, and to meditate on God’s Word.
- Avoid idle talk and conversation, and be prayerful during the day.
- Use your usual lunch hour to read, to meditate on God’s Word, and to pray, if possible.
- DRINK LOTS OF WATER (make sure it’s at room temperature; cold water can give severe stomach cramps, especially when fasting!).
- If you wish to drink hot beverages (during or immediately after the fast), lemon or lime tea with honey is recommended. Avoid coffee, tea with caffeine, milk/cream, and white sugar.
- GET ADEQUATE SLEEP. Sleep is more important than food since you can go many days without food, but only about 24 hours without sleep.
- AVOID FOOD AND MASS MEDIA TEMPTATIONS. Make this part a of your daily prayer.
Things You Should Know
- During fasting, your body will react, and you may experience hunger, especially if you are fasting for a day or more. Drink water, and the hunger generally goes away. As you progress in your fast beyond the second day, going without food generally becomes easier. But the key is to be feeding your soul by taking in more and more of God’s word and through prayer.
- Some people experience headaches or body aches. Generally, these are signs of the body expelling toxins and poisons that have been stored for long periods of time. If you find the headaches and body aches severe, you should discontinue fasting (see guidelines below on Breaking the Fast).
- It’s normal to not have a bowel movement when fasting for more than one day.
- While fasting, your body is cleansing and healing itself in some ways as your digestive system rests.
- Adequate rest during your fast is very important.
Corporately Breaking the Fast
As we corporately conclude our week of consecration and fasting at 9 pm on Friday, January 20, we will have hot beverages and light food to break our fast together and for fellowship.
Breaking the Fast
When breaking your fast, you should avoid eating solid food right away. For those who fast for three to five days, the following information is helpful as you break the fast:
- Begin eating slowly, starting with small portions of uncooked, room temperature green vegetables with an orange squeezed over or lightly steamed vegetables.
- This can be followed by a low seasoned broth.
- On the next day, depending on the length of time you’ve fasted (and how you feel physically), you can go on to eating regular meals, taking care to eat smaller portions slowly and to avoid greasy, fried foods.
- AVOID EATING ANY FORM OF DAIRY PRODUCTS FOR ABOUT 3 DAYS AFTER FAST (actually, it might be wise to cut out or drastically reduce dairy altogether).
One of the keys to the success of this time of Corporate Consecration is that each of us takes it seriously and participates to the best of our ability, realizing that we are members one of another. So make a commitment to this time, not just for yourself but for your brothers and sisters as well.
This time of consecration and preparation for 2017 is a great opportunity for us to lay a solid foundation to walk worthy of the Lord this year, seeking to please Him in all things. Finally, let’s remember that it is “not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the Lord of hosts” (Zechariah 4:6). Brothers and sisters, we need God to meet us this week! If He does not, we will all be going through the motions. But we can approach this week with much faith and expectation that God will meet us; indeed, He desires to and will meet us.