Why We Fast
Isaiah 58:6-11 (NKJV)
6 “Is this not the fast that I have chosen: To loose the bonds of wickedness, To undo the [a]heavy burdens, To let the oppressed go free, And that you break every yoke? 7 Is it not to share your bread with the hungry, And that you bring to your house the poor who are [b]cast out; When you see the naked, that you cover him, And not hide yourself from your own flesh? 8 Then your light shall break forth like the morning, Your healing shall spring forth speedily, And your righteousness shall go before you; The glory of the LORD shall be your rear guard. 9 Then you shall call, and the LORD will answer; You shall cry, and He will say, ‘Here I am.’ “If you take away the yoke from your midst, The [c]pointing of the finger, and speaking wickedness, 10 If you extend your soul to the hungry And satisfy the afflicted soul, Then your light shall dawn in the darkness, And your [d]darkness shall be as the noonday. 11 The LORD will guide you continually, And satisfy your soul in drought, And strengthen your bones; You shall be like a watered garden, And like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail.
Question: “What is a Daniel Fast?”
Answer: The concept of a Daniel fast comes from Daniel 1:8-14, “But Daniel resolved not to defile himself with the royal food and wine and he asked the chief official for permission not to defile himself this way. Now
God had caused the official to show favor and sympathy to Daniel, but the official told Daniel, “I am afraid of my lord the king, who has assigned your food and drink. Why should he see you looking worse than the other young men your age? The king would the\n have my head because of you.” Daniel then said to the guard whom the chief official had appointed over Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah, “Please test your servants for ten days: Give us nothing but vegetables to eat and water to drink. Then compare our appearance with that of the young men who eat the royal food and treat your servants in accordance with what you see.” So he agreed to this and tested them for ten days.”
The background of the “Daniel fast” is that Daniel and his three friends had been “deported” to Babylon when Nebuchadnezzar and the Babylonians had conquered Judah “2 Kings 24:13-14). Daniel and his three friends were put into the Babylonian court servant “training program.” Part of the program.
Part of the program was learning Babylonian customs, belief, laws, and practices. The eating habits of the Babylonians were not in complete agreement with “which was likely sacrificed to Babylonian false gods and idols).
So, a Daniel fast is eating only fruits and vegetables for a certain amount of time, abstaining from meat products. Some people use a Daniel fast as a dieting method. Some people use a Daniel fast instead of fasting from food entirely. The Bible nowhere commands believers to observe a Daniel fast. As a result, it is a matter of Christian freedom whether to observe a Daniel fast.
This year, the purpose of our corporate fast is that we might receive spiritual cleansing and that our spiritual eyes are opened, and we also receive victory over the Devil. When Jesus encountered Satan, He was able to overcome him because His fasting had given Him spiritual strength (Matthew 4:1-4). The Apostle Paul’s fast upon his conversion in Acts, chapter 9, demonstrates that through fasting, we can receive more of the Lord’s
Spirit and have our spiritual eyes opened to new dimensions
The Daniel Fast is a partial fast where we restrict our food intake, but do not totally abstain as in an absolute fast (no food or water) or a normal fast (without food, drinking water only). We have record of the Daniel Fast in Daniel 1:8a (NKJV), 8 But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king’s delicacies, nor with the wine which he drank; therefore, he requested of the chief of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself. also verse 12 (NKJV)…. 12 “Please test your servants for ten days and let them give us vegetables to eat and water to drink. And in Daniel 10:2-3 (NKJV), 2 In those days I, Daniel, was mourning three full weeks. 3 I ate no [a]pleasant food, no meat or wine came into my mouth, nor did I anoint myself at all, till three whole weeks were fulfilled. Daniel went on a three-week partial fast, restricting his diet of all pleasant food, meat, and wine. It was during this time that he had a visitation from an angel.
Fasting always suppresses the flesh and heightens our spiritual sensitivity. We hear the Lord’s voice more easily when fasting.
