Daniel Fast Explained
Who is Daniel?
The late seventh century B.C. was a time of great upheaval for the Jewish people. The Lord pronounced His divine judgment upon the nation of Israel for their idolatrous sins and their apathy towards His righteousness. For generations, the Lord was patient towards His people; but finally the society had become so corrupt, judgment was imminent. Still, among all the corruption and backsliding, there remained a few who were faithful and pure-hearted.
False prophets arose and proclaimed times of prosperity, yet God’s favor cannot rest in a land without wholehearted repentance. The true prophets who fearlessly warned of impending judgment were ruthlessly tortured and imprisoned. Very few people wanted to turn from their wickedness. Those who were wise enough to heed the Words of the Lord from the prophets realized the nation was long over-due her time of punishment.
Babylon had conquered the Jewish people and at the time the Jewish people were taken into captivity, Daniel was just a young man. The King of Babylon ordered his soldiers to select only the finest, skilled men to assist in service in the king’s palace.
The Bible describes these selected Jews as being: “handsome in appearance, skillful in all wisdom, and cunning in knowledge and understanding of science”(Daniel 1:4).
Since Daniel met these qualifications, by the fall of 605 B.C., as soldiers ransacked the Jewish homes throughout Judah, Daniel was torn from his family and familiar surroundings.
Without question, life in Babylon was a heart-stabbing shock for the young men of Judah. Remembering the times of the evening sacrifices in the temple at Jerusalem and rejoicing in the Lord’s presence was still seared upon Daniel’s memory. But now, in captivity, the Babylonians attempted to dissolve all the former memories of the life he’d known before. He was being assimilated into the Babylonian culture—a pagan civilization that the remnant of the God-fearing Jews detested.
The Babylonians sought to make the people of Israel completely forget their God, country, and religious practices. Upon arriving in Babylon, Daniel’s name, which means “God is Judge” was immediately changed to the Babylonian name, “Belteshazzer” or ‘Keeper of the hidden treasures of Bel’. The communal aspect of prayer in the temple was unknown in Babylon. There were no religious leaders or rabbis to guide the people as before. The Torah wasn’t openly taught, but rather suppressed. Where people once heard rejoicing and praise in the streets of Jerusalem, the captivity lead them to a land where pagan chants hovered over the city.
The Jews were required to adopt the Babylonian diet, and it would have been shocking for Daniel to see shellfish, pigs, and turtles incorporated into cuisine. It would be similar to us seeing a dinner with sautéed canine or stuffed vulture!
These things were simply not regarded as food by the ancient Israelites. Even if they were given “clean” animals, none of the Babylonian slaughter practices would have been kosher; blood would have still filled the meat.
The common drink of the Babylonians was beer (which was often consumed on a daily basis). In addition to these things, the foods and drinks would have been dedicated to their gods and goddesses (1 Corinthians 10:28). Now we have a better understanding why Daniel and his friends pleaded for the chief eunuch to give them only fruits, vegetables, pulses and water!
The young men of Judah were familiar with the diet of their ancestors—filled with homegrown vegetables and fruits, barley, wheat, nuts, seeds, and kosher meats. For drink, they would have had lightly fermented wine, pure water, and perhaps fermented dairy products, such as kefir.
Daniel and his friends were in a dark place – a place that threatened their very identity, health, and relationship with the Lord. But they chose to take a stand and not corrupt themselves with the things common in that culture. They chose to set themselves apart—both physically and spiritually.
Do you notice parallels with the end-time world?
God loves us and He only wants the best for us. He is mindful of our well-being and is concerned with our lifestyle, especially in terms of what we eat. Our body was given to us so that God would have a vessel on earth to carry out His Divine plans. Our body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, that’s why we have to take care of it if we want God to have a clean and healthy dwelling place.
“The greatest miracle that God can do today is to take an unholy man out of an unholy world and make him holy, then put him back into that unholy world and keep him holy in it.” - Leonard Ravenhill
Daniel’s story tells us about the remarkable power of prayer and fasting that was founded in an unshakable faith and an earnest commitment as a faithful servant of God.
His story is a depiction of the struggle of believers, both then and now, in living a Godly life and carrying out one’s calling despite the temptations, oppositions, and persecutions that they encounter day by day.
What is the Daniel Fast?
The “Daniel Fast” is a partial fast, based on the whole-food, plant-based diet practiced by Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden.Today, some would refer to it as a whole-food vegan diet.
The good news is since the Daniel Fast is a partial fast, you can eat all you want as long as the foods are allowed (fresh fruits, vegetables, seeds, nuts and pulses). Daniel Fast is based upon the Old Testament prophet, Daniel, who intentionally and willingly abstains from certain foods for spiritual reasons.
Daniel Fast is based upon the Old Testament prophet, Daniel, who intentionally and willingly abstains from certain foods for spiritual reasons.
The first time Daniel fasts is in Daniel, Chapter 1:3-15. The first time he fasted was for ten days. The purpose was more for the benefit of others than for Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. They knew the physical, mental, and spiritual benefits of their dietary habits. But the Babylonians did not—not until they saw for themselves the benefits of eating the foods God designed our bodies to optimally ‘operate’ on.
The second time Daniel fasted was for 21 days to enable Daniel to be able to hear God more clearly—to bring his body under the control of the spirit rather than the other way around (giving into cravings, eating for comfort, out of boredom, etc.).
Both times, however, Daniel’s fasting was for the glory of God. And that’s what your fasting should be about, too. Fasting isn’t a diet.
