The Intentional Fast

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled.

-Matthew 5:6

Hello, Relentless! Welcome to the Intentional Fast. This year we are intentionally getting to know God better, in our minds, body and Spirit. That’s why we, as a community, are setting aside 21 days to fast. What does it mean to be intentional? The word intentional represents a commitment to carry out an action or actions for a clear purpose, to achieve a specific outcome or result in the future, to accomplish a desired goal. Our goal is to be more like Jesus. This will be a time of purposeful and deliberate prayer, fasting, worship, and time set aside to pursue a deeper relationship with God.

If this is your first fast or you have fasted for many years, God has something for every one of us. In Matthew 7:7-8 Jesus promises when we ask, seek and knock that He will respond and draw closer to us. 7Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. An encouragement to endure in prayer; ask with urgency, to seek, search or strive to learn, and knock to stand at the door and pray continuously.

Before we get started, we’d like to encourage you to think of a good location where you can spend time with God. Perhaps in a specific room in your house early in the morning, in your car on your lunch break or a quiet park where you can be alone. Additionally, we encourage you to have a device with you or keep a journal and pen handy as the Lord may speak to you or inspire you in the creative while fasting.

Day 10: Intentional Worship

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Welcome to Day 10! In the Bible, the number 10 means “perfection.” So, we would like to start off this week worshiping God, the only one who is perfection. 

            Give[a] unto the Lord, O you mighty ones, Give unto the Lord glory and strength.[b]Give unto the Lord the glory [c]due to His name; Worship the Lord in the [d]beauty of holiness. Psalms 29:2 

What is worship? Worship is the act of attributing reverent honor, adoration, and reverence to God. It is an act of love and evidence of the posture of our heart. God should be the intended target of our worship. However, there are times that our focus may be split on other things that we hold in great esteem—whether it be someone that we admire greatly or something that we have fond affection for (e.g. cars, music, houses, lifestyles, etc.).

One of the ways we spiritually mature and grow closer to God, is being intentional in our worship of him. Making him the center of our lives. Here’s how we can begin to be more intentional in our worship. Begin your day by thanking him. Look around at all you have. Thank him for your life, abilities, family, opportunities and the food you ate. Next, praise him. Express how appreciative you are for all he has provided. During this time, choose not to focus on things you don’t have right now, instead, focus on all the things you do have (life, air, this earth, shelter and the like). We worship God because He is worthy of it. And, if you didn’t know, he created us and this world to praise and worship Him. “Let everything that has breath praise the Lord. Praise the Lord.” Psalms 150:6

Let’s do that now! On Day 10, we want you to find 10 things that you can thank and praise God for! Take a moment and express your gratitude, appreciation, and thankfulness for who God is and all he has provided!

Prayer

Lord we thank you for who You are.  Creator of the Universe, we bless your Holy name today. We thank you for your strength in times of trouble, for your majesty we bless you. We thank you that we have the opportunity to worship you in Spirit and truth. You are worthy of all the glory, honor, and praise. Today and every day we lift your name for you are a healer, a way maker, a mind regulator, a heart mender and our God. We thank you. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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Welcome to Day 10! In the Bible, the number 10 means “perfection.” So, we would like to start off this week worshiping God, the only one who is perfection. 

            Give[a] unto the Lord, O you mighty ones, Give unto the Lord glory and strength.[b]Give unto the Lord the glory [c]due to His name; Worship the Lord in the [d]beauty of holiness. Psalms 29:2 

What is worship? Worship is the act of attributing reverent honor, adoration, and reverence to God. It is an act of love and evidence of the posture of our heart. God should be the intended target of our worship. However, there are times that our focus may be split on other things that we hold in great esteem—whether it be someone that we admire greatly or something that we have fond affection for (e.g. cars, music, houses, lifestyles, etc.).

One of the ways we spiritually mature and grow closer to God, is being intentional in our worship of him. Making him the center of our lives. Here’s how we can begin to be more intentional in our worship. Begin your day by thanking him. Look around at all you have. Thank him for your life, abilities, family, opportunities and the food you ate. Next, praise him. Express how appreciative you are for all he has provided. During this time, choose not to focus on things you don’t have right now, instead, focus on all the things you do have (life, air, this earth, shelter and the like). We worship God because He is worthy of it. And, if you didn’t know, he created us and this world to praise and worship Him. “Let everything that has breath praise the Lord. Praise the Lord.” Psalms 150:6

Let’s do that now! On Day 10, we want you to find 10 things that you can thank and praise God for! Take a moment and express your gratitude, appreciation, and thankfulness for who God is and all he has provided!

