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Posts from the ‘Prayer’ Category

Daniel Fast – does it change God or change you?

I am now entering into my fourth year of teaching people about the Daniel Fast, a method of spiritual fasting practiced by millions of people throughout the world. Over the years, I’ve answered literally thousands of questions about the Daniel Fast and God has blessed me to make friends with men and women from more countries than I can count.

One thing I’ve noticed is that many people have a serious misunderstanding as to why they fast. And the greatest misunderstanding is that God will think of them as “better Christians” or accept them more readily if they complete a successful Daniel Fast.

But here’s the truth . . . you will not change God’s mind about you through prayer and fasting. The only thing that changes God’s mind about you – or I should say the only thing that will change your position with God – is Jesus Christ.  Because you believe in Christ and abide in Him and His word . . . that’s what makes you acceptable to God. Jesus makes you righteous and able to enter into the presence of the Holiest of Holy. The sacrificial blood of the Jesus did all the work that you will ever need to be acceptable to God.

Another misunderstanding about fasting is that we can change God’s mind by praying harder or more diligently when we fast – as if we need to counsel God so He can make the right decision about a matter.

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, God greatly desires His will be to “on earth as it is in heaven.” He wants the very best for you and everyone in your family. He wants you healed. He wants you free of worry and stress over money matters. He wants you to have loving and healthy relationships. His Word is full of what He wants – His will for you and for me and for all of humankind.

We don’t need to convince God or inform Him or guide Him. Instead, it’s the other way around. God is eager to shower you with love, healing, peace and goodness. He is good! He is love.

So what are the spiritual laws that God designed so that His will can be done on earth as it is in heaven?

It’s prayer. Prayers from God’s people serve as a conduit to release His will from the spiritual realm into the earth realm. Prayer is the essential element.

One of my favorite Bible teachers likens this spiritual law to a power plant. The power plant is there and eager to release its power to whatever needs it. So let’s say you have a light bulb that you want to use to manifest light. The power plant is where it is ready to release electrical power. The light bulb is with you ready to receive the electricity. But there is a missing part . . . the conduit – the wires. Once the right wires are in place the power plant can release the power – and the light bulb can receive it.

The same is with our amazing Father. He is in heaven full of power, love, mercy and grace. His will is to have His power released in the earth to relieve burdens, bring order to chaos, heal the brokenhearted, remove disease and so much more. But before His power can be released there needs to be the conduit – men and women declaring His will through their prayers. Intercessors are required to stand in the gap for those who can’t pray for themselves. Prayer warriors must voice the will of God for the needs in our world.

Prayer taps into the power plant – the almighty God in heaven – and allows Him to release His power and His ways into the earth realm – His will on earth as it is in heaven.

So prayer and fasting is a period of time where God’s children can separate themselves from their typical activities and focus on God and pray that His will be released in the earth. Jesus says in Mark 11:24, “Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them.” Notice all the elements? Prayers to heaven – the need on earth – the release of God’s power.

Enter a time of prayer and fasting using the Daniel Fast as your method of fasting . . . study God’s Word to learn His will for a situation . . . and then use your consecrated period of time to pray His will into the circumstances! He already knows everything you need. He’s the almighty God. He doesn’t need us to inform Him or convince Him or move Him.

Instead, God needs you! He needs you to pray . . . and sometimes prayer needs to be intense and focused . . . and that’s when it’s time for a fast! Fasting was designed by God to help us change what we’re doing in our typical days so we can pray that His will be done – on earth as it is in heaven.

Be blessed on your fast.

Lent 2009 and the Daniel Fast

I am writing this post on Ash Wednesday, 2009. Today marks the first day of Lent for millions of Christians throughout the world. Lent is a period of fasting for 40 days prior to Easter, with most fasting six days and week and then eating moderately on Sunday. The big feast is on Easter as we celebrate the most important day of the entire year – Resurrection Sunday!

Many will “give up” a type of food during Lent, such as chocolate or coffee. However, a growing number of followers of Jesus Christ are using the Daniel Fast for their Lenten discipline of prayer and fasting.

