The Daniel Fast – Day 11 & 12

Be patient, then, brothers and sisters, until the Lord’s coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop, patiently waiting for the autumn and spring rains. [8] You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord’s coming is near. – James 5:7-8 (NIV)

One of the hardest things to do is to be patient. It can drive us to the point of despair when we are in situations that require answers which are beyond our means or abilities. These can be life threatening illnesses, financial issues that have deadlines with dire consequences to our well being and other similar circumstances. We do not see the end of the tunnel, let alone the light at the end of the tunnel. Sometimes it is so dark that we feel that we are in a deep pit with endless sides rather than in a tunnel heading somewhere. Prayers seem to be hitting a steel ceiling and bouncing back unanswered. God, it seems, must have taken a vacation. In the scripture above James is referring to the return of the Lord. He encourages believers to be patient in the face of all adversity, as can be noted by the use of the phrase ‘stand firm’.

Thousands of years have passed and many are skeptical as to whether Jesus will return or not. In a similar manner, some are mocking you and asking where your God is, as they see your situation somewhat deteriorating. Yet the writer compares this wait to a farmer’s wait for the land to yield its valuable crop. In the same way, what you have sown in faith will bear fruit at the appointed time. There are some crops that require a dry spell to be able to ripen and be dried for harvesting. If the rains continue or fall out of season, they can ruin the crop. In a similar manner, wait upon God for answers, for He is never too early or too late.

Be blessed!

Prayer point: Fill me with a heart of patience, that in due course I may rejoice at your answer, oh God, and that my faith in you will grow.

The Daniel Fast – Day 8 & 9

After they had gone a long time without food, Paul stood up before them and said: “Men, you should have taken my advice not to sail from Crete; then you would have spared yourselves this damage and loss. But now I urge you to keep up your courage, because not one of you will be lost; only the ship will be destroyed. Last night an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I serve stood beside me and said, ‘Do not be afraid, Paul. You must stand trial before Caesar; and God has graciously given you the lives of all who sail with you.’ So keep up your courage, men, for I have faith in God that it will happen just as he told me. Nevertheless, we must run aground on some island.” – Acts 27:21-26 (NIV)

In this passage from the book of Acts we read of the account of Paul’s journey on the way to Rome by sea. Paul had already known of the potential danger ahead and had warned the sailors that there would be great loss ahead, but they refused to listen to him. Even as the storm they were in got worse, Paul was still at peace, because he was still listening to God. As long as there is one man with a divine connection in any situation, God will be there in it. Paul’s purpose in God’s eyes was more important and God graciously spared the lives of those on the ship in order to see it come to pass. Our being connected to God is not only important for us but can affect the destiny of others. Paul must have been in prayer throughout the storm as the angel declares that God ‘graciously’ gave him the lives of all those on board the ship. He is then able to boldly tell them that not one life will be lost.

As we continue in our walk with God let us take our priestly role seriously and understand that we can petition God for the lives of others. It takes a closer walk with Him to get to the point where He can respond to such requests knowing that we serve him. Since beginning this fast I have observed prayers being answered even to requests from people thousands of miles away. Prayer knows only as many boundaries or limits as those that God has. The good news is He has none!

Be blessed!

Prayer point: Pray that God will give you the faith to stand in the gap for others even when you are also in the midst of the storm.

The Daniel Fast – Day 7

“But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him. They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.”
Jeremiah 17:7-9 (NIV)

As we proceed into a New Year many of us have different prospects. Some are facing financial challenges. Others have issues with their health. Many thoughts are running through our minds as we ponder what the year 2013 has in store for us. These verses from Jeremiah remind us that the Lord is our refuge and will sustain us through all adversity, seen or unseen. Even if there is an economic downturn, His promise is that as long as we are rooted in Him, we shall never fail to bear fruit and will have no worries in a year of drought.

Trust is the equivalent of faith, and it is a currency that the Lord God understands even more than prayer or good works. Our confidence in Him will carry us through any situation, no matter how hard it seems. If each one of us were to reveal some of the things we are going through it would make for depressing reading. What is evident though, is that for each test, there is a testimony and for each mess, there is a message of hope!

