Daniel Fast Day 1:
Scriptures: Isaiah 54:17; Isaiah 26:3, James 1:5
Prayer Target: The Visionaries of Harvest Church International
Today was day 1 of my 21 Day Daniel Fast. And it was amazing. I had fasted before, but never like this. The church gave me an informational packet Wednesday night that included:
- the dates of the fast
- why it was important to fast
- how the fast fits into the 2017 vision of the church to : Consolidate. Disciple. and Send.
- suggested Materials and a calendar of church events to attend during the fast
- expectations of the fast
- instructions of how to carry it out.
I got up at 5 am, brushed my teeth and washed my face, sat down at the bar in my kitchen and read through the entire packet of information. I wrote the scriptures down on index cards (to study throughout the day), and had 10 minutes to create a “prayer corner” in my living room. I merely turned on a lamp and put a pillow on the floor, but it was a way to distinguish an area where I would go to pray.
Prayer Time #1: From 6-7am was the first recommended prayer time. I was worried about being late for work, but I’m usually late to work so I can’t blame that on spending an hour praying. But I did realize that if spending time with God was the reason for my tardiness, it would be a more legitimate excuse than lying in bed for an additional 30 minutes each morning scrolling Facebook headlines.
As I prayed I focused on repentance and self-reflection. I focused on all the things I know I’ve been doing wrong in my life; all the misses from 2016. As I recalled the wrongs—I kept coming back to one of the daily scriptures I wrote down: James 1:5 which says: “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him”. I kept getting stuck on God being a God who gives LIBERALLY and WITHOUT REPROACH. As I ran through all the things I had done wrong, all the ways I struggled in 2016, all the ways I didn’t follow through on promises made to people (and promises made to God as well), I couldn’t help but get overwhelmed with the idea that God could care less. Not only does God have loads to give, but he gives WITHOUT REPROACH.
I know that God is the creator of all things. God never maxes out on his ability to give. But maybe I never understood that He is also not the type to fuss about having to give gifts to me. Regardless of what I am asking, He is not going to remind me of his goodness everytime he blesses me. He’s not going to say, well, Eve, I’m giving this to you, but you know you don’t deserve it. God will never say: “Eve, I am so disappointed in your behavior”. God isn’t here to remind me of all the ways I’ve hurt him or all the moments when I let him down. God wants to give to me because He is a giver not because I deserve or have earned his gifts.
Prayer Time #2: My lunch break was the second recommended prayer time. I started about 5 minutes late and was upset that I didn’t have my bible to read. But I realized I was supposed to be praying anyway and so I sat in my car and got right down to it. I assumed I would eventually stop praying and pull out my daily scripture cards, but I ended up spending an hour blessing God for my life. I went down the laundry list of people I wanted to pray for and as I prayed I kept hearing gratitude for the way he designed my life. I could hear myself give thanks for “this thing/situation” or thanks for “that person” . As I blessed God, I realized that had God not written it to be so, I wouldn’t have the life that I have; I wouldn’t have the people that I have; good or bad relationships, good or bad interactions, friend, enemies, family, etc. Had God not designed it so, I wouldn’t be sitting in my car at that moment spending an intimate lunch with him.
I got overwhelmed. My mind went to my elementary school teachers who still call me for Christmas. It went to seeing my brother with his growing family, and my co-worker and I sharing the word of God over lunch. I saw me walking across the parking lot to attend a Singles Workshop at New Beginnings. I saw my co-working in her Ford Mustang who drove me to work for almost 2 months when I didn’t have a car. All of my life God had written each and every circumstance to get me to that very moment. To have me in a car, that I could afford (yes, I was crying with gratitude about the affordability of my car payment), worshipping him during my lunchbreak. The story of my life and I’m catching up in my reading of it.
It’s amazing how we’re considered lucky if we catch things in the moment and express thankfulness for them, but to take a minute and realize the picture that God is creating with your life. The reason he gave you the Aunts and Uncles that he gave you. The reason you love the way you do. The reason you got fired from that job, or the reason you never got hired at all. Sometimes we get stuck on the pieces, that we fail to see the beautiful life that will be created at the end when the puzzle is complete.
And even if we tried, we’d never know the glory of our lives, we never know how our few short years impact so many lives beyond ourselves. I kept thinking about God writing the story. This saga of PEOPLE. and how somewhere amongst the pages is my name. Small, but significant. No, I am not mentioned like Abraham. I may not be as popular as Moses, but I’m listed. I am a part of the story (at least until Christ returns) and I have to do my part.
Prayer Time #3: We’re expecting an ice storm this weekend and I went to Aldi after work to grab some fruits and veggies. Not so much for the ice storm but also for my Daniel Fast. I didn’t do that great of a job shopping. I have such limited food experience that I had to look up recipes appropriate for the Daniel Fast. You’d never believe how difficult it is to just cook plain fresh food without anything artificial. I spent too long in the store and missed the recommended evening prayer time from 6-7pm. I ended up getting on my knees after 9pm. And by the time I knelt down I was exhausted. I could hear myself repeat the same sentence over and over again. I read through the scripture cards once more, got off my knees and decided to go to bed. I needed sleep and it was an embarrassment for me to fall asleep on God like that.
Tomorrow I’ll make sure my evening prayers are a priority so I don’t have to squeeze them in as if they are an after-thought. I’m supposed to be purposeful in this Fast. I am supposed to make my quality time with God priority. I can’t wait until I’m half asleep to try to have a conversation with him, not only is it not fair to God, but no way I could express myself through a sleepy haze anyway.
Day 1 done!!