January 9 – 18
We have compiled some web links to assist you in our ten day fast. A Daniel Fast is considered a partial fast, which means certain foods are omitted from one’s diet for a period of time (meat, sweets, dairy, processed food, etc). You may choose to eat only fruit and vegetables or to skip a meal a day. Pray and ask God what He would have you do, then make a commitment and stick to it. Fasting isn’t easy, but there is a blessing and reward for those who purpose in their heart to practice this spiritual discipline.
Starting out on a journey of fasting can seem a little daunting or strange when we don’t understand the purpose behind it. Like so many other things, if the purpose of fasting is misunderstood, it will inevitably be abused or valued incorrectly. Although there are many physiological health benefits to fasting (which you can research on your ten-day journey with us), fasting is not a quick way to drop a few pounds or a way to ‘earn’ the favor of God so that He will finally give you what you want. Fasting, at its core, is the intentional surrender of what is valuable to us, for the purpose of drawing closer to the heart of God. In the words of Thai Lam, the National Director of the Luke 18 Project, “I fast because God is in love with me and I am painfully unaware of it.”
We have a Good Father who is closer than we realize and kinder than we know. We can trust Him. He holds the answers for the challenges we face. He holds our freedom from bondage, our healing from disease, our peace for anxiety, redemption for our failures, restoration of our souls, breakthrough in every area. He is always ready to bless, to converse, to give answers to our questions, to respond toward us out of His great love. What happens when we become so full of stuff is we have no more room to receive that which will truly feed us – His voice. When we purpose in our hearts to be intentional about our time spent with Him, our spiritual senses develop to greater capacity, and we grow in friendship with Him – we grow more acquainted with His nature.
As we come away for these next ten days, let’s remember that the foundation of everything we do is relationship with the Father. We set apart time, we surrender what is valuable to draw closer to His heart. He set the example of what it looks like to relentlessly pursue us through the life, suffering, death and resurrection of His Son, Jesus Christ – the expression of the Father on the earth (Hebrews 1:3), and He didn’t stop there. Are you ready to encounter Him on this journey?
When we look at the life of Daniel and how he refused to eat the food that was prepared by Nebuchadnezzar’s servants, we see how he was refusing to partake of what had been defiled, what did not retain its purity. He set aside cultural and social norms and intentionally spent time in prayer, which was against recommendations and protocol. He did not allow the overwhelming status quo to dictate to him how he would live, how he would think and how he would believe. And in turn, things that ‘should’ have been impossible in his life, became areas of great breakthrough and demonstration of God’s glory.
We read in Romans 12:2, ‘Stop imitating the ideals and opinions of the culture around you but be inwardly transformed by the Holy Spirit through a total reformation of how you think. This will empower you to discern God’s will as you live a beautiful life, satisfying and perfect in his eyes…’ (The Passion Translation). There is a cultural and social norm in this world that dictates how we think, what we believe, and how we govern our choices. But, there is also a superior cultural norm of the Kingdom of Heaven, and when we set out time for prayer and fasting, we are saying, ‘Father, I incline my ears to hear from You. I want to be influenced by and for Your Kingdom. Show me where I have believed lies, show me where I need the freedom of Your Truth in my life. Show me how You see.’
In a time where there are plenty of opinions and ambiguity going around about what truth really is, confusion and anxiety run rampant unless…. Unless we rise up as a people who are secured and fastened in His truth. Unless we refuse to allow the ‘normal’ way of thinking and doing dictate what we will and will not believe. Unless we become so acquainted with Him that we carry a peace that surpasses understanding beyond anxiety, a clarity and freedom of truth into places of confusion and deception, a love stronger and more passionate than hatred. Unless we become a people whose minds are renewed and believe the possibilities of God instead of the impossibilities of the world.
Take some time today, read through Romans 12 and the book of Daniel. Sit with Holy Spirit and ask Him to show you where your mind needs renewal.
Detox: a process or period of time in which one abstains from or rids the body of toxic or unhealthy substances; detoxification.
Detox. A word we hear and somehow know it must mean something good, but the process is hardly ever easy at first. When we go through a physical detox, headaches, chills, weakness and fatigue tell us that this is the opposite of good. If it were good for us, why do we feel so miserable? Oh, but it is so very good! Our bodies need to get rid of all the toxins that have been stored up through what we ingested for so long. As hard as this may seem at first, it is part of being kind to ourselves. It renews and rejuvenates; it makes us stronger and healthier. It causes our vital organs to function without strain and to full capacity. Perhaps one of the most important things to remember: it is a process and it cannot be rushed. When we rush it, it becomes more painful and can even be harmful.
