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Give It Up: A Youth Study on Fasting

  • CYM Crossroads Youth Ministries
  • Published Oct 29, 2001
Give It Up: A Youth Study on Fasting

Rush Hour: Bible Study

Topic: Give It Up: A Study on Fasting

Monthly Theme: It's Time to Give It Up

Run Time: 1 Hour

Some Points To Consider When Doing a Rush Hour

  • This event is a time of serious, solid Bible study
  • Have fun with the students, but have fun with them while studying God’s Word.
  • Use different style of teaching to grab the attention of different student’s learning styles. Use visuals, discussion, hands-on/craft/art, drama, and writing. This will allow a broader range of learning for your students.
  • If you’re meeting in a home or carpeted room, have everyone sit on the floor. Keeping all the students on the same level as you, the leader, will encourage participation.
  • Don’t be afraid to let the discussion go in directions you didn’t plan for. Students need to ask questions, and the more they feel you will allow them this, the more open they will become. You know the students that try to get you off the subject, so redirect them as needed.
  • When you ask questions, don’t be afraid of silence. Silence doesn’t always mean they are not paying attention. Sometimes it just means they are thinking and processing their answers. If you feel they are just not responding, call on specific students to answer. Many of your students are just waiting for you to call on them. REMEMBER: They are in a school environment where discussions don’t typically take place. You will need to help them know that it is OK to talk.

Weekly Activity View


To challenge students with what it means to give up something they "can’t live without" in order to discover that what they really can’t live without is a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, and that He is worth any sacrifice imaginable.


Being a youth leader in a society where students have nearly everything they want is very difficult. The abundance of products, goods, services, food and even entertainment tends to leave kids without much need for anything more. The greatest problem with kids who are constantly “full” of the worlds’ riches is that they do not understand what it means to hunger and thirst after righteousness. The same is generally true for the society as a whole.

In this month’s Rush Hour, you’ll help students recognize that their greatest need is to feed on the things of God. In order to gain more they must give more and that requires sacrifice and possibly even a little suffering.

(NOTE: In light of the recent events in New York and the Pentagon, students will be sensitive to this issue of suffering. Challenging them to re-evaluate their “needs” versus their “wants” will be a welcome discussion among them. Do not underestimate the students desire to “give up” possessions, time, and food to help those in need. Although we are encouraging you to lead your students in the 30-hour famine, you may want to use current events within the event itself to lead your students to a better understanding of what it means to “starve” for the cause of others ... and that of Christ.)


  • Take time to fill your meeting place with symbols or items that represent abundance. Display those items on a table in the room. You might consider having a television, laptop computer, car keys, CD’s, cellular phone, video games, Palm Pilot, expensive tennis shoes, etc. On the same table make sure you have lots of food items as well. You might even want to consider making some popcorn, so that when students arrive, the aroma is overwhelming. A few two-liters of pop would make a nice touch as well. IMPORTANT: don’t let anyone eat the food items!
  • Arrange many distractions for the evening. You might enlist the help of one of your students and ask them to interrupt you often during the lesson, have someone call a cellular phone in the room a couple times during the lesson, ask an adult or two to show up or walk in periodically throughout the first half of the meeting time. Don’t arrange distractions during the second half of your time.


Use the provided flyers (available on the free CD on CYM's Website) to promote this special Bible study time.


After a sufficient time of hanging out time and conversation, gather your students together. If they have not noticed the display of items on the table, give them a chance to get up and take a look at what you have collected for the evening.

Say: The stuff on the table represents the abundance and wealth we have in this world. What other items can you think of that could be represented but aren’t there? (You might want to have a piece of poster board or dry erase board available to list things the students come up with.) Now, think hard and tell me what item you wouldn’t want to or simply can’t live without. (Allow ample time for discussion. Challenge the students with the questions of ‘why not’ and ‘how would life be different’ if those things were removed from you.

Tonight, we’re going to look at Jesus’ words on fasting. Can anyone tell us what he or she thinks fasting is? (After kids share their thoughts, give them the following definition:

fast (f st)
intr.v. fast·ed, fast·ing, fasts
1. To abstain from food.
2. To eat very little or abstain from certain foods, especially as a religious discipline.
1. The act or practice of abstaining from or eating very little food.
2. A period of such abstention or self-denial.


1. Have your students open their Bibles to Matthew 6. Explain to them that in the first 18 verses Jesus talks about three specific topics. Can they figure out what the three are?

  • Giving
  • Praying
  • Fasting

Jesus talks about these three items by using the word “when”—when you give, when you pray, and when you fast.

Ask: Do Jesus words sound like these disciplines are optional or expected?

Jesus obviously expected that His disciples follow these practices. They were part of the Jewish culture and faith. We can learn a lot from all three, but let’s camp on fasting. Tonight, we’re going to look beyond just giving up food to giving up all items that take away our hunger for God or items that distract us from focusing on the things of God.

Ask the students to comment on the number and kinds of distractions viewed tonight. How did they feel about having to put up with all those distractions? Explain.

As a group, have the students open their Bibles to Luke 4.

Say: We’re going to read the first part of the story of Jesus’ temptation in the wilderness by the Devil.

After reading Luke 4:1-4 ask: What do you think Jesus meant by "Man shall not live by bread alone."

As a group, read Deuteronomy 8:3. Have students explain what they believe God means by "but man lives by everything that proceeds out of the mouth of the Lord." Give lots of time for discussion!


While fasting means to abstain from the consumption of food, tonight I want to challenge you with the idea that many of the things we consume can be significant distractions to us. They take our time, energy and passion. They certainly distract our attention from the things of God.

At the beginning of the night, you told us about the items on the table you “can’t live without.” After reading Jesus words in Luke and the passage in Deuteronomy, I hope you understand that what you really can’t live without are the things of God. His is the One who gives life, brings life, sustains life, and makes life worth living.

During this week, I challenge you to think about that item or items you didn’t want to live without at the beginning of the lesson and fast from it. Take the time you would have used to practice or consume it and use that time to "feed" on the things of God: His Word.


In preparation for the 30-Hour Famine, you might want to show a video clip from World Vision of children in poverty stricken parts of the world. These young people will certainly show your students what it means to go without and challenge their hearts about what they really "can’t live without." It would be a great way to end your meeting.

You could also use footage from the news about the devastation in New Your and the Pentagon, or simply cut photos from the paper that show needs within the devastation.


  • Use this time to make any announcements about upcoming events and ministry projects in your church this month.
  • Make sure you tell them about next week’s Under Construction project!

    Copyright © 2001 CYM Road Tips. All rights reserved.

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