Day 1 of 14 • TWO THOUSAND AND nineTEEN
As we start this fast, it is important to understand that you have entered into a spiritual battle. Part of the spiritual battle is fought as the body adjusts to the rigors of fasting. For most people, there is more than just a little detoxing happening in our bodies. But the battle is more than physiological; as we fast, a spiritual battle is being waged. Things are happening in the spiritual realm that we neither perceive nor understand outside of God revealing them to us.
Fasting is more than just missing a meal. Powerful seasons of fasting are experienced when we purpose to spend additional time in God’s presence during the fast. As well, every hunger pang, every feeling of fatigue, and every caffeine headache will be a reminder to call on God in that moment and to cry out for those things you are seeking Him to do in your life. David Mathis writes, “[Fasting] is a desperate measure, for desperate times, among those who know themselves desperate for God.”
But don’t just focus on the battle or the pain – Scripture promises there is fullness of joy in God’s presence and there are pleasures at His right hand. Delight yourself in pursuing Him and you’ll know the joy of seeing Him work in your life.
Day 2 of 14 • WRITE IT DOWN
What do you do when you’ve exhausted all your options, when you believe you know God’s will but you can’t see how in the world it will come to pass? You fast. When you know you need God’s help for your need to be met, you fast. When God’s people fast and pray the supernatural happens!
What are you needing God to do through this Daniel Fast? What are you praying for? Take time to write these needs down. Look at them daily as you pray. Whenever hunger grips your stomach or the cravings for coffee come, read your list and be reminded that your fasting is for a purpose. Through your fast, God will answer!
Day 3 of 14 • BUT #FIRST, FAST & PRAY
In Mark Chapter 9, a father brought his son to Jesus’ disciples. The boy was demonized and an epileptic, and even though God had healed people through the disciples before, nothing happened when they prayed for the boy to be healed. When the disciples brought the boy to Jesus, the boy was healed. Later the disciples asked Jesus this question, “Why couldn’t we do it?” Jesus answered in verse 29, “This kind cannot be driven out by anything but prayer and fasting.”
There are some things that God will do in our lives but only in response to our spending additional time in His presence combined with fasting. Fasting breaks strongholds, liberates people, and moves us into a realm of realizing God’s power in our lives. The more time you’re spending with God, the more you’re going to see the hand of God on your life in an extraordinary way.
Maybe there’s an obstacle that you have been facing for a long time. Perhaps you have prayed and prayed, and you don’t understand why you are not making any headway in the situation. You might be thinking, “Will God ever give me victory?” Jesus’ response to the disciples is His response to you – some things only come by prayer AND fasting.
Day 4 of 14 • OUR CITY
The story of Nehemiah is a vibrant example of the favor that comes with denying ourselves for the purpose of drawing near to God. Nehemiah worked for a powerful pagan king - one that did not worship the God of Israel. When Nehemiah heard how the city walls in his hometown of Jerusalem had been burned and left in ruins; he knew that he had to do something about it. The problem was that the king Nehemiah served had issued a decree that Jerusalem not be rebuilt. How would the king ever be convinced to not only change his mind, but pay for the wall of Jerusalem to be restored? Nehemiah’s solution was to fast and pray.
He asked God for favor in his situation and denied his stomach for the purpose of showing that his desire and need for God’s help was greater than his desire and need for food.
Nehemiah’s fast paved the way for God to give him favor with a pagan ruler that changed the course of history. You may be facing a situation that is testing your courage and your strength – believe God is going to use this fast to bring His favor into your life.
Day 5 of 14 • TIME FOR CHANGE
Things are always changing around us. We go from season to season in life – Spring, Summer, Winter, Fall – and just as the seasons change so does every other aspect of life. But even though we must accept that change is constant, it doesn’t mean it is easy.
Change always brings both excitement and uncertainty as we try to navigate the new opportunity or challenge in front of us. This is why fasting is so important during seasons of transition and change. As we look through Scripture, we often see that new seasons of God’s favor and work were preceded by fasting.
Moses fasted before he received the Law (Exodus 34:28).
Jesus fasted before the start of His earthly ministry (Matthew 4:2).
Paul fasted before the start of his missionary ministry (Acts 13:2).
