What I Learned On A 21-Day Daniel Fast

This summer I’m highlighting some of my most popular blog posts. Enjoy!

I recently participated in a church-wide fast. Typically my church engages in a 3-day full fast (no food at all for those who wish to participate and are medically able) every year in January. But this year the leadership felt we needed to change things up.

A Daniel Fast restricts you to eating only fruits, vegetables and (for some people) whole grains. No meat, no dairy or animal products, no sweeteners (although some people use honey, maple syrup or stevia, I felt led to abstain), and no baked goods. (Did I mention no chocolate?)

It's based on the book of Daniel, chapter 10, if you're curious.

Although I have fasted throughout the years, it remains difficult for me, because fasting always stirs up deep memories of painful hunger from my childhood. In that respect, this time was easier because I could eat as many fruits and veggies as I wanted. I particularly liked the longevity of this fast. It wasn't a simple 3-day thing. It was a persevering thing. It was a learning to deny myself thing. It was a get in God's face thing.

On this fast, I learned:

1. I reach out for food far more than I reach out for Jesus. This revelation floored me. Yes, God designed us to require food, but I noticed how often I absentmindedly reached for some morsel just to have something in my mouth. I'm amazed at the number of times I think about food. Good grief. God, help me desire you more than any earthly thing...even things that I truly need!

2. I can pray far more often. I profess to be a woman of prayer, but this fast taught me to pray even more. Every time I craved chocolate (or any forbidden food), I'd pray instead, and let me just say, I prayed constantly. If only my prayers were as continual as my cravings. Lord, help me to pray without ceasing!

3. A fast is warfare. I encountered an incredible amount of opposition from the enemy, particularly in my emotions. At times it felt like I was walking blindly forward in a raging blizzard, with a frozen, tear-stained scarf stuck to my cheeks. God tries our emotions (Psalm 7:9, "for You, Who try the hearts and emotions and thinking powers, are a righteous God.") Healing is a process, so I cry out, God, continue to heal my heart and emotions!

4. A fast is powerful. I've already begun seeing breakthrough in specific areas for which I prayed. But I'm expecting much more throughout this year.

5. To stop complaining--even in my thoughts. Let's face it, America has more food than most of the world. I felt chastised for even allowing myself to inwardly grumble about yet more veggies when so many others have so much less. We are incredibly blessed, and although I always thank God for my food, I felt a deeper sense of appreciation--and a reluctance to complain about eating beans for dinner again. Help me to cultivate a grateful heart, Lord!

6. The amount of sin still in my own heart. Fasting opens our eyes about ourselves like nothing else. Our hearts become tender and more acutely aware of God's still, small voice. That's a good thing. It's layer by layer that He reveals the truth to us, and it's truth we need to face, confess, and be free of. It's the truth that makes us free. (John 8:32) Thank you, Lord, for ever increasing freedom.

7. A fast is about trading the temporal for the eternal. When we willingly give up something we desire (lasagna and chocolate lava cake) for something we yearn to desire far more (Jesus), I believe it grabs God's attention. Yes, I gave up my favorite foods for three weeks. But in return, I touched God's heart in a powerful way--and He touched mine.

I'm still processing everything I experienced in this fast, but I believe God accomplished great things, and I'm excited about what He has in store for me and my family.

How about you? Have you ever participated in a fast? What did you learn from it?

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A Most Powerful Prayer

This summer I’m highlighting some of my most popular blog posts. Enjoy!

Would you like to pray a really powerful prayer--one that will help your life and plans flow more smoothly?

Believe it or not, there is a scripture in the Bible that has turned out to be a life-changer for me. Years ago, as I read through the book of Proverbs, this particular verse caught my attention. I highlighted, underlined, and memorized it. More importantly, I took it to heart. I began to pray this verse over myself and my family, and watched in awe as God moved.

Now please don't get me wrong; I'm not a formula person, and God is not a magic genie for whom we recite particular words and *poof* our dreams materialize. But God does watch over His word to perform it (see Jeremiah 1:12), and His word is living and active, more powerful than a two-edged sword (see Hebrews 4:12).

In other words, the words in the Bible are powerful. And when we pray God's word in faith, our prayers will be, too.

Interested? Here is the scripture that I regularly pray, and that has brought huge change in my life:

Roll your works upon the Lord--He will cause your thoughts to become agreeable to His will, and so shall your plans be established and succeed. (Proverbs 16:3)

So how, exactly, do we pray scripture? We personalize it. Like this:

Lord, I lift (state your particular issue here) to You and ask you to cause my thoughts to become agreeable to Your will, and then my (example: career, school, vacation, marriage, friendship) plans will be established and succeed.

Don't be afraid to be specific. I've learned that specific prayers often receive specific answers.

When we pray this particular scripture, we're doing several things. We are:
  1. Inviting God into the idea/plan/situation
  2. Asking Him to actually shape our thoughts
  3. Requesting that He align our will with His
  4. Asking God to establish our plans
  5. Requesting favor and success
All from one prayer based on one scripture!

