Tomorrow we are ten days away from Easter! Within this Ten Day Countdown, some people in our church will be observing a Daniel Fast.
Why 10 Days?
Its the number of days Daniel (who began the fast) chose, read below:
“Daniel said, “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.” Daniel 1:11-13 NIV
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 use (and have for centuries) 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 and vegetables
2. Only water for a beverage
Then in Daniel 10 we read that the Prophet ate no meat nor any precious breads or foods and he drank no wine. 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.
What Can I Expect?
The Bible teaches us that we are body, mind and spirit. 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 effected as our diet is changed, for some in very dramatic ways, during the Daniel Fast. Many men and women experience detoxing 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 many report healings from diabetes, allergies, arthritis and cancer.
The Heart and Mind – Our emotions will also be greatly impacted during the Daniel Fast. We will we experience cravings, frustration, anger as well as happiness, peace and joy.
During the Daniel Fast, your mind and body 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 myself . . .
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, you conclude that coffee or tea is a vegetable with water and therefore you will want to go ahead and drink tea or coffee during the Daniel Fast.
Learn a powerful spiritual lesson by asking yourself (examining your heart) the question, “Why do I want these?”
The answer will most likely be, “Well I just want them. I need caffeine! I can’t drink only water. ”
The Daniel Fast teaches us to deny our “selves” and instead put our spirit in control over our bodies. 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.
What if I 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. It is a “vegan diet with even more restrictions.” So health professionals will support this eating plan, but might suggest a few modifications if you have health issues that need special attention.
Check out: http://daniel-fast.com/recipes.html
Have more questions? Go to http://daniel-fast.com/faq.html
If you would like to join us in fasting (in any form) prior to Easter, just write “fast” on your Connection Card on Sunday. You can also write a comment below. You will be added to our growing list and I will be praying for you! Darrell