Wherever you are at during your season of change, fasting will bring clarity, confidence, and commitment to stick it out. Fasting brings a fresh anointing of power for the new seasons of life.
Day 6 of 14 • HIS VOICE
Have you felt distant from God? Maybe as you read this you feel as if you are in a spiritual desert. You are calling out to God, but it seems as if your cry is falling on deaf ears. You might even be thinking, “Why isn’t God responding?”
The better question is, “What is blocking the voice of God in my life that I am not hearing what He is saying?”
The constant distractions that surround our lives can so easily block our ability to hear God’s voice. Everything from the TV, to smartphones, to social media can distract our attention and keep us from clearly hearing from the Lord. Seasons of fasting help to quiet our hearts so we can hear from God.
There is a unique spiritual sensitivity that comes through prayer and fasting. If you are struggling to discern God’s voice, one of the best things you can do is fast!
Scripture is clear: God is speaking.
The question is: Are you listening?
Day 7 of 14 • IT’S IN THE BATTLE
All of us will have battles in our lives. The question is, how will we respond in the face of these battles? In 2 Chronicles 20, King Jehoshaphat was confronted with a “vast army” who had the power to devastate his kingdom. He knew that he and the people needed to fast.
In response to the people fasting, the Lord encouraged Jehoshaphat by saying, “Do not be afraid or discouraged by this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God’s” (2 Chronicles 20:15). Whatever you are facing, we serve a God who wants to fight our battles! When you depend on your Heavenly Father, He is faithful to go before you.
Verse 21 tells us that “Jehoshaphat appointed men to sing to the Lord and to praise him for the splendor of his holiness as they went out to the head of the army saying, ‘Give thanks to the Lord, for his Love endures forever’.”
Before any sword was raised, praise was lifted up for the victory that the Lord was going to bring. Praise preceded the battle. The chapter goes on to say that “As they began to sing and praise” the Lord began to defeat their enemy. Jehoshaphat’s position of praise released God’s power over the battle that he was facing!
As we fast one of the most important things we can do is to spend time thanking and praising God. Don’t just pray about the problem but praise God knowing that He is a God who solves problems. Whatever battle you are facing, the Lord is faithful to fight for you as you look to Him and praise His name.
Day 8 of 14 • HUNGER
What are you hungry for? Probably not a fun question eight days into the fast, but it’s an important question for you to answer. Fasting is all about appetite. It’s not about making a list of all foods you are craving but deciding what you are most hungry for.
The writer of Hebrews says, “Watch out for the Esau syndrome: trading away God’s lifelong gift in order to satisfy a short-term appetite” (Hebrews 12:16, MSG).
The story of Esau is one of the saddest stories the Bible. In Genesis 25, we read that one-day Esau came home, famished from hunting, only to see that his brother, Jacob, had made a stew. Esau demanded that Jacob feed him. Jacob responded by offering a trade – Jacob would give Esau his stew, if Esau gave Jacob his birthright (note: a birthright was the right to inheritance and the spiritual leadership of the family). Here’s the crazy part, Esau gave Jacob what he asked. It seems so strange that Esau would sacrifice something so valuable for a bowl of soup, but he’s not the only one who has surrendered God’s blessing because of a craving for something less.
There are some blessings from God that we will never receive unless we dethrone what the Bible commentator, Matthew Henry, called, “King Stomach.”
So, what are you hungry for? What is more important to you than what your stomach is craving? Fasting is all about appetite.
Day 9 of 14 • LEAN IN
A key part of doing a fast is giving considerable time to waiting on God. Psalm 25 in the Message says, “God-friendship is for God-worshipers; They are the ones he confides in.” When you spend time in God’s presence, He will reveal things that you couldn’t know otherwise.
And isn’t that what we want as we are fasting? Fasting is not just about getting what we want from God – it’s about knowing what God wants to do in our lives – it’s about hearing from Him.
There are things that God wants to do in your life through this fast. For some, He will give you the confidence you need to take that next business venture or restore a relationship. For others, He will speak to your heart differently.
He may tell you not to take that step towards what you feel is a sure thing. He may ask you to wait a bit longer or tell you not to do it all together. Part of spiritual maturity is being able to discern what God is saying, and act on it, whether it’s what we were hoping for or not.