Whether you're a planner or a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants type of person, the next time you're making decisions, planning, hoping or dreaming, I hope you'll remember this particular scripture and invite God into the process by praying this most powerful prayer.

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Burning Bush Moments

This summer I’m highlighting some of my most popular blog posts. Enjoy!

I don't know about you, but I long to be a woman of purpose. I believe that we must not allow distractions to prevent us from hearing God's voice.

Recently as I read in the book of Exodus, I realized that the Lord calls each one of us to turn aside and focus on Him in the midst of distractions. Moses did this very thing when he turned to observe a burning bush in the desert. As he led a noisy herd of sheep through the wilderness, he chose to turn toward the Lord.

It can't be easy to herd sheep. The shepherd must watch this one, keep an eye on that one, and keep the entire herd moving in the right direction. But Moses made a decision and turned aside from it all. And that is when God spoke to him. That is when Moses discovered his God-given destiny.

"And Moses said, 'I will now turn aside and see this great sight, why the bush is not burned.' And when the Lord saw that he turned aside to see, God called to him out of the midst of the bush and said..." Exodus 3: 3-4 (Amplified Bible)

When we choose to turn aside from the clamor and craziness of life to the One who burns for us with unrivaled love, God takes notice. This is when He speaks to us, revealing His plans and purpose for that particular time. This is a burning bush moment.

They key to experiencing burning bush moments is to possess an interruptible heart—one that longs to hear God—even in the midst of our crazy lives.

Are you willing to be interrupted?

When we determine to have interruptible hearts we willingly turn aside from all that distracts, and we place the Lord in a position of preeminence. We are showing Him that He takes priority over everything else, that He is first. Really first.  

When we cultivate a listening heart and possess an interruptible heart, then we will hear God. And when we hear from the Lord for ourselves, it revives us, equips us, strengthens us. And ultimately, it transforms us. And isn’t that what this journey is all about? Being transformed into His image.

How about you? Do you have an interruptible heart? This week determine to listen for God to speak amidst the distractions. You just might experience a burning bush moment.

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The Perfect Prayer for Your Family!

This summer I’m highlighting some of my most popular blog posts. Enjoy!

I love praying God’s word over my family. It’s powerful, living and active (see Hebrews 4:12). Not only that, but God actually watches over His Word to perform it (see Jeremiah 1:12)

I don’t know about you, but the idea of praying words that are alive with power, words that God Himself watches over and tends to, is irresistible.

So at the beginning of this year, when I read a couple of verses that described exactly what I desperately want for my family, poof! a family prayer was born. I printed these scriptures out on a 3x5 card and turned it into a prayer.

These scriptures focus on knowing God’s will, spiritual wisdom and understanding, and living lives that honor and please God. They speak of knowing God better and better and being strengthened with His glorious power so we’ll have all the endurance and patience we need.

Doesn’t that sound like a perfect family prayer? 

Here are the verses:

We ask God to give you complete knowledge of His will and to give you spiritual wisdom and understanding. Then the way you live will always honor and please the Lord, and your lives will produce every kind of good fruit. All the while, you will grow as you learn to know God better and better. We also pray that you will be strengthened with all His glorious power so you will have all the endurance and patience you need. May you be filled with joy, always thanking the Father. (Colossians 1:9b-12a)

And here is how I personalized it and turned it into the perfect prayer for my family: 

{You can click on this and print it out, if you'd like!}

I am convinced that praying God’s word is one of the wisest, most strategic prayer choices we can ever make. If our prayers were darts, praying scripture would cause us to hit the bullseye every time.

I hope you print out this prayer (or write it out on your own 3x5 card) and pray it often over your family, like I do.

Lord, thank you for Your amazing Word. It’s life-giving and life-changing, and I pray You will help us to know Your Word well and pray it often. Help us to regularly pray this over our families this year. Please bring authentic change in the hearts and lives of our family members that only You can. In the name of Jesus, Amen.

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How to Pray for Your Children {FREE Printable!}

This summer I’m highlighting some of my most popular blog posts. Enjoy!

Motherhood has always been a hard job. And maybe it’s just me, but it seems like our culture is making it harder than ever to raise wise, godly kids.

And so, I pray.

Yes, my kids are older. But I still pray. And I also have grandkids now, so my prayers won’t be stopping any time soon.

It grieves me to see so many children struggling against the powerful tide of our culture and all of its distractions, enticements, and outright lies. Truly the enemy desires to destroy the faith of our next generation.

But the enemy underestimates the power of a praying mom! I just can't sit idly by and allow our nation and our world's ungodly beliefs and the enemy's plans to steal my children (and grandchildren's) faith. And THAT is why I pray.

Consistently praying for our kids is probably the most important thing we can ever do for them. 

If you're not sure where to start or how, exactly, to pray for your children, I’ve created a powerful, Scripture-based prayer printable for you called Essential Prayers for Your Kids. And it’s completely FREE. A gift from my heart to yours (and from one mom to another!).

To get your free Scripture-based prayer printable, just CLICK HERE. (Or visit my Free Resources page.)

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Happy summer and happy praying!