Shiloh Church of Oakland, Sonoma and Modesto is taking part in the annual Daniel Fast January 6-21. Join Christians around the world in combating the evil exemplified not only at Sandy Hook Elementary School, but for a second time over the last half year or so in Aurora, CO, on Saturday, January 5.
The fast is a three-week tribute to one of the greatest heroes of the faith, for whom the greatest prophetic book of the Old Testament is named, who fasted and prayed in captivity to show the strength God could bring the faithful. Details of the fast can be found in scripture (especially Daniel 10:3), but the simplified version Shiloh is doing is foregoing sweets, meat and bread.
While Americans eat too much of all of those things—especially around the holidays we have just emerged from—remember that fasting without prayer is just a diet. We are to fast and pray for spiritual wellness and greater intimacy with God for ourselves and the world.
Nothing is more powerful in the faith than corporate prayer—a large body speaking in one spirit and one voice. To that end, all participating believers are encouraged to read supporting scriptures listed at the link above for each day of the fast. There are tips to getting started, specific goals to work toward and links to recipes for those unaccustomed to going without these foods. Good sources of protein outside of meat include nuts, beans/legumes and dairy.
It is always better to adhere to a fast than to have to abandon it because it was too strict to stay with. One could give up just one of the above food groups, or even a single food if it is a staple—making it a great sacrifice—that can be replaced without risk to one's health. No good fast should make one less healthy, so make sure your choice is informed.
For some, sacrifices of other vices or activities might be a better way of removing obstacles to intimacy with God. If you are a person who spends more time on Facebook than in prayer, watches too much sensationalized television programming or drinks too much coffee, omitting those things from your life for three weeks may release those bonds.
Feel free to give us feedback on what you are giving up, why and how it works for you!