Even as you read these words, thousands of men and women throughout the world are seeking an answer to prayer and a closer relationship with Jesus Christ through prayer and fasting. Perhaps the most popular form of fasting today is The Daniel Fast.
So what is the Daniel Fast and how did it come about?
If you study the Book of Daniel in the Old Testament, you will find three different accounts of the prophet's fasting experiences. Keep in mind that fasting is withholding food and/or drink for spiritual purposes.
In Daniel 1, we learn that Daniel refused the meat and wine previously offered to Babylonian gods so that he would not defile his body consecrated to the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Therefore, Daniel asked those in charge to allow him and his companions to eat differently, "Please test your servants for ten days, and let them give us vegetables to eat and water to drink." Daniel 1:12. It's very likely that "vegetables" also included fruit.
What was the outcome? The Bible says, "And at the end of ten days their features appeared better and fatter in flesh than all the young men who ate the portion of the king's delicacies. Thus the steward took away their portion of delicacies and the wine that they were to drink, and gave them vegetables." Daniel 1:15, 16.
Daniel 9:3 includes another account of the prophet fasting. Here Daniel writes, "Then I set my face toward the Lord God to make request by prayer and supplications, with fasting, sackcloth, and ashes." This was probably a more typical three-day fast with Daniel eating no food and drinking only water. As Daniel prayed and sought the Lord, the angel Gabriel visited him and told the prophet about what was to come.
The third fast that Daniel writes about is in Chapter 10. Because he was upset about a dream, Daniel engaged in a longer, partial fast. "In the third year of Cyrus king of Persia a message was revealed to Daniel, whose name was called Belteshazzar. The message was true, but the appointed time was long; and he understood the message, and had understanding of the vision. In those days I, Daniel, was mourning three full weeks. I ate no pleasant food, no meat or wine came into my mouth, nor did I anoint myself at all, till three whole weeks were fulfilled." Daniel 10:1-3. From this we see that Daniel denied some foods, but still ate something.
These accounts, along with Jewish tradition and dietary laws, are the basis for the Daniel Fast practiced by millions of Christians every year. If you want a complete list of foods that are included and those not allowed on the Daniel Fast, merely click on the links at the end of this article.
The Daniel Fast is not linked to any specific time of year, however many churches and individual Christians engage in the 21-day spiritual fast beginning the first Sunday in January as a way to start the New Year.
And while most people follow the Daniel Fast for 21 days, it is not a time requirement. Many believers use the Daniel Fast Guidelines for a shorter 3-10 day fasting period and for as long as a 50-day fast.
The primary factor with the Daniel Fast is that it is a biblically based partial fast that provides sound guidelines for one to follow. Not only can the fast be a powerful spiritual experience, but it is also very good for one's physical health since sugar, alcohol, preservatives and animal products are all not allowed on the Daniel Fast.
That's why I call the Daniel Fast a "whole body experience." It's great for your spirit, your soul and your body!
If you want to learn more about the Daniel Fast and see the Daniel Fast Food List, please visit the Daniel Fast Weblog Leave a comment and request a PDF copy of the Daniel Food List and I will be happy to send it to you via email.
Susan Gregory has been called "The Daniel Fast Expert" and teaches about spiritual fasting on The Daniel Fast Weblog which you can visit at http://DanielFast.wordpress.comRichard Dawkins