Today we begin a ten-day Daniel fast for our country.

A church member came up to me once and asked what my secret to fasting is. I had never thought of that before. I could tell she was struggling with fasting – don’t we all! – and so I wanted to give her something that would help, but I did not necessarily have a secret.

So, I thought about it for a second, and though I would not call it a secret, what immediately came to mind was what motivates me to continue fasting when I am tempted to quit. If I did have a “secret”, this would be it:

Is what you are fasting for more important to you than the meal you would break your fast for?

Not a chance.

And that is what was motivating Daniel as well.

Daniel chapter ten tells us how Daniel was fasting, but it is in chapter nine that we see why Daniel was fasting:

“Lord, listen! Lord, forgive! Lord, hear and act! For your sake, my God, do not delay, because your city and your people bear your Name.” Daniel 9:19 NIV

The nation of Israel has been destroyed by the Babylonian Empire decades before, and Daniel found a promise of restoration while he was reading the Word of God. He saw that the time for that promise to be fulfilled was up and so he began to cry out to God.

He was fasting and praying for the restoration of his nation.

So are we!

That is what we are fasting and praying for. The healing of our nation.

Certainly there are other tremendous benefits that you will gain from fasting; clarity, healing, physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual strength, relational peace, divine guidance, hearing God’s voice… these promises are all in the Bible (see Isaiah 58), but our primary purpose for this fast is for God to do the same for our nation as Daniel wanted God to do for his. Let us read it again.

“Lord, listen! Lord, forgive! Lord, hear and act! For your sake, my God, do not delay, because your city and your people bear your Name.” Daniel 9:19 NIV

We need God. And He has promised to hear and answer our prayers if we will humble ourselves and seek him.

Over the next ten days I am dedicating these Encouraging Word posts to encourage you during this fast.

Do not be afraid to fast. God is with you. Fasting is good for you. And what we are fasting for is way more important than whatever food we would break our fast for!

John