As you are fasting today, ask God to speak to you about His will for this season of your life, and when He does, listen.
Day 10 of 14 • I AM DOING A NEW THING
God loves doing new things in our lives, yet too often we view our future singularly through the prism of our past. It is true that wise people learn from mistakes, but there is a fine line between learning from our failures and allowing our past disappointments to shape how we see God’s promises.
Maybe you have been praying for God to move in your situation. You may believe God’s promises are possible, but just not possible for you. If that’s where you’re at, here’s some really good news - God’s promises are for you!
God wants to do something new in your life. He wants to bring growth, beauty, and vitality to the wilderness you have been living in. Listen to the words of Isaiah 43:19, “Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.”
This Daniel fast will lead to new things being done in you, through you, and around you as the Lord honors your fast. Watch expectantly, anticipate His goodness, you may not see it yet but it’s impossible to fast without seeing God work in response to our seeking His face.
Day 11 of 14 • NUMBER ONE
Our desires often dictate the course of our lives. What we want motivates us. Our desires determine what we do, what we go after, and even how we think. What is it that you desire?
The Psalmist David writes, “One thing I ask of the Lord, this is what I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple.” As a king, there were many things David knew he needed and certainly there were many things vying for his attention. But as he spent time in the presence of the Lord he realized that really one thing was more important than everything else -- being in God’s presence.
It’s been said that “when God is all you have, you find that God is all you need.” While that is true, it could also be said that “when God is all you want, you find that God is all you need.” In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said, “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these other things will be given to you.”
As you fast, make seeking the Lord the number one priority in your life -- seeking the Giver more than the gift. Better than getting what we need is growing closer in our walk with Him.
Day 12 of 14 • DON’T STOP
“In the third year of Cyrus king of Persia, a revelation was given to Daniel…it concerned a great war. At that time, I, Daniel, mourned for three weeks. I ate no choice food; no meat or wine touched my lips; and I used no lotions at all until the three weeks were over. On the twenty-fourth day of the first month…” (Daniel 10:1-4a NIV)
Daniel fasted three weeks, twenty-one days and, humanly speaking, it appeared nothing had happened! Daniel didn’t see or hear anything for twenty-four days, but Heaven heard, and his answer was on its way from the very first day.
“Then he continued, ‘Do not be afraid, Daniel. Since the first day that you set your mind to gain understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard, and I have come in response to them’.” (Daniel 10:12 NIV)
When you fast and pray, Heaven takes note. It may not seem like anything is happening, but the truth is that from the moment your fast began, God has been working. Don’t quit praying. Don’t stop seeking. Continue in this 21-day journey with the expectation that you will see God do extraordinary things in your life.
Day 13 of 14 • MUSCLE MEMORY
There is nothing like fasting to remind you of your weakness, but there is also nothing like fasting to remind you where real strength is found. The Psalmist points us to the true source of strength when he declares in Psalm 62:11,
“God said this once and for all; how many times have I heard it repeated? ‘Strength comes straight from God’.”
At times, all of us can live under the illusion that we have what it takes to handle whatever comes our way, but seasons of fasting reminds us that only through dependence on God can we truly overcome. In John 15:5, Jesus said, “Apart from me you can do nothing.” And the Apostle Paul reminds us, that we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us!
God has all the strength you need, and as you seek Him, you will see His strength flow into your life in a new and dynamic way. So, as you continue this fast be encouraged that though you may feel weak, He is making you stronger.
Day 14 of 14 • BRING IT
In Ezra 8, God’s people were on a journey back to Jerusalem. They were bringing with them items of gold and silver to be used in the worship of God at the temple. Because the roads were terrorized by bandits, Ezra feared for the safety of his people and was concerned they might be robbed. But rather than approaching the king to help with this matter, Ezra believed the Lord would come through so he called the people to fast and pray. Sure enough, God responded to their earnest prayers and protected them!
When we fast and pray, it opens the door for God to do what would otherwise not happen in our lives. We can have confidence just like Ezra that God will meet our needs as we call out to Him. God loves to show himself strong in the midst of our neediness.
Take your need before God knowing that He will hear your prayer. Then watch as God works miraculously and does the impossible!