If you are using the Daniel Fast as your method of fasting during this time of consecration, I do encourage you to sign up for the Daniel Fast Mailing List by going to www.Daniel-Fast.com so you can receive periodic free information that will help you be successful in your fast. Also, when you do sign up you will receive an invitation for the free Daniel Fast Notes, which are daily email devotions that receive very positive reviews from readers.

Also, since so many people do the Daniel Fast for 21 days (see Daniel 10) you will find the 21-day reference throughout this site. However, the Daniel Fast is not restricted to only 21 days. So a 40-day Daniel Fast is totally appropriate.

God bless you on your Lenten Fast. My prayer is that you will draw closer to the Lord and receive even more of the love, grace and direction He has for you.

The Call in Washington, DC – A Call to Fast and Pray

There is a powerful move about to take place in the United State’s national capital of Washington, DC known as The Call. On August 16, 2008, under the leadership of Lou Engle, tens of thousands of men, women and youth will gather on the Capital Mall grounds to enter into collective prayer and fasting. You can read more about this move by clicking on this link: The Call

The following text is from The Call website:

TheCall is a divinely initiated, multi-racial, multi-generational, and cross-denominational gathering to corporate prayer and fasting. We believe that our nation is in desperate need of the mercy of God and a great Spiritual Awakening. TheCall is committed to mobilizing people from all across America to gather together to petition God for His undeserved mercy for our nation in 12-hour solemn assemblies. Just as in the days of Joel, we believe that now is the time to blow the trumpet across our land, to fast, to pray, and return to the Lord with all our hearts.

In the midst of an “entertainment” driven society, TheCall does not seek to entertain, but to encounter God. Unlike other mass gatherings which attract people through the rhythms of loud music, the glamour of flashing lights, or through the appeal of charismatic personalities, TheCall is a gathering centered around the affections of a loving God. There will be no advertised bands and no promoted speakers, as our purpose is not to promote any man or ministry.

TheCall is a FAST not a festival. TheCall is a SOLEMN ASSEMBLY not a conference. Whereas conferences focus primarily on training and discipleship, the 12 hours of TheCall are spent primarily before the Lord in the place of prayer and worship. We believe the hour is late and the times are urgent. Our nation is in desperate need of revival and it will be only through the corporate body of Christ uniting in the place of prayer that we will find any hope in this hour. We believe we can see our nation changed as the Lord pours out His Spirit and brings refreshing to the broken, destitute, and the weary across our land.

I encourage you to look at The Call site to learn more about this assembly. Consider joining the gathering, or supporting it with your own prayer and fasting.

I will post more abou this event in the coming weeks.

Fasting with a Purpose – The Daniel Fast

When you study the Scriptures, you’ll find that when people fasted it was for a purpose — not just a religious exercise. Daniel fasted from the king’s foods and wine because they had been offered to the Babylonian gods and he didn’t want to defile his body. He later prayed and fasted to “encourage” the prophesied release from captivity for the Israelites from Babylon. And in his third recorded fast, Daniel was seeking solace for the great pressure he felt because of a dream he had experienced.

 In the New Testament, people would fast when they needed guidance or answers to prayers. Many times, when the Scripture used the words “by prayer and supplication” it likely referred to fasting.

As you prepare for your Daniel Fast, what will be your purpose? Are their special needs in your family? Is there a loved one who has not accepted Christ? Do you have financial pressures? Is there illness that needs healing? Do you need a new job or help with your business?

Take some time and write down your needs and your purpose for fasting. These will be your subjects of prayer and Bible study. Amazing things happen during times of prayer and fasting! Seek the Lord. He is our Holy God! The Almighty. And nothing is impossible for Him. Call on the Name of the Lord! Prayer opens the doors of our lives so the Lord can perform His works! Ask. Seek. Knock.

Fast with a purpose! And see what the Lord will do!

Whose Voice Is That, Anyway?

 In a short time, you will begin the Daniel Fast, a time when you will increase your time with God in prayer. It’s a time when you hope to hear from the Lord about specific things you are bringing before Him.

But do you ever wonder if the “impressions” your hear are from God, you , other influencing voices in your life, or the enemy? It’s a common problem that I hear people talk about all the time. I used to wonder about it myself, until I learned how to distinguish between those voices.

