Twenty-one Days

Well it’s the tenth day of 2011. Each new year seems to bring new opportunities, and a fresh start. We all vow to spend less money, exercise more, and eat better. We promise to lose weight and keep in touch better with family and friends. Some of us join the gym and others give church another try. And why not? A new year is like getting a do over. We get to start all over. It’s like someone whipped clean our slate and we get to leave the old behind in favor of a new and improved us.

We start off all energized and positive. At first. We might even do pretty well during January. But if we are honest, by February we have rationalized most of our good intentions away. Who has time to go to the gym anyway? Healthy eating takes too much time and preparation. I can’t manage that all the time. And church? What about church?

I don’t know about your church, but ours does a really neat thing during January. We spend three weeks in January fasting and praying for the upcoming year. It all started yesterday. I’m a bit nervous, if I can be totally honest. I’ve never been a part of a church this serious about spiritual things. And I didn’t grow up ever taking part in a fast, and this one is supposed to go on for, did I mention,

Twenty-one days?

I have tried to prepare my heart and mind (and stomach) for this fasting bit. We are going to give the Daniel fast a try. It’s based on the scripture that basically says that Daniel didn’t eat anything fun or tasty for twenty-one days. No bread, no meat, no chocolate or soda either. I love bread, and I am kind of fond of meat, too. But the chocolate and soda are giving me pause. Can I confess that I like chocolate and soda far more than I should?

Our church will soon celebrate ten years in existence and they have been fasting and praying during January for all ten years. In that time the church has grown to over 14,000 in attendance and has, in addition to its main campus, (built and paid for two years ago) five satellite campuses.

There just might be something to this starting the year off with prayer and fasting.

During this time we will ask for God’s continuing blessings upon our church, its leadership, and for its vision to continue to reach people for the Kingdom. But as a family we will be also asking for God’s continued blessings upon us. I hope to see God do some really amazing things in my family this year. I hope that He will use us like never before, grow us together even more as a family, and give us great adventures in following Him.

I’ll send my first son off to college this year, so I definitely want Him all over that. My second son will be getting his driver’s license… Yikes. Something I want God to be covering, for sure. My daughter will be starting high school in the fall, so I certainly pray he will be directing her paths there. My little one will still be nicely tucked under momma’s wing, but I want him to grow up in his relationship with and understanding of God throughout the year ahead. I pray for open doors of opportunity for my husband as he serves in ministry, and that he be allowed to use his gifts for God’s glory in amazing and unfathomable ways.

And me? Well I guess I hope the same for me. I would love to see this blog grow in readership, reach out and bless more people. (For God’s glory, not my own.) I want to stand with arms wide open and receive all it is that He has for me this year.

I also want to lose ten pounds and start to eat healthier. Perhaps this fast will have a practical side as well as spiritual. If you are like me, and aren’t’ used to the whole fasting thing, but it is sounding like something you might like to do for yourself, just come on! If you Google Daniel Fast I promise you’ll have more information than you can read. If you have done the Daniel Fast before, I could sure use your help. What DID you eat? How did you get through and honestly… did you make it okay without the chocolate?

Either way, I do pray God’s richest blessings upon you and yours this new year.

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