During a fast, we experience a bodily detox. But many times, when we are intentionally fasting and praying – seeking a depth of spiritual connection to the truth of God’s word – we also experience a spirit and soul detox. Like the debris left over after a flood, negative emotions we didn’t think were there and beliefs rooted in lies float to the surface and cause us to feel cluttered and just plain ‘bleh’. When you find yourself in a space where your emotions are acting out, it is an invitation to ask Holy Spirit for His perspective and allow Him to minister to those areas of your life. You might have to dig through some dirt or peel back some layers to determine the root of it all, but in the end, you are going through a detox which will leave you stronger, healthier, and able to function without strain and to full capacity. Detox is part of the process of wholeness – spirit, soul, and body. And it is for your wholeness that Christ paid the ultimate price.
2 Corinthians 12:9 But he answered me, “My grace is always more than enough for you, and my power finds its full expression through your weakness.” So I will celebrate my weaknesses, for when I’m weak I sense more deeply the mighty power of Christ living in me. (The Passion Translation)
John 10:10 A thief has only one thing in mind—he wants to steal, slaughter, and destroy. But I have come to give you everything in abundance, more than you expect —life in its fullness until you overflow! (The Passion Translation)
Ephesians 5:25-26 … For He died for us, sacrificing Himself to make us holy and pure, cleansing us through the showering of the pure water of the Word of God. (The Passion Translation)
Take some time today and ask Holy Spirit to come into the forgotten places of your mind and heart. Ask Him to show you where the toxins got in and what is needed for them to be removed. Allow Him to minister to you, and write down what He is saying to you. His truth, found in the Word, and His counsel washes us and cleanses us from suffocating toxins.
Have you ever thought about why we find it hard to fast? Of course, there are the obvious reasons: hunger, inconvenience, discomfort, detox symptoms, sacrifice of time and energy, and sometimes even a little fear of failing or not being able to follow through on the commitment. But, when we peel back the layers even further, we eventually come to the place of realizing that we find it hard, because we struggle to trust God.
Think about this for a moment. Fasting asks that you let go of something that is valuable and even necessary – it asks that you invest your time and energy in the pursuit of a deeper relationship with the Father. If this were a business deal, we would want to check out His company statistics and make sure we are investing in something that will offer an equal (but hopefully superior) return. We would want to know if His company is trustworthy before we invest. How much more are our hearts searching for a trustworthy Father to surrender our inner world to? Our hopes, our dreams, our fears, our questions, our pain, our vision? It will be very hard to surrender and be in a vulnerable place when we do not trust that He is who He says He is and that His motives toward us are good and only good.
Going on a fasting journey can open up some areas for us to trust Him more. Take this time to check out His ‘company.’ Search the scriptures for promises of His faithfulness. Write down these truths, and then, ask Him to show you where He wants to manifest His goodness in your life. And for the times that you feel your spirit saying one thing while your mind is saying another, a man in Mark 9:24 prays this prayer, ‘Lord, I believe. Help my unbelief.’
Deuteronomy 7:9 Know, recognize, and understand therefore that the Lord your God, He is God, the faithful God, Who keeps covenant and steadfast love and mercy with those who love Him and keep His commandments, to a thousand generations… (AMPC)
Lamentations 3:22-23 It is because of the Lord’s mercy and loving-kindness that we are not consumed, because His [tender] compassions fail not. They are new every morning; great and abundant is Your stability and faithfulness. (AMPC)
James 1:17 Every gift God freely gives us is good and perfect, streaming down from the Father of lights, who shines from the heavens with no hidden shadow or darkness and is never subject to change. (TPT)
Numbers 23:19 God is not human, that he should lie, not a human being, that he should change his mind. Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfill? (NIV)
There is a word that has been making the rounds. Sometimes, it has been whispered into a weary ear, and other times it has been shouted into overwhelming crowds. This word is rest.
