The leadership team have felt it on their hearts to invite the whole church family to take part in a time of prayer and fasting, accompanied by a series of prayer and worship gatherings at Eastgate.
One thing that God has made really clear: people are hungry for Him and we need to provide opportunities for hungry people to gather together and “feast on Him” as a church family. I always get very excited when I see hunger building in people. Hunger for God is like heaven’s “down payment” for the more of God. In other words, He wouldn’t give us a hunger that He isn’t planning to fill! So people growing in hunger can only ever mean one thing – more is coming!
What is a fast?
A fast is when we temporarily remove something that takes up a lot of our time, energy or attention for a fixed period of time, in order to give more of our focus to the Lord and grow in intimacy with Him.
When is the fast?
The fast is scheduled to start on 1st March and run for 7 days. The first prayer and worship night will also take place on the 1st March, with the other dates being the 8th, 15th and 29th March – all at 7.30pm at Eastgate.
Why do we fast?
Fasting, at a very basic level, is about removing anything that could be a distraction or hindrance for a period of time in order to focus on God. There are no rules or laws determining what a fast should look like. The thing that God cares about is the fruit. It should bring us closer to Him, with the result being lives around us impacted (read Isaiah 58).
We believe this time of fasting and praying could be a strategic moment in the life of our church as He prepares us for what’s coming. On a personal level, I remember fasting back in 2011, with my focus being to know God “the way Moses knew Him”. In my limited understanding at the time, I didn’t really know what this looked like, but it was on my heart. During the fast, not much seemed to happen (other than hunger!) until the final night when I had a very vivid prophetic dream. In the dream, God used lots of unusual imagery to reveal to me that He was going to grant my request. Fast forward about 8 months, and in a tiny little apartment, in the middle of the night, Kate and I had a profound “face to face” encounter with God, as He literally walked through our apartment, that marked us with the fear of the Lord, brought us as a family into the supernatural realm in a way I never even dreamed possible, and changed our lives forever.
I pray that this story increases your expectation of what’s possible – in your life, your family, and in the life of our church. Something incredibly powerful happens when we determine to remove distractions and give Him our full attention.
So, how do we fast?
We are intentionally not telling anyone whether to fast, or what to fast. The bible tells us that “everything that does not come from faith is sin” (Romans 14:23). A fast done out of fear, obligation or compulsion will not please God or bear fruit. This needs to be approached as a conversation with Holy Spirit. “Should I take part in this fast?” “What should I fast?”
For some of you it may be food, but for others it may be something like social media, your favourite streaming platform or even a hobby that takes up “prime real estate” in your free time. It may even be a combination of things. The motivation is not to make your life miserable, nor to “impress God” with how holy we are! It’s to give Him more of our attention, our time and to draw satisfaction from His presence above other things. A fast should be joyful (even if uncomfortable).
The one guiding principle is this: do it in relationship with Him, not out of any religious compulsion. You are free to choose!
If there is a medical condition, or other reason why you should not take part in a food-based fast, please ensure that you do not do anything to endanger yourself or others and always follow medical advice.
I believe that during this time, the Lord is likely to reveal things to us individually and corporately that will be key to what He is doing. It may be that He shows us things that have been holding us back, or that He opens our eyes to see things in a fresh way. Whether you are taking part in the fast or not, I encourage you to use this time to earnestly seek God for yourself and your church family. Great things are going to happen. It’s an exciting time to be alive!