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3 FASTING OPTIONS

Daniel Fast

Daniel Fast

What is it? 

  • A fast, based on the fast that Daniel and his Hebrew companions took in Daniel 1, involves only the consumption of fruits, vegetables, and water.

Sounds interesting. What was that all about?

  • Daniel and his companions were placed in what appeared to be an impossible situation, in need of God’s intervention and favor. Rather than hit the easy button and turn against God’s commands, the four chose to fast and eat only fruits, vegetables, and water, all while entrusting their situation to Him. Daniel 1:15-17 gives us a pretty good look at just what happened because of it.

What are the specifics?

  • It’s pretty simple! For 21 days a person consumes only fruits, vegetables, and water while wholeheartedly dedicating themselves to praying and connecting with God during that time.

Wait – I just did a Google search and there’s, like, 20 different ways people are saying to do this kind of fast.

  • As is our modern way of doing things, plenty of people have taken this concept from Daniel 1, added their own twist to it, and called it by the same name. We want to stay as close to the formula we see in Scripture, thus, what we’ve laid out above.

Last thing! What about whole grains?

  • If we’re getting super technical, there is some debate over one specific Hebrew word in a key Daniel 1 verse. Daniel 1:12 says, “‘Test us for ten days on a diet of vegetables and water,’ Daniel said.”
  • The Hebrew word that we’ve taken and translated into the English word “vegetables” is zeroa`. To a person who was speaking and reading ancient Hebrew, zeroa` would be used to refer to something that was grown from a seed sown in the ground. So, taking that into account, consuming things like whole grains and fruit would not be seen as a violation of this Biblical example.

 

Daniel Fast
Weekly 24-Hour Complete Fast

Weekly 24-Hour Complete Fast

What is it? 

  • A simple, water-only fast, that a person commits to one 24-hour period every week. Often this is done from sundown to sundown or sunrise to sunrise.

Oh? What was that all about?

  • All throughout scripture, individuals like Esther (Esther 4:16) found themselves at a place where they were confronted with matters beyond their control. Their response was often a full fast, often without even water. God’s response? It’s why Esther is still read to every Jewish person, every year.

What are the specifics?

  • This one is also pretty simple. For each of the 3 weeks of the fast, commit to a 24 hour span in which you will hold back from consuming anything that is not water. Our encouragement to you would be to focus in a special way on prayer during those and the non-fasting days as well.

 

Weekly 24-Hour Complete Fast
Content Fast

Content Fast

What is it? 

  • For those who may not be able to fast food due to physical hardship or illness, we encourage a fast that focuses on the intake of digital content instead.

That may actually work. How do I do it?

  • Before the 21 days begin, we want to encourage a person choosing this fast to pray and follow God’s leading on specifically what to fast. Many individuals have chosen to fast all streaming services, social media, video games, YouTube, or some combination of those items. The vital thing is (1) that it is a personally significant item to fast and (2) that a clear commitment is made at the front end of the fast.

But is it really fasting if there isn’t a change in food intake?

  • We do believe strongly in the first couple of food-related fasts but understand that not everyone is able to physically do such a fast. We certainly do not want to leave these people behind as we move this direction as a church, thus this option is here. And there are plenty of times when God asked His people to fast non-food items before a significant battle or event, so a Biblical precedent is there.
Content Fast

DEVOTIONALS

Week 1 Focus: Pursuing God by both fasting sustenance and seeking Him

Day 1- Why do we fast?

  • Mathew 4:4But Jesus told him, “No! The Scriptures say, ‘People do not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”
  • Fasting reconfirms our utter need for and dependance upon God’s Word. It reminds us that the true substance our inner man longs for is not from this world or even the food we eat, but rather God’s every Word – words we cannot truly live without. Also we learn about ourselves when we fast.  
  • For today’s prayer, focus on humbly turning to God’s eternal word to sustain you throughout the trials and struggles you face. Commit to rely on Him, rather than the things of the world. 

 

Day 2- Fasting is a call to return to God

  • Joel 2:13That is why the Lord says, “Turn to me now, while there is time. Give me your hearts. Come with fasting, weeping and mourning.”
  • Fasting is a call to return to God. Our first need, like the Prodigal Son’s, is to return home to our heavenly Father. As we have all strayed, God doesn’t turn away like an angry Father would.  Instead, He simply says, “You have left Me, come home to Me now”.
  • For today’s prayer, focus on turning away from your mistakes and the fear of judgment for your mistakes and say, “Dear Abba, let me return to your loving embrace”.

