Prayer and fasting are an essential part of the Christian life. We pray because we are weak, needy, and dependent on an all-powerful God, who is the only one we can trust to have control over the things going on in our lives. We pray because God calls us to prayer, but also because we can run to him as a son runs to a loving father. Fasting, like prayer, is essential because it helps us focus our reliance on our all-powerful loving God instead of earthly things that can appear reliable.
This season has been one of hardship and trials. Through an intentional focus on prayer and fasting, we desire to saturate the truth of James 4:6-10 into our hearts and lives:
But he gives more grace. Therefore, it says, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.
How to Pray
1. Steadfast Prayer
We encourage you to spend at least three times a day in prayer: morning, midday, and evening. This helps implement a pattern of continual prayer throughout the day.
2. Praying Together
Prayer is not something meant to only be done alone. Praying with others is an essential part of prayer in the lives of Christians. We encourage you to make prayer with others a part of your daily focus.
For daily prayer, we encourage you to spend three times per day in prayer, morning, midday and evening. We encourage you to spend your evening prayer time together with your family or those in your household.
At College Park Church, we will also have multiple ways to pray corporately or with others throughout this thirty-day period. You can learn more about these events on our website.
3. Humble Prayer
Romans 5:8 says, “For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
As you engage in prayer, we should be humbled as we remember that God made the ultimate sacrifice for us, enabling us to have life in him and relationship with him. Only by his grace and mercy are we able to come to him in prayer!
4. Intentional Prayer
This guide has a weekly prayer topic. This topic will help have an intentional focus for your time in prayer. Along with this topic, a weekly resource will be listed to encourage and grow your prayer life.
We also encourage you to intentionally pray about each topic in four ways: for yourself, for your family, for your pastors and elders, for the College Park Church body as a whole.
Though a weekly prayer topic will be listed, your prayer should not be limited to just that topic! We encourage you to use the helpful A.C.T.S. acronym to guide your prayer time through an intentional focus on the essential elements of prayer.
5. Expectant Prayer
As we pray, we should pray boldly and expectantly that what God has promised to us in his Word, he will do. Charles Spurgeon gives us a great help in praying with this kind of confidence,
“Doubt not, then, your God, your Father. He has never given you cause to mistrust His Word. Are not all His promises faithful? Come, then, the assurance is well-grounded. If there were only this one promise, it ought to be enough, but see how many there are! The gracious promises of God’s Word are as many as the stars which bestud the midnight sky. ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you’ and ‘My grace is sufficient for you.” ‘Fear not, I will help you.’ ‘He that believes shall not be confounded.’”
God has promised us many things in His Word, and we can pray for those things expectantly!
During this season, we’re also encouraging our church members and attenders to saturate their hearts with the truth from James 4:6-10 through fasting.
Suggestions for your practice of fasting:
- Seek the Lord with your whole heart as you desire to know him more in a time of fasting.
- Choose the length of time to fast and determine from what you will fast.
Some examples of possible fast choices:
- Fast from television for the entirety of the prayer and fasting time
- Fast from a specific number of meals each week
- Fast from food for 24 hours once during the month
As you fast, we also encourage you to:
- Replace your time with prayer, meditation, or journaling—this will help turn your focus to Christ
- Remember to drink plenty of water to remain well-hydrated if fasting from food; avoid caffeine and sugar during the fast
- Plan for how your fasting may affect those around you
- Remember, your fasting is to see our need for God and focus on him, not to be seen by others. Matthew 6:16-18 says “… But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, that your fasting may not be seen by others but by your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.”
- A Hunger for God: Desiring God through Fasting and Prayer by John Piper
- Why Should I Fast? by Daniel Hyde