Embarking On a Spiritual Journey ~ Why It's Important to Fast

warrior women series Jan 11, 2024
caucasian woman praying

God's Warrior Woman ~ Pamela's Story

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.” - Matthew 5:6

I rolled out of my cozy bed and headed to the kitchen for a warm mug of tea and to my office to pray. There was an expectancy in my heart as I longed to be with God.

I love fresh starts and our yearly Daniel Fast is the perfect way to start a new year.

Christmas was past with its over indulgences and few salads. I was tired, and my body and soul needed a reset. I needed a shift in my mindset and a renewed spirit. My soul was empty and wanted more of God. 

I had spent too much time focusing on myself. I had allowed discontent and comparison to move into my head space, and I didn’t believe that was the abundant life God called me to live.

I settled my mind and reached for the Word. I quietly prayed, “Speak to me Lord. Show me what You want me to learn about You today. Change me. Heal me. I long to do Your will. Amen.”

The annual Daniel Fast is the perfect way to reconnect with God as He fine tunes our character. Our church has done a yearly Daniel Fast each January, and we look forward to it each winter.

Have you heard of Daniel Fast? 

It’s a limited fast, done for three weeks, where you consume only vegetables and water. There is no sugar, flour, meat, refined or processed foods, coffee, soda, or alcohol allowed.

It is taken from the book of Daniel where King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon has besieged Jerusalem. He selects the most talented Israelite men to serve him in the palace, Daniel being one of them. Daniel does not want to eat the king's rich food because it likely comes from idol sacrifices and goes against the Jewish dietary customs, so he makes a request. 

“Please test your servants for ten days: Give us nothing but vegetables to eat and water to drink. Then compare our appearance with that of the young men who eat the royal food, and treat your servants in accordance with what you see.” - Daniel 1:12-13

According to Kristen Feola, author of The Ultimate Guide to the Daniel Fast, “At the end of the ten days, Daniel and his friends look healthier and better nourished than the other young men who dined on the royal food. From that day forward they didn’t have to eat the royal food. According to the Bible, these four men who courageously stood up for their beliefs, God gave knowledge and understanding of all kinds of literature and learning. The Lord also gave Daniel special insight and the ability to understand dreams and visions. (vs17)”

Pastor Bob Henkelman (yea, he’s my wise husband) said this about fasting, “Fasting isn’t about physically dieting, it's about spiritually dialing in.” Lest you think the Daniel Fast is simply a great way to lose a few pounds, you are missing the whole point. If you’re not praying and spending extra time with God during a Daniel Fast, you are simply dieting. 

If you’re not praying and spending extra time with God during a Daniel Fast, you are simply dieting.

Let these truths from Pastor Bob, sink into your soul. 

  •  “Fasting is saying “no” to feeding our flesh, and saying “yes” to feeding our spirit.”
  • “Fasting is abstaining ourselves from the world, while simultaneously attaching ourselves to the Lord.”
  • “Fasting to the stomach will be famishing, but fasting to the soul is feasting.”

Why It’s Important to Fast

  • It takes your focus off of self and your flesh.  

When you get honest before God you must face your selfishness. Have you noticed that most of your prayer requests are focused on what you want instead of what God wants for you? When you fast, you purposely open your heart to God. You long to hear His perspective. You are able to look past yourself.

Your flesh is demanding. It wants what it wants and fasting is one way you can tame it. You can say “no” to what your body wants and pursue God’s purposes instead. In wrestling through the tension of letting go, you’ll find God will bring you peace.

  • It reorients your heart to God.

 Oh, how far you wander as you are consumed with the cares of the world and your family's needs. When you get stuck in fear and worry, you lose God. Fasting is one sure way for you to move closer to God. Fasting causes you to focus on God instead of your circumstances as you hunger to know Him more. In turning toward God, you are met with His everlasting love and compassion. As you sit with Him, He’ll set your heart and attitude right. 

  • It helps you pray to God's will.

One of the purest prayers you can pray is from Mark14:36b. These are Jesus’ words,  “Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.” Wanting to see God’s will done is your life is a beautiful prayer of surrender and the surest way to build your bond with God. As you lay down your wants and desires, you are infused with perfect peace because you serve a God who loves you and has good plans for you. Why would you ever want to be out of God’s will when it is the sweetest spot to dwell?

You will hear Him loud and clear as you deny your physical body. It is an amazing phenomenon. Lean in and create space for God to speak.

  • It helps us hear God more clearly.

The busyness of life blocks your ability to hear. You struggle to focus and become easily distracted. When you fast, your spiritual ears are attentive to God’s voice. You will hear Him loud and clear as you deny your physical body. It is an amazing phenomenon. Lean in and create space for God to speak.

The Daniel Fast may seem intimidating as we restrict our diets to only vegetables and water for three weeks, but the clarity and connection with God is worth the battle to quiet our flesh and be in tune with the Spirit. May we celebrate our ability to hunger for God and trust He will fill us.

Make sure you check back next week for another Warrior Woman!

You Are An Overcomer!

You are not alone; God created you in His image, which means you have power and authority.  He has equipped you with His strength and boldness. I would love to connect more and give you a FREE gift - The Warrior Woman Workbook: Overcoming Through the Power of Prayer and Fasting. 

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The Warrior Women Series will offer motivation and inspiration through heartfelt stories, illustrating that you can overcome challenges through the powerful combination of prayer and fasting.

Pamela Henkelman is a Life Coach for Midlife Moms, speaker, writer, and host of The Midlife Momma Podcast. With her bright smile and enthusiastic personality, she is passionate about encouraging women, particularly the often-forgotten group of moms with adult children. Pamela helps these moms navigate their changing roles and build stronger relationships with their grown children.
As a mom of five grown kids and two grandsons, Pamela has first-hand experience with the challenges and joys of navigating the empty nest phase of life.

She and her husband, who is a pastor, are living their best empty nest life and loving every minute of it. You can connect with Pamela on her website, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and YouTube

Don't forget to download your four page guide to help you know what to expect in midlife motherhood, "Your Kids are Grown... Now What?"


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