Wednesday, January 2, 2013

The Daniel Fast - Day 1 Devotional

Today is the day, friends!  Tonight we will go to our First Wednesday service at church.  As I am typing this, I do not see the service in the online schedule.  However, if you click here you may be in luck tonight!  Our service is at 7:00pm, EST.  Come back around that time and worship with us!  I am sure that the message will be primarily about the 21 day fast, so it will be worth your time - I promise!

I am beginning a 21 day bible devotional that I plan to follow during the fast.  I began Day 1 today.  I am using YouVersion's 21 Day Fast reading plan.  Each day you will find devotional content as well as scripture readings for the day.  The scripture for Day 1 is Daniel 10.

The devotional content of the day reads as follows:

"This passage is a source for the idea of a 21-day fast.  As you set apart these three weeks to seek God, know that God has already heard your prayer.  He is already at work on your behalf."

In Daniel 10, Daniel receives a vision - "He understood that the vision concerned events certain to happen in the future - times of war and great hardship."  {Daniel 10:1}

He had been in a period of fasting for three weeks.  He then receives a vision from a messenger - a vision that only he saw.  He lost all strength and fainted, but the messenger assured Daniel of how precious he was to God.  In verse 12, the messenger assures Daniel that his fervent prayers have been heard:

"Since the first day you began to pray for understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your request has been heard in heaven.  I have come in answer to your prayer."  {Daniel 10:12}

Daniel goes on to tell him how the vision he had seen about this future time has him filled with anguish {v 16}.  He is filled with fear, yet the messenger again assures him of how precious he is to God {v 19}.  This assurance strengthened Daniel.  He says, "I suddenly felt stronger and said to him, "Please speak to me, my lord, for you have strengthened me.""

Upon first reading this passage, it seems like an interesting exchange between Daniel and this messenger.  I read it and read it again.  While we may not be having actual visions of a great war and tragedy to come in the future, it is quite possible that right now we are having our own fears and anxieties over something that lies ahead in our own future.  I know that is the case for me.  I don't think it would come as a surprise to anyone {unless you are new here}, that I am filled with anxiety over my daughter Peyton.  She is 6.  She is medically fragile and has multiple special needs.  She has a lot of serious health concerns.  We know that her life expectancy is going to be far less than what any parent would hope for their child.  We also know that the date and time will remain unknown to us until it happens, but it seems reasonable to assume that her time is short.  Whether that means another year or two or three or more - we don't know.  We hope and we pray that it is longer, but it is all in God's hands.  Yet at the same time that I know all of this, I have fear and anxiety over what is to come.

As I pray during this fast, I will be praying for Peyton.  I want to cry out to the Lord and ask Him what we are supposed to do.  I want to ask Him how much suffering she must endure {she has chronic hip pain and it is absolutely heartwrenching to see her suffering}.  I want to ask Him for so many things on her behalf.  I feel like Daniel at times - overcome with anguish because of what I have seen in her life and because of the fear of the unknown that lies ahead.

This passage is assuring to all of us.  Just as Daniel is assured that he is precious to God, so are we!  We are just as precious to Him today as Daniel was then.  The messenger tells Daniel not to be afraid.  He says, "Peace!  Be encouraged!  Be strong!"  {Daniel 10:19}  I believe that this message is meant for us as well.  Peace, to you friends!  God is telling us to be encouraged and to be strong.  We have the strength of God to uphold us when we are feeling powerless, helpless, fearful, anxious, and so on.

Take comfort in this passage.  If the focus of your prayers during this time of fasting is because of something that is causing you great concern, be comforted.  The passage doesn't offer answers but it offers strength to us at this time.

If you are reading a bible plan or devotional during this fast, what are you learning?  I would love it if we could share our insights so that we can be a support to each other during this time.  Link up below and grab a button while you're at it!

Daniel Fast 2013


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