Let’s look at some misunderstandings about prayer and fasting:
- many think of this as an “event” that ushers in the new year, when the truth is we are to live fasted lives and as children of the Most High we should be praying as often, if not more often than we brush our teeth (and that is at least twice a day)!
- this is not a religious act, where we are coercing God to bless us on our journey through the rest of the year and once done we give little thought to the importance of praying and fasting the rest of the year, but rather this is a time we dedicate the year to God, build ourselves up so that we can know with absolute assurance that God is with us, for us and moving in our lives in ways most glorious.
- this is not a diet to lose your “holiday weight”, too often we make it about the food when it’s about the Word of God and prayer, so be reading your Bible, be in prayer and I will add a list of foods, recipes at the end.
I like what Ps Munya said: “By starting each year with a corporate fast, many children of God and Churches have found that God meets with us in a special and unique way. His Presence grows greater and greater and greater with each passing day of the fast, His manifest Presence becoming progressively more tangible.”
And this is so true. As a church, H2O has joined with thousands around the world on a 21 day corporate fast and in these times we have seen great things birthed, lives touched, new habits established and the favour of God that has changed many lives.
So let’s begin, knowing that this time will have a profound impact on your future: your ability to hear God with increase, your health will improve, your strength will grow and you will find the courage to do greater things this year.
Don’t let the enemy steal this time. In my early years of praying and fasting I would feel nothing, hear nothing and wanted to give up many times. But as I have pushed through, believed it was God telling me to pray and fast each time it has gotten easier and easier and the easiest time of prayer and fasting is a corporate one, it’s as if everyone’s faith carries everyone through.
So join in and experience God in a new way!
Some Things To Think About
While fasting be wise and make sure your health allows you to go on a fast, and if you feel the need to, consult your doctor to make sure they know as it could affect some types of medication. For example during a Daniel Fast one tends to eat loads of salad, lettuce is high in vitamin K and that could affect those who are on Warfarin.
Very important to know what type of fast you are going to be on:
- Full Fast – drink only liquids (you establish the number of days, but consult your doctor if more than 3 days).
- The Daniel Fast – eat no meat, no sweets and no bread. Drink water and juice. Eat fruits and vegetables. More info to follow…….
- 3-Day Fast – this fast can be a Full Fast, Daniel Fast or give up at least one item of food.
- Partial Fast – is from 6:00 am to 3:00 pm or from sun up to sundown. You can select which type of fast —a Full Fast, Daniel Fast or give up at least one item of food or maybe tea/coffee.
How to Begin
Start with a clear goal.
Why are you fasting?
Do you need direction, healing, restoration, etc?
Are you facing financial difficulties?
Ask the Holy Spirit for guidance.
Pray daily and read the Bible.
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 1 to 3 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.
What to Eat on a Daniel Fast
A little research reveals that Daniel ate more than just “vegetables and water”. His diet was a healthy one based on whole foods and water. Here are some foods that are acceptable for those who decide to follow this fast:
All fruits, including dried fruit (but always read the label to ensure no sugar has been added)
Along with fruits and vegetables you should include:
nuts and seeds, brown rice, oats and barley.
Legumes such as quinoa, dried beans, peas and lentils are a part of this diet as well.
Drinks should consist of water and 100 percent pure fruit or vegetable juice.
A vitamin and mineral supplement is also recommended to assure that you don’t miss out on any necessary nutrients (Food State Vitamins from Dischem don’t have any side effects and can be taken with fruit juice: Vitamin C, Calcium and Magnesium, Multi-Vitamin for Men and Women and Omega Oils)
Food to avoid
There are a few foods that need to be avoided if you decide that this is a diet that you want to follow:
Refined sugar or sugar substitutes
Foods with preservatives or additives
Ideally, a healthy diet will exclude many of these things anyhow. Some people may experience headaches due to withdrawals from caffeine and other products that their body is used to having.
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