We read in Hebrews 4, that if we strive for anything, it should be to enter a place of rest. David knew that God is a Good Shepherd who peacefully leads us to quiet waters and does not drive us. We struggle to enter rest for a combination of reasons, but all of them are inferior to what our Father wants for us. He is not asking us to carry heavy burdens. Rest is something He paid a price for. Just to be clear, rest is not the same as lazy. Rest is not the same as being passive or “checking out” of your life. Rest means that you are awake and showing up to your life with intentionality, but you are led in peace and not driven by fear, performance, or trying to ‘earn’ your righteousness. Rest means being led by His voice, and the more we become acquainted with the sound and tone of His voice, the more we realize that He is never in a hurry and He is never without peace. He is the Prince of Peace. He does not fall off of His throne when unexpected things happen, and He will always have a hope-filled and redemptive answer for your situations.
Many times, we get frustrated in our seasons of waiting for breakthroughs. But, our seasons of waiting are for our strengthening, not for our frustration. It is the replenishing of what the previous season took out of us, or the building of muscles for what is to come. If you are in a season of waiting, rest. He is renewing your strength. Likewise, if you are in an active season, rest. Let Him lead you in peace. Breathe in His goodness. Exhale anxiety. Rest.
Take the time during this fast to ask Holy Spirit what does His rest look like in your life. Perhaps you need clearer boundaries to protect your time. Perhaps you need to slow down and sit at His feet. Perhaps you need to let go of weights you’ve been carrying. Perhaps you need to let go of comparison. Perhaps you need to let go of relying on your own strength. Perhaps you need to take a deep breath. Perhaps you need to learn what it means to be quiet. Ask Him, He wants to lead you into rest. He wants to refresh you with loving-kindness.
Isaiah 40:31 But those who wait for the Lord [who expect, look for, and hope in Him] will gain new strength and renew their power; they will lift up their wings [and rise up close to God] like eagles [rising toward the sun]; they will run and not become weary, they will walk and not grow tired. (AMP)
Mark 6:31 He said to them, “Come away by yourselves to a secluded place and rest a little while”—for there were many [people who were continually] coming and going, and they could not even find time to eat. (AMP)
Over the course of our journey, there has been a lot of focus on getting quiet, listening for the voice of our Father and healing the areas in our hearts and minds where we have believed lies. The reason is simple – out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks (Luke 6:45). Since God created us in His image, and He created with a spoken word, our words also create in the spiritual realm and manifest in the physical. How does the abundance of our hearts affect the way we pray?
There is so much power in being a son and daughter of our God. There is so much authority when we speak and when we pray. It is necessary to guard our hearts and sit with Him to make sure that what we are speaking and praying come from a place of truth and love (Proverbs 4:23). There is a reason we have been given twice the ability to hear and once the ability to speak. Jesus also taught His disciples that when they pray and fast, not to be like those who flaunt it as an achievement or use an unnecessary amount of words in hoping to sound more holy (Matthew 6:5-7). There is a greater emphasis on listening, so that when we speak, only a few spirit-breathed words are needed to agree with what God is already saying. Therefore, it is okay to make sure we actually take the time to get quiet and listen well, so that when the opportune moment comes for us to agree with the Kingdom or to declare God’s truth into the atmosphere, we won’t be clouded by our perspectives or heart issues.
When we pray, we should ask ourselves this question, “What is influencing the words that are coming out of my mouth right now?’ There are times when we pray from a hopeless place, or a place of fear, and we need to sit with our Father until we can pray from a place of truth, freedom, love, peace and hope.
Matthew 18:19 Again I say to you, that if two believers on earth agree [that is, are of one mind, in harmony] about anything that they ask [within the will of God], it will be done for them by My Father in heaven. (AMP)
Luke 6:45 The [intrinsically] good man produces what is good and honorable and moral out of the good treasure [stored] in his heart; and the [intrinsically] evil man produces what is wicked and depraved out of the evil [in his heart]; for his mouth speaks from the overflow of his heart. (AMP)
Proverbs 13:2 From the fruit of his mouth a [wise] man enjoys good… (AMP)
Matthew 6:5-8 “Also, when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites; for they love to pray[publicly] standing in the synagogues and on the corners of the streets so that they may be seen by men. I assure you and most solemnly say to you, they [already] have their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your most private room, close the door and pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees[what is done] in secret will reward you. “And when you pray, do not use meaningless repetition as the Gentiles do, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. So do not be like them [praying as they do]; for your Father knows what you need before you ask Him. (AMP)
1 Thessalonians 5:18 And in the midst of everything be always giving thanks, for this is God’s perfect plan for you in Christ Jesus. TPT
When we are mission-minded in our prayer life, we sometimes forget to slow down and express our deep gratitude for everything that God does in our lives. This goes beyond the forgiveness of sins, provision and physical health. Although, when you don’t know where to start, start there. There is something to be said of the victory we expect – when we give thanks in moments where the enemy expects us to crumble.
