The Daniel Fast derives from Daniel the prophet. In the Bible, the first chapter of Daniel recounts Daniel refusing to eat King Nebuchadnezzar’s royal diet so that he would not defile himself before God. He could have been thinking of Proverbs 23 or Leviticus 11:4-20. Regardless, he knew that the food would be displeasing to God, and he requested to eat vegetables and water for ten days instead. God made it so that the head of the King’s staff found Daniel favorable and allowed him to do this. However, the head of the King’s staff was still afraid that he would look worse than the men who ate King Nebuchadnezzar’s food.Regardless, Daniel took a bold leap of faith. The sons of Judah – Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah did not partake in eating the king’s delicacies, and instead, they ate vegetables and water for ten days. When the ten days were over, they looked better than all the men who the king wished to serve in his palace. God also gave them wisdom and knowledge during this time, and he gave Daniel the ability to understand visions and dreams. In return, the king found no one greater than these men, and they were chosen to serve before him.
Daniel 10:2-3 also shows Daniel fasting for three weeks in mourning of the visions he received about the future of Jerusalem. There are many other stories of Daniel exhibiting bold faith, but these are two passages of scripture that people refer to when talking about the Daniel Fast.
For 21 days, I abstained from meat, seafood, dairy, sweeteners, fried foods, processed foods and beverages besides water (smoothies are okay). In short, I mainly ate fruits, vegetables, whole grains and nuts and seeds.There are many different takes on the Daniel Fast, but this is just how I did it. In past years, I modified the Daniel Fast to eating no meat and still seafood and then to not eating any of those but allowing myself to eat dairy. This year, I wanted to stick as close to the original fast as I could. My church participates in this fast, so I looked to their guide of what to eat and what not to eat and did my best to stick to it.
Last year, I wasted so much time worrying about things I couldn’t change and focusing on the negative. So, I really wanted to do this fast to change my mindset and to turn my eyes to God more than I had ever done before. I wanted to have the mentality of David in Psalm 56:3 (NKJV): “Whenever I am afraid, I will trust in you.”
Can I be real with you? This fast was not easy. From the beginning, I knew that it would be a challenge, but I just didn’t realize how big of a role food has played in my life until I was restricted this much. On the first day, I found myself getting frustrated because all of the things I was making did not turn out the way I wanted them to. I already had things I was praying about, and it just felt as though this was another worry I had to deal with.
…my outlook changed.
Whenever I felt discouraged, I would go to a quiet place and do my devotional, pray and/or listen to worship music. I started to take a step back and reflect on why I decided to do this in the first place – to worry less and trust more. I got in the habit of writing in my daily journal on how I was feeling and opening up to God on what those feelings really were. It was a gradual change, but I began to notice that the way I was handling situations was much more accepting of the things I couldn’t change. That’s not to say that I didn’t ever feel down, but I stopped beating myself up so much.
My Wrap Up
This fast has definitely been the most challenging fast I have ever done in my life, but it has also been the most restorative, instrumental and beneficial fast I have ever done. If you have ever thought about doing the Daniel Fast and you have been apprehensive about whether or not you could get through it, I highly recommend it. I’m not saying that it will be easy and that you won’t have moments of weakness, but I will say that it is one of the most rewarding things I have ever done in my life.