Think about it. You pick up the phone and hear another voice on the line saying, “Hi! How ya doin.” The caller doesn’t have to identify himself because he knows you will recognize his voice. And you don’t have to ask who’s calling because you do in fact recognize the voice.

Now, why is this voice so identifiable? Because you have spent enough time with the person so that his voice is familiar. You’ve talked with him and he’s talked with you. You know each other!

The same goes with God. When you spend time with Him you will recognize His voice out of the crowd of others who are trying to get your attention.

Keep in mind that God is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. His voice NEVER changes. One of the best ways to become familiar with the sound of His is to hear what He says in His Word (interesting that it’s called that — coincidental?).

The voice you hear in Scripture is the same you will hear when the Lord speaks to you in that “still small voice” that comes up in your spirit. And as you spend more time with Him in His Word and in prayer, you will soon become very familiar with His voice.

The Daniel Fast is a perfect time to seek the Lord and to learn the sound of His voice if you are not already familiar with it. The great news is that once you know it, you will just want to hear it more and more. That’s part of the blessed life! Amen!

Prayer and Fasting

I just finished a long response to one of the visitors to The Daniel Fast weblog. I wanted to pass it on, because others may have similar questions about prayer and fasting — and fear and unbelief.

Hi Justin, Thanks for your question. Before I answer, please understand that I am not a pastor, physician, or theologian. I am a “sold out for Jesus” Christian and in that position give my thoughts about your question

I think the best thing we can do above everything is seek God. I mean really go after Him. I hope you are spending time in His Word each and every day. You know the saying, “There’s power in the Word?” Well, it’s true. There is supernatural power in the Word of God but the only way you can access that power is by spending time reading, praying the Scriptures, and studying.

I encourage you to create a “Secret Place,” where you meet with the Lord every day. Read Psalm 91 and claim every verse that is in it. Pray through it and ask the Lord to meet you and minister to you. I promise you, He longs for a deep and loving relationship with you.

The writer of Hebrews explains in detail about Jesus being our High Priest. That means He is a minister to us and for us. The High Priest’s whole purpose is to be for the people He serves. Jesus wants you whole and completely well.

Now here is the sticking point. Throughout the New Testament, we learn that if we are to receive the abundant blessings the Lord has for us that we need only to believe. We need to totally trust our lives into the hands of God and believe that He will do everything He says in His Word. If you are like most Christians today (and like I was not too long ago) you have a lot of doubt in your heart. Doubt and fear cancel out faith and hope.

So what is the solution? You need to “grow your faith.” And how do you do that? “Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.” Spend time with God and His Word. Take EVERYTHING to Him in prayer, including any doubt and unbelief you may have.

Entering the Daniel Fast “as unto the Lord” is a perfect way for you to devote yourself to the Father. Keep Him at the forefront of your mind and in all you do. Tell Jesus you want to know Him as Lord and Healer. Don’t feel self-centered about wanting to be healed. Jesus wants you healed. The truth is, He already healed you on the cross . . . just as He provided everlasting life to anyone who will receive Him when He died once for all . . . He also provided healing. “By His stripes we WERE healed.” 1 Peter 2:24 Again, it goes back to trust.

I received the Lord’s healing after suffering for many years with a chronic disease. It was not an instantaneous healing, but rather one that took place gradually. Why gradual? For me it was because my belief grew gradually. I am now completely healed!

One more thing that might help you as you work through to your healing: read Matthew 17:14-21.

“And when they had come to the multitude, a man came to Him, kneeling down to Him and saying, “Lord, have mercy on my son, for he is an epileptic and suffers severely; for he often falls into the fire and often into the water. So I brought him to Your disciples, but they could not cure him.” 
 Then Jesus answered and said, “O faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you? How long shall I bear with you? Bring him here to Me.” And Jesus rebuked the demon, and it came out of him; and the child was cured from that very hour.  Then the disciples came to Jesus privately and said, “Why could we not cast it out?”  So Jesus said to them, “Because of your unbelief; for assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you. However, this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting.”