Yes, your body benefits tremendously, but that’s because in fasting like this you are giving your body back to God spiritually AND physically.
My prayer is that you will use this fast to allow God to change you from the inside out—physically, emotionally, and spiritually.
PRAY: Dear LORD, Thank you for Daniel’s life and for sharing it with us in the Bible. Thank you for the example he presents. I’ve not faced anything like Daniel faced, so any excuse I thought I had for not putting you first or sharing the truth of the Gospel is nothing. Let me use this time of fasting to become bolder for the name of Jesus. In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.
How to Prepare for the Daniel Fast
“I put on sackcloth and humbled myself with fasting.“ -Psalm 35:13.
Since fasting is a spiritual practice, it is crucial for us to have an intimate relationship with God. Humbling ourselves in prayer, we have instant admission to the heart of God.
Fasting requires faith, prayer and commitment. Without these three, your fast would become merely a period of changing your eating habits. Before you begin your fast, remind yourself of how big God is. Remember all His attributes. Keep in mind that God has big plans for you and that He wants to partner with you. Doing this will strengthen your faith and will solidify your commitment to Him throughout the fast.
10 Steps to Prepare Yourself for Daniel Fast
1. Become a prayer warrior: praying according to God’s Word.
2. Establish a definite prayer time.
3. Make a commitment.
4. Be prepared physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually.
5. Be aware of spiritual resistance.
6. Spend time in God’s Word.
7. Choose your fasting prayer partner and join or start a fasting group.
8. Journal your Conversation with the Lord.
9. Be organized daily with the 21 Day Daniel Fast Workbook.
10. Share your testimony with others.
Expect a Miracle!
Foods to Eat
Fresh, Raw, Frozen, Dried, Sprouted, Organic, Roasted, Dried, Cooked , Baked, Canned, Water-Sauteed, Steamed, Slow-cooked, Blended like Smoothies or Juiced.
All Whole Grains
Gluten Free Whole Grains Vegetable Organic Oils
Chia, Flax & Sprouts
Foods to Avoid
Junk Food, Processed Foods, GMO, Fried, Deep Fried, Synthetic, Artificial Foods, Imitation Foods, Fake Food, Bleached, Enriched Foods.
All Animal Products
All Fish & Seafood
All Dairy Products & Eggs
Coffee & Teas
All Sodas & Energy Drinks
All Vegan Imitation Foods
Anything with Yeast
All Sugar foods
All Artificial, Natural Sweeteners
Example of a Daily Routine During the Daniel Fast.
Morning: Upon awakening, drink a glass of room temperature water with a squeeze of lemon.
Pray, Worship and Devotional Time. The Bible says, “In the morning, Lord, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait expectantly.” Psalm5:3. Choose a verse for the day. Meditate on the verse throughout the day.
Write down your prayer requests for you and others in your Journal/Workbook so you can pray it thoughout the day.
Evening: Relax, spend time in nature and have a prayer walk.
Exercise - 20-minute walk and stretch. Relaxing routine – 20 minute lavender or Epson salt bath.
Bible study/reading & journaling.
Join a small group Bible study, pray with your prayer partner or in church.
Sample of 1 Day Meal Ideas
Breakfast: banana oatmeal with blueberries and walnuts.
Lunch: veggie lettuce wrap.
Snack: celery with hummus, apple, piece of fruit, etc.
Dinner: homemade vegetable soup w/ green salad.
Drink a lot of water throughout the day to sta well hydrated.
21 Day Daniel Fast Workbook/Guide
21 Day Daniel Fast Recipe Cookbook
Conversation with my Lord Journal Notebook
My Savior's Love Prayer & Devotional Journal
FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)
What makes “The Daniel Fast” different than other fasts?
What really makes it different than other fasts is that we look at more than just food and fitness. We integrate three additional components; the component of faith, which is the foundation; the component of friends, which is the context; and the component of focus, which is the direction and purpose. The Daniel Fast involves your mind, your spirit, your soul and your body – getting all these elements working together provides a way to make the long-lasting changes we all desire.
What about prepared foods?
Read the labels of all prepared foods. Remember the Daniel Fast is sugar free and chemical free. That is why I suggest organic, fresh or frozen foods.
What about pasta?
Make sure the label says whole grain or vegetable-based pasta like quinoa, black bean or brown rice with no additives, gluten, yeast or sugar. But, the diet should consist mostly of vegetables and fruits.
What about roasted nuts?
Try to stick to organic, raw, unsalted nuts and/or soaked or sprouted ones. These are harder to find, so if you have to choose roasted nuts, then get plain roasted, unsalted nuts with no preservatives.
How do I get enough protein in my diet while on the fast?
Protein-rich foods allowed on the Daniel Fast are almonds, sunflower seeds, lentils, quinoa, brown rice, split peas and some whole grains. Be sure you eat plenty of those.
What about salad dressing?
Salads are great on the Daniel Fast. Use olive oil and lemon or lime as salad dressing options.
Do I need to eat organic foods while on the fast?
You don’t have to eat organic, but it is recommended because choosing them keeps toxins out of your foods, meaning no use of chemically formulated fertilizers, growth stimulants or pesticides.
Can I go out to eat?
Yes, you can. Just make sure what you get is compliant with the Daniel Fast, such as a salad with olive oil and a baked potato with no extras on it. How much can I eat? As long as your food choices fit the Daniel Fast, then you can eat all and as often as you want until you are satisfied.
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