When we look at the above scripture and see that this is God’s perfect plan for us in Christ Jesus, we see that it is His plan for us to continually walk in this kind of victory, and freedom, and peace. This does not mean that we overlook or deny a challenge, heartbreak, or troubling situation. This does mean that we will look these giants in the eye, and while they may smirk, mock, and intimidate, we remain in peace and give thanks to our Father. He is our Deliverer, He is our Provider. He is the one who fought the battle for us (Exodus 14:14). Every one of His promises are ‘yes’ and ‘amen’ in Christ Jesus. Thankfulness is the least likely weapon against the enemy. He never sees it coming. He expects us to cower and shudder and fall to pieces, but because of what Jesus did on the cross, we are able to celebrate, give thanks, live in peace and advance, while we witness God Almighty at work in our lives. This is how we praise before our breakthroughs. This is how we fight our battles. Not in fear or anxiety, but in thankfulness and peace.
Take some time during this fast and cultivate thankfulness. Where we give Him praise and honor, He shows up and performs miracles, because it His nature to do so. When we take our eyes off of the troubles in front of us, we fix them on the One who is able to save us. He is faithfulness – He does not know how to be unfaithful.
Psalms 22:3 Yet I know that you are most holy; it’s indisputable. You are God-Enthroned, surrounded with songs, living among the shouts of praise of your princely people. (TPT)
Psalm 32:7 Lord, you are my secret hiding place, protecting me from these troubles, surrounding me with songs of gladness! Your joyous shouts of rescue release my breakthrough. Pause in his presence (TPT)
1 John 4:4 Little children, you can be certain that you belong to God and have conquered them, for the One who is living in you is far greater than the one who is in the world. (TPT)
Psalm 34:4 Listen to my testimony: I cried to God in my distress and he answered me. He freed me from all my fears! (TPT)
2 Corinthians 10:3-4 For though we walk in the flesh [as mortal men], we are not carrying on our [spiritual] warfare according to the flesh and using the weapons of man. The weapons of our warfare are not physical [weapons of flesh and blood]. Our weapons are divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. (AMP)
We have all walked through seasons where we were longing for a trusted friend or mentor to pray with us and speak into our lives – even just to agree with us and stand on God’s promises with us. Jesus knew this desire. When He was in the most difficult season of His life on earth, not even His closest friends and confidants could stand with Him and intercede for Him. Their spirits were willing, but they just couldn’t keep their eyes open (Matthew 26:40-43). We read in Hebrews 4 & 5 that we have a High Priest in Jesus who is always interceding on our behalf. We also have the Holy Spirit living within us who intercedes through us when we do not know what to pray or how to pray (Romans 8:26). Jesus walked out loneliness in the most troubling time, so that we never have to again – we are never praying alone!
When we have taken the time to sit with our Father and gained heaven’s perspective on a situation, we can pray in any moment and any place, and we have Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit praying with and for us – we are praying in agreement.
As a Kingdom citizen, our vote counts for something. Our agreement gives whatever we are agreeing with power. When we come into agreement with something, we are saying that we will put all of our strength, intellect, and belief behind it and declare that it will come to pass. When we pray with the Holy Spirit, we are agreeing with what He is saying. We are aligning ourselves with His truth.
There are some situations that we don’t know what to pray for. We don’t know what is needed to clear up the mess, the pain, the confusion. We don’t know what will bring the breakthrough, the healing, the deliverance. We see what is in front of us, but we don’t see a way out. It can be easy to lose our boldness in prayer when we can’t see the outcome and when we don’t believe that God has the ‘time’ or ‘interest’ to respond to our prayers.
God does not operate on a first-come-first-serve basis. He hears all who call on His name (Psalm 145:18). His ability to answer us never comes from how well we performed or prayed. His ability to respond to our prayers is not based on our righteousness or what we can earn through our good works. His ability to hear and respond to us is built on the finished and completed work of Christ. His work is lacking nothing. His righteousness is perfect. We are bold in prayer not because we have it all together, but because He does. To not have boldness in prayer is to elevate something else above His finished work. Our authority is not based on what we did. It is given to us because of Christ.
