There seems to be a lot of talk within the Church as a whole about Daniel Fasts nowadays with many books on recipes devotionals and all things (short of a Prince of Persia/Michael warring action figures) associated with this fast. It has become a commercialized spiritual badge within the Church community if your church does the Daniel fast at least once a year. Fasting is truly a matter of our hearts before God and seeking Him. In Isaiah 58 God speaks of the fasting that pleases Him. Jesus Himself said “Can you make the friends of the bridegroom fast while the bridegroom is with them? 35 But the days will come when the bridegroom will be taken away from them; then they will fast in those days (see Luke 5:33-39).” This denotes that Jesus expects us to fast. Why? Because it truly is beneficial to us physically and spiritually if done correctly. As I write this my church is finishing up our third corporate Daniel Fast and this time I noticed something. In full disclosure, I did not complete the fast all the way through and I am ok with that because I believe it gave me the clarity to share on this subject because having completed two I know what it is to go through a period of fasting.
In my personal experiences the first two corporate fasts were extremely powerful and we had purpose and vision set on what we wanted from God and what we desired to see change in our city and families and God moved greatly. They were challenging and powerful times in my church as for many it was the first time that we had truly learned what the Bible says of fasting and how our hearts were to be postured before the Lord. For me, it taught the beginning of the benefits and joys found in times of fasting because it was a finding of myself in the Lord with a more concentrated focus than normal. Last year’s fast was especially powerful as we partnered with another great church in our city and at the end we came together to see God move and many were healed and set free that night. It was the first time I recall seeing two churches in one place just seeking God and praising Him with such tenacity, fire and passion. It was truly amazing to see the Body come together in that way; it definitely touched the heart of God!
This time it was different.
I noticed that as I began the fast my heart was not properly set and I was placed in a position to where I had to use wisdom to take care of myself so I broke the fast. I tried to resume but when the heart is not set in the proper place for something like this then it will fail every time. I did my best not to advertise to anyone but I didn’t hide it either. If I was around people fasting I respected that and ate as they ate; it was only appropriate in my opinion. However, things were just different this time as where the focus for many I talked to or overheard seemed to be one of two things: to eat as close to normal as possible because its as comfortable as you can get on fast (I am guilty of this myself) or the conversations focused on what we couldn’t wait to eat afterwards. In the prior fasts we often spoke of what we were believing God for and bearing each other’s requests as well as our own yet what I saw that wasn’t the case this time around. In fact much conversation centered around what we were going to eat after the fast was over. For the men it was driven by the lack of meat and it appeared very much a surface level fast, Pharisaical in nature. I am guilty of this and yet I say this not to condemn anyone so if you did fast please don’t think I am passing judgement. This is an observation I noticed and was even confirmed by a friend who saw the same thing. I wonder if you have ever seen this or been a part of this attitude? I admit I have.
If I were to have come in and not knowing what was going on I know I would not have thought these are a people genuinely seeking God for this or that but it appeared that many were just doing this because everyone else is or because it was expected of them. I’ve seen this fast in other churches just become an annual tradition as a spiritual badge of achievement but that is not God’s intent and I know it is not the intent of any church. This is why we must guard our hearts in this and check them. I am examining my own heart on this matter and I know God is not pleased if our focus and heart has been on meat instead of Him. I believe even with school starting, that my heart has been more focused on God when I broke the fast then the period in which I was fasting. I pray you catch my heart in this…and ask yourself this question: if you participate or have participated has you heart been on the food you missed or on God and what you were standing in faith for (No, standing in faith for meat does not count)? While I plan on doing the Daniel Fast personally another month later on in the year I know I will approach it will a much careful heart and attitude because of what I have seen and done this time.
What’s your experience with the Daniel Fast or fasting in general?
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