Jan 10 – Jan 24
We want to encourage you to be part of this journey of prayer and fasting for 2021. During these 14 days we will be committing to pray and fast together in one heart and spirit for the year ahead.
2020 was a year with many difficulties, but we can’t let the traumas and challenges we faced hinder our faith and perspective for God’s plan in our lives in 2021. So let’s pray and fast together for our collective mission as a community, and our individual goals, purpose, and calling.
Let’s embark on this journey of renewal, and place our new year in God’s hands!
-JD and Alini Müller.
Prayer is how we connect to God and invite God’s life to shape our life – it’s the primary way a believer lets go of anxiety and ushers in peace in the midst of challenges and trials. To that end, prayer is not our last resort, but it is our first response!
“do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 4:6-7 esv
How To Pray?
If prayer is something you are not used to, it can be challenging to say more than a few words. Building a relationship with God through prayer takes practice. Don’t be discouraged! Decide in your heart to make prayer part of your daily life, and watch God increase your faith and confidence in Him!
Here is a simple acrostic we have developed to help you pray each day. Pray with HEART:
HONOR: Start by praising and worshiping God for who he is. Example: “God I praise you because you are loving. I worship you because you are good. You are merciful and kind.”
EXALT: Continue your prayer by declaring that God above everything in your life. Make Him Lord over your life and all it entails, and humble yourself before Him. Example: “God I lift you up in my life. I exalt you above my earthly securities. In my heart you are higher than my career, higher than my possessions, higher than my finances. I place you above it all!”
ASK: Bring your petitions before God and voice your concerns. In Faith, approach Him like you would a loving father. Let him know about your needs, your vision, and your desires. Present your plans before him. Example: “God I come to you, because you are my Lord, my provider, and my Heavenly Father. Help me with (list the specific desires of your heart)”
RELEASE: Release your anxieties, worries, burdens, and anything that might be weighing you down. Commit your ways and trust Him. Example: “God, even though I just told you my will, I release my heart to you. Let your will be done. I give you my worries and any anxiety that tries to creep in. I bring you my burdens and leave them at your feet.”
THANK: Thank Him for His goodness. Thank Him for all He has done in your life thus far, and thank him for what He is going to do. Example: “God I thank you for your life; I receive your love and your peace in my heart, and I thank you for them. Thank you for all you’ve done and for what you are going to do.”
The simple acrostic above can be a great framework for your daily prayer. We hope it helps!
Fasting is how we disconnect from the world. Throughout the Scriptures we see fasting as a method of consecration and separation from dependencies and distractions. Fasting is not a form of self-flagellation or self-punishment. Fasting is a conscious and intentional choice to grow and strengthen your spirit-man by abstaining from specific pleasures that may cause distraction, in order to spend time with God.
‘”Yet even now,” declares the Lord , “return to me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning; and rend your hearts and not your garments.” Return to the Lord your God, for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love; and he relents over disaster.’ – Joel 2:12-13 esv
How To Fast?
Fasting is a great spiritual discipline, and it is primarily food abstinence. According to Matthew, Jesus fasted for 40 days before beginning his ministry, and when he was tempted he said: “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.” – Matthew 4:4 esv. Fasting will also reveal how often we use food pleasure to compensate for lack of rest, exercise, low self-worth, and purposeless existence.
While fasting is a personal challenge and at times uncomfortable, it is very important to know your body, your options, and most importantly seek God and follow His guidance. It is not about suffering, it is about consecration. We shouldn’t forgo fasting because it is uncomfortable, but in the same way we shouldn’t go beyond the limits of what is healthy and make unwise choices.
There 4 main kinds of fast:
COMPLETE FAST: In this type of fast, you drink only liquids, typically water with light juices as an option. While a complete fast can be fitting, no longer than 3 days is recommended (we recommend consulting your doctor before starting a complete fast).
SELECTIVE FAST: This type of fast involves removing specific foods from your diet. One example of a selective fast is the Daniel Fast, during which you remove meat, sweets, and bread from your diet and consume water and juice for fluids, and fruits, nuts, greens, legumes, and vegetables for food.
PARTIAL FAST: This fast is sometimes called intermittent fasting. It involves abstaining from eating any type of food for a specific period of time, usually lasting longer than 12 hours, or a period of the day, i.e.: from sunup to sundown, or from breakfast to breakfast, etc.
SOUL FAST: This fast is a great option as an addition, or an alternative to fasting food for the 21-day period. Especially if you have health issues that prevent you from fasting foods. It involves abstaining from things that may be hindering your connection with God. You may choose to abstain from social media, Netflix, TV, YouTube or any other form of distraction for the next 21 days.
How To Have A Devotional in 3 simple steps?
During these days, we encourage you to set time aside to be with God daily. Preferably first thing in the morning. If you are new to this, a simple 15-minute devotional time can change the course of your day.
Find a quiet place in your home, away from distractions where you can be undisturbed. Bring your Bible with you. Playing worship music on the background can help you set the atmosphere and focus your heart (Elevation worship, Bethel music, and Hillsong are good choices). If using your phone to play music, we recommend you setting it to Airplane mode with WiFi to avoid distractions.
STEP 1 – Read The Scriptures
Begin by reading the Bible.
If have not yet selected a reading plan, we invite you to read the Gospel of John. Observe what you are reading and answer the following questions:
• What stands out to you in this passage?
• How is the passage challenging its audience?
STEP 2 – Meditate
Take a few minutes to meditate on what you just read. Empty your mind of all worries and concerns, and as you think about the words you read, ask the following questions:
• How do these words apply to my life?
• What is this passage challenging in my own life?
• What action am I compelled to take?
‘Oh, the joys of those who do not follow the advice of the wicked, or stand around with sinners, or join in with mockers. But they delight in the law of the Lord , meditating on it day and night.’ – Psalms 1:1-2
STEP 3 – Pray
Lastly, take time to pray. Pray about what you just read and experienced. Apply it to the year ahead. Think about the things you want to see change this new year, and pray about them.
• Pray for ConnectCommunity.
• Pray for Stamford (and for your town).
• Pray for Fairfield County and Westchester County.
• Pray that those who are lost and far from God may be saved, and may be found.
• Pray about your place in God’s plan for this region.
• Pray that you may be used for His glory, to bring His life and shine His light into the world.
We are so excited to be on this journey together! LET’S CHANGE THE WORLD!