Romans 8:26 And in a similar way, the Holy Spirit takes hold of us in our human frailty to empower us in our weakness. For example, at times we don’t even know how to pray, or know the best things to ask for. But the Holy Spirit rises up within us to super-intercede on our behalf, pleading to God with emotional sighs too deep for words. TPT
During this fast of having a different menu we can choose from than usual, there were sure to have been some hunger cravings along the way. But, to quote a popular movie, “You cannot fill a cup that is already full.” We have made intentional room for hunger during this fast, and this room creates space for our Father to come in and do what He does best. When asked what he thought the reason was for the Western world not experiencing signs, wonders, and miracles in the same intensity and frequency as in other parts of the world, John Smithwick answered and said, “We have too many other options and back-up plans.” We have filled our cups with other things and made no room for hunger. Hunger to see God’s Kingdom on the earth – in the fullness He paid the price for.
During a Daniel Fast, one of the things you cannot eat is pasta. Pasta, like other starches, has the ability to make you feel fuller and more satisfied, but when you break it down to molecular structure, it is not the healthiest for you long term and even adds to some other issues. Yet, once you’ve had a bowl of pasta, you won’t feel the desire to have some vegetables and fruits. You will be full. Likewise, the things that seem as though they can give more satisfaction to us in the moment, satisfy our spiritual hunger to where we no longer look for what is deeply beneficial and truly freeing.
There is something to be said about making room for hunger in our lives and choosing to partake of what is fully beneficial to us. When we make room for the Holy Spirit to fill us to overflow, we have room to operate and function in the gifts of the Spirit (1 Corinthians 12). He becomes the ultimate Source we live from. He becomes the understanding and perspective that we lean on. Making room for spiritual hunger, much like fasting, is intentional. Ask Him today where He wants to move in and through you. Ask Him about the areas He wants to fill in your life, so that you, in turn, can be a carrier of His presence.
Matthew 5:6 “How enriched you are when you crave righteousness! For you will be surrounded with fruitfulness.” (TPT)
John 6:33-35 “The bread of God is the One who came out of heaven to give his life to feed the world.” “Then please, sir, give us this bread every day,” they replied. Jesus said to them, “I am the Bread of Life. Come every day to me and you will never be hungry. Believe in me and you will never be thirsty.” (TPT)
Acts 13:52 “And the disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit.“(NIV)
Acts 4:31 “After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly.” (NIV)
Concluding this fast, it is our prayer that you will be filled continuously with the Spirit of Wisdom and Understanding through your relationship with God, wisdom for your relationships, your finances, your careers, and your life decisions, along with wisdom for the issues of our day and age. James writes that when we are in need of wisdom, we can come to the Father and ask. We can come to Him at any time and ask. As we grow in our closeness to our Father and attune our ears to hear Him, we grow in wisdom and understanding, because He is the Spirit of Wisdom and Understanding.
We read in Daniel 1 about Daniel’s journey in choosing to be set apart from the surrounding culture. Through this intentionality and devotion to the Lord, Daniel and his friends grew in wisdom and understanding beyond their peers. They were placed in influential positions and were able to bring God’s perspective into their current culture. We are not of this world. We are called to be salt and light. We are called to bring solutions to the problems fallen humanity creates. Where hopelessness abounds, we are called to bring hope. Where there is brokenness, we are called to be carriers of His Spirit – He makes all things new.
We pray that through your increase in wisdom, you will see an increase of favor with God and man in your lives and witness His Kingdom at work in you, for you and through you.
Daniel 1:17 To these four young men God gave knowledge and understanding of all kinds of literature and learning. And Daniel could understand visions and dreams of all kinds. (NIV)
Ephesians 1:17 I pray that the Father of glory, the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, would impart to you the riches of the Spirit of wisdom and the Spirit of revelation to know him through your deepening intimacy with him. (TPT)
Psalm 37:30 God-lovers make the best counselors. Their words possess wisdom and are right and trustworthy. (TPT)
Proverbs 1:7 How then does a man gain the essence of wisdom? We cross the threshold of true knowledge when we live in obedient devotion to God. Stubborn know-it-alls will never stop to do this, for they scorn true wisdom and knowledge. (TPT)
“Please test your servants for ten days, and let them give us vegetables to eat and water to drink” (Daniel 1:12, NKJV).
“I ate no pleasant food, no meat or wine came into my mouth, nor did I anoint myself at all, till three whole weeks were fulfilled” (Daniel 10:3, KJV).