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Focus Fast 2016

Have you ever found yourself spiritually stuck? Through the years there have been times when I wanted to do something spiritually but did not seem to have the strength, nor the willpower, to see it through. I was absolutely sincere – I really wanted it to happen, but I just found myself falling short. Have you ever found yourself in that place?


If you can relate to the above statement I have some good news for you: GOD has given us a tool that will help us to break free and that tool is fasting.

Each year during the month of January we encourage our Vertical family to join us for a period of prayer and fasting. What better way to start our year the right way, desiring to grow in our relationship to God? The purpose of fasting isn’t to go without food, the goal of fasting is drawing near to God (Jas 4:8) As we eliminate distractions for spiritual purposes we focus on God – it’s like hitting a spiritual reset button and renews us from the inside out. When we remove distractions from our life (food, tv, social networking, video games, texting) and replace them with things that feed our spirit (bible reading, prayer, devotional time, soul searching, reading encouraging spiritual works) we put ourselves in position to grow closer to God.

Through the years I have found that most believers do not practice fasting even though Jesus Himself did. As a matter of fact, in Matthew 6:16-18, Jesus says twice, “WHEN you fast…”, not “IF you fast…”. I am convinced that Jesus expected that His followers should and would fast. (Here is a link to the best guide ever for understanding fasting). I know most people are kind of freaked out by fasting because they have never actually done it. It’s not as bad as you think – especially when you are doing it with others.


We are very excited to share that for the first time we will finish the Focus Fast with 24 Hours of uninterrupted prayer at each of our locations (6 pm Friday (1/15) until 6 pm Saturday). During this time, which is open to everyone, people will sign up to come pray for an hour at our prayer locations. If you are worried whether you are able to pray for 60 minutes straight don’t worry, we will provide you with a 60 minute prayer guide that will give you specific things to talk to God about in prayer. No experience necessary, just a willing heart. We suggest signing up with a friend, spouse, even your family (if your children are of an age that they can join and not be a distraction to the others praying). Please sign up for a one hour time slot at NEXT.

Types of Fast

Complete Fast - Abstain from all food with only water to drink (fruit and vegetable juice can be permitted for strength). This is the normal fast referred to in the Bible and the way that Jesus and believed to be the way that Jesus and the early church fasted. This fast also includes giving up things of distraction mentioned above. Remember, the purpose of fasting isn’t to go without food – God isn’t blessed by your suffering but rather, desires that you grow closer to Him, spending time in His presence.

Daniel Fast - Fruits, vegetables and water only. Don’t forget to omit the distractions.

Specific Food or Activity Fast - This fast would include removing certain items from your diet. For example, no red meat; all processed or fast foods; sweets; Coke or Mtn Dew. Fasting spinach if you hate spinach would not be considered fasting. Others who do not have experience fasting food, or have health issues that prevent fasting, or need to refocus certain areas of their life might choose to fast social media or watching TV during the fast. Some may do a combination of certain foods AND other distractions. The key is to be honest with your decisions.

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