We're going to kick off the new year by participating in a Daniel Fast as a community. We'd love for you to commit to this fast with us and we've included everything you need to know below.
WHAT is a Daniel Fast?
Put simply, a Daniel Fast is the same fast Daniel chose in Daniel 1. It means eating nothing but fruits and vegetables and drinking nothing but water.
WHY are we doing this?
As we begin a new year as a church together, we desire to put the pursuit of God as the first priority in our lives, together and as a community. We believe completely in the power of prayer and recognize that all that we want to see most in our lives, our relationships, and our church is dependent on the action of God.
We spent the majority of the Fall looking at the life of Daniel as a model for what it means to live as a “Creative Minority” in a culture like ours. For Daniel, this journey began very simply: with a fast (Daniel 1:8-17.)
Following this example, we being a new year by laying down the plans we think we can accomplish on our own strength; instead, asking God for his plans, his strength, and his provision.
We are choosing to do this fast for 10 days because that was the period of testing Daniel asked for from the guard who oversaw the provision of his food.
HOW can I possibly do a Daniel Fast?
Remember, fasting is not about rules and legalism. It is about removing something from our lives that causes us to remember our dependence on God frequently throughout the day. Do your best to live faithfully to this fast while giving your attention to God, not to the perfection of "is this food allowed or not." This will allow fasting to be a spiritually enriching experience, rather than just a brief diet.
Here are some of the Daniel Fast guidelines to get you started:
Foods to include during the Daniel Fast:
All fruits. These can be fresh, frozen, dried, juiced or canned.
All vegetables. These can be fresh, frozen, dried, juiced or canned.
All whole grains.
All nuts and seeds, also nut butters including peanut butter.
All legumes. These can be canned or dried.
All quality oils.
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.
All leavened bread including Ezekiel Bread (it contains yeast and honey) and baked goods.
All refined and processed foods products.
All deep fried foods.
All solid fats.
Beverages including but not limited to coffee, tea, herbal teas, carbonated beverages, energy drinks, and alcohol.
When you shop for food remember to READ THE LABELS to make sure the only ingredients in packaged foods are suitable for the Daniel Fast. You will want to be especially aware of chemicals, dairy products and sweeteners - all of which are not allowed on the Daniel Fast.
*For additional recipes and details you can check out http://DanielFast.wordpress.com. We also have a copy of "The Daniel Fast" book by Susan Gregory up in the church office and we're happy for anyone to flip through it on Sunday.
WHEN are we doing this?
January 14-23. We'll end our fast by worshiping together on Saturday, January 23 at a “Tent of Meeting” worship night. After "Tent of Meeting," we will celebrate together by gorging ourselves on all the food and drink we’ve avoided for the last 10 days.
We want to challenge you to define these 10 days by sincere commitment to praying “Faith Goals” over the next year. We have made this a regular habit as a staff and would love for it to extend to the entire church.
What exactly is a “Faith Goal”? A faith goal is a prayer that requires God to be answered. It is a prayer that is beyond human effort to orchestrate or accomplish. Jesus’ invitation to prayer is astounding, but far too often, our prayers are too small.
We challenge you to develop “faith goals” personally, relationally, and for our church. Use the questions below to develop “Faith Goal” prayers. I recommend writing these down and looking at them daily throughout the fast.
- Personally: What do I want to see God do this year in my life that only He can accomplish?
- Relationally: What do I want to see God do this year in the life of another person or group of people that only he can accomplish?
- Church: What do I want to see God do in our church this year that only He can accomplish?
Please e-mail your prayers for “Church” to firstname.lastname@example.org. We will do our best to group these prayers into major “themes” so we can all be praying together for our church over these 10 days. We promise not to violate anyone’s privacy or name any individual’s prayers. We simply want to pick out general themes, so we can be united in prayer for our church.
THINGS TO REMEMBER
Fasting is not about spiritual pride, inflicting guilt, or manipulating God into the actions we want. Fasting is about removing something from our lives that causes us to identify with our need for Him, turn our attention to Him frequently throughout the day, and find ourselves more often crying out to God in prayer. We sincerely urge you to join us in this fast to begin a new year. The year ahead will be made up of mostly “ordinary days” -- carrying out our own agenda, living how we want, and eating how we want. What better way to begin a new year surrendered to God than to, together, seek Him first and foremost in our lives?
But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. -Matthew 6:33