2011 - Vol. 53
In December of 2010, the Holy Spirit began suggesting to me that I call
for a family fast. After the second or third time, I paid attention. I
outlined the suggestion and developed a format for the family fast.
I have been a single parent for 25 years and I have six grown children
in their thirties and forties – three boys and three girls – and 12 grandchildren.
The grandchildren range in age from five months to college freshman age.
They live in the west of the U.S., in California, and in the east, near
the New York Finger Lakes, and 15 of them live where I do in the Midwest,
in Jackson, Michigan. Thanks to the Internet and phone I have been able
to stay in personal communication with them.
There were a number of pressing issues within my family. It seemed that
jobs were the number one concern. In 2010, five out of the six children
had had job losses, a severe economic downturn in business, or were otherwise
in a major financial crisis.
There also were health concerns in the immediate and extended family
– prostate cancer, struggles with alcohol, mental illness – as well as
pressing decisions to be made about college and career for some of the
grandchildren. There were also interpersonal relationship issues.
One of my sons and his wife were looking for a church where they could
feel at home with their little daughter, others desired to deepen their
faith in Jesus.
I spoke to each son and daughter, son-in-law and daughter-in-law, and
told them that I felt that we as a family should have a week of prayer
and fasting to seek the Lord’s mercy and provision for each other. I proposed
starting the fast January 16 and ending it on January 23. All agreed to
join in and participate, which I experienced as a tremendous blessing from
The suggested format consisted of the following:
We started the fast week at 2 pm on Sunday, January 16. Most of the family
members in Jackson met that day at the home of one of my daughters, and
we went over the schedule and committed ourselves to the family fast. During
the week, I communicated with each household to get an update on how it
was going and to encourage them.
I made a schedule of the intentions for each day and emailed it to each
household so we would all be fasting and praying for the same thing on
the same day.
Each person would perform some form of fasting which would work for him
or her during the week of fasting and prayer.
Each family – husband and wife and children – would each day pray together
for the specific fast intention of that day.
On Sunday afternoon, January 23 the Jackson families all came to my
home where I had prepared a full standing rib roast for a potluck dinner
at which we celebrated the end of the fast together. The celebration together
was a great time.
In faith I believe the week of fasting was a great success and the effects
are still being manifested. At the end of the first week after the fast,
one family reported an increase in clients in their business, with twelve
new ones. Within three weeks or so, another family received two job opportunities
on the same day, one of which has resulted in a new job with the medical
benefits alone worth $22,000. The job started April 1, 2011.
There has also been a sharing of some family members’ faith in Jesus.
The extended-family member struggling with alcohol has not been drunk since
the fast and has almost completely stopped his fifty-year addiction to
In another family, a seven-year-old son underwent successful surgery
and had a quick and dramatic recovery. At the end of the celebration dinner,
I was blessed because some of the children and grand children said that
they had also prayed for me, though I had not put myself on the prayer
I am confident that the Lord built upon the many years of my being encouraged
by my Christian community, Morning Star, to fast and pray. Additionally,
the Lord Jesus stated that his disciples would fast and pray.
Derek Prince wrote a great book called, Shaping History through Prayer
and Fasting; and Mahesh Chavda wrote a wonderful book called, The
Hidden Power of Prayer and Fasting. These books are very practical
as well as inspirational and are a great resource for anyone who would
desire to have a thorough biblical understanding for undertaking a family
fast. The Lord Jesus, as always, is our example: he fasted forty days and
nights and assumes his disciples will fast (see Matthew 6:16).
Lastly, there is a wonderful promise made by the Lord in the Second
Book of Chronicles for those who feel led by the Lord to participate in
a family fast: “If my people who are called by my name will humble themselves,
and pray and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will
hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land” (2 Chronicles
Navarre is a retired attorney and a member of Morning Star Christian Community
in Jackson, Michigan, USA.