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The Daniel Fast

Dec 01, 2020

Web Daniel Fast21

As 2021 gets underway, Pastor Gregg Matte is inviting the Houston's First family to pray and fast on behalf of our church and our personal lives, as well.

The week of Jan 4-8, Pastor Gregg was live online at 12 noon for a short devotional thought along with a special guest each day. You can watch each of them below via Facebook or YouTube with the links provided:

  • Mon, Jan 4 — Jeff Bumgardner, Minister or Worship & Arts, The Loop Campus
  • Tue, Jan 5 — Pastor Garry Blackmon, Crossway Christian Fellowship
  • Wed, Jan 6 — Kris Gutierrez, KPRC Channel 2
  • Thu, Jan 7 — Lance Berkman, former MLB player
  • Fri, Jan 8 — Kelly Matte, wife of Pastor Gregg Matte

Read ahead to learn about when to fast in January, what to pray for, and fasting in general — as well as helpful resources.

Yes! I plan to fast this January.

What is fasting?

For Christians, fasting is the act of giving up something (food, drink, entertainment, etc.) for a certain period of time in order to increase our attention on God and what He has to say. There are more than 70 references to fasting in the Bible, and among those who fasted in the Bible are Moses, Elijah, Esther, Ezra, Job, David, Daniel, Peter, Paul — and even Jesus.

Many people equate "fasting" with simply "not eating" — but there are several different types of fasts. A Daniel Fast, for example, is considered a partial fast, allowing you to consume certain types of food and drink (PDF). The fast is based on one that Daniel followed:

  • Daniel 1:12 — "Please test your servants for 10 days. Let us be given vegetables to eat and water to drink."
  • Daniel 10:1-2 — "In the third year of Cyrus king of Persia, a message was revealed to Daniel, who was named Belteshazzar. The message was true and was about a great conflict. He understood the message and had understanding of the vision. In those days I, Daniel, was mourning for three full weeks."

Fasting is letting go of a physical need for a spiritual plea.

— Pastor Gregg Matte


While the staff and deacons participate in a Daniel Fast the week of Jan 4-8, 2021, Pastor Gregg invites you to do so along with them that week. He'll provide a short devotional thought online each of those weekdays around lunchtime, so you can tune in for that along with others. (Exact time and links will be posted here closer to that week.)

Or, you can choose to participate in a fast on any dates of your choosing in January. In particular, Pastor Gregg suggests three options as you consider how you will join in on this churchwide fast:

  • Follow the Daniel Fast for 5 days or longer
  • Fast at least one day in January
  • Fast at least one meal in January

What To Eat

The Daniel Fast is a partial fast, allowing you to eat a wide variety of foods. You can find a list of food and drinks that comply with the fast here. Essentially, you can eat:

  • All fruits
  • All vegetables
  • All whole grains
  • All nuts and seeds
  • All legumes
  • All quality oils

Prayer Guide

During your fast — whether for one meal or longer — join with Pastor Gregg, staff members, and deacons as we pray for our personal lives and our church. Pastor Gregg and the others are following this prayer guide during their five-day fast. We invite the church family to pray for these, as well, during your fast — whenever and for however long that might be! Download a one-page PDF of the prayer guide here.

Day 1

  • Your walk with Jesus Christ — for example, pray for stronger faith, a consistent devotional time, deeper trust in God
  • Gathering Our Hearts — for example, pray for power in our worship services, for God to use our events to reach people
  • Prayer for Our Nation — pray for the COVID-19 pandemic — for those impacted (physically, financially, etc.), for protection, for resolution, and so on

Day 2

  • Your friends and family — for example, pray for relationships to be strengthened, for forgiveness to be extended and received, for health and security
  • Growing Our Souls — for example, pray for spiritual growth and strong community in our Life Bible Studies, for spiritual growth in our Milestones classes
  • Prayer for Our Nation — pray for unity across our many differences (racial, political, spiritual, etc.)

Day 3

  • Your school or workplace — for example, pray for your classmates or coworkers who do not know Jesus, for opportunities to share the Gospel, for fellow believers to be united
  • Giving Our Lives — for example, pray for our many volunteers, our mission trips, our prayer ministry, our Faith Centers
  • Prayer for Our Nation — pray for revival among believers and for others to give their lives to Jesus

Day 4

  • Your impact — for example, pray for someone to share Jesus with, for a place to serve regularly, for increased generosity in attention, resources, and time
  • Multisite Campuses — for example, pray for our Cypress, Downtown, and Sienna Campuses to reach more people in their respective communities in the year ahead
  • Prayer for Our Nation — pray for leaders in our schools, government, and health care

Day 5

  • Your worries and anxieties — for example, voice your concerns to God, give them over to Him, trust that Jesus will carry them
  • Our Missionaries — for example, pray for boldness to share the Gospel, for strategic relationships in their communities, for health and safety
  • Prayer for Our Nation — pray for our military personnel and first responders


The Worship team at Houston's First compiled this Spotify playlist for your use as you fast at some point during the month of January: Daniel Fast 2021 Spotify Playlist


    Timothy Ateek, Executive Director of Breakaway Ministries, spoke about fasting when he was our guest speaker at Houston's First in the summer of 2020. Watch his message below — "Feeling Full from Going Hungry."

    The following resources were compiled by Houston's First staff members and other contributors to help you and your family if you opt to follow a Daniel Fast:

    • List of foods to include and avoid on the Daniel Fast (download PDF)
    • The Daniel Fast board on Houston's First's Pinterest page (visit board)

    The following external resources are not associated with Houston's First, but they might provide you with additional information and ideas — especially recipes! Some of these websites reference registering for a Daniel Fast in January, but those are separate from the one we're doing at Houston's First.


    Finally, CornerBooks at The Loop Campus has books to borrow if you want to learn even more. These titles are available to borrow for free using your CornerBooks library card. If you do not already have a card, fill out this form to gain access to over 14,000 titles in their collection! (Each title's call number is provided in parentheses so you can locate it on the shelves, but don't hesitate to ask a CornerBooks staff member or volunteer for assistance if needed!)

    You can search CornerBooks' entire collection online for other books related to fasting, prayer — or any topic you have in mind — by visiting their online search tool.


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