As you know we as a congregation have embarked on a 21-day fast called the Daniel Fast.
The concept of the “Daniel Fast” comes from the commitment that Daniel and his Hebrew friends made while in Babylonian captivity to eat only fruits, vegetables, and whole grains while abstaining from meat, desserts, caffeine, and wine. The Bible does not give us specific details on the “Daniel Fast” but rather says Daniel refrained from the king’s rich food and requested only vegetables and water. In spite of this lean menu, the Scriptures say they emerged with their features appearing better than all those who ate the portion of the king’s delicacies.
It is important to remember that the intent of any fast is to deny yourself something that you would normally do in order to focus more specifically on the Lord. The discipline and grace of fasting shifts our attention away from our hunger only for food to a fresh awareness of our hunger for God.
It is amazing to see what God does when He aligns your spirit with the Holy Spirit of God. Nothing does this like fasting. Your mind, will, emotion, and body fight against fasting. But when God leads you to fast, your spirit comes alive. You are automatically more in tune with God and His Spirit. You begin to see what He wants you to see, feel the way He wants you to feel, and sense what He wants you to sense.
As you immerse yourself in the Word of God during a time of fasting, you become alive to His will. You begin to see and sense what God is saying to you. As God speaks to us through the Word, it is prayer and fasting that can prepare us to hear and embrace the Word of God.
My hope is that your prayer life will deepen through the 21-day fast. We always want to be in prayer, but today God continues to give us opportunities and the only way to deal with them and seek His will in our lives is through prayer. Pray and ask God for wisdom as we seek to further His kingdom. Pray for wisdom in how we plan. Pray for the leadership of the church. And pray that God will show you and Northstar the path He would have us go.
One last thought. I would encourage you to let God decide what He would do through your fasting. During the 21 days, allow God to determine the results of your fast. It is easy to have a sense of entitlement. “ I fasted for 21 days so I should win the lottery.” Or “I fasted for 21 days so my soul mate should appear today.” When we fast we are not forcing God’s hand nor earning God’s favor. We are using God’s appointed channel to worship our Lord and Savior.
1. Read Matthew 6:16-18. In verse 16 Jesus assumes that Christians will fast, yet few American Christians do. What factors do you think contribute to this?
2. In your mind, what is the difference between abstaining and fasting?
3. Before refrigeration and microwave ovens, one purpose of fasting was to free the person from the need to prepare a meal in order to spend time with God. What are some contemporary activities from which we might abstain for the same reason?
4. Under what circumstances might fasting be a helpful spiritual discipline for you? See Exodus 24:18; Nehemiah 9:1; Acts 14:23.
5. Pray together as a group for the changes God wants to accomplish in your heart and life regarding fasting.