Information About Fasting

The Purpose of Spiritual Fasting
While many people fast to lose weight, dieting is not the purpose of a spiritual fast. Instead, fasting provides unique spiritual benefits in the life of the believer. This is a God-designed discipline to enable Christ-followers to enter into a focused time of seeking the Father and His wisdom, direction and intervention in our lives. In fasting we are called to “give up” something to grow our dependence on God. The majority of times Biblical fasting has to do with giving up food or certain foods and drink.

Fasting requires self-control and discipline as one denies the natural desires of the flesh. During spiritual fasting, the believer's focus is removed from the physical things of this world and intensely concentrated on God. Put differently, fasting directs our hunger toward God. It clears the mind and body of earthly attentions and draws us close to God. So, as we gain spiritual clarity of thought while fasting, it allows us to hear God more clearly. Fasting also demonstrates a profound need for God's help and guidance through complete dependence upon him. Here at New Hope we will not be “giving up” food but will be engaging in what is called the “Daniel Fast.

What Is A Daniel Fast
The Daniel Fast is a great model to follow and one that is extremely effective for spiritual focus, bodily discipline, and purification of the body and soul. It is probably one of the most commonly referred to fasts. In the book of Daniel we find two Fasting can be a painful admission that I am not free, that my life is enslaved, obsessed or addicted to external things such as food, drink, codependent relationships, sex, television, privacy and the like. (Albert Haase)

At different times where the prophet Daniel fasted. Daniel 1 states that he only ate vegetables and water, and in Daniel 10, while the passage does not give a specific list of foods that Daniel ate, it does state that he ate no rich (or choice) foods, as well as no meat or wine. So based on these two verses, we can see that either of these, or combinations of the two, constitute a Daniel Fast. It is important to mention that there is nothing inherently spiritual about one type of fast as opposed to another. The foundation of the
Daniel Fast is fruits and vegetables. Pray about the kind of fast you should undertake. Jesus implied that all of His followers should fast (Matthew 6:16-18; 9:14,15) For Him it was not a matter of WHEN believers would fast, not if they would.

Fasting and Prayer
Fasting without prayer in the end is just dieting. Fasting though, when coupled with prayer, serves as a powerful vehicle to draw us closer to God. During this time there should be an increased setting aside of prayer for confession of sins, dependence on God, and inviting Him in to bring about transformation in a particular area of your life. Along with this, time in God’s Word should be consistent. In Psalm 46:10 it states, “Be still, and know that I am God.” We are invited in 2 Peter 3:18, “To grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” When you come before God in the beginning of the year through fasting and prayer, you set the course for the entire year.
Helpful Fasting Tips
1. Fasting requires reasonable precautions. If in doubt health-wise, consult your physician about the Daniel Fast, especially if you take prescription medication or have a chronic ailment. Don’t just assume you can or can’t. Left up to us we will just say “we can’t.” The enemy “Satan” does not “in any way” want us to fast and pray! No way!

2. Determine what each day and week will look like.

3. Keep your fridge and pantry stocked with the items you need. Being unprepared to fast sets you up to give into temptation.

4. Choose well when selecting products – stick to raw foods as much as you can, limit artificial ingredients, and keep tempting foods out of the kitchen. The Daniel Fast should eliminate all meats, pastries, chips, breads, fried foods, sweets and caffeine.

5. Make it a priority to attend church during your 21 day fast. Being around other believers will encourage you to keep on going when fasting gets difficult.

6. As we fast as a church, you may want to meet weekly with others to discuss the messages from Sunday or something that God has shown you during your time with Him and for personal support.

7. When you mess up, don’t get discouraged. Just get right back on track and keep going. God’s mercies “are new every morning” (Lamentations 3:22-23). He wants you to finish and He will give you the grace and strength to do it.

Daniel Fast Food List
--All fruit – fresh, frozen, dried, juiced, or canned.
--All vegetables – fresh, frozen, dried, juiced, or canned.
-- All whole grains – amaranth, barley, brown rice, oats, quinoa, millet, and whole wheat.
-- All nuts & seeds – almonds, cashews, macadamia nuts, peanuts, pecans, pine nuts, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, and sunflower seeds; unsweetened almond milk. Nut butters are also included.
-- All legumes – canned or dried; black beans, black eyed peas, cannellini beans, garbanzo beans (chickpeas), great northern beans, kidney beans, lentils, pinto beans, and split peas.
-- All quality oils – avocado, coconut, grapeseed, olive, peanut, sesame, and walnut.
-- Beverages– distilled water, filtered water, and spring water.
-- Other – unsweetened almond milk, coconut milk, rice milk, or soy milk; herbs, spices, salt, pepper, unsweetened coconut flakes, seasonings, Bragg’s Liquid Aminos, soy products, and
Foods to Avoid
--All meat & animal products – bacon, beef, buffalo, eggs, fish, lamb, poultry, and pork.
-- All dairy products – butter, cheese, cream, milk, and yogurt.
-- All sweeteners – agave nectar, artificial sweeteners, brown rice syrup, cane juice, honey, molasses, raw sugar, syrups, stevia, and sugar.
-- All leavened bread & yeast – baked goods and Ezekiel bread (if it contains yeast and honey).
-- All refined & processed food products – artificial flavorings, chemicals, food additives, preservatives, white flour, and white rice.
-- All deep-fried foods – corn chips, French fries, and potato chips.
-- All solid fats – lard, margarine, and shortening.
-- Beverages – alcohol, carbonated drinks, coffee, energy drinks, and tea.
Before and After the Fast
Spiritual and physical preparation makes the drastic change in your eating routine a little easier so:

1. Prepare your heart and mind through prayer.

2. Begin your time of fasting and prayer with an expectant heart. Hebrews 11:6, “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.”

3. Do not underestimate spiritual opposition. Galatians 5:16-17, “So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit; and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want.”

4. Prepare your body. Eat smaller meals before starting the fast. To binge on food days or even the night before makes for a difficult first days of a fast.

5. Decrease your intake of caffeine days before in preparation for tea or all natural juices. This will decrease potential bad headaches.

6. After the fast, slowly add back small portions of previous foods.

7. Prior to adding back foods, consider ones that would best be left out of your diet (chips, candy, soda, etc.) and take advantage of this time when you are no longer dependent on them.

8. The discipline you have practiced over the 21 days, continue to practice, praying, reading God’s Word and eating healthier. Don’t just throw it out the window and go back to your old self.

Need inspiration for your journey?

Staff devotionals for each day will be posted below at the start of the fast!

If you have your own ideas to share, use #nhccmn on any social media platform! Remember to make sure your post is set to Public in your privacy setting.

Daniel Fast 21 Day Devotional

Throughout this devotional you will read devotionals from our staff members. The intention of sharing our stories is to help you recognize that everyone has stuff in their lives they needed to fight!