Submitted by Judy Pratt
Your children may hear you speak about the “Season of Seeking,” the 21-day emphasis on prayer and fasting. They may wonder if this is something that they can do along with their family, and the answer is YES!
The question as to why we fast maybe asked. We fast because:
- Life is full of noise and clutter. Sometimes, we must disconnect from this world in order to draw close to God.
- One of the ways we disconnect from the distractions of life is through fasting.
- Fasting helps us create space in our lives to be filled with God’s presence.
- A fast is a conscious, intentional decision.
Fasting does not change God, Who never changes. Fasting changes us! It helps us become more sensitive to the Spirit of God, so that we can be closer friends with Him.
Explain to your children that fasting will help them grow stronger as a Christian and closer to Jesus. When they take special time out to pray to Jesus and at the same time, take special effort to not enjoy a favorite food/snack item or activity during a certain period of time, they are fasting.
As a family, sit down together and talk about for whom or what your children are seeking God about and in which way they are going to fast. Explain to your children that there will be times when they will find it hard to fast and may even want to change their minds in the middle of the fast. However, as parents, gently encourage them and help them keep the commitment they made to the Lord and see how He answers their prayers. Following the 21 Days of Fasting and Praying, sit down with them and talk about what the Lord did during this special time.
Before you begin the 21 Day Prayer Guide keep in mind your family’s schedule and decide which days of the week you are going to meet together to pray. Be sure to explain in simple words the prayer emphasis for that particular day, so your children can be a part of the prayer time.
Remember that a child’s body needs the proper nutrition and activity as well as rest to keep them healthy and whole. They don’t need to fast complete meals or healthy food choices for days at a time or give up the exercise that playtime affords. Children respond best with a set schedule, so be sure to create one where they will know which days during the 21 Days of Prayer and Fasting that they will be fasting and what exactly they are fasting.
Here are some suggestions:
- Their favorite cartoon or TV program
- No Family TV on a specific day/night – use this time to play games or spend family time together
- Video Games
- No “Fast Foods” for all or part of the 21 days
- A special treat or snack (candy, cookies, sweets, etc.)
- A favorite activity (going shopping, playing games, playing video or computer games, cell phone-text messaging, Facebook, etc.)
Joshua told the people, “Purify yourselves, for tomorrow the LORD will do great wonders among you.” Joshua 3:5 (NLT)
PRAYING DURING FAST
Remind children of the importance of praying during a time of fasting. Prayer is one way that we are connected to God.
Ask the child to make a short list of things that they would like to pray for during this time. Pray these prayers together and then watch how God is going to move in our lives!
Matthew 6:16-18 – New Living Translation (NLT) “And when you fast, don’t make it obvious, as the hypocrites do, for they try to look miserable and messy so people will admire them for their fasting. I tell you the truth that is the only reward they will ever get. But when you fast, comb your hair and wash your face. Then no one will notice that you are fasting, except your Father, who knows what you do in private. And your Father, who sees everything, will reward you.”
FASTING for Kids Resources
Animated video of Jesus’ temptation in the wilderness
‘Prayer and Fasting for Kids’ is a lighthearted, fast-paced short video (narrated by kids for kids) that encourages children to fast and pray for other nations. The heart of the video is Isaiah 58′s emphasis on the poor and needy and having a heart for justice.
PRAYKIDS Newsletter on Fasting
The NavPress website is down as they transition to Tyndale House. However, if you would like to access the newsletter on fasting email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
5 Ideas to Teach Kids How to Fast and Pray
Sample prayer calendar and fasting schedule for children.