The Daniel Fast - Begins January 1, 2015
The Daniel Fast is a powerful spiritual experience to help followers of Jesus Christ develop a more intimate relationship with their Lord, seek answers to prayer, and grow in the love and knowledge of the Our Lord and Savior.
Fasting, when coupled with prayer, serves as a powerful vehicle to draw closer to God. This is a God-designed discipline to enable His people to enter into a focused time of seeking the Father and His Wisdom, Intervention and Direction.
What is the Daniel Fast?
The Daniel Fast is a biblically based partial fast. It is a method of fasting that men, women and young people all over the world are using as they enter into the spiritual discipline of prayer and fasting. There are two anchoring scriptures for the Daniel Fast. In Daniel 1 the Prophet ate only vegetables (that would have included fruits) and drank only water. So from these scriptures we get two of the guidelines for the fast:
1. Only fruits, vegetables and whole grains (anything that grows out of the ground)
2. Only water and 100% fruit and vegetable juice
Then in Daniel 10 we read that the Prophet ate no meat nor any precious breads or foods and he drank no wine for 21 days. So from this scripture, we get a third guideline: 3. No sweeteners and no breads
Another important guideline is drawn from Jewish fasting principles, where no leaven is used during the fast. So that's why yeast, baking powder and the like are not allowed on the Daniel Fast.
Finally, with all the above puzzle pieces, we conclude that no artificial or processed foods nor any chemicals are allowed on the Daniel Fast.
When asked about the eating plan on the Daniel Fast, I often say it is a "vegan diet."
Be sure to read the ingredients on labels of ALL FOODS to make sure they only include Daniel Fast friendly ingredients.
The Daniel Fast for the body, soul and spirit
The Bible teaches us that we are a spirit, we have a soul and we live in a body. The Daniel Fast affects all three parts of us as we enter into a period of time for focused prayer and fasting.
The Body - Certainly our bodies are affected as our diet is changed, for some in very dramatic ways during the Daniel Fast; many men and women experience detoxification from caffeine, chemicals and sugar. The symptoms are most often headaches, leg cramps, fatigue and malaise.
Most people lose weight during the Daniel Fast. And some have even report healings from diabetes, allergies, arthritis and cancer.
The Soul - Frequently referred to as "the flesh" in the Bible, the soul is also greatly impacted during the Daniel Fast. The soul is the seat of our emotions, intellect, personality and will. It is in the "soulish realm" where we experience cravings, frustration, anger . . . and even happiness.
During the Daniel Fast, your soul may very well rebel against the dramatic change in your diet. Experiencing and winning this battle over the flesh is often one of the most powerful lessons of the Daniel Fast.
The Spirit - Our spirit is that born-again part of us that surrenders to God and then abides with the Father and the Son. Our spirit is filled with the Holy Spirit when we yield to Him. During the Daniel Fast, we want to put our spirit in charge of the other two parts of us. When our flesh is acting out with a craving, we take control of it with our spirit (just as a parent takes control of a rebellious child).
Fasting is always coupled with a spiritual goal. So during this time of fasting, you will want to focus on prayer, study and meditation.
An important question to ask yourself . . .
During your Daniel Fast you will have many times when you might want to "stretch the rules" a little bit. For example, even though the guidelines say we are to drink only water or 100% fruit or vegetable juices . . . you conclude that herbal teas are vegetables and water is water and therefore you will go ahead and drink herbal teas during the Daniel Fast. But I encourage you to learn a powerful spiritual lesson by asking yourself (examining your heart) the question, "Why do you want the herbal teas?" My guess is that the answer will be, "Well I just want them. I can't drink only water. I have to have something else. "The Daniel Fast teaches us to deny our "selves" and instead put our spirit in control over our flesh. As you plan your meals and eat your food, keep in mind that the definition of a fast is to deny food for a spiritual purpose.
The Daniel Fast and Your Health
The purpose of the spiritual fasting is to consecrate (set aside) a specific period of time to draw closer to God to hear from Him. A powerful side benefit of the Daniel Fast is the improvement in health that most people experience.
The Daniel Fast is a plant-based eating plan with the only beverages being water and 100% fruit and vegetable juices. When the bodies that God designed and created are fed the good quality foods He created especially for it, improvements in health result. The high fiber in the fruit, vegetables and whole grains cleanses the body and improves digestion. It's not uncommon for cholesterol levels to drop, for blood sugar levels to balance, for weight to be lost and for a general feeling of well-being to be experienced.
Anytime you make a significant change in your diet or exercise, consult your health care professional. Also, if you have special health needs consider adjusting the eating plan to meet those requirements while maintaining the other restrictions for the fast.
What if you have health issues?
Fasting should never bring harm to the body. And if you have concerns, be sure to consult your health professional before going on the Daniel Fast or making any major dietary change.
The Daniel Fast is a very healthy way to eat! So health professionals will support this eating plan, but might suggest a few modifications if you have health issues that need special attention. For example, pregnant and nursing mothers might get instructions to add fish, chicken and cheese into the Daniel Fast, but otherwise stay the course. Diabetics may need to add more carbohydrates or include chicken and fish. Also, those who are especially active either through sports, bodybuilding or vocation may need to slightly alter the eating plan.
I encourage you to check with your doctor . . . and by the way, being addicted to Snickers and Coke don't count as a special need! .