Week of Fasting

Jump to Day One  |  Day Two  |  Day Three  |  Day Four  |  Day Five  |  Day Six

Day One

Turning Our Hearts to the Lord

As we begin our fast together, we want to remind ourselves that the whole point is to turn our faces toward the Lord. In Psalm 27, we see David responding to the Lord’s invitation to do just that when we read, “When You said, ‘Seek My face,’ My heart said to You, ‘Your face, Lord, I will seek.’” (Psalm 27:8)

This week, there will be prompts each day focusing on different aspects of fasting, but the overarching theme of this week is turning our hearts and minds to the Lord, especially focusing on Him.

And the flip side of that is focusing less on ourselves. Jesus gave this guidance in Matthew 6 when He said, “Moreover, when you fast, do not be like the hypocrites, with a sad countenance. For they disfigure their faces that they may appear to men to be fasting. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. But you, when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, so that you do not appear to men to be fasting, but to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.” (Matthew 6:17-18)

May this be a week of removing distractions and fixing your eyes on Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith. May you see His face in new ways and may His face might shine upon you.

Day Two

Grief, Sorrow, and Repentance

Often in scripture, when someone finds themselves in the presence of God beholding His glory, they are immediately made aware of their sinfulness. The correct response in this moment is not to sit with that sin but to seek forgiveness and pursue repentance. Today, as we continue our fast, we want to lean into a moment of repentance, sorrow, and grief. These are not fun emotions to experience, but they are necessary if we hope to find healing and wholeness. Throughout the scriptures, God’s people have fasted to grieve over and repent of their sins.

Today might be a day for you to confess your sin to God, grieving over how our sinful nature moves so quickly away from the heart of God. Be deliberate and specific as you confess, and ask God to break your heart towards sin.

Or maybe you’re grieving because there has been a significant loss in your life. It could be the loss of a family member or a friend, the news of a devastating health diagnosis, or the painful end to a season of life. We experience grief for many reasons, and fasting is a biblical response to grief.

Fasting brings the mind, heart, and body into a whole experience of grief. Fasting allows our whole person to respond to the grief we’re experiencing. And as we fast and bring our grief before God, we have the hope and encouragement that God is grieving with us. The clearest picture of God grieving for this broken world is the story of Lazarus found in John 11. There, Jesus weeps with the sisters at the graveside of Lazarus. Jesus wept with Mary and Martha, who were weeping over the death of their brother. God’s heart breaks over the brokenness of this world.

So, as we fast in response to grief, tragedy, despair, and sinfulness—as we fast and express our grief through our body, mind, and heart—we are experiencing the heart of the Father, who is the first to grieve over the brokenness of this world.

As we lean into this today, may your heart be fixed in the promise of Matthew 5:4, “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.”

Day Three

Wisdom, Leading, Provision, and Direction

Pastor’s Note: Welcome to Day Three of our fast. I pray you’re meeting with the Lord in a special way. Make sure to jot down the things you’re praying and hearing this week. A record of how you’re meeting with the Lord will be an encouragement as you look back on it.

Today is an opportunity to fast for God’s wisdom, leading, provision, and direction. These things often prompted God’s people to fast in the Scriptures. One example of this is found in Ezra 8. There, Ezra is about to lead a group of Israelites from Babylon back to Israel. The group would be carrying significant wealth with them to help rebuild God’s temple, making the already dangerous journey even more so. So they turned to fasting in order to seek God for wisdom, leading, provision, and direction.

In Ezra 8:21, we read, “Then I proclaimed a fast there at the river of Ahava, that we might humble ourselves before our God, to seek from Him the right way for us and our little ones and all our possessions.” Read the rest of the chapter to see God’s faithfulness in action.

There isn’t a person among us who doesn’t need to seek God for the right way for us and those around us. We all desperately need God’s wisdom, leading, provision, and direction.

And please seek God for these things for our church family. As we work towards becoming an independent church, we need God’s wisdom, leading, provision, and direction. Like Ezra, we’re on a unique journey as a church family, and we want God to be glorified by leading us along the way. So please include Crossroads in your prayers as you fast.