Prayer

Lord we thank you for who You are.  Creator of the Universe, we bless your Holy name today. We thank you for your strength in times of trouble, for your majesty we bless you. We thank you that we have the opportunity to worship you in Spirit and truth. You are worthy of all the glory, honor, and praise. Today and every day we lift your name for you are a healer, a way maker, a mind regulator, a heart mender and our God. We thank you. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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Welcome to Day 9! Congratulations you have made it through the first week of the fast! In the Bible, the number 8 means “new beginnings.” So, we would like to start off this week with a fresh start! 

“…Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” (2 Corinthians 5:17).

The mistakes you have made in the past are gone, when you are in Christ. What does it mean to be “in Christ”? It doesn’t mean to be literally inside of him, like what you purchased on Amazon is inside the box on your front porch. No, it means to be united with him in your heart and soul. 

Romans 10:9 says:

If you declare with your mouth, Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved

When you believe in your heart that God raised Jesus from the dead—for your sins and mistakes—you can’t help but to declare, “Jesus is Lord!” In the wake of this transformative experience, the Bible says that you are saved!

This is the start of being “in Christ”—united heart and soul. When this occurs, your old life is gone and your new one begins. You can leave your past behind and begin to walk into the one he prepared for you. This is your day 8. This is your intentional identity—your new beginning!

Prayer

Thank you Lord for making me a new person in Christ. Thank you that my past does not define me. The old is gone and the new has come. I am free to be the person who you made me to be, because Jesus died for my sins and mistakes and God you raised him from the dead. You did this save me from my old dead way of living and to resurrect the life you always desired for me. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

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Welcome to Day 8!

We are focusing on loving intentionally today.

13 Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down ones life for his friends.  John 15:13 As we discussed yesterday, God allowed His faultless son Jesus to die for our sins and mistakes—the old is gone, all has become new! Jesus loved others and desires us to love them as he did. If we are going to love well, we must define. Let’s do that now.

1 Corinthians 13:4-8 says:

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.Love never fails. 

This is what love is. This is not easy for any of us to accomplish. Some of us around Relentless Church use the above Scripture to gauge how well we are loving others. To really bring it home, we replace the word “love” with our own name. (We do this in private and we choose to do this gently). For example:

(Place our name here) is patent.

Then pause to ask ourselves, does this define my behavior? Have I been patient with others?

If we can’t say that it’s true of our character, we make a mental note of it and ask God to teach us how to grow more patient, like he is patent with us.

You may want to do the same. It can be a good exercise to indicate how well you are loving others and spur you on to greater heights of intentional love. (If you do choose to do this exercise, please remember to be kind to yourself. We are all in process and, by God’s grace, learning to love more like Jesus.)

Prayer

Jesus, teach me to love like you do. Help me to be patient, kind, not to envy others or be self-seeking. Help me not to be easily angered, keep a record of wrong, delight in the truth, always protect, trust, hope and persevere. Teach me to be just like you, intentionally loving. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

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Welcome to Day 7. Let us take some time and begin to reflect on what has transpired over the last week. There has been a lot of focus on seeking God and Him revealing Himself to us, but as much as He wants to do so, He is requiring us to institute some changes of our own. Think about your life and consider what actions, activities, or habits need to permanently change once this fast is over? One area that is often overlooked is our interactions with others.

We are living in unprecedented times; take a quick trip online and you will see that there is a cause for some level of equality or decency at every turn. As a member of the Kingdom of God first and humanity second, we have a responsibility to extend to others the same love and respect that God has shown towards us. How is your attitude? Do you sing and shout on Sunday and Monday morning cannot crack a smile or have an encouraging word for those you encounter? God tells us that life is sacred, and He has no respect of persons, that is to say that He sees no difference between people. You may not be physically killing people with a slingshot and smooth stones, but our words and actions are weapons, just the same. 

Reflect on the conversations you have in the breakroom, on the phone with friends and colleagues. Be intentional about the conversation by being conscious about what/who you allow to influence you. What shows are you watching? Do they uplift others or tear them down? What music are you listening to?  Is it bringing words of life or death? 

But no man can tame the tongue. It is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. 9 With it we bless our God and Father, and with it, we curse men, who have been made in the [a]similitude of God. 10 Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be so. 11 Does a spring send forth fresh water and bitter from the same opening? James 3:8-11

Prayer

Heavenly Father, we thank you for loving us even when we fall short. We pray that you would guide our hearts and minds, our words, and our actions today. Help us to be intentional about changing our conduct and loving others as You have loved us. Thank you that it is already done in Jesus’ Name, Amen. 

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Welcome to Day 6! Renewal requires intentionality. It requires a concentrated effort in the right direction to do things differently than you’ve done them in the past. Romans 12:1 says, “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what Gods will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will In this passage, the Apostle Paul urges us to “renew our minds.” It’s easy to follow the pattern of this world. Like floating down stream, it requires very little effort.

