Church Wide Fast 2023
All members are asked to participate in our church wide fast beginning Wednesday, March 8, 2023 and ending on Sunday, April 9, 2023 (Resurrection Sunday).
You will be asked to choose one of three options or levels of fasting for the forty day period.
- Daniel’s fast: as described in the book of Daniel chapter 1:1-21. Those who choose this option will consume fruit, vegetables, nuts and grains at each meal. Included in this guide is a list of foods to eat and those to avoid.
- Daily fasting from sun up to sun down: Drink only natural juices and water from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. and then a regular dinner without dessert.
- Turn down a plate: Choose a meal and abstain from eating that one meal each day or on specific days during the fast.
* As a point of unity and support we will all be sacrificing sweets i.e. candy, cake, cookies, pies, ice cream, and caffeine for the full time period.
We encourage you to set aside some special time with the Lord each day for prayer, praise and worship. You will receive a list of prayer requests and scriptures for meditation. We will pray as a corporate body at Wednesday night prayer meetings, and during our Sunday worship service. We also encourage you to come together for family prayer at home.
We have included a spiritual guide to help prepare your hearts and bodies for the fast. If this is your first fast or you have previous experiences in a fasting, it is very important to get prepared spiritually, emotionally and physically. Our fast will be an intense time of prayer and meditation. This will be a time of sacrifice and denial of our flesh and therefore, a great opportunity for temptation. And in response to that temptation, it is vital that you keep in mind that the purpose and focus of the fast is to glorify God and to draw closer to Him. We as a church body want to hear from the Lord and know that He hears our prayers and supplications.
Spiritual Guide for the Fast
Benefits of Fasting
If you do not already know of the power and importance of fasting, here are some very important facts:
- Fasting was an expected discipline in both the Old and New Testament eras. For example, Moses fasted at least two recorded forty-day periods. Jesus fasted 40 days and reminded His followers to fast, “when you fast,” not if you fast. Mat 6:16
- Fasting is a biblical way to truly humble yourself in the sight of God (Psalm 35:13; Ezra 8:21). King David said, “I humble myself through fasting.”
- Fasting and prayer can restore the loss of the “first love” for your Lord and result in a more intimate relationship with Christ.
- Fasting enables the Holy Spirit to reveal your true spiritual condition, resulting in brokenness, repentance, and a transformed life.
- The Holy Spirit will quicken the Word of God in your heart and His truth will become more meaningful to you!
- Fasting can transform your prayer life into a richer and more personal experience.
- Fasting can result in a dynamic personal revival in your own life-and make you a channel of revival to others.
- Fasting and prayer are the only disciplines that fulfill the requirements of II Chronicles 7:14:
“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 will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin heal their land.”
If you fast, you will find yourself being humbled. You will discover more time to pray and seek God’s face. And as He leads you to recognize and repent of unconfessed sin, you will experience special blessings from God.
In preparation for this special time with God, we strongly urge you to examine your heart, and detect any unconfessed sin. Scripture records that God always requires His people to repent of their sins before He will hear their prayers. King David said:
Come and hear, all of you who reverence the Lord, and I will tell you what he did for me: For I cried to him for help, with praises ready on my tongue. He would not have listened if I had not confessed my sins. But he listened! He heard my prayer! He paid attention to it!
Blessed be God who didn’t turn away when I was praying, and didn’t refuse me his kindness and love. (Psalm 66:16-20)
In your prayers, confess not only obvious sins, but less obvious ones as well. Confess the sins of omission as well as the sins of commission experiences. These are some examples of leaving your first love for our Lord: worldly-mindedness, self-centeredness, spiritual indifference, and unwillingness to share your faith in Christ with others, not spending sufficient time in God’s Word and in prayer, a poor relationship with your spouse, your children, your pastor, or other members of your church.
Although fasting is primarily a spiritual discipline, it begins in the physical realm. You should not fast without specific physical preparation.
NOTE: If you are under doctor’s care, you should consult your doctor before you begin the fast. If you are pregnant, have diabetes, liver or kidney disease or other serious illnesses then you should consult your physician. (You may want to consider a different type of fast, for example, T.V., cell phone, social media, etc.)
If you plan on fasting for several days, you will find it helpful to begin by eating smaller meals before you abstain altogether. Resist the urge to have that “last big feast” before the fast. Cutting down on your meals a few days before you begin the fast will signal your mind, stomach, and appetite that less food is acceptable.
Some health professionals suggest eating only raw foods for two days before starting a fast. We also recommend weaning yourself off caffeine and sugar products to ease your initial hunger or discomfort at the early stages of your fast.
Also it will be very important to shop ahead of time and plan your meals. When you go to the store, get in the habit of reading the labels on the food you choose. A good rule of thumb is: “If you can’t pronounce an ingredient, you probably shouldn’t be eating it!”
Drink plenty of water before and during the fast to prevent dehydration.
Reasons for schedule adjustments, especially during an extended fast
The first is physical. Throughout your fast, you may feel somewhat weaker than normal. During the first few days, you may feel tired and irritable. Lightening your workload and cutting down on strenuous exercise would be a very good idea to maintain your health and your morale.
The second reason is spiritual. Fasting is not just denying yourself food. It is exchanging the needs of the physical body for those of the spiritual. Long times of prayer and reading God’s Word will be very essential if you are to enter into a more intimate communion with God to maintain your fast to its completion. While fasting, if you dissipate your energy on numerous errands or busy-work to the neglect of spending special time with God, you will starve both physically and spiritually. You will find yourself becoming discouraged and frustrated with your fast instead of being benefited and uplifted and blessed. We don’t want that to happen to you.