Be confident that as you draw nearer to Him, He will answer every prayer and you will be able to say with confidence that He has become Jehovah Jireh, your provider.

Be blessed!

Prayer: Lord, if you are for me, who can be against me? I will bless your holy name!

The Daniel Fast – Day 6

He who forms the mountains, who creates the wind, and who reveals his thoughts to mankind, who turns dawn to darkness, and treads on the heights of the earth—the Lord God Almighty is his name. – Amos 4:13 (NIV)

One of the promises the word of God gives is that God will reveal his thoughts and plans to mankind. Often we are caught up with our issues and desires that we have no time for the thoughts of the Father. This same God who has all the power of creation has found it fit to reveal Himself to us. The Psalmist declares: “How precious to me are your thoughts, God! How vast is the sum of them!” Psalm 139:17-18 (NIV). When we take time to get closer to God, We discover a vast treasure of knowledge, wisdom and insight!

Be blessed!

Prayer Point: Reveal your thoughts to me, oh God, that I may walk in your ways.

The Daniel Fast – Day 5

Within your temple, O God, we meditate on your unfailing love. Like your name, O God, your praise reaches to the ends of the earth; your right hand is filled with righteousness. – Psalm 48:9-10 (NIV)

What could be more delightful to God and edifying and strengthening to our souls than to meditate on the unfailing love of God! The more I ponder over His faithfulness, His intervention in times of need, His ability to always be there with an answer in the nick of time, the more I remain in awe of Him. There’s no God like our God!

A strange thing is unfolding as I proceed with this fast; as I approach God daily, my attitude is more on just wanting to be with Him and enjoying His fellowship than in piling petitions at the throne of mercy. Perhaps that’s really what God desires most from us; the ability to approach Him without any other agenda other than to say ‘Father, I love you, you are awesome!’

Be blessed!

Prayer point: Draw me closer to you Lord, that I may know you more.

The Daniel Fast – Day 4

‘God is our refuge and strength, an ever present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountain fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.’ -Psalm 46:1-3(NIV)

As I enter into the fourth day of this fast, my attention is drawn to the many difficulties people will face or are facing this year. Some have already had issues with health, finances, loved ones. Reports of hospitalizations, stories of fire accidents and robberies are already beginning to surface. Like Meshack, Shadrack and Abedneggo, we may be cast into the fiery furnace but we have the assurance the our Father in Heaven is an ever present help in trouble. As I continue to seek His face, my attention is drawn to His protective nature. He does not promise us to avoid trouble, rather to get us through to the other side.

I am reminded of the words of the song that say ‘ When the oceans rise and thunders roar, I will soar with you above the storm, Father you are King over the floods, I will be still know you are God!’.

Prayer point: Father teach me to know that you are above every circumstance and are able to see me through every issue. Pray that God will reveal His loving kindness and mercy to you in every circumstance.

Be blessed!

The Daniel Fast – Day 3

“I remain confident of this:
I will see the goodness of the LORD
in the land of the living.
Wait for the LORD;
be strong and take heart
and wait for the LORD.” Psalm 27:13,14(NIV)

In this Psalm David begins in verse 1 by declaring that the LORD is his light and his salvation – whom should he fear or be afraid of. As I look back on the events of the day I have seen God’s mighty hand begin a good work in a wondeful person I was counselling today. Burdened by many problems and issues that would make the toughest of us break the person made a decision to be set free by the love of God.

I encouraged the person to take heart and that the Father’s love was far stronger than any mistakes they had made or any problem they were in. When ministering to others we also get the benefit of God ministering to us and this psalm is a wonderful reminder as we seek His face that he will keep us safe in his dwelling and hide us in the shelter of his sacred tent, setting us high on the rock! (Psalm 27:5). Many of us are beset by past issues, hurts and fears and we often get overwhelmed by our bad experiences.

Take heart, for God is not interested in what you were but rather in what he can make you become. In verse 6 David says: “Then my head will be exalted above the enemy who surrounds me; at his sacred tent I will sacrifice with shouts of joy; I will sing and make music to the LORD.”

