The Daniel Fast is modeled after the spiritual practices of Daniel. Basically, the Daniel fast is to eat only what come from the ground that have not been refined or processed. The fast does not stand alone, it is a part of a larger spiritual practice that includes regular and consistent prayer.
In Daniel 10, we learn that Daniel received a revelation that he did not understand until he had fasted for 21 days. On the 24th day he had the vision of a man who explained the revelation to him. For 21 days Daniel “ate no choice food.” This practice probably goes back to when He, with Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, came to live in Babylon and refused to eat the king’s food. He requested only vegetables and water. “At the end of the ten days they looked healthier and better nourished than any of the young men who ate the royal food. So the guard took away their choice food and the wine they were to drink and gave them vegetables instead. “To these four young men God gave knowledge and understanding of all kinds of literature and learning. And Daniel could understand visions and dreams of all kinds” (Daniel 1:15-17).
Daniel exercised spiritual discipline by denying the body “pleasant food” so he could have deeper spiritual understanding. Daniel distinguished himself from among his peers because “an excellent spirit was in him.” It is this excellence of spirit we desire as we pursue a stronger relationship with God in fasting and prayer.
Daniel’s faithfulness in prayer is another demonstration of his commitment to spiritual discipline. In Daniel 6, where we learn about Daniel in the lions’ den, it is clear that Daniel was steadfast in prayer under the most difficult of circumstances. Though King Darius had signed an injunction that said whomever prayed to another besides himself would be thrown into the lions’ den, Daniel continued his practice of praying 3 times a day: “Now when Daniel learned that the decree had been published, he went home to his upstairs room where the windows opened toward Jerusalem. Three times a day he got down on his knees and prayed, giving thanks to his God, just as he had done before” (Daniel 6:10).
During a Daniel Fast, we pray 3 times a day, like Daniel. I usually pray at 6 a.m. 12 noon and 6 p.m. In addition to fasting and prayer, we must also abstain from anything that would personally distract us from our purposes in the fast (e.g. television, internet, hanging out, idle conversations, gossip etc.). Isaiah 58 makes it clear that fasting does not absolve us from responsibilities of love, kindness and justice.
Remember, we eat these:
• Whole Grains
• Nuts and Seeds
• Legumes (I call ‘em beans)
• Healthy Oils
• Water (some folk drink herbal teas without stimulants)
• Herbs, Spices, vinegar (some folk avoid this and use citrus juices with oils on their salads)
• Vegetable juice – take care with the acidity of tomato juice (this is a fruit, isn’t it?)
• Fruit juice in moderation – consider the sugar content and take care with the acidity in citrus. Consider restricting fruit juices altogether.
We don’t eat these:
• All refined and processed foods!
• White flour products
• White rice
• Meat, poultry and fish
• Sugar, honey etc.
• Fried Foods
• Unhealthy Fats (the ones that turn solid)
• Anything other beverage than what you see above