Renewing your mind takes intentionality. It requires a focused effort to allow the Scripture to influence our thoughts. We must quiet ourselves. Read God’s Word and allow it to change the way we think. When we think different, we act different. Our actions create habits. Our habits create a lifestyle and our lifestyle determines our destiny. This is what you have chosen to do during this very intentional fast. 

You are removing a few things, to make room for God to renew your mind. Renewing your mind is the first step toward the glorious destiny God has prepared for you. Or as Paul said, you would know God’s “good, pleasing and perfect will” for you!

Prayer

Lord, I need you. Please strengthen me to follow your Word, even when it appears easier to do otherwise. I declare that the Scripture is truth and I ask you to change the way I think as I read it. I know that if you renew my mind, my actions, habits, lifestyle and destiny will be transformed for my good! I ask this, in Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Welcome to Day 5, the day of grace. Grace is the love of God shown for us, His unmerited favor. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). He still extends His grace toward us.  Do not be discouraged when temptation arises. Even Jesus was tempted during his time of fasting in the book of Matthew. Rest in knowing that when we are weak, our Father is strong. He will extend you the grace to make it through. Just like he did for Jesus.

Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.”

Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”

Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down. For it is written:

“‘He will command his angels concerning you, and they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’”

Jesus answered him, “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’[d]”Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. “All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.”

Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’”

Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him” (Matthew 4:1-11).

Like Jesus did, we must keep God’s word in our hearts and seek His face, when situations arise that may be discouraging. Whether it be, failing a test, confrontations at work or with a family member, recall the word of God and exercise the power He gave you to overcome temptation. Say NO to distraction and YES to God’s interaction!

Prayer

God, we thank you that your grace is more than enough for us. Help us to know the Scripture better, so when temptations come we can be like Jesus and respond with the Word. We thank you that Your grace empowers us and your peace abides in us. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

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Welcome to Day 4! Today maybe a little more difficult than the last three have been. Let’s be honest, depending on the type of fast you have committed to, your body could be going through Ketosis today. Whether you’ve decided to do a straight fast, Daniel fast or any other iteration, we are all feeling the impact of giving something up. But, may I encourage you, that the reward of this journey with Jesus will far exceed today’s discomfort. You are investing into the part of you that will live eternally and your eternal relationship with God. This time is precious.

In Ephesians 5:15-21, Paul implores Christians to make the most of their time and exercise wisdom that they might make the most of their opportunities to share the gospel. What a light we can shine when our lives are transformed through a time spent with God by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore, do not be foolish, but understand what the Lords will is. Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Ephesians 5:15-21).

Prayer

Lord, today we ask you to come into our homes, schools and offices. Fill up the empty spaces, open our hearts to you and take residence in us today. Show us how to govern our actions and behaviors. Teach us how to use our time wisely and, no matter what we may be experiencing, to always give thanks. In Jesus’ Name, Amen. 

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Welcome to Day 3! Proverbs 4:23 instructs us to “Keep your heart with all diligence, For out of it spring the issues of life.” Fasting is a matter of the heart. As you wake up each day, train your heart and soul (which is comprised of you mind, will and emotions) to focus on God. Give him the first moments of your morning to fill up your heart and soul with hope, faith and life. We do this by intentionally focusing on God and his Scripture. This is not always easy to do, because as C.S. Lewis described, “All your wishes and hopes for the day rush at you like wild animals”, right when we awake. One aspect of guarding your heart is, protecting these early morning moments. Training ourselves to think on our heavenly Father first, before we get swept up in all the details of our day, will steady us through this fast and the rest of our lives. 

This morning “keep [our] heart with all diligence” by intentionally focusing first on our Father:

The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing” (Zephaniah 3:17).

Did you read that?! God delights in you so much that he is rejoicing over you with singing! Take a moment and imagine the Creator of the Universe dancing over you. Allow it to stir your heart and nourish your soul.

How precious to me are your thoughts, God! How vast is the sum of them! If I were  to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand…” (Psalm 139:17-18). 

In just one cup of sand, there are over 15 million grains. That’s more stars than we see in the sky at night. If God thought of us 15 million times that would be pretty incredible, but he thinks of us way more than that. His good thoughts toward us are more than all the grains of sand on all the beaches in the world. He loves you so much, he literally can’t get you off his mind! Let this sink in. You are the much beloved child of a loving Father.

Prayer

Father, your love for me is too much for me to comprehend, but today I want you to fill my heart and sustain my soul. Help me to look to you first, before I allow the cares of my day bombard me. Teach me how to guard my heart in this way. Thank you for rejoicing over me and thinking of me today. I confess that I am the much beloved child of a loving heavenly Father!

