As we start a new year, we are beginning the year with an extended time of Prayer, Fasting and Devotion. I’m calling on us to do this for the purpose of seeking God with the Great Expectation that we can break free from what hindering our lives and live free to the glory of God.
Our 21-Day Journey will begin on January 3rd at 6:00pm and end on January 24th at 6:00pm. This guide is intentionally designed to be flexible so that you can participate at any level. Whether you have completed a season of prayer, fasting and devotion before, or if this is your first time, you can start where you are and experience what God has in store for you in a powerful way.
I am giving each individual and/or family the chance to CHOOSE your “Fast” during our 21-Day Journey. Unless you already have an established routine, I’m suggesting you prayerfully consider one of the two options.
The Partial Daniel Fast
Eat no meat, no sweets and no bread. Drink water and juice. Eat fruits and vegetables. (See Detailed Daniel Fast Guidelines Attached)
The Personalized Designated Fast
You establish the “Fast” that best fits you and your family for the 21-Days. This can mean giving up one or two meals a day, or abstaining only from certain foods.
Why offer options? A spiritual fast involves abstaining from food while focusing on God through prayer and study of the Word. For medical reasons, some people may not be able to fast from certain foods or food altogether. Once you have decided what fast best fits you and your family, you will be able to plan accordingly.
I pray that you will experience the presence and power of God as you commit yourself to Him over the next 21-Days. May God continue to bless you and transform you as you seek Him first!
The Purpose of Our Spiritual Fasting
While many people fast to lose weight, dieting is not the purpose of our spiritual fast. Instead, our fast is designed to provide unique spiritual benefits in our lives. Fasting requires discipline as we deny the natural desires of the flesh. During spiritual fasting, our focus is removed from the physical things of this world and intensely concentrated on God. Put differently, Fasting directs 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.
Spiritual fasting is never to be a public display of spirituality—it is between you and God alone. Also, spiritual fasting is not a way to manipulate God into doing something for us. Rather, the purpose is to produce a transformation IN US—an unwavering dependence upon God as make our voices heard on high through our prayers.
If you have health concerns, consult your doctor prior to beginning a fast and explain what you plan to do. Remember to closely monitor your physical activities such as exercising.
(Note: Before fasting, you should check with your Doctor. Some persons should not fast: those who are sick, pregnant women, those with certain conditions like Diabetes, etc. Persons in these situations can substitute the food by giving up something else. For instance, you could give up an hour of television (or all television for that day); replacing it with your Bible Reading and Prayer or the reading of a Christian book or listening on CD.)
Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal areas of need and weakness. Declare your dependance on God for the need and confess your sins to God. Forgive all who have offended you and ask forgiveness from those you may have offended. Surrender your life fully to the Lordship of Jesus Christ and reject the desires that try to hinder you.
If you happen to accidentally eat something on the list of foods you are avoiding, don’t be discouraged and do not quit the fast. Ask the Lord to help you, realizing you will need more of His strength to make it the remainder of the 21-Days.
As we pray and fast we will feed our spirit with the Word of God through daily readings. You can use our church’s “The Word For You Today” devotional or the links to devotion guides below.
Another option is to make the Sunday Sermon and Wednesday Handout (posted online weekly) as your devotional study guide for the week.
GUIDELINES FOR DANIEL FAST
Daniel Chapter 10 is where we find the model for the 21-Day Daniel Fast. From this passage, a guideline has developed over the years, primarily by Christians who use this as a form of fasting. This fast is not limited to any specific amount of food, but rather to the kinds of food you can eat.
During the Daniel Fast, eat 3-4 small, well-balanced meals each day using the following “Suggested Food Guidelines”. If you are used to drinking a lot of coffee, tea and other caffeinated beverages, you may experience a headache, a common withdrawal symptom. This should diminish after the first few days.
WHAT YOU CAN EAT:
All fruits: These can be fresh, frozen, dried, juiced or canned (in its own juice). 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 brown rice, quinoa, oats, barley, whole wheat pasta.
All unsalted nuts and seeds: Including but not limited to sunflower seeds, cashews, peanuts, sesame.
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, cannelloni beans, white beans.
All quality oils: Including but not limited to olive, canola, grape seed, peanut, and sesame.
Beverages: 100% Apple & Orange Juice and water
Other: tofu, soy products, vinegar, seasonings, salt, herbs and spices.
WHAT YOU CANNOT EAT:
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 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 caffeinated coffee & tea, herbal teas, carbonated beverages, energy drinks, and alcohol.
HOW TO END: Don’t overeat when the time comes to end your fast. Begin eating meats and sweets gradually. Also, eat small portions of snacks.
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