“At that time I, Daniel, mourned for three weeks. I ate no choice food; no meat or wine touched my lips; and I used no lotions at all until the three weeks were over.” Daniel 10:2-3 NIV
Dear Heavenly Father –Please help us hunger for your word and thirst for righteousness. Again we plead for you to open our eyes to see, open our ears to hear and open our understanding. Continue to lead us through your transforming and healing powers. – Amen
Yep – still studying fasting. But if this is supposed to be a regular part of our relationship with God then we should learn everything we can on the subject. Unfortunately, I will not yet be able to teach everything as I am only sharing as I am learning and I do not yet know everything.
When God told me to fast, He did not say how to. But I do have His words which do tell us enough to get us started. So my first fast I called King David fast. I impetuously declared I will have no food until sundown! As I shared yesterday, I was dragging my feet – slow to obedience in this area. My final solution was to just do it.
Today I studied the Daniel fast which is a 21 day partial food fast. As I study Daniel in hopes to encourage us with the overcoming power of prayer and fasting – instead I learned a few things. Let me share: a prolonged partial fast might be easier to start with than a complete food fast, there are fleshly benefits (we shouldn’t ignore this), other benefits of fasting, and it is ok to discuss and seek help.
Daniel did not start with his famous 21 day. We see at the beginning of the book of Daniel in chapter 1 that he did a 10 day partial fast – he fasted the king’s food and ate vegetables and drank water. It say he wouldn’t defile himself with the king’s food. Chances are that the king’s diet was not kosher (pursuant to Jewish law). His motives were probably Jewish Law (spiritual) and the health benefits (because if he was healthier with other foods then the king would let them eat how they wanted).
This brings us to the fact that there are clear scientifically proven health benefits from fasting and intermittent fasting. (But this isn’t a nutritional science blog so I am not going to get into all of them.) After the 10 day fast Daniel was healthier than the others who ate the king’s food. Since weight loss and other healthy side effects do happen with fasting – it is actually important to acknowledge them. We need to fast for the right reason, and health is a right reason when it isn’t the only motivation. You can fast without praying solely for health reasons – but why not add a spiritual reason, and add prayer, and reap the spiritual rewards as well?
So back to the 21 day fast. Let me encourage you to read the whole chapter, I will add it below.
As for the foods included in this fast (many people have fasted as Daniel has): vegetables, fruit, whole grains and possibly nuts. No bathing, no coffee, no chemicals or alcohol, no seasonings and spices – a completely vegan and bland diet.
Prolong fasts like this one are definitely easier than a prolonged complete fast (like Jesus’s fast for 40 days and nights). But it is still not simple. Notice that Daniel “mourned”. Go back to the post about humility and fasting. I key to a spiritual fast is humbling yourself in front of God.
Daniel fasted here for an answer to a prayer. Other reasons to fast might be to just be close with God, obedience, and like Jesus – at the start of a ministry. And the effects of such a fast was not just the answer to the prayer – but an encounter with an angel of the Lord.
As you read the chapter take not of the spiritual warfare trying to prevent the answer to prayer from coming. Fasting gave the angel the victory (along with help). Prayer and fasting break through any demonic forces or other things standing in the way. The denial of self – breaks the chains of selfishness and greed. This fast can also break the bondage of sugar addiction – and if you live in the United States of America you probably eat too much sugar and are addicted – statistically speaking. The Daniel fast can also free you of addictions to nicotine, alcohol, and caffeine and any other chemical you might be addicted to. Because you are denying yourself those things and praying. The spiritual battle will be strong – and if you screw up – just ask God for forgiveness and start again. With His help you shall be delivered. But deliverance is not always instantaneous and easy. Sometimes we must persist and show both God and ourselves, our resolve.
I feel like these last few posts (including this one are a bit dull) honestly this is not a topic I enjoy. I have read so much on fasting and trying to convey it all is not easy. And every time I think I am done, God gives me more. And I am trying to teach you the overview and not get into the specifics on “how to”. Everyone has a different approach and there are lots of different types of fasting. We have talked about complete food fasts, partial food fasts with Daniel’s bland vegan diet, there is also a partial food fast of eating low sugar low carb. People even fast specific things: chocolate, social media, video games, etc. These alternative fasts done with humility and prayer can be effective and powerful in your life if it is truly a sacrifice. Just note that they are not Biblical fasting.
So I will tell you this much about “how to”: Research the type of fast then get a hold of your doctor to discuss it (if you are healthy enough for it or if you have health issues and maybe need a different fast). Yes – God is the ultimate healer, however wisdom is a blessed thing.
“Blessed is the one who finds wisdom,” Proverbs 3:13 ESV
So be blessed with the wisdom to include your doctor. Let me also encourage you to include him or her in the fact that your fast is both spiritual as well as physical. That you intend to humble yourself in front of the one true God, for an answer, a revelation and or a deeper walk with Him – for the power, for the deliverance, and or for the initiation into the ministry which you are called. You may be called to be a great and might house wife, or a business woman, or a teacher/preacher – whatever God has for you, fast and pray for the ability to do it with all your might and that God will be glorified in it. Sharing your spiritual journey with your doctor will stand as a powerful testimony!