How wonderful it is to know that our Father in Heaven can turn our mourning into gladness, our despair into hope, our mess into a message and our test into a testimony! He never promised us to be free of trials. He did however promise that He would never leave us nor forsake us! What a wonderful thing to know!

Be blessed! Be strong! Believe!

Prayer points: Pray that like David in Psalm 27:4, you may seek the one thing from the Lord; to dwell in His presence all the days of your life and gaze upon His beauty and love and mercy. Pray that you will have the will to wait upon Him. Pray that He will reveal himself to you as you continue on your journey in life. Pray that those who are hurting with deep wounds inside may receive healing and be free from the chains of depression and self-pity. Pray that you can become an instrument of healing and love.

The Daniel Fast – Day 2

‘Then he continued, “Do not be afraid, Daniel. Since the first day that you set your mind to gain understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard, and I have come in response to them.” ‘ – Daniel 10:12

The scripture here encorages us to set our minds to gain understanding and to humble ourselves before God. This determination to seek wisdom and the Lord’s face evokes a certain response from God to our prayers. Let us seek throughout these next 20 days to press on in our pursuit of a response to our prayers.

Prayer points: Pray that you will have the perseverance of Daniel, who continued in prayer for 21 days until he heard from the Lord. Pray for humility and a thirst for wisdom and understanding.

Praise report: On the eve of beginning this fast a friend of mine sent an urgent message on Facebook regarding a young lady who texted her intent to end her life. The message showed her despair and despondency and when he tried to call her she was unreachable. A few of us began interceding that night on her behalf and I am glad to say my friend gave a report that she was finally reachable the next day and testified that she had heard a loud stern voice telling her not to kill herself! She has now given her life to the Lord and is filled with new hope. We give praise to a God who answers prayers! Feel free to share and encourage others if you are blessed with answers to your prayers during this fast. Be blessed!

Understanding the Scriptures – The beginnings of Daniel’s fast

Daniel: 9:1-3
1 In the first year of Darius the son of Ahasuerus, of the seed of the Medes, which was made king over the realm of the Chaldeans;
2 In the first year of his reign I Daniel understood by books the number of the years, whereof the word of the LORD came to Jeremiah the prophet, that he would accomplish seventy years in the desolations of Jerusalem.
3 And I set my face unto the Lord God, to seek by prayer and supplications, with fasting, and sackcloth, and ashes: (UKJV)

In the book of Daniel, we are given an account of what caused him to begin a journey to seek the Lord’s face. He had previously been getting disturbing visions of things to come and diligently began to seek God’s counsel as to the meaning of the visions he was having. At this point he was pointed, no doubt by the Holy Spirit, to the scriptures pertaining to the destiny of the people of Israel, who were in captivity in Bablyon. So he begins to intercede on behalf of his people so that God would bring to pass the end of these 70 years and prepare his people for the return to their homeland.

In a similar manner, we are called to seek God’s face at times when we are perplexed by what is going on around us and in due course God will provide clarity and answers. This year will be an eventful one, no doubt, with no shortage of drama in the world arena. Many of us are looking for answers and signs but what we really should be looking for is the one who holds the answers. Beginning today I have resolved to seek the Lord for the next 21 days in a journey that will end on Thursday the 31st of January 2013. I believe God will speak to me and to all those who determine to seek Him as well.

The Daniel fast is not one that is to punish our bodies so that God can listen to us, but is rather a decision to abstain from pleasing the outer man so as to increase our ability to hear what God is saying in our lives. God will honour the commitment you make as you eat simpler foods, smaller portions and you will also be taking care of your body. Remember to take time, like Daniel, to read the word and pray so that the fast is also spiritually useful, as fasting without prayer is dieting or in some extreme cases, akin to a hunger strike! In verse 23 of Daniel 9, the angel Gabriel appears to Daniel and says “As soon as you began to pray, a word went out, which I have come to tell you, for you are highly esteemed.”

God the Father is looking for those who are willing to set aside some extra time and effort to pray and seek His face. Determine that you will begin this year with some special time that will refresh you and give you audience with the king! Be blessed and have a happy new year!

Prayer points for the day: Pray for understanding of the word so that it becomes a living guide to you every day. Pray for your country of residence and for God to reveal to you things that He would like to see improve there.