Guidelines for our Daniel/Lent Fast: (no meat, no sweets, no drinks except water, juice coffee or tea)
Foods we may eat:
Whole grains: rice, oats, barley
Legumes: dried beans, pinto beans, split peas, lentils, black eyed peas
Fruits: apples, apricots, bananas, blackberries, blueberries, boysenberries, cantaloupe, cherries, cranberries, oats, figs, grapefruit, grapes, guava, honeydew melon, kiwi, lemons, limes, mangoes, nectarines, papayas, peaches, pears, pineapples, plums, prunes, raisins, raspberries, strawberries, tangelos, tangerines, watermelons
Vegetables: artichokes, asparagus, beet, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, celery, chili peppers, corn, cucumbers, eggplant, garlic gingerroot, kale leeks, lettuce, mushrooms, mustard greens, okra, onions, parsley, potatoes, radishes, rutabagas, scallions, spinach, sprouts, squashes, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, turnips, watercress, yams, zucchini
Seed, nuts, sprouts
Liquids: water and juices, coffee, and tea (no sugar)
Foods we may not eat:
Meat (no beef, veal, lamb, pork, seafood, chicken, or turkey)
Carbonated beverages (including no carbonated water)
**********Note: since the fast is so restrictive in diet, you may eat at your discretion whenever you are hungry, it is more important in this fast to observe the diet. For our brothers and sisters who may have special dietary needs for health reason, we simply ask that you give up what you can (certain foods, T.V. etc.) *****
The Daniel/Lent Fast involves:
1. A spiritual Commitment – “Daniel purposed in his heart (made up his mind that he would not defile himself.” (Daniel 1:8)
2. Inner desire reflected by outer discipline – ‘I was mourning for three weeks; I did not eat any pleasant bread (rich foods), meat or drink any wine…. until the three weeks were passed.” Daniel 10:23
3. Increased prayer life – “He knelt down at the open windows and prayed to God three times a day and gave thanks to His God.” (Daniel 6:10) …. Fasting without prayer is meaningless.
4. A statement of faith to others – “Then let our countenance be looked upon before thee and the countenance of the children that eat of the portion of the king’s meat….” Daniel 1:13a. Daniel was making a statement of faith when he asked for only water and vegetables and then asked the overseer to compare him and the other sons of Israel to the young men who ate the king’s meat.
5. Yielding all results to God – Daniel stated, “as you see fit, deal with your servants.” Daniel 1:13b
The Daniel/Lent Fast will lead to:
1. Spiritual Insight and Wisdom – “As for these four children, God gave them knowledge and skill in all learning and wisdom and Daniel had understanding in all visions and dreams.” (Daniel 1:17)
2. New Spiritual Direction and Effectiveness – “Daniel, don’t be afraid. God has heard your prayers ever since the first day you decided to humble yourself to gain understanding.” (Daniel 10:12)
3. Spiritual and Physical Health – “When the time was up, they looked healthier and stronger than those who had been eating the royal food: Daniel 1:15
4. An Excellent Spirit and Favor among God and Men – “Then this Daniel was preferred above the presidents and princes, because an excellent spirit was in him; and the king thought to set him over the whole realm.”
Remember these truths about fasting!
1. Fasting looses the bands of wickedness – “Is this not the fast that I have chosen? To loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke?” Isaiah 58:6
2. Fasting builds our faith – “Howbeit this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting.” St Matthew 17:21
3. Fasting makes it easier to hear the voice of the Lord – “As they ministered to the Lord. And fasted, the Holy Ghost said, separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them. And when they had fasted and prayed, and layed their hands on them, they sent them away.” Acts 13:2-3
Be encouraged and God bless you as you fast! It will not be easy; you will be tempted to give up long before the end. Buildup, your spiritual stamina. Stick with it!
1Corinthians 10:31, “Whether therefore ye eat or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the Glory of God.