First-love Fast 2023: Week 1 – Greatly Beloved

(Dan. 10:2,3) 2 In those days I, Daniel, was mourning three full weeks. 3 I ate no pleasant food, no meat, or wine came into my mouth, nor did I anoint myself at all, till three whole weeks were fulfilled.

(Dan. 10:19) And he [the angel] said, “O man greatly beloved, fear not! Peace be to you; be strong, yes, take courage!” So when he spoke to me I was strengthened, and said, “Let my lord speak, for you have strengthened me.”

As Daniel, a man in his 80s, was weak from fasting and burdened in prayer, and angel of the Lord visited him with a message. This message was one of the most detailed and significant prophetic encounters recorded in scripture.

The “heading” at the top of this message was about God’s affection and passionate love for Daniel.

“O man, greatly beloved…”

Fasting positions us to encounter the affections of God in a fresh way.

Knowing that we are loved and enjoyed by God even in our weakness, exhilarates our hearts and helps thrust us into new seasons of growth.

As we fast, we partner with God to remove everything that hinders the experience of divine love – those things that dull our senses and battle for our attention and devotion.  

If we’re abstaining from food, but we’re not intentionally setting our cold hearts in front of the fire of God’s love, then all we’re doing is making ourselves hungry. That’s not fasting, that’s a hunger strike.

Experiencing God’s love for us in our weakness awakens love in our hearts back to God. That is the romance of fasting. It may not be fun or pleasurable to our flesh, but it tenderizes our hearts and awakens love for God.

Starting on January 9, as we fast together, let us remember to quiet our hearts and listen to the divine Voice of love whispering, “O man/woman, greatly beloved.”

One exercise to help with this is to take a few minutes and write a letter as if from God to you. Consider how He would address you and what would he say?

Prayer: Lord of love, thank you. Thank you for your tender affections for me. Holy Spirit, tenderize my heart for feel the acceptance and passion of Jesus. I want to know the lengths, the widths, the depths, and heights of Your love for me, that I might walk in the fullness of my destiny.

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