21 Days of Prayer, Fasting & Kindness

For many of us the recent climate of intolerance, indifference, and impatience of the world has affected us at a soul-deep level. For others, grief, deteriorating health, and stress have left us feeling less than hopeful.  That is why Pastor Doug is calling First Church to observe 21 days of prayer, fasting, and kindness.


We will begin our 21 days on Ash Wednesday, February 17.  Specific details and answers to commonly asked questions are outlined in each section of this page. Please keep in mind, not everyone will be able to fast. Therefore, you may choose which elements to incorporate into your 21 days. For further questions you may contact the church office at 532-1478 or at info@firstchurchnp.com.

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Kindness

Jesus was kind!  Although we often use different words to describe it, Jesus was often caught doing acts of kindness.  It might be as simple as recognizing a woman no one else noticed or shedding a tear with a family who was grieving or celebrating a poor person’s expression of generosity in worship.  If we want to love like Jesus we can begin by being kind like Jesus. 


The challenge of “21 Days” is to do one small act of kindness that blesses another person each day for 21 days.  Everything we do as individuals and as a church family impacts the whole; i.e., a family, a workplace, a school, a community, and even our nation.


Acts of kindness will heal divisions between people, restore the broken in heart, and give hope to the helpless.  Acts of kindness will begin to destroy the intolerance, the violence, and the racism we harbor for other people.  Albert Schweitzer said, “Constant kindness can accomplish much.  As the sun makes ice melt kindness causes misunderstanding, mistrust, and hostility to evaporate.” 

One simple act of kindness done intentionally and bathed in prayer for the recipient will become the beginning of a world transformed by the love of Jesus.  During “21 Days” our acts of kindness will be used by the Spirit to bring the Kingdom of God to earth.

Prayer

Prayer is at the heart of our 21 Days. Through prayer we connect with Jesus. We pray in worship, when we fast, at small groups, before we perform random acts of kindness, with our children, and so on.


For 21 days you are invited to add a daily prayer time to your spiritual discipline. Your prayer time may include reading Scripture or a prayer guide.


When using additional resources be sure to include a moment of quiet reflection and focus on Jesus.


We have two recommended resources for your prayer time. One is our bible reading challenge found on the Bible Reading Challenge Page


The other is “21 Days of Deeper Prayer.” A book available to purchase after worship or on Amazon. Each book is $5 and will structure an encouraging prayer time for you.

Fasting in the Bible

Fasting is not for fanatics, weight-loss, or manipulating God. In the Bible, fasting is refraining from food for a spiritual purpose. In Matthew 6, Jesus reminds us that fasting, like praying and giving, is a normal part of Christian life.


Although fasting uses the practice of taking something away, it is much more about receiving. Fasting is a spiritual discipline whose primary purpose is to unclutter our life from the things of the world so we might be more sensitive to the things of God.


Fasting is about being filled with more of the presence and power as well as the love and joy of the Lord Jesus.

The promise of fasting is to experience a breakthrough, a fresh anointing of the Spirit, or a blessing. The Spirit may give us wisdom, clarity of the Father’s will, or a deeper intimacy with Jesus.

3 Types of Fasts

  • Absolute Fast (No Food And No Water)

    This is an extreme fast which should only be done for very short periods of time. We are not recommending an absolute fast this year.

  • Normal Fast (No Food And Lots of Water)

    Drink at least one gallon of water per day. If fasting for a longer duration, some will supplement water with clear broth or juices to maintain physical strength. 

  • Partial Fast (No To Certain Foods And Certain Drinks)

    The partial fast allows most people to engage in a more extended fast if so led by the Holy Spirit. For instance, King David engaged in partial fasts. On one occasion, David refused to eat choice meat and sweets (he ate vegetables and drank water).

Duration of a Fast

The Bible tells us of three-day, seven-day, 21-day, and 40-day fasts as well as half-day and 24-hour fasts. John Wesley, founder of the Methodist movement, engaged in a 24-hour fast on Friday of every week.


During the first 21 days of Lent (February 17 to March 9), we are inviting you to first consult your doctor and then engage in a partial fast called the “Daniel Fast.” The Daniel Fast eliminates meat, bread, and sweets for 21 days. With your doctor’s approval, this is a fast in which most of us can engage. We will begin on Ash Wednesday, February 17th.

A Word of Caution

Without daily prayer as well as daily time reading the Bible, fasting is no more than dieting. In other words, there is very little spiritual benefit or blessing.


You may pray without fasting, but never, ever fast without praying! If you are not prepared to make the time to pray each day and read/study your Bible each day, you are encouraged not to engage in fasting.