It’s hard to know how many men, women and teens around the world start the New Year with an extended period of prayer and fasting. Estimates range from hundreds of thousands to millions. One thing we know for sure is that the trend is gaining. Very likely, more people than ever will begin 2011 with a New Year fast. It seems that the preferred method of fasting is the Daniel Fast, which is a partial fast where some foods are consumed and others are restricted.
There is no “official” date to start the 21-day New Year fast, but from what I’ve been able to gather from my research and from the hundreds of email messages I receive each week, most people will begin the 2011 New Year Fast on Sunday, January 9th and complete the fast on Sunday, January 30th.
In years gone by, the common start date for the New Year fast is the first Sunday in January. However, since that’s on January 3rd in 2011, and so close to the New Year when many families will be traveling, many leaders have decided to start the New Year fast on the following Sunday, January 9th.
Jentezen Franklin, the pastor at Free Chapel churches in Gainesville, GA and Irvine, CA has been a prominent promoter of the New Year fast. He teaches about prayer and fasting in the churches he pastors and on his television broadcasts. Many of those joining Jentezen Franklin in this corporate fast will use the Daniel Fast as their method of fasting.
A corporate fast is when as few as three and as many as thousands of Christians join together for a period of prayer and fasting. Many church leaders call their congregations to a period of corporate prayer and fasting. Likewise, many leaders of Christian causes will ask those called to provoking change in the world through intercession to join in a corporate fast. During this time, those fasting will pray for God’s will to be accomplished in the matter for which they are praying.
But you don’t need to fast with other people. Many individuals choose to start the New Year with a period of prayer and fasting for personal needs or to pray for the needs of those who God has placed in their care. Many husbands and wives choose to start the New Year with prayer and fasting and if they have children who are old enough to be introduced to the spiritual discipline of prayer and fasting, it might be a family practice.
Personally, I think it’s wise to start the New Year with prayer and fasting. The purpose of fasting is to draw closer to God, to pray that His will be done, and to study the Word and the ways of the Lord. In these shaky times you and I can either be controlled by circumstances and the tough times – or we can partner with the Lord and through our prayer release His will into our lives and our situations.
If you want learn more about the Daniel Fast, receive a copy of the Daniel Fast Guidelines or find helpful resources that will assist you toward a successful fast, visit www.Daniel-Fast.com and join with hundreds of thousands of men, women and teens around the world as they focus their lives on God for a powerful period of prayer and fasting.