When Jesus talks about “this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting,” most people think He is referring to the demons in the boy the disciples were praying for. But if you examine the context carefully and compare it to other passages about this same situation along with the whole of Scripture, you will see that Jesus was talking about unbelief. Prayer and fasting is the antidote for doubt and unbelief. So study this scripture, then get a mustard seed . . . you might have some in your spice cabinet. If not, invest a few dollars (spiritual learning aid) and buy a bottle at the store. Jesus says that even with faith the size of a mustard seed . . . that we can move mountains! My guess is that you have faith the size of a mustard seed – but the unbelief is canceling it out.

So, back to the beginning . . . this is a perfect time for you to enter the Daniel Fast.

I hope this helps and please feel free to contact me again. I love talking about the Lord!

What is the Daniel Fast?

In those days I, Daniel, was mourning three full weeks.  I ate no pleasant food, no meat or wine came into my mouth, nor did I anoint myself at all, till three whole weeks were fulfilled. Daniel 10:2, 3

The Daniel Fast is a form of partial fasting. It is based on the Prophet Daniel when he was under the rule of Babylonian kings for their personal service. Daniel recorded three occasions of fasting, though he likely fasted many more times since he was a man of God.

In Daniel 1 we read about the time when offered the “king’s diet,” Daniel restricted his food intake to vegetables and water, rather than eat or drink anything that had been offered to Babylonian gods.

In Daniel 9 is the account of Daniel fasting and praying. This was probably a “normal fast” where he denied all food and drank only water.

In Daniel 10 is where we find Daniel using a partial form of fasting for 21 days. It is this account that today’s very popular Daniel Fast is modeled.

In the purest sense, The Daniel Fast is always a spiritual fast, even though many turn to the dietary restrictions laid out in the fast for health reasons. Those using the food lists from the Daniel Fast don’t partake of the spiritual benefits of this specific fast. I guess in this sense that could be called the Daniel Diet rather than the Daniel Fast.

The reason the “pure” Daniel Fast is always first spiritual is because Daniel chose the fast for spiritual purposes. He did not want to defile his body, which he had consecrated (set aside) for the Lord. And, while Scripture doesn’t state it, it’s likely that the superior health and wisdom Daniel gained from this fast was through God’s intervention.

If you are considering the Daniel Fast as your form of spiritual fasting, then there are several steps that you will want to complete:

1. Pray. Spiritual fasting is first directed toward God! So take time to pray to our Lord and ask Him if He wants you to fast at this time. This is really important. You don’t want to enter a fast only for your own purposes (self-centered) or only because your church (human-being-centered) has decided to fast. You want all your fasting to be God-centered. See Isaiah 58.

2. Prepare. Once you sense the leading from the Lord that this is a right time to fast, then begin to prepare you heart. Continue to seek God’s direction. What will be the focus of your fast? Will you use this fast to increase our trust in the Lord? Will you fast corporately with your church body and adopt that focus? Is there a specific trial and you need a breakthrough? Decide your purpose and then begin preparing your heart.

You will also want to prepare for the dietary part of the Daniel Fast. Review these posts:

Daniel Fast Food List

Menu Planning

Recipes

Side-effects

3. Sanctify Yourself: To “sanctify” is to set apart. Daniel sanctified himself unto the Lord and therefore did not eat the rich foods or those offered to the Babylonian gods. As you enter into the Daniel Fast, you also can sanctify yourself and your fast unto the Lord. Make a commitment and set yourself apart for your fast period to diligently seek the Lord and experience His presence as never before.

4. Sanctify the Time. Keep in mind at all times in your fast that this is “unto the Lord.” Set aside time every day to pray, study God’s Word, and to be quiet before our Lord. He wants to meet with you! He wants to demonstrate His deep and abiding love for you. If this is new to you, be patient with yourself and keep at it! Sanctify a time every day to meet with the Lord.

5. Journal Writing. Keeping track of your food intake and writing about your experience will add a richness and depth to your fast that is hard to get any other way, especially if you don’t fast frequently. That’s why I created The Daniel Personal Journal. Each day you can log the types of food you ate at each meal, keep track of your water consumption and not your weight (although this is not the primary reason for the fast).

You can also record your personal insights each day as you walk through the fast. What are you experiencing? What is the Lord teaching you? You will be surprised as the way the Lord will minister to you during this precious time of fasting.

