I am debuting a new series called Good Ground. This will be a basic biblical foundational series about various topics that help you when dealing with the Word or various concepts.
“But he who received seed on the good ground is he who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and produces: some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.” – Matthew 13:23
Today’s Good Ground is about the Daniel Fast.
The Daniel fast is a spiritual dietary fast that derived from the book of Daniel. In Daniel 10, Daniel starts to fast after receiving a troubling vision.
“In those days I, Daniel, was mourning three full weeks. I ate no pleasant bread, no meat or wine came into my mouth, nor did I anoint myself at all, till three whole weeks were fulfilled.” – Daniel 10:2-3
The passage above makes up the basis for the Daniel fast. In the most simplest terms, the Daniel fast is no bread, meat, or alcohol for three weeks. It also mentions not “anointing” himself, which means the use of oils and other scents traditionally after washing oneself in preparation for a feast. Some people believe that they should also not use lotions, deodorants, perfumes, etc., but this is not true. Jesus specifically states in Matthew 6:16-18 not to be blatantly in disarray, drawing attention to your fasting. The purpose of the Daniel fast is to try what Daniel did to get closer to God but, it was also very Daniel-specific.
With that being said, listen to your body. Think about your life. What are things that you are willing to remove from your life, for a short amount of time, to hear more from the Lord? A lot of people give up social media alongside the Daniel fast to increase focus, but if your job is a social media manager it doesn’t completely make sense. I know that dairy and animal products like eggs are extremely important to my nutrition, so I kept those things because otherwise my health would have been severely impacted. Also, if you are already on dietary restrictions, consult a doctor to make sure you are getting the right nutrients to remain healthy.
If your goal is to lose weight, you will lose weight. I lost 10 pounds over the duration of my most recent Daniel fast in June. It consisted of no bread, meat, sugar, or alcohol for 21days. I also removed fried foods and non-water or milk beverages. This made it extremely difficult to eat at restaurants but I found myself trying new vegan or vegetarian options I’ve never tried before which was great.
I tend to start a Daniel Fast when I feel out of sync. This typically happens when I get too busy or caught up with life. My diet typically becomes whatever is available and my personal life with Christ takes a back seat. The Daniel diet often resets me to my focus and discipline. So beyond just eating differently, I live differently.
Alongside the change in diet, I highly recommend spending as much time being in God’s presence and interacting with Him. Whether that is by prayer, praise, devotionals, listening to sermons, gospel/Christian music, movies, and whatever other methods you have to connect with God are key during this time. You may not even know what to do, but those are some of the best times to try it out.
Personally, one of my ways to connect with God deal with music. I love singing, rapping, listening, and creating music. It is one of my most genuine forms of praise. I find myself looking for the perfect songs or just humming something while thinking about God. A lot of people recommend have something that you are coming before God about and He will deliver your answer like Daniel received. While I do agree, sometimes we don’t know what to pray for, how to pray, or even why we are called to these moments for, don’t feel obligated. Sometimes it is best just to try without a purpose and see what happens.
Learning to interact with God is super difficult. Prayer alone seems like something you do because that’s what we are taught “to do”. While I’ve written about prayer before and will in the future, the basic idea is to talk to God. A lot of times, you are talking and it seems like you are not getting an answer. But, trust that even when you are feeling your most alone, God hears. An angel visits Daniel after the end of his fast.
“Then said he to me, Fear not, Daniel: for from the first day that you did set your heart to understand, and to chasten yourself before your God, your words were heard, and I am come for your words.” – Daniel 10:12
An angel, came to confirm that the Lord heard Daniel’s prayer. That is the power of putting the Father first in your prayers and life. He blesses you greatly and in this scene, an angel comes down to Daniel to relay a message after a hard fought battle to achieve victory over spirits that fought against him.
In short, Daniel’s story is mostly about someone that is fiercely dedicated to God and purposely denied himself of all of his typical pleasures, to help him focus on the Lord. The Lord honored his sacrifice and give him the clarity he was seeking.
If we look at the book of Daniel to understand this fast, there are a few key things to focus on.
- The fast is to give honor to God
- Humble your mind, heart, and body so that the soul can connect to God
- Be in prayer
- No meat, bread, or wine
- Drink Water
- Listen to your body
- God hears your prayers but it takes time for results
If you liked this, I also wrote a piece on My Spiritual Fast
NOTE: While, it is amazing to follow the Bible exactly, I will stress that any drastic change in diet can have varying effects on different people. Please consult your doctor before sudden fasts, especially if you are suffering from any medical conditions.
For people that just want to live healthier without giving up most things, The Daniel Plan by Rick Warren, Dr. Daniel Amen (couldn’t have a more ironic name) and Dr. Mark Hyman has an exhaustive list of foods, lessons, and even fitness plans for you to follow. The foods don’t follow most of the tenants of Daniel’s diet, but it is moreso a general guide using the principles of Daniel and other characters from the Bible to become a healthier better version of you. You can check the website out here.