Speaking of sharing that you are fasting. As we read yesterday – Jesus warned to do it in private as to not show off how spiritual you are. The warning here is to keep your motivation and flesh in submission. Sharing this with your doctor is not show-boating your godliness – it is just plain wise.
Let me also encouraging you to tell your closest person – the person or people who live in your house. Let them support you. Once they know they can help you avoid temptation – they can keep you from temptation (by not accidentally bringing you home your favorite food). Once I did not tell my son and he surprised me by bringing home dinner. Oops. When you tell them ask for their assistance and to help you keep it quiet. You are still trying to humble yourself. But having help is a good thing.
So, you are fasting on a work day and a co-worker picks that very day to surprise everyone with a yummy treat. What do you do?! If you can, ask if you can take some for later and package it up to bring home for when the fast is over (or dispose of in private, if it is too tempting). I find myself accidently lying and saying: my stomach is upset from something I ate earlier. Or I am full right now. BUT THEN I HAD TO REPENT! God does not want us to lie! Just ask to take the treat for later if it is possible. If pressed gently as to why simply say you do not want to eat it right now, but you would like to have it later. If they continue to press you – take them aside and share that you are fasting and ask them to also help you to avoid temptation. Maybe they will put keep the treat aside for you until the end of the day or the next day – so you aren’t tempted by it and can actually enjoy it when you have completed your fast. Honesty is not saying: “look how super spiritual I am – I am fasting”. Instead honesty is: “I really am tempted but I am trying to fast and could use your help with temptation. I would really like to be successful. Can we put this aside until tomorrow when I am no longer fasting?”
Planning when to fast is also a challenge I personally like weekends when I have no plans – just make sure it isn’t communion Sunday!!! I don’t even know what it the correct course of action then – can or should you break your fast for communion? With everything I have read about fasting – everyone seems to just plan their fasts so that isn’t an issue.
Fasting with prayer for prolonged periods like Daniel’s fast, can cause a very real encounter with the supernatural – like God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit or in Daniel’s case – an angel:
“I looked up and there before me was a man dressed in linen, with a belt of fine gold from Uphaz around his waist. 6 His body was like topaz, his face like lightning, his eyes like flaming torches, his arms and legs like the gleam of burnished bronze, and his voice like the sound of a multitude.” Daniel 10:5-6 NIV
Expect a closer walk with the Lord and a transformation when you fast. (Also, expect to be hungry. Giggles) God is faithful, He will be glorified through the process of our obedience. A closer relationship with Christ Jesus has more benefits than fasting has.
If you don’t already, and today you would like to, have a relationship with a God who can communicate with you and be part of your life (and protect you) – one who is full of mighty power and tender love, then please know that I have put the “A, B, C’s of Salvation” in my introduction. Please click here to follow the link.**
Thank you for reading ~ Grace be with you
Be healthy and blessed ~ Love one another
~ Watch and Pray ~
Seek God & keep your eyes on Jesus!
Maranatha ~ Come Lord Jesus!
Daniel 10 – NIV
In the third year of Cyrus king of Persia, a revelation was given to Daniel (who was called Belteshazzar). Its message was true and it concerned a great war. The understanding of the message came to him in a vision.
2 At that time I, Daniel, mourned for three weeks. 3 I ate no choice food; no meat or wine touched my lips; and I used no lotions at all until the three weeks were over.
4 On the twenty-fourth day of the first month, as I was standing on the bank of the great river, the Tigris, 5 I looked up and there before me was a man dressed in linen, with a belt of fine gold from Uphaz around his waist. 6 His body was like topaz, his face like lightning, his eyes like flaming torches, his arms and legs like the gleam of burnished bronze, and his voice like the sound of a multitude.
7 I, Daniel, was the only one who saw the vision; those who were with me did not see it, but such terror overwhelmed them that they fled and hid themselves. 8 So I was left alone, gazing at this great vision; I had no strength left, my face turned deathly pale and I was helpless. 9 Then I heard him speaking, and as I listened to him, I fell into a deep sleep, my face to the ground.
10 A hand touched me and set me trembling on my hands and knees. 11 He said, “Daniel, you who are highly esteemed, consider carefully the words I am about to speak to you, and stand up, for I have now been sent to you.” And when he said this to me, I stood up trembling.
12 Then he continued, “Do not be afraid, Daniel. Since the first day that you set your mind to gain understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard, and I have come in response to them. 13 But the prince of the Persian kingdom resisted me twenty-one days. Then Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, because I was detained there with the king of Persia. 14 Now I have come to explain to you what will happen to your people in the future, for the vision concerns a time yet to come.”
15 While he was saying this to me, I bowed with my face toward the ground and was speechless. 16 Then one who looked like a man[b] touched my lips, and I opened my mouth and began to speak. I said to the one standing before me, “I am overcome with anguish