The more time you spend with God in fellowship, worship, and adoration of Him, and the more you read and meditate upon His Word, the greater your effectiveness will be in prayer and the more meaningful your fast will be. So we encourage you to arrange your schedule accordingly!
Receiving God’s best blessing from a fast requires solid commitment. Arranging special time each day with God is absolutely crucial in attaining intimate communion with the Father. You must devote yourself to seeking God’s face, even (and especially) during those times in which you feel weak, vulnerable, or irritable. Read His Word and pray during what were mealtimes. Meditate on Him when you awake in the night. Sing praises to Him whenever you please. Focus on your Heavenly Father and make every act one of praise and worship. God will enable you to experience His command to “pray without ceasing” as you seek His presence.
As you enter this time of heightened spiritual devotion, be aware that Satan will do everything he can to pull you away from your prayer and Bible reading time. When you feel the enemy trying to discourage you, immediately go to God in prayer and ask Him to strengthen your resolve in the face of difficulties and temptations.
The enemy makes you a target because he knows that fasting is one of the most powerful of all Christian disciplines and that God may have something very special to show you as you wait upon Him and seek His face. Satan does not want you to grow in your faith, and will do anything from making you hungry and grumpy to bringing up trouble in your family or at work to stop you. Make prayer your shield against such attacks.
My major reason for fasting is for personal revival, revival for our church and the nation and for the entire world. But praying for our own needs and interceding for others are also important reasons to fast and pray. Bring your personal needs before the Lord; intercede for your loved ones, your friends, your church, your pastor, your community, your nation, and the world. By your prayers of humility, as you fast, you will help the Great Commission be fulfilled.
However, do not become so caught up in praying for yourself and others that you forget about simply reverencing and praising God. True spiritual fasting focuses on God. Center your total being on Him, your attitudes, your actions, your motives, desires, and words. This can only take place if God and His Holy Spirit are at the center of our attention. Confess your sins as the Holy Spirit brings them to your attention and continue to focus on God and God alone so that your prayers may be powerful and effective.
A renewed closeness with God and a greater sensitivity to spiritual things are usually the results of a fast. Do not be disappointed if you do not have a “mountaintop experience,” as some do.
Many people who have successfully completed extended fasts tell of feeling a nearness to God that they have never before known, but others who have honestly sought His face report no particular outward results at all. For others, their fast was physically, emotionally, and spiritually grueling, but they knew they had been called by God to fast, and they completed the fast unto Him as an act of worship; God honored that commitment.
Your motive in fasting must be to glorify God, not to have an emotional experience, and not to attain personal happiness or to lose weight. Fasting without prayer is just a diet. When your motives are right, God will honor your seeking heart and bless your time with Him in a very special way.
Adapted from “A Spiritual Guide to Fasting” by Bill Bright of Campus Crusade for Christ
Foods to include in your diet during the Daniel Fast
All fruits. These can be fresh, frozen, dried, juiced or canned. Try to avoid fruits canned in syrup. If you are using canned fruit, choose those in their natural juices. 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. Avoid getting the microwave popcorn with extra butter. Try to pop it the old fashioned way in oil in a pot. Whole wheat bread is allowed if it is made with whole grains and not just whole wheat flour.
All nuts and seeds, including but not limited to sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds cashews, peanuts, pecans, walnuts, almonds, sesame. Also nut butters including peanut butter. Try to avoid nuts with added salt.
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, corn, grape seed, peanut, vegetable oil, and sesame. Small pats of butter are allowed also.
Beverages: Water, all natural juices, fruit based herbal teas, green tea, white tea, soy milk.
Other: tofu, soy products, vinegar, seasonings, sea salt, herbs and spices, honey, molasses, raw sugar, pure maple syrup, cane juice, and Stevia a natural sweetener.
Foods to avoid on the Daniel Fast
All meat and animal products including but not limited to beef, lamb, pork, poultry, and all seafood.
All dairy products including but not limited to milk, cheese, cream, butter, eggs in small quantities are allowed.
All artificial sweeteners like Equal, Sweet and Low, Splenda, Sucrolose, high fructose corn syrup and white sugar.
All refined and processed food 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. You may lightly sauté your food in the oils on the list above.
All solid fats: including shortening, margarine, lard, mayonnaise and foods high in fat.
Beverages including but not limited to all coffee, caffeinated teas, black tea based herbal teas, carbonated beverages, energy drinks, juices with sweeteners and alcohol.
Read & Study Isaiah 58:1-14
When we fast according to the fast that God has chosen:
- Our light shall break forth like the morning.
- Our healing shall spring forth speedily.
- Our righteousness shall go before us.
- The glory of the LORD shall be your rear guard.
So what have I learned through this process? The Daniel fast has shown me several things. One being that God always provides for us and also reiterated that God does not want us to fail, but to succeed in everything He has planned for us. He honors His word. In Jeremiah 29:11 He tell us, “For I know the plans I have for you, to prosper you, not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Also in 1 Corinthians 10:13, He tells us, “No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when we call, and the LORD will answer; when we cry, He will say, ‘“Here I am.”
- If we extend our souls to the hungry and satisfy the afflicted people, then our light shall dawn in the darkness and our darkness shall be as the noonday.
- The LORD will guide us continually.
- He will satisfy our souls in drought.
- He will strengthen our bodies.
- We shall be like a watered garden and like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail.
- Those from among us shall build the old waste places.
- We shall raise up the foundations of many generations.
- And we shall be called the Repairer(s) of the Breach, the Restorer(s) of Streets to dwell in.