6. Stay Present with the Lord: Use this Daniel Fast as a time to increase your focus on the Lord. Obviously, you won’t be able to pray every minute. But take time to ask the Lord to keep you in the right place at the right time. Keep your heart “stayed on Him.” Keep Him present with you as you interact with family members, friends, work associates, and other believers. Pray more often about even simple tasks and encounters. Increase your awareness in the Lord and that He is ever present with you.

7. Press On: There will be times on the Fast that your body and soul will kick and scream and your spirit needs to take charge! There will be times when you will need to alter your plans or make special provision so that you can remain in the Fast. This is all very normal and all part of the fasting experience. So what do you do? Press on! Succeeding in the fast by pressing on in the hard times will strengthen your character and your spiritual muscle.

8. Completion: In not too many days you will complete the Daniel Fast. You will want to reflect on your experience and notice your spiritual growth. What did you see of God while you fasted? What did He see of you? What did you learn? Are there things that came up that you know you need to address even now? Make sure to take time to reflect and take hold of the lessons learned and the blessings gained. The Bible says, “God rewards those who diligently seek Him.” Hopefully, you have had a successful and spiritually maturing fast and know of His rewards.

Get Ready for the Daniel Fast

Preparing for the Daniel Fast is important. Of course, you will want to get all the menus planned, the recipes gathered, and the food purchased. There is more about those matters in other posts you can find in this weblog (see the category list).

But on this post I want to focus on preparing spiritually for the Daniel Fast. God’s Word actually has some very important teachings about fasting and how to make it one that is pleasing to the Lord.

Fasting is FOR the Lord! Isaiah 58 is one of the chapters in the Bible you will want to read as you plan your fast. Here the Lord addresses the very important issue of priorities in fasting. He responds to the religious people who fast and then ask of the Lord, “Why have we fasted and You have not seen? Why have we afflicted our souls, and you take no notice?”

The Lord admonishes the people because He could see the motive of their fast. They were not fasting for Him . . . but instead for themselves or to impress others who might see them. The people may have been fasting by not eating food – but they were leaving God and His desires for their lives out of it.  He said, “Behold, on the day you fast, you seek your own pleasures.” In other words, they were centering the fast on themselves! Theirs was a self-centered fast, rather than a God-centered fast.

So He asks the people, “Is this not the fast that I have chosen: to loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, to let the oppressed go free, and that you break every yoke? Is it to not share your bread with the hungry, and that you bring to your house the poor who are cast out; when you see the naked, that you cover him, and not hide yourself from hour own flesh?” Isaiah 58:6, 7

Now was God saying that we are not to fast, but rather address our attention to the poor and oppressed? No. Instead He was admonishing these people because while they were focusing all their attention on the religious act of fasting, they were missing the heart of God. Their lives were not pleasing to Him and so there was no way He could “notice” their fast.

The Lord goes on to tell the people what He will do for them if they align their hearts to His heart, “Then your light will break forth like the dawn,  and your healing will quickly appear;  then your righteousness will go before you,  and the glory of the LORD will be your rear guard. Then you will call, and the LORD will answer; you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I.

“If you do away with the yoke of oppression,  with the pointing finger and malicious talk, and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday. The LORD will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame.  You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail.”

As you prayerfully consider your fast, think about what will be pleasing to the Lord. Keep at the forefront of your thoughts that fasting is “unto the Lord.” He sees your heart (your motives) and He wants you to enter into this fast to seek Him, to honor Him, and to draw closer to Him.

Jesus also spoke of self-centered fasting in Matthew 6:16-18: “When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show men they are fasting. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that it will not be obvious to men that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.”

Soon you will begin your fast. Take some time and meet with the Lord. Ask Him about the fast. Firstly, does He want you to fast now? Listen with your heart and you will hear what He would have you do.

If you are to fast at this time, then ask the Lord to show you His purpose for you during the fast. Are there issues that trouble you? Does the Lord want you to trust Him more? Is their a cause for which He is calling you to pray?

Get ready for the fast by seeking the Lord. Make this fast unto the Lord. Then He will reward you and you will discover the power and purpose of spiritual fasting!

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