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Welcome to Day 2! Yesterday we discussed the basics for our 21 Day Intentional Fast and today we want to be intentional about being intentional. How can we be intentional as a part of a fast? Plan ahead.

Start, with setting a specific time of day, we recommend at least 15 minutes early in your day to acknowledge God. Begin in prayer with ADORATION (worship, deep love and respect) for God, calling out His many names and praising Him for who He has been in your life. Second, CONFESS any sins (actions, thoughts or attitudes that may be creating internal distance with God). Confession is about acknowledging your mistakes and it’s one of the most freeing experiences we get to participate in this side of heaven. Third, come before his presence with THANKSGIVING. As Pastor John mentioned during last Sunday’s service, this is a moment to practice ‘intentional gratitude”—finding something in your life to thank God for! Fourth is SUPPLICATION. It’s asking God to meet your needs (and the needs of others). Finally, spend time in worship to God, listen, and enjoy His presence. 

When we make space to meet and communicate with God, He has an opportunity to make himself more known to us. God is talking to us all the time. We don’t always hear it, because we rarely slow down enough to listen. Fasting intentionally allots time to listen.  Prayer is our pathway into the presence of God.  Be intentional throughout the day with prayer. You can pray wherever you are at any time. Plan times throughout the day for five or ten minutes to check in with Him in prayer or thanksgiving. Throughout the fast, there will be days that have specific prayer targets, but you can begin to write out targets for yourself, family, friends and your school or job as well. Just as you begin your time of fasting each day with prayer it is important to end it in prayer also.

“Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; 13 for it is God who works in you both to will and to do  for  His  good pleasure.14 Do all things without  complaining and  disputing,  15 that you may become blameless and  harmless, children of God without fault amid a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, 16 holding fast the word of life, so that I may rejoice in the day of Christ that I have not run in vain or labored in vain.17 Yes, and if I am being poured out as a drink offering on the sacrifice and service of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with you all. 18 For the same reason you also be glad and rejoice with me” (Philippians 2:12-17).

Prayer

Lord, we are praying today, and every day of this fast that you strengthen our prayer life as we endeavor to grow in You. Give us a heart of thanksgiving. Teach us your principles and let us always have a mind of prayer. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

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Welcome to Day 1 of the Fast!  And congratulations on your decision to pursue God with INTENTIONALITY this year! We know you won’t regret it.

Throughout the next 21 days, you will grow in your relationship with God. We, at Relentless Church, are so happy to provide this guide for everyone desiring to know God more closely. Additionally, please feel free to leave any prayer request you may have on the virtual prayer wall below.

Simplistically, fasting means to refrain from food for a Spiritual purpose. The discipline of fasting releases the Holy Spirit, the favor, and the gifts of God in the lives of Believers. Fasting brings us into a deeper more intimate relationship with God. Fasting is NOT a diet plan. Everyone’s fast will look different—some may fast for a set period of time (6 AM to 6 PM), from certain types of food (sweets, bread, etc.), programming, social media, or activities. No matter what or how you chose to fast, fasting is more than just abstinence. It is about spending time pursuing God in the place of the things you choose to refrain from.

What does this look like?

  • Every day spend purposeful time in prayer.
    16 Rejoice always, 17 pray continually, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18).
  • Every day spend time reading the Bible and reflect on how it may apply to your life.
    “Blessed  is  the man Who walks not in the counsel of the [a]ungodly, Nor stands in the path of sinners, Nor sits in the seat of the scornful; But his delight is in the law of the Lord, And in His law he [b]meditates day and night. He shall be like a tree Planted by the [c]rivers of water, That brings forth its fruit in its season, Whose leaf also shall not wither; And whatever he does shall prosper” (Psalms 1:1-3).

Yes, fasting is about removing distractions; turning off your favorite streaming media provider, putting electronics away for a while, so you can clear your mind and allow your spirit and soul connect with God in prayer.  Let’s do that now. (We have provided the following prayer to use as a guide.)

Prayer:

Lord, as we begin this fast, we are praying for a heart to please You. May our desires become Your desires. Help us to be more like you each day. Teach us how to be intentional about the things that concern You. We thank you for the journey ahead. We love You and praise You, In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Types of fasts:

***Always seek the guidance of your medical professional if you have any preexisting conditions or are on medications for any reason***

  • Straight Fast – only water during the period of time set aside for God.
  • Daniel Fast – fruits, vegetables, whole grains, seeds, nuts
  • You can also give up things like television, social media, and any other activity that will distract you from hearing from God during this time.

Remember fasting is not about the food you do or do not consume, but the condition of your heart.

16 “And when you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces that their fasting may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. 17 But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, 18 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” (Matthew 6:16-18).