Day Four


Today, we want to consider the idea of healing. On Day Two, we referenced the brokenness that is in the world, even within us. That brokenness causes us to grieve while also pushing us to seek God for healing and deliverance.

In Matthew 17, the disciples found themselves unable to cast a demon out of a young boy. After Jesus healed the boy, the disciples asked why they had been unsuccessful. Jesus responded to them, “This kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting.” As you reread the story, it becomes clear that the disciples got distracted and gave up. Rather than adding fasting to their continual prayers, they quit.

There will be times when we’re praying for healing, and we’ll be tempted to give in when we really need to give extra focus to our prayers through fasting. Instead of becoming distracted, we need the sharper focus fasting brings to our prayers.

Perhaps today you will focus on praying for healing. This could be physical healing for yourself or others, but it doesn’t need to be limited to that. We all have experienced the hurt of broken relationships, the lingering effects of trauma, or the damage caused by sin. Physical or not, we all need God’s healing.

Fasting might be just the thing to get you to pray for healing in an area you’ve been unwilling to address. It’s a hurt you’re not quite ready to move on from, anger you’re not ready to let go of. This time of fasting might be God’s way of saying, “Now is the time to deal with this.” If that’s you, welcome God’s care of you, and trust that He is good.

Day Five

Spiritual Discipline

This week, we have purposed to turn our hearts towards the Lord, to humble ourselves in grief, sorrow, and repentance, to seek God for wisdom, leading, provision, and direction, and to seek Him for healing. Today, we’ll look at the biblical practice of fasting as a spiritual discipline.

This may not be our first thought regarding fasting, but it is seen throughout the Bible and church history. God’s people have often used fasting as a way to regularly deny the flesh and prioritize the Spirit. Jesus indicated His disciples would fast after He was taken into heaven. In Acts 13, members of the early church were fasting to the Lord. And Paul said in 2 Corinthians 11 that he fasted often.

Today, as we fast, it might be a great opportunity to seek God for the discipline of choosing the spiritual over the natural as a lifestyle. When it has become easy to say yes to the flesh, let’s remind ourselves to say yes to the Spirit. In 1 Timothy 4, Paul exhorted Timothy to exercise himself to godliness. The sad reality is that we don’t tend towards holiness without conscious effort on our part. If we don’t consciously say yes to the Spirit, we will, by default, say yes to our flesh. In 1 Corinthians 9, Paul said that he disciplined his body so that it would be subject to God’s leading rather than his own natural appetites.

We’re easily fooled into thinking we’ll grow more spiritual without much effort. We trick ourselves into thinking spiritual growth will come easily and that it shouldn’t require too much of us. Today, as we fast, let’s put away that lie and exercise ourselves towards godliness. Let’s cultivate a lifestyle of saying yes to the things of God and no to our flesh.

Day Six

The Fast of the Lord

Note: This will be the last prompt, as we’ll meet tomorrow for worship, the word, and communion.

Today, we turn our attention to Isaiah 58. Take time to read the whole chapter, watching as God corrects His people Israel and the way they had turned fasting into a religious ritual. They fasted regularly, but they didn’t do it to seek, honor, and please God. Instead, they did it to show how righteous they were, even subtly competing with one another.

So God spells out an alternate version of fasting that would have been much more pleasing than their prideful efforts. Again, read the whole chapter, but let me read verses 6-8: “Is this not the fast that I have chosen: To loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, to let the oppressed go free, and that you break every yoke? Is it not to share your bread with the hungry, and that you bring to your house the poor who are cast out. When you see the naked, that you cover him, and not hide yourself from your own flesh? Then your light shall break forth like the morning, your healing shall spring forth speedily, and your righteousness shall go before you; the glory of the LORD shall be your rear guard.”

God called His people to include acts of kindness, mercy, generosity, and service as they fasted. Instead of twisting the fast to focus on themselves, God calls them to look to others. Let’s do the same today as a part of our fast. How can we serve those around us? How can we help undo someone’s heavy burden or provide for someone in need?

As we fast today, let’s see how God would call us to see and serve those around us.