I hope you had a Merry Christmas! By the time you read this we will be looking toward the New Year. I want to be ready for what God has planned for us this coming year! This Sunday I will be sharing a message entitled “Be Ready”. We get ready for a lot of things: Christmas, vacations, family get-togethers, checkups, school assignments, anniversaries, etc. But are we ready for what is most important: Jesus’ coming, sharing the gospel, seeking the Lord. The former are important. The latter are essential. 2016 is a Presidential election year, too. I don’t need to tell you that we should be praying for the future of our country.
This year we will set aside the first three weeks of January to seek the Lord with prayer and fasting. This year we will begin the Daniel Fast on January 4th (Monday) and break the fast on January 24th (Sunday night) after the pm worship service with a Soup Supper.
The Daniel Fast is a partial fast taken from the Book of Daniel chapters one and ten. Here’s the setting in Chapter 1: Daniel has been taken to Babylon in the Jewish captivity. The story includes three of his friends. They are the ‘cream of the crop’ and Nebuchadnezzar plans to train them in pagan ways. Daniel, however, purposes “in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king’s delicacies, nor with the wine which he drank . . .” Daniel 1:8. The food he ate has become what we call “The Daniel Fast” or ‘diet’.
In Chapter 10, Daniel is praying and fasting for 21 days. Wow, you might think. I could never do that. Don’t say ‘no’ too quickly. Daniel didn’t stop eating completely; he modified his diet and activities. His heart for his people was broken.
Why are we going to do this? There are several reasons. The most important one is that in our seeking, praying, and fasting we will glorify God and know Him in a deeper way in 2016. Another simple reason is that it is good to seek the Lord! Look at the following verse from Lamentations:
The LORD is good to those who wait for Him, to the soul who seeks Him. Lamentations 3:25
I want God to be good to me, us, in 2016. I want to see more people saved than ever before. I want to see Eastwood Tulsa become “A place to Believe, Belong, and Be loved”. I want to experience a deeper love for the Lord Jesus and others. I want people that are away from the Lord to come back to Him. I want more of Him for myself and for you!
Let’s get back to 21 days of fasting. What might that look like? How about reading the Scripture and praying while fasting from TV, Facebook, etc. How about re-arranging your schedule to include a daily “quiet time” or devotional time with the Lord? Another way of looking at the fast is stopping an activity that is “good” for something better. Starting or intensifying spiritual disciplines of meditation, solitude, Scripture memory, and the like is also important.
This may sound too intense; you may not think it necessary. Before you say, ‘No’! Ask the Lord how He would have you participate. My desire is that everyone would participate at some level.
This type of fast is not new. You can read more about fasting and download our free Ultimate Daniel Fast Participant Guide. There are a lot of positive benefits for your body, too. Many people have seen significant physical, emotional, financial and other changes as a result of going on this type of fast. As in all things that we do whether eating or drinking, we do them for the glory of God, 1 Cor. 10:31.
Thankful in Jesus,