 

Day 3- Entering His courts

  • Psalm 100:1-5 Shout with joy to the Lord, all the earth! Worship the Lord with gladness. Come before Him, singing with joy. Acknowledge that the Lord is God! He made us, and we are His. We are His people, the sheep of His pasture. Enter His gates with thanksgiving; go into His courts with praise. Give thanks to Him and praise His name. For the Lord is good. His unfailing love continues forever, and His faithfulness continues to each generation.
  • Have you ever wondered where, when it comes to growing closer to God, to begin? As we see here in Psalms, very little will bring us into the Lord’s presence faster than praise and thanksgiving – a simple, but powerful combination!
  • Today as we enter a time of prayer and fasting, let’s begin with thankfulness. Though some of us may be encountering caffeine and chocolate withdrawals let’s place our focus upon what magnificent blessings the Lord has given us. 

 

Day 4- Crying out to Jesus

  • When it comes to pursuing Jesus, have you ever felt what can only be described as a barrier of some sort? What can we do? Answer:  Cry out like the blind man in Luke 18. 
  • Luke 18:37-43They told him that Jesus the Nazarene was going by. So he began shouting, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” “Be quiet!” the people in front yelled at him. But he only shouted louder, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” When Jesus heard him, he stopped and ordered that the man be brought to him. As the man came near, Jesus asked him, “What do you want me to do for you?” “Lord,” he said, “I want to see!” And Jesus said, “All right, receive your sight! Your faith has healed you.” Instantly the man could see, and he followed Jesus, praising God. And all who saw it praised God, too.
  • Our merciful Lord hears, loves, and responds.  Let’s make this our prayer:  “Lord today help restore our sight to see you as you are. Only through Your mercy and grace can we move forward. Give me the strength to seek you today!” 

Day 5- Do not be distressed

  • We see in Scripture that Jesus doesn’t just consider it important that we fast, but also how we fast.  By telling us not to be outwardly distressed or sad when fasting, He is telling us to focus little on how our fasting is shaping how people perceive us.  The discovery becomes this:  Life is so much more than what we eat. 
  • Mathew 6:16-18And when you fast, don’t make it obvious, as the hypocrites do, for they try to look miserable and disheveled so people will admire them for their fasting. I tell you the truth, that is the only reward they will ever get. But when you fast, comb your hair and wash your face. Then no one will notice that you are fasting, except your Father, who knows what you do in private. And your Father, who sees everything, will reward you.
  • Here’s a special challenge for today:  While fasting, do not allow your stomach to be given control over your feelings. Whatever prayer, mediations, or self-talk (not just for the crazy) is needed, winning this victory will pay great dividends!  

     

Day 6- God’s word is living and active

  • For those fasting social media, or perhaps another time consuming activity, here’s a question:  How will you fill the screen time that once belonged to [insert your favorite app or streaming service here]?  A powerful replacement is the Word – not just in a “good-for-you” type of way, but in the same way that a locked door discovers the right key for the very first time.
  • Hebrews 4:12For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires.
  • Today’s challenge is as simple as it gets:  The word of God is alive. Let it bring life to you today!

Day 7- Our reaction to God’s holy presence

  • Praying and fasting may carry unique difficulties, however a look into Scripture will show something quite encouraging  That there is actually a very natural relationship between the presence of God and times of fasting and prayer. Three times in scripture we see an encounter with God resulting in a 40 day fast and time of seeking the Lord. One was Moses (Exodus 34), one was Elijah (1 Kings 18-19), and then of course Jesus (Matthew 3, Mark 1, Luke 3, John 1). 
  • Today, create some space, turn on some worship music and actively pursue a personal encounter with the Lord.  Rekindle those walks that mankind used to share with Him in Eden.

Week 2 Focus: Prayer

Day 8- Our father in Heaven, hallowed be thy name- 

  • Many of us know that prayer is a crucial part of our faith.  In fact, it’s quite hard to have a close relationship with someone one does not speak to very often.  For those of us who struggle with the actual act of praying:  You aren’t alone!  Even the disciples struggled with this same thing.  In Matthew 6, Jesus gives us a perfect framework for how to pray. It’s called the Lord’s Prayer.  He says, in Matthew 6:9, “…pray like this;  Our Father in heaven, may Your name be kept holy.”
  • Notice here Jesus isn’t telling us what to pray, he’s telling us how to pray. The order is very important. Over the next few days we’ll focus on the different topics of the Lord’s Prayer and what Jesus wants us to focus on. 
  • The first focus is the Father and the holiness of His name. The heavenly Father is perfect, holy, sinless, creator, Alpha, and Omega. He is the perfect father, judge, and deliverer. 
  • Exodus 34:6-7Yahweh! The Lord! The God of compassion and mercy! I am slow to anger and filled with unfailing love and faithfulness. I lavish unfailing love to a thousand generations. I forgive iniquity, rebellion, and sin. But I do not excuse the guilty.
  • When it comes to prayer, an incredible opportunity to both learn and grow is a CityHope College PM class called Dynamics of Prayer.  Beginning on January 16, this 10 week class is designed to help every single believer take their prayer lives to  entirely new levels.  Information and signups are available at cityhope.cc/chcpm

