The joy of the beginning a new year. Even though it is winter, we have a renewed sense of pursuing our best and making, hopefully, lasting changes. Maybe you have financial goals, maybe health and fitness goals, maybe hope for a new job or any job for that matter. Maybe you need restoration of a marriage or an estranged family member. Do you need a miracle? What about hope? An answered prayer? Wisdom and discernment?
I truly believe that if you humble yourself and seek, ask and listen to God (you can call it the Universe or One True Source), then 2017, can be your best year. That being said, one of the best ways that I have found to create a prosperous, fulfilling life, is by participating in 21 days of prayer and fasting. The church that we go to, Church of the Highlands, makes it a priority each January. The reason this is so important, is because if you honor God with the first (meaning the first of 12 months), then he will show up and bless us in the coming year. It is also a good time to realign with our intentions for the new year as many people have feasted, and partied during the holiday seasons.
By now you maybe wondering how you can participate or what you can do. Well, 21 days of prayer and fasting begins tomorrow, January 8, and goes through January 28. You can attend in person at numerous locations or online at 6am CST Monday- Friday and 9am on Saturdays. Can’t make it at that time, but still want to participate? No worries, after the 6am service, they will make the prayer service available to stream for 24 hours, or until the next service. Check out the resources at 21days.churchofthehighlands.com. There you can find information on prayer, including: how to pray, types of prayer and information on fasting, including types of fasting and how to fast.
Next, commit to participate. Show up. Set your intention or the prayer you are seeking an answer to or the miracle you are believing in. Get a journal and over the next 21 days write. Write about your experience during this prayer and fasting time, what you are praying for, and what new insights are revealed to you during this time.
Then decide. What are you going to fast for abstain from for these next 21 days? Some possibilities include a media fast, fast from sodas or caffeine, sugar, bad language, video games and tv, or a type of fast, ie, a juice fast or the Daniel Fast. You need to find something that makes you a little uncomfortable, that challenges you and makes you dig deep. This type of fasting allows God, your spirit man, to be your number one priority and silences your ego. You know, the ego, that little voice in your head that tells you that you aren’t pretty enough, good enough, that you can’t get out of debt or can’t succeed at x, y or z. We all have an ego and unfortunately, it can be extremely bossy and wants things that you do not necessary need or really want…ie, those 2 pints of ice cream, those new pair or shoes, skipping that workout, the beer or wine and fasting helps to silence that ego and to hear the voice of God. To realign yourself with your higher calling and have clarity in the new year.
One of the types of fasts that I have participated in, numerous times, and will be participating in again this time, is the Daniel Fast. So what exactly is the Daniel Fast? I am so glad that you asked. It is a biblically based partial fast. There are two anchoring scriptures for the Daniel Fast. In Daniel 1, he was tested for 10 days and ate only vegetables (that would have included fruits) and drank only water. Then in Daniel 10, it states that he ate no choice food; no meat or wine touched his lips. From these scriptures, we get the guidelines of the Daniel Fast.
Remember, the Daniel Fast is a method of spiritual fasting. While we change the way we eat, having food at the center of the fast is missing the point. This is a fast. We want to be wise, prudent and simple in our eating habits. And while doing, we stick to the guidelines developed from the Scriptures mentioned above.
Foods to include in your diet during the Daniel Fast:
All fruits. These can be fresh, frozen, dried, juiced or canned. Fruits include but are not limited to apples, apricots, bananas, blackberries, blueberries, boysenberries, cantaloupe, cherries, cranberries, figs, grapefruit, grapes, guava, honeydew melon, kiwi, lemons, limes, mangoes, nectarines, oranges, papayas, peaches, pears, pineapples, plums, prunes, raisins, raspberries, strawberries, tangelos, tangerines, watermelon.
All vegetables. These can be fresh, frozen, dried, juiced or canned. Vegetables include but are not limited to artichokes, asparagus, beets, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, celery, chili peppers, collard greens, corn, cucumbers, eggplant, garlic, ginger root, 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.
All whole grains, including but not limited to whole wheat, brown rice, millet, quinoa, oats, barley, grits, whole wheat pasta, whole wheat tortillas, rice cakes and popcorn.
All nuts and seeds, including but not limited to sunflower seeds, cashews, peanuts, sesame. Also nut butters including peanut butter.
All legumes. These can be canned or dried. Legumes include but are not limited to dried beans, pinto beans, split peas, lentils, black eyed peas, kidney beans, black beans, cannellini beans, white beans.
All quality oils including but not limited to olive, canola, grape seed, peanut, and sesame.
Beverages: spring water, distilled water or other pure waters.
Other: tofu, soy products, vinegar, seasonings, salt, herbs and spices.
Foods to avoid on the Daniel Fast:
All meat and animal products including but not limited to beef, lamb, pork, poultry, and fish.
All dairy products including but not limited to milk, cheese, cream, butter, and eggs.
All sweeteners including but not limited to sugar, raw sugar, honey, syrups, molasses, and cane juice.
All leavened bread including Ezekiel Bread (it contains yeast and honey) and baked goods.
All refined and processed foods products including but not limited to artificial flavorings, food additives, chemicals, white rice, white flour, and foods that contain artificial preservatives.
All deep fried foods including but not limited to potato chips, French fries, corn chips. All solid fats including shortening, margarine, lard and foods high in fat.
Beverages including but not limited to coffee, tea, herbal teas, carbonated beverages, energy drinks, and alcohol.
Remember, READ THE LABELS so you know the ingredients included in any prepared food. Try to limit prepared foods as much as possible as they can contain lots of preservatives and the idea of the fast is to detox your mind and body.
I know that this can seem overwhelming, but I believe, that you CAN do this. It just takes a little planning.
Four + P’s to Your Successful Fast:
*Pray, Prepare, Participate, Praise and Progress
1. Pray – before you fast, seek the Lord through prayer and ask Him to show you the purpose for your fast. Dedicate this time to Him and invite Him to lead and direct you during your fast.
2. Prepare – if possible, taper off caffeine, sugar and processed foods to avoid withdrawals when you begin your fast. Gather any study materials, create a daily schedule, collect recipes and plan one week’s menus before you begin your fast. Do as much food prep as possible, the day before or take one day and knock out your food prep for the week.
3. Participate – this is where it all begins . . . you participate in the fast. Come on, you can do it. Take that leap of Faith.
4. Praise and Progress – During this time, you will gain valuable insights on the fast that you will want to carry forward into your everyday life. Thank God for the good things you’ve received during your fast and evaluate your experience so you can grow from this amazing experience. Journal about the progress you have made and don’t be surprised if you see added bonuses, like weight loss and increased energy.
The word says, that, “14 if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” 2 Chronicles 7:14 (NIV)
and “7 Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” Matthew 7:7 (NIV)
Ready to start this adventure with me? Let me know what you are fasting from, so that I can cheer you on! It does not have to be participating in the Daniel Fast, you have to find and determine what works for you 🙂
Have a prayer request? Let me know and I would love to stand in agreement with you in prayer.
Looking for recipe ideas? Stay tuned, daily recipes during these 21 days will be posted, unfortunately, not with photos this time, but that will be updated in the future.
I look forward to the next 21 days with you. May God bless you and keep you safe.
Until next time,
may blessings abound,