In the Old Testament, God commanded Israel to observe several set times of fasting. For New Testament believers, fasting was neither commanded nor forbidden in the Bible. While early Christians were not required to fast, many practiced prayer and fasting regularly. Jesus himself affirmed in Luke 5:35 that after his death fasting would be appropriate for his followers.
There are various reasons why we fast but none of them involve attention towards the flesh. So fasting with prayer is a spiritual discipline that helps us to:
- Direct our hunger toward God.
- It clears the mind and body of earthly attentions and draws us close to God.
- So, as we gain spiritual clarity of thought while fasting, it allows us to hear God more clearly.
- Demonstrate a profound need for God’s help and guidance through complete dependence upon him.
With that said we will enter into a time of fasting and praying for the sake of growing closer to God and giving the first fruits of our year to him. I believe this year will be a great year for us like last year was but He is calling us to a higher place of commitment to Him. I believe that just as Moses instructed the people to fast and sanctify themselves prior to receiving the Ten Commandments; that it is encumbered upon us to do the same because we will need to be clear and hear every word that proceeds from the mouth of God. This is the year of GREATER! Greater commitment, greater focus, greater creativity, greater growth, etc. Most things that will happen this year for us collectively or individually will be based upon our ability to hear clearly from Him.
What is the Daniel Fast?
The Daniel Fast is a biblically based partial fast. It is a method of fasting that men, women and young people all over the world are using as they enter into the spiritual discipline of prayer and fasting.
There are two anchoring scriptures for the Daniel Fast. In Daniel 1 the Prophet ate only vegetables (that would have included fruits) and drank only water. Then in Daniel 10 we read that the Prophet ate no meat nor any precious breads or foods and he drank no wine for 21 days. So from these scriptures we get three of the guidelines for the fast:
- Only fruits and vegetables
- Only water for a beverage
- No sweeteners and no bread
Another important guideline is drawn from Jewish fasting principles, where no leaven is used during the fast. So that’s why yeast, baking powder and the like are not allowed on the Daniel Fast.
- The Lord will add to the church such to be saved, healed, and delivered.
- Pastor Jeff and family as well as the body of believers, church board and leadership, teachers and all those who serve in ministry– pray for clarity, protection, wisdom and strength.
- That our eyes will be open to see open doors from the Lord all year long.
- That we may have wisdom and strength to embrace every God given opportunity.
- That God will increase our ability and resources to transform lives, build leaders and strengthen families and have greater impact on the community and the world.
- That every worship service, bible study, meeting, gathering, outreach and event will be filled with the Presence of God.
- That all of us will continue to see growth, development and prosperity in every area of our lives (i.e. faith, favor, family, business, education, relationships, finances, etc.)
- The Shepherd of God School and its staff and students.
- For our President and government leaders to make wise decisions.
- For the success of every service and ministry of the Florida City Church Family.
During this time pray for the concerns that have been listed and anything else the Lord impresses upon your heart. Find time to mediate on those scriptures that will help you increase your devotion to God. I suggest Psalm 119. Every section in this psalm is headed by a Hebrew letter and there are 22. Meditate on a section a day. Bring your family together at least once a week for devotion and find some personal time at least once a day for your personal devotion time. Remember if you fast without praying it’s just dieting! Let’s all grow in grace and commitment in allowing His grace to change us.
For more on the Daniel Fast and recipes you can go tohttps://www.daniel-fast.com/only-believe/
Foods to include in your diet during the Daniel Fast
All Fruits. These can be fresh, frozen, dried, juiced or canned. Fruits include but are not limited to apples, apricots, bananas, blackberries, blueberries, boysenberries, cantaloupe, cherries, cranberries, figs, grapefruit, grapes, guava, honeydew melon, kiwi, lemons, limes, mangoes, nectarines, oranges, papayas, peaches, pears, pineapples, plums, prunes, raisins, raspberries, strawberries, tangelos, tangerines, watermelon
All Vegetables. These can be fresh, frozen, dried, juiced or canned. Vegetables include but are not limited to artichokes, asparagus, beets, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, celery, chili peppers, collard greens, corn, cucumbers, eggplant, garlic, ginger root, kale, leeks, lettuce, mushrooms, mustard greens, okra, onions, parsley, potatoes, radishes, rutabagas, scallions, spinach, sprouts, squashes, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, turnips, watercress, yams, zucchini, veggie burgers are an option if you are not allergic to soy.
All Whole Grains, including but not limited to whole wheat, brown rice, millet, quinoa, oats, barley, grits, whole wheat pasta, whole wheat tortillas, rice cakes and popcorn.
All Nuts and Seeds, including but not limited to sunflower seeds, cashews, peanuts, sesame. Also nut butters including peanut butter.
All Legumes. These can be canned or dried. Legumes include but are not limited to dried beans, pinto beans, split peas, lentils, black eyed peas, kidney beans, black beans, cannellini beans, white beans.
All Quality Oils including but not limited to olive, canola, grape seed, peanut, and sesame.
Beverages: spring water, distilled water or other pure waters.
Other: tofu, soy products, vinegar, seasonings, salt, herbs and spices.
Foods to avoid on the Daniel Fast
All meat and animal products including but not limited to beef, lamb, pork, poultry, and fish.
All dairy products including but not limited to milk, cheese, cream, butter, and eggs.
All sweeteners including but not limited to sugar, raw sugar, honey, syrups, molasses, and cane juice.
All leavened bread including Ezekiel Bread (it contains yeast and honey) and baked goods.
All refined and processed food products including but not limited to artificial flavorings, food additives, chemicals, white rice, white flour, and foods that contain artificial preservatives.
All deep fried foods including but not limited to potato chips, French fries, corn chips.
All solid fats including shortening, margarine, lard and foods high in fat.
Beverages including but not limited to coffee, tea, herbal teas, carbonated beverages, energy drinks, and alcohol.