Day 9- Thy Kingdom Come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven

  • The next topic in the Lord’s Prayer in is for God’s will to be done. 
  • Matthew 6:10May your Kingdom come soon. May your will be done on earth, as it is in heaven.
  • Why is this the next focus of the Lord’s Prayer? Because as believers, our first priority is to care about what God cares about – this is why we want to pray first for what is important to Him. So today, let’s pray for that “Will of God” for the lost who do not yet know Him, the broken who need Him, wisdom and guidance for those in authority, and His will in our daily lives. 

Day 10- Give us today our Daily bread 

  • Matthew 6:11Give us today the food we need,
  • Today’s focus from the Lord’s Prayer finally turns to ourselves. Only after first focusing on God’s power, goodness, and will do we turn to our daily needs. This includes physical, emotional, and spiritual needs. Most of us know this verse as “give us today our daily bread”, and because of that it shouldn’t shock us that Jesus also calls Himself the bread of life. During this time of fasting many of us are yearning for a little bread, luckily Jesus has a solution for us. 
  • John 6:35Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.
  • Thank God that we have a Savior who is here to meet our needs!  So today let’s bring today’s needs to God and thank Jesus for being the very bread that sustains us. 

Day 11- Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us

  • Matthew 6:12…and forgive us our sins, as we have forgiven those who sin against us.
  • The second part of this may be the most difficult part of the Lord’s Prayer. Notice Jesus says forgive us as we forgive others. That’s having God hold us to the standard of forgiveness that we pass on to others. Jesus was so emphatic about this he even follows up immediately after giving the prayer in Matthew 6:14-15“If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins.”
  • Why is it so important to forgive? Because for us to accept Jesus’s forgiveness for our sins but not forgive our neighbor is the highest form of hypocrisy! If we have received Jesus as our Savior and are yet unwilling to forgive, what does that say about our faith? 
  • Today’s challenge:  Who comes up in your mind when you think of someone who needs your forgiveness? It could be a family member, a coworker, a bully from the past, or even yourself.  Choose today to be the day you fully forgive.  

Day 12- Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil

  • Matthew 6:13And don’t let us yield to temptation, but rescue us from the evil one. 
  • The next topic of the Lord’s prayer is temptation. Jesus actually lists two types of temptation and spiritual attack here. One internal, and the other, external.  We need to pray for protection from both!  
  • Ephesians 6:12For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.
  • 1 Corinthians 10:12-13If you think you are standing strong, be careful not to fall. The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure.
  • How will you choose to approach the temptations offered to you today?  Remember the faithfulness of God and approach these temptations, knowing that you are not alone in this fight.

Day 13- For thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever

  • Matthew 6:13bFor yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.
  • Here Jesus closes the Lord’s Prayer by bringing the focus back to the Father. Note that we both start and finish the Lord’s Prayer with a focus on the greatness of the heavenly Father. Why is that? Because Jesus understands that everything flows through the Father.
  • John 5:19-20So Jesus explained, “I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself. He does only what he sees the Father doing. Whatever the Father does, the Son also does. For the Father loves the Son and shows him everything he is doing.”
  • Today in our prayer time, let’s close with a focus back on the Father and that what we said pleases and glorifies His Holy name! 

Day 14- Lord’s Prayer summary

  • Over the past 6 days we’ve gone over the outline for prayer in Matthew 6. 
    • Remember that Jesus said this is how you pray, not what to pray. 
    • He starts by focusing on the Father and His will, next we look to our needs or sustenance, forgiveness, and protection from sin. 
    • Then we turn back to the father to close. Let our prayer today model this focus. 

God Focused
Our Father in heaven, 
may your name be kept holy.
10May your Kingdom come soon. God focused
May your will be done on earth, as it is in heaven.

Us Focused
11Give us today the food we need

12and forgive us our sins,
as we have forgiven those who sin against us.
13And don’t let us yield to temptation
but rescue us from the evil one.

God Focused
For yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.

