This week at RCC we're encouraging everyone to begin what is known as a "Daniel Fast". This fast is based off the model set out by Daniel 10:2,3 ...
"In those days I, Daniel, was mourning for three full weeks. I ate no rich food, no meat or wine came into my mouth, nor did I anoint myself at all, till three whole weeks were fulfilled."
Foods to Eat
Whole Grains: Brown Rice, Oats, Barley
Legumes: Dried Beans, Pinto Beans, Split Peas, Lentils, Black Eyed Peas
Fruits: Apples, Apricots, Bananas, Blackberries, Blueberries, Boysenberries, Cantaloupe, Cherries, Cranberries, Oats, Figs, Grapefruit, Grapes, Guava, Honeydew Melon, Kiwi, Lemons, Limes, Mangoes, Nectarines, Papayas, Peaches, Pears, Pineapples, Plums, Prunes, Raisins, Raspberries, Strawberries, Tangelos, Tangerines, Watermelon
Vegetables: Artichokes, Asparagus, Beets, Broccoli, Brussel Sprouts, Cabbage, Carrots, Cauliflower, Celery, Chili Peppers, Corn, Cucumbers, Eggplant, Garlic, Gingerroot, Kale, Leeks, Lettuce, Mushrooms, Mustard Greens, Okra, Onions, Parsley, Potatoes, Radishes, Rutabagas, Scallions, Spinach, Sprouts, Squashes, Sweet Potatoes, Tomatoes, Turnips, Watercress, Yams, Zucchini, veggie burgers are an option if you are not allergic to soy.
Liquids: Spring Water, Distilled Water, 100% Fruit Juices, 100% Vegetable Juices. You may drink protein drinks if they do not include dairy products.
Others: Seeds, Nuts, Sprouts
This list of foods is merely a first step to get you thinking about making better food choices. Remember, this fast is about growing your relationship with God. And He's not as concerned about what is in your stomach as He is about what is in your heart.
Daniel's decision not to eat the king's food was an outward symbol of an inward commitment he had made to God. Let your choices over the next three weeks reflect the hunger your have for God's presence in your life.
Since there is no definitive list of foods for the Daniel Diet, it is truly the spirit of Daniel's decision that we are imitating over the next 21 days. If there is something that is not specifically listed that you think still qualifies, then feel free to adjust this accordingly. The details of the fast are between you and God - use this time to focus on Him.
Foods to Avoid
• White Rice
• Fried Foods
• Carbonated Beverages
• Foods Containing Preservatives/ Additives
• Refined Sugar
• Sugar Substitutes
• White Flour and All Products Using It
• Margarine, Shortening, High Fat Products
Do not treat them as laws, if you have taken something by accident, do not feel condemned, or you will not benefit from this fast.
Special Note: If you have health issues, please be sure to contact your health professional for advice before committing to any fast including the Daniel Fast.
How to Begin - Start with a clear goal. Be specific. Why are you fasting? Do you need direction, healing, restoration of marriage or family issues? Are you facing financial difficulties? Ask the Holy Spirit for guidance. Pray daily and read the Bible.
Preparing Spiritually - Confess your sins to God. Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal areas of weakness. Forgive all who have offended you and ask forgiveness from those you may have offended (Mark 11:25; Luke 11:4; 17:3-4). Surrender your life fully to Jesus Christ and reject the worldly desires that try to hinder you (Romans 12:1-2).
Deciding What to Fast - The type of fasting you choose is up to you. You could go on a full fast in which you only drink liquids, or you may desire to fast like Daniel, who abstained from sweets and meats, and the only liquid he drank was water. Remember to replace that time with prayer and Bible study.
Deciding How Long - You may fast as long as you like. Most can easily fast from one to three days, but you may feel the grace to go longer, even as much as 21 to 40 days. Use wisdom and pray for guidance. Beginners are advised to start slow.
What to Expect - When you fast your body detoxifies, eliminating toxins from your system. This can cause mild discomfort such as headaches and irritability during withdrawal from caffeine and sugars. And naturally, you will have hunger pains. Limit your activity and exercise moderately. Take time to rest. Fasting brings about miraculous results. You are following Jesus' example when you fast. Spend time listening to praise and worship. Pray as often as you can throughout the day. Get away from the normal distractions as much as possible and keep your heart and mind set on seeking God's face.
How to End - Don't overeat when the time comes to end your fast. Begin eating solid food gradually; eat small portions or snacks.
FOCUS - The fast is a spiritual discipline designed to better connect us with God. As a small group, we are fasting in order to deepen our relationship with God and to walk in step with His plan and purpose. A great way to do this is to redirect our food source. This is accomplished through substituting our regular food intake with Bible reading, praying and journaling. The overall goal is to experience a genuine hunger for spending time with God.
MENU - The Daniel Fast is a partial fast, which means that we will eliminate some common things from our daily diet, but will have generous options available. We will focus on eating fruits and vegetables that are pure and simple. We have included a list of foods to eat and foods to avoid. If you have any condition which would prohibit you from being a part of the Daniel Fast, there are other options. Choose something from your daily routine (i.e. specific foods or beverages, television, other technology, etc.) and fast in that manner for the next 21 days. Remember, the details are not as important as the spirit in which you participate.
Here are some areas we can join together in directing our prayers towards during the Daniel Fast:
PRAYER FOCUS - PERSONAL ALIGNMENT
• For an openness to spiritual reality in our lives
• That we will personally hunger for a move of the Holy Spirit
• For a growing hunger for God in each of our lives and in our families
• For a renewed hunger for reading and studying God's Word
• For a renewed passion for fasting & prayer
• For a growing passion to reach the unsaved
• That we will be sensitive to open doors to present the gospel
• That we will have a renewed personal commitment to Pentecost
PRAYER FOCUS - BROKENESS
• For a strengthening of moral and Biblical values in our nation
• That people would turn to God in times of need
• For strong marriage and family relationships
• For a powerful sweep of the Holy Spirit across our nation
• For our government - that our President and leaders will seek divine guidance daily
• That the oval office will be a place of strong, moral leadership
• For God's protection for our nation
• For God's wisdom for our leaders
• That all believers will stand for morality and righteousness
PRAYER FOCUS - CORPORATE VISION
• That our church will have a positive impact on our community
• That a culture of prayer will develop in our church
• That effective ministries will continue to develop in our church
• That we will collectively seek God's presence and power through fasting & prayer
• That our congregation will resound with testimonies of God's help in answer to prayer
• That we will reach out to all cultures and ethnicities
• That we will help people to become fully devoted followers of Jesus Christ
• For outreach opportunities in our community
• That the gifts of the Spirit will operate powerfully in our church