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 are using 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 for 21 days. 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.
When asked about the eating plan on the Daniel Fast, I often say it is a “vegan diet with even more restrictions.”
Be sure to read the ingredeints on labels of prepared foods to make sure they only include Daniel Fast friendly ingredients.
The Daniel Fast for the body, soul and spirit
The Bible teaches us that we are a spirit, we have a soul and we live in a body. 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 Soul – Frequently referred to as “the flesh” in the Bible, the soul is also greatly impacted during the Daniel Fast. The soul is the seat of our emotions, intellect, personality and will. It is in the “soulish realm” where we experience cravings, frustration, anger . . . and even happiness.
During the Daniel Fast, your soul 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.
What if you 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! So health professionals will support this eating plan, but might suggest a few modifications if you have health issues that need special attention. For example, pregnant and nursing mothers might get instructions to add fish, chicken and cheese into the Daniel Fast, but otherwise stay the course. Diabetics may need to add more carbohydrates or include chicken and fish. Also, those who are especially active either through sports, bodybuilding or vocation may need to slightly alter the eating plan.
I encourage you to check with your doctor . . . and by the way, being addicted to Snickers and Coke don’t count as a special need! lol
An important question to ask yourself . . .
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 herbal teas are vegetables and water is water and therefore you will go ahead and drink herbal teas during the Daniel Fast.
But I encourage you to learn a powerful spiritual lesson by asking yourself (examining your heart) the question, “Why do you want the herbal teas?”
My guess is that the answer will be, “Well I just want them. I can’t drink only water. I have to have something else.”
The Daniel Fast teaches us to deny our “selves” and instead put our spirit in control over our flesh. 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.
How to study the Bible . . .
During your Daniel Fast you will spend time drawing closer to God and studying His Word. You may already be experienced in studying the Bible and have adopted methods that will work for you. But if you are like many who feel a bit lost then it’s just them and a Bible, let me offer these tips.
Study Faith: A very powerful study is to get a concordance and look up the Scriptures about “faith.” Read and meditate each one and then ask yourself how it applies to you. Consider memorizing at least one of these verses each week.
Enter His Secret Place:
During the Daniel Fast, study and meditate on Deuteronomy 28:1-14; Psalm 34 and Psalm 91. Don’t hurry through the Scriptures. But instead read the verses slowly and ponder them. Write down insights you gain during this time.
Study the Book of John: Use your Daniel Fast time to aquint yourself with Jesus by getting to know Him from the Book of John. Read it over and over again paying attention Christ’s nature, His love for the Father and His love for you. Keep notes and choose a verse each week to memorize.
More Bible Study systems
Ask, Answer and Discuss:
It takes more than reading the Bible to activate its power in your life. So we need to read, but then we need to ponder the Word, and ASK ourselves what God is saying to us. Then we must ANSWER. This can take place using a journal or with another person. And finally, the next step is to DISCUSS the truth that you are learning. Try this system and you will be amazed at the difference the Word can make in your life.
Study Helps: I always have at least one book that I am studying. I have some favorite authors who teach “straight-up Bible,” and they impart the truth of God’s Word to me. I also listen to teaching CDs and watch Christian television. I have a notebook that I use to take notes, and then I review the notes on my own to help the “information” become “understanding.”
Daniel Fast Recipes
Apple and Oat Porridge
4 cups water
1 ½ cups oat bran (not oatmeal)
1 large apple – peeled/cored and chopped into very small pieces
1/3 cup raisins
½ teaspoon ground caraway seeds
½ teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon salt
Soy milk for serving (optional)
1. In a 2 quarts sauce pan over high heat, bring the water to a boil. Stir in the oat bran and allow water to return to a boil.
2. Reduce heat to low and cook for two minutes – stirring often.
3. After two minutes, turn off heat. Stir in the apple, raisins, and spices. Let stand until apple pieces soften – about 5 minutes – stirring occasionally.
4. Divide hot cereal evenly among 4 bowls. Serve with the soy milk if desired.
Yield: 4 servings
Potato and Green Onion Frittata
This recipe takes some time, but it’s a great breakfast meal for weekends on the Daniel Fast. You will need a blender or food processor; plus a baking dish.
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
1/4 cup olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
4-5 green onions, chopped with the green and white parts separated
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 medium potatoes, shredded (or 2 cups of frozen shredded potatoes)
2 tsp. salt, divided
1/2 tsp. pepper, divided
2 lb. firm tofu
2-3 Tbsp. soy sauce, to taste
1. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and the white part of the green onions and sauté for 2 to 3 minutes.
2. Add the garlic and heat for another 30 seconds.
3. Increase the heat to medium-high and add the potatoes, 1 tsp. of the salt, and 1/4 tsp. of the pepper. Cook for 10 to 15 minutes, flipping the potatoes regularly until they are well-browned.
4. Blend the remaining salt and pepper, the tofu, and soy sauce in a food processor until they are creamy.
5. Pour creamy mixture and the green part of the green onions over the fried potatoes and mix. Pour this mixture into a large, oiled pie or tart pan.
6. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes or until the center is firm. Allow the frittata to cool for 10 minutes then invert onto a serving plate.
Yield: 4 Servings
For Daniel Fast Recipes go to www.danielfastcookbook.com