Faithful fasting: local churches hold fasts during January
These churches are doing this through fasting, the practice of abstaining from eating and sometimes drinking for a specific amount of time. Fasting has been around for millennium and is featured in the Bible as a way to grow closer to God and put all of a person’s focus on Him.
While featured in the Bible, it is not prescribed. Despite this lack of a prescription, Christians practice fasting as a spiritual discipline. This is especially true during certain times of the year or when a major decision is being made within a church.
Lent is known as a time of fasting as Christians, particularly those who are Catholic, pick something with which to do without for 40 days.
One of the more well-known stories of fasting from the Bible comes from the story of Daniel, who was thrown into the lion’s den. Daniel maintained a fast during his time and prayed while there. Due to his faith and showing of faith, he was spared from the lions.
Many people associate fasting with dietary restrictions but for Momentum Church and East Bay Church it is less about what is being removed and more about what is being gained, a stronger relationship with your faith in Christ.
Momentum Church said some of the reasons for fasting include needing a miracle, healing or to help a friend or loved one find salvation. For pastor Stacy Clearman of East Bay Church, the reason is a recommitment to faith in Christ, especially with the church continuing to grow in 2023.
There are several types of fasts the churches have shared with their congregants. Momentum Church has a page on their website devoted to information about the 21 day fast. In it, the church provides some of the different types of fasts people can take part in, as well as recipes and other resources.
There is the Daniel Fast, in which people eat no meat, no sweets and no bread. Instead, they eat fruits and vegetables and drink water and juice. Another type is a full fast in which you only drink liquids for a certain number of days. There is a three day fast and a partial fast, which takes place only during certain hours of the day.
“You pick something that is meaningful to you, and you turn your focus away from being hungry and onto Jesus,” Chelsea Perry, Momentum Church’s Navarre Campus leader, said.
Perry will be fasting from sundown to sunup and during the day she will do a Daniel fast.
In addition to abstinence from certain things, prayer is an important component of fasting. East Bay Church has released a prayer guidebook for its congregation during their 14 day fast. It contains prayers and appropriate verses from scripture.
Momentum Church’s churchwide fast will end Jan. 29 with a night of worship at Pensacola Little Theatre. Tickets are $10. Perry said the night of worship is a celebratory breaking of the fast with all the church’s campuses.
“It’s really a time where all of us can get together and celebrate and break the fast,” Perry said. “Breaking the fast and eating together is something Jesus did with his disciples. Its fellowship and communion.”
When they gather, Perry said the members of the church from various campuses share stories of things God has done in their lives over the 21 days.
For Perry and Clearman, having God make a difference in the lives of the church and the congregation is what it is all about.
Momentum Church’s Navarre campus holds their Sunday service at Navarre High School (8600 High School Blvd.) at 10 a.m. East Bay Church, located at 5649 E Bay Blvd., holds its Sunday service at 10:30 a.m.