Week 3 Focus: Worship / Celebration

Day 15 – Joy is the serious business of Heaven (C.S. Lewis)

  • Joy is at the heart of celebration.
  • 2 Samuel 6:5 “David and all the people of Israel were celebrating before the Lord, singing songs and playing all kinds of musical instruments-lyres, harps, tambourines, castanets, and cymbals.”
  • Joy is the engine of celebration and provides us with the proper perspective to view all of the spiritual disciplines. Remember joy is God’s basic nature. Consider this:  God is the happiest being in the universe. And because He is filled with joy, He wants us to be filled with an abundance of joy. Perhaps the most important benefit of joy is that it saves us from taking ourselves too seriously. It adds a note of fun to our lives and our worship.
  • This week when you pray, ask for the joy of the Lord to enter into your life and let you be joyful and celebrate what a great God we have.  St. Augustine one said, “The Christian should be an alleluia from head to foot.”

 

Day 16 – Choose to Celebrate

  • Let me choose to celebrate each day
  • Nehemiah 8:9-10“Go and celebrate with a feast of rich foods and sweet drinks, and share gifts of food with people who have nothing prepared. This is a sacred day before our Lord. Don’t be dejected and sad, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.”
  • Joy is what we were made for, but like any good habit we must each day choose to be happy, thankful and joyful. God knows this about us and that is why throughout the Bible He commands us to choose celebration. Sure, each of us will experience heartbreak and sorrow. But always remember God’s promise that the joy of the Lord is your strength.
  • So today decide to choose joy in defiance of your suffering and put your trust in the Lord.  This is the art of celebration.

 

Day 17 – Celebration brings us joy

  • Let us bask in the joy of our Lord
  • Philippians 4:4Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again-rejoice!
  • Always remember that Jesus came as the Joy-bringer. The joy you see in the face of a child as they play carefree is but an appetizer to the joy that resides in the heart of our Savior. Jesus’ basic nature is joy and like any good father He wants us to have the joy in life that only He can bring.
  • So today, focus on the fact that our God is a joyful God and He wants His children to bask in His joyful love. So don’t be afraid to unplug a bit and do something that sparks that “childlike faith” in your life. 

 

Day 18 – What is worship?

  • Worship is about responding to our heavenly father
  • John 4:23-24But the time is coming-indeed it’s here now-when true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth. The Father is looking for those who will worship him in that way. For God is Spirit, so those who worship him must worship in spirit and in truth.
  • Worship is all about responding to who God is and what He has done for us. It can be  about being so filled with the Lord that we can’t help but respond out loud or with our actions.  Other times worship is just about being still, quiet and totally focusing just on Him. The key factor is not letting the daunting task of being perfect in worship deflect you from starting your worship. God just wants us to be authentic and genuine.
  • So today focus during your prayer time on being authentic and honest with your worship of our Lord.  Begin beginning.



Day 19 – In worship we dwell upon the greatness and goodness of God

  • Let us pray upon the greatness of our Lord
  • Revelation 4:11Thou art worthy, O Lord to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they were created.
  • In worship we focus our attention on God’s greatness through our words, singing and corporate prayer. To worship is to see God as worthy, and to acknowledge His great value to us.
  • In your prayers this week concentrate on the fact that during worship we are met by God who is present in our worship and displays His greatness and saving grace to us.    

 

Day 20 – Worship at Church

  • How do I worship at Church
  • Psalms 95:1-3Come, let us sing to the Lord! Let us shout joyfully to the Rock of our salvation. Let us come to him with thanksgiving. Let us sing psalms of praise to him. For the Lord is a great God, a great King above all gods.
  • It’s important to remember that worship at Church is not about whether you like a particular song, or not participating because you can’t, or won’t sing. Worship isn’t about you or the band, or the songs that you are singing. It’s about carving time out of your busy and hectic life to simply rest in the presence of God. So some days you may sing to the top of your lungs, while other days you may simply sit in His presence and have an authentic conversation with God so that you may lay your burdens at His feet.
  • So today, set your heart on, when you worship at Church, being completely present.  Prepare yourself to silence notifications on your phone, and perhaps set down that coffee in your hands for a few minutes.  You will not regret it.

 

Day 21 – Making time to worship

  • Let me realize that the most important part of my day is my worship to the Lord
  • Mathew 6:33Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and He will give you everything you need.
  • We all live what we’d describe as “busy lives”.  In fact, it seems that with each passing year they become busier and even more cluttered.  Worship at times may feel like a Sunday habit that we barely fit into our lives. But we can’t reduce worship to our Lord to a habit. He must be on the forefront of our lives. In fact in these busy and confusing times our worship of Him must become our True North. All of our decisions and directions in life must flow from worship and communication with our Lord. Thus, instead of worship being a minor habit, let it become your bedrock.
  • So today, on your last day of your fasting and prayer, stop and realize how far you have come during this 21 day period and celebrate that this is just the start of your amazing journey with our Lord.    

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