The Daniel Fast is an opportunity for you to draw closer to God through fervent, focused prayer. It involves a commitment to a partial fast, which means you restrict commonly enjoyed foods as an act of worship and consecration to the Lord.
The Daniel Fast is not a diet, although some people do lose weight as they make healthier food choices. The Daniel Fast is a unique, life-changing experience. Participating in the Daniel Fast can result in many wonderful spiritual and physical benefits (read blog post, “Side Effects on the Daniel Fast,” for more information).
You may be wondering, “Where did the Daniel Fast originate?” That’s a great question. The Daniel Fast was first observed by the prophet Daniel in the Bible. Scripture gives us some insight (such as in Dan. 10:3) into what Daniel ate and didn’t eat; however, we don’t know his complete menu. On one occasion, Daniel was greatly concerned for his people and sought the Lord’s wisdom during a time of prayer and fasting.
“At that time I, Daniel, mourned for three weeks. I ate no choice food; no meat or wine touched my lips (Dan. 10:2-3).
Most commentaries believe “choice food” would have been bread and sweets.The Message translation sums up Daniel’s eating habits during that time: “I ate only plain and simple food.”
You’ll find some variation in the specific guidelines for the modern-day Daniel Fast, as far as what foods are included and which ones are restricted. The intention of the modern-day Daniel Fast is not to duplicate exactly what Daniel did but the spirit in which he did it. Daniel’s passion for the Lord caused him to hunger and thirst more for spiritual food than for physical food, which should be the desire of anyone choosing to participate in this type of fast.
Try not to get too hung up on food portion of the fast. The guidelines are given to help you form boundaries, not to push you into legalism. Your fast may look a little different than someone else’s, and that’s fine. Some people may need to be stricter than others in their food choices so that their fast is a sacrifice for them. The most important part of the Daniel Fast is that you deny yourself physically so that you may seek the Lord in prayer and grow closer to Him.
For more information on what foods to eat and what to avoid, see Daniel Fast Food List.