December 30, 2014
Recover Your Passion!
Recapture Your Dream!
Restore Your Joy!
In 2015, we are asking all disciples of Jesus to consider a “Daniel Fast!”
A three-week “Daniel Fast,” eliminating meat, bread, wine and sweets is a fast most people can easily accomplish.
Note you are not fasting from all food, just certain foods.
“No bread, no meat, no wine, no sweets.”
Why Do I Fast?
The core reason to fast is to reconnect with God! Life has a way of causing our spiritual life to drift in the currents of our hectic lifestyle. Connection with God gets sketchy. Time alone with God can be diminished and almost non-existent. A recent poll revealed that about 1 out of every 2 people doesn’t pray daily.
“When you fast, you abstain from food for spiritual purposes. Fasting is doing without food for a period of time, which generally causes you to leave the commotion of normal activity. Part of the sacrifice of fasting, seeking God and studying His Word is that normal activity fades into the background. (Jentzen Franklin, Fasting, 111)
God wants us to draw away with Him, to focus on Him, to cry out to Him, to pour out our heart to Him, to humble ourselves before Him … to reveal our real selves to Him! The best way to do that is to fast … to set the physical hunger of this life aside for the spiritual hunger of knowing God deeper … Jesus said it this way:
“But when you fast, put oil on your head, and wash your face, so that you don’t show your fasting to people but to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.” (Matthew 6:17–18)
Often God rewards those who fast in the present … answering their deepest needs at their most desperate moments. The Bible tells us of many reasons and people who fasted …
- People who fasted for a breakthrough from God when everything they did seemed to meet only obstacles! (David)
- People who fasted and heard God’s assignment for their lives, for their next step of direction! (Cornelius)
- People who fasted to recover their passion for God! (David)
- People who fasted to remove the demonic oppression of loved ones! (Jesus)
- People who fasted to get God’s instructions for their people! (Moses)
- People who fasted to gain understanding from God! (Daniel)
- People who fasted to maintain their spiritual purity! (Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego)
- People who fasted to save their people from certain death! (Esther)
- People who longed to conceive a child! (Hannah)
Fasting opens the door to a deeper, more intimate, more powerful relationship with God! Do you need a breakthrough?
- Do you have an unsaved loved one? Fast!
- Suffering from a medical problem or disease? Fast!
- Do you need a job? Fast!
- Do you have a wayward child? Fast!
- Are you struggling for finances? Fast!
- Don’t know where to turn next? Fast!
- Need a fresh touch from God? Fast!
- Want a relationship repaired? Fast!
How Long Do I Fast?
How long you fast is really up to you. The length of time you choose to fast should depend upon your circumstances, but don’t get bogged down in the details!
- Jehoshaphat called for a 1 day fast (2 Chronicles 20:3)
- Esther fasted for 3 days (Esther 4-7)
- Hannah “would cry and wouldn’t eat anything.” (1 Samuel 1:7, CEB)
- David fasted 7 days (2 Samuel 12:15-23)
- Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah fasted for 10 days (Daniel 1:6, CEB)
- Daniel fasted for 21 days (Daniel 10)
- Moses and Jesus fasted for 40 days (Exodus 34:27-28; Luke 4:1-15)
- You can also fast all day, from dawn to dusk.
You will be amazed at the difference even a one-day partial or normal fast will make in your life.
In 2015, we are encouraging all disciples of Jesus to consider a “Daniel Fast!”
A three-week “Daniel Fast,” eliminating meat, bread, wine and sweets is a fast most people can easily accomplish. Note you are not fasting from all food, just certain foods.
“No bread, no meat, no wine, no sweets.”
The length of the fast is really up to you and is motivated by the intensity of your desire to get alone with God. If you have never fasted before, starting with a shorter fast may be the wisest course of action. Whatever length and type of fast you choose, please remember this important truth: If it means something to you, it will mean something to God. If it means nothing to you, it will mean nothing to God.
How Do I Fast?
Essentially there are three types of fasts …
|Absolute Fast||You go without food and water. Absolute fasts should be done only for very short periods of time. It would be wise to contact your physician if you have any medical issues at all before you start an absolute fast.|
|Normal Fast||You go without food of any kind for a certain number of days. You also drink plenty of water during this fast! If the fast is longer, you also may choose to drink clear broth and juices in order to keep your strength up.|
|Partial Fast||You give up particular foods and drinks for the length of the fast. This doesn’t include the time you are normally sleeping. Examples of such fasts include: (1) The 10 day fast in Daniel 1, where the men of God chose to eat only vegetables and drink water. (2) The 21 day fast by Daniel in Daniel 10, where he chose to refuse meats, sweets and wine.|
What Practical Tips Do I Need to Know About Fasting?
Begin with a purpose! You need to fast for a reason. While you are seeking God’s face during a fast, it is best to write out a specific goal or reason.
Pray often. The purpose of a fast is to spend less time eating and more time in conversation with God. Using lunchtime and an extended time in the evening in prayer is what fasting is all about.
Drink plenty of water. In reality, fasting is like “spring cleaning” for your body. Fasting releases the toxins that have built up in our bodies. Water helps cleanse the body of those toxins.
Examples of Fasting In the Bible
|Who Fasted?||Why Did They Fast?||How Long Did They Fast?||What Did They Fast From?||What Was The Result of Fasting?||Where Is This Fast Recorded?|
|Moses||To receive the Law from God||40 days and nights||Total fast from food and water||Received the Law of God and the warning about Israel’s rebellion||Exodus 24:13-18; Deuteronomy 9:7-11|
|Moses||To receive the second set of the Law from God; to stop the Lord from destroying Israel||40 days and nights||Total fast from food and water||“The Lord … wrote on the tablets the words of the covenant, the ten words.” (Exodus 34:28, CEB)||Exodus 34:1-28|
|David||To save the life of his child born out of adultery and murder||7 days||Fast from food||The child died but Solomon – the greatest King of Israel – was born the next year after David repented and married Bathsheba||2 Samuel 12:15-23|
|Nehemiah||Jerusalem was in ruins and its gates had been destroyed by fire||Several days between Chislev and Nisan (a 4-month period)||Not specified||God gave him the mission to rebuild the walls and gates of Jerusalem, favor from King Artaxerxes, supplies and authority||Nehemiah 1 and 2|
|Esther||A government authorized genocide of all Jews||3 days||Food and water||The plotter and family were all killed, the plan was reversed||Esther 4:16|
|Daniel||Understanding of the visions of the future of Israel||Unspecified in Daniel 93 weeks in Daniel 10||“I didn’t eat any rich foods. Neither meat nor wine passed my lips, and I didn’t clean up at all until the three weeks were up.” (Daniel 10:3, CEB)||Gabriel explains the vision of the 70 weeks in Daniel 9An angelic visitor arrived to explain the vision after being delayed by satanic opposition in Daniel 10||Daniel 9 and 10|
|Jesus||Led by the Spirit to Wilderness||40 days and nights||Total fast from food||“Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit to Galilee …” (Luke 4:14, CEB)||Luke 4:1-15|
|Jesus||Not recorded||Not recorded||Not recorded||Demon cast out of boy||Matthew 17:14-21|
|Church at Antioch’s Prophets and Teachers||Ministering to the Lord||Not recorded||Not recorded||Spirit separates Barnabas and Saul for a mission trip.||Acts 13:1-4|
|Paul and Barnabas||Wisdom as they appointed elders in every church||Not recorded||Not recorded||Elders appointed in every church||Acts 14:23|
This material was prepared by Dr. Matthew Lee Smith.
How Do I Prepare For A Fast?
By Susan Gregory
If you plan to start the New Year with a consecrated period of prayer and fasting you will want to prepare before you begin.
Some of the saddest messages I receive are from men and women who have not adequately prepared for the fast and then quit after one or two days. Instead of a blessed time with the Lord, they feel like failures and defeated. I always say, “Try again, but learn from your mistake and prepare first.” Set yourself up for success by learning about the fast and then preparing for it.
Prepare your spirit by praying about the fast and seeking God’s direction about what your focus of prayer and study should be. Learning about prayer, getting your finances in order, healing relationships or drawing closer to God are among some of the most common purposes for men and women on the Daniel Fast.
Consider areas in your life that cause you concern, worry or stress. Lift these needs to the Lord during your fast. Hear from Him. Ask Him to direct you, to change your heart, to renew your mind and to show you how to bring peace and resolution.
Prepare your soul by gathering study materials and establishing a routine you can use during your fast to have daily time for prayer, Bible reading and study. What do you want to learn about? What good habits do you want to develop? These can all be part of your fasting experience.
Prepare your body to avoid painful and even debilitating withdrawals. Taper off caffeine, sugar and processed foods. Start flushing your body of toxins by drinking more water. Also, begin to plan your meals by gathering recipes and planning menus.
If you have questions, please go to the Daniel Fast web site where you will find all the information about that fast. If you still have questions, you can go to the Daniel Fast Blog. (Each of these resources can be found at Susan’s website: http://daniel-fast.com/)
Prayer and Fasting!
By Susan Gregory
The New Year Fast is growing in popularity as more and more men and women around the world discover the amazing spiritual discipline of prayer and fasting.
There are no “official dates” for the fast, however most churches and individuals will begin their 21-day New Year Fast on [the first Sunday of January]. Some people begin on the 1st or on other days as they feel led.
The Daniel Fast is the method of fasting widely used by men, women and young people for the 21-day period. The great blessing is that most people, when they prepare properly, can fast and still fulfill their obligations at work, home and church.
Now is a good time to plan if you are going to start the New Year with a consecrated period of prayer and fasting. You will want to start preparing your body for the fast about a week before you begin. And you will also want to define your purpose for the fast and gather your study materials.
To prepare, consider a copy of The Daniel Fast book, which is written especially to guide men and women into a successful fasting experience.
Be blessed as you seek God and His kingdom!
(Each of these resources can be found at Susan’s website: http://daniel-fast.com/)