What is the Daniel Fast?
The Daniel Fast is a Bible-based partial fast. The purpose of the Daniel Fast is not to eat healthier or lose weight; rather, the fast’s purpose is to consecrate time for the Lord and to ask God for direction in your life.
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. In Daniel 10 we read that the Prophet ate no meat nor any breads or foods and he drank no wine for 21 days. So from this scripture, we get a third guideline.
So from these scriptures we get three guidelines for the fast:
- Only fruits and vegetables
- Only water for a beverage
- No sweeteners and no breads
How to Prepare for the Daniel Fast Quiet Time:
If you don’t already have an established daily quiet time with the Lord, then this is an excellent opportunity to do so. Starting your day with God is a habit that will support your faith and growing intimacy with the Lord. During your Daniel Fast, be sure to set a daily time to come before the Lord, to study His Word and His ways.
How to Begin Spiritually:
Start with a clear personal goal in addition to our corporate goals. Be specific. Why are you fasting? Do you need direction, healing, restoration of marriage or family issues? Are you facing financial difficulties? Ask the Holy Spirit for guidance. Pray daily and read the Bible. Prepare spiritually by confessing your sins to God. Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal areas of weakness. Forgive all who have offended you and ask forgiveness from those you may have offended (Mark 11:25; Luke 11:4; 17:3-4).
Surrender your life fully to Jesus Christ and reject the worldly desires that try to hinder you (Romans 12:1-2).
Scripture References for Fasting, Prayer, and Reading of the Word:
- Fasting: Matthew 6:16-18, Matthew 9:14-15, Luke 18:9-14
- Relation to Prayer and Reading of the Word: 1 Samuel 1:6-8, 17-18, Nehemiah 1:4, Daniel 9:3, 20, Joel 2:12, Luke 2:37, Acts 10:30, Acts 13:2
- Corporate Fasting: 1 Samuel 7:5-6, Ezra 8:21-23, Nehemiah 9:1-3, Joel 2:15-16, Jonah 3:5-10, Acts 27:33-37
When you fast your body detoxifies, eliminating toxins from your system. This can cause mild discomfort such as headaches and irritability during withdrawal from caffeine and sugars. And naturally, you will have hunger pains. Limit your activity and exercise. Take time to rest. Fasting brings about miraculous results. You are following Jesus’ example when you fast. Spend time listening to praise and worship. Pray as often as you can throughout the day. Get away from the normal distractions as much as possible and keep your heart and mind set on seeking God’s face.
- Expect to get to know God better
- Fasting is waiting – Lamentations 3:25-27
- Fasting is drawing near – Jeremiah 29:11-13
- As you demonstrate sincerity to God, you can:
- Expect strength in your inner character
- Find power to leave sinful habits (2 Corinthians 7:1)
- Find power to stay focused in prayer
- Find yourself desiring God’s presence
- Expect the hand of God to move to answer unselfish prayers
- Expect resistance from the devil
- Expect your prayers to go to a higher level
How to succeed in fasting:
- Fast with friends – Matthew 18:19
- Fast with a purpose (not casually)
- Set a start date and end date
- Determine you will follow through on the fast
- Fast unselfishly – Isaiah 58:1-11
- Spend time with God
- Fasting does not work if you do not pray
- Full Fast – Drink only liquids (you establish the number of days).
- 3-Day Fast – This fast can be a Full Fast, Daniel Fast or give up at least one item of food.
- The Daniel Fast – No meats, no sweets, no breads, drink water and eat fruits and vegetables.
- Partial Fast – A partial fast is from 6:00 am to 3:00 pm or from sun up to sundown.
- You can select from three types of fasting —a Full Fast, Daniel Fast, or give up at least one item of food.
Remember, this fast is about growing your relationship with God. And He’s not as concerned about what is in your stomach as He is about what is in your heart. Don’t be a legalist, rather seek the Lord during this time. Don’t judge others’ approach.
Can I eat other foods not listed during fasting?
If you are not sure about a certain food, ask God to reveal to you whether it should be part of your diet over the next few weeks. Since there is no definitive list of foods for the Daniel Diet, it is truly the spirit of Daniel’s decision that we are imitating over the fasting days.
If possible, you can eliminate sugar, white bread and dairy from your children’s diet. Mostly, they eat what you eat, but you can include chicken for them in some meals. Children are more open to new foods when families fast together. It can be exciting to see them help plan meals and enjoy more fruits and vegetables, some of which they have never tried before.
If you have any condition that would prohibit you from being a part of the Daniel Fast, you can participate in a different way. Choose something from your daily routine (i.e. specific foods or beverages, television, other technology, etc.) and fast in that manner for the 21 days. Remember, the details are not as important as the spirit in which you participate.
If you have any known medical conditions or suspect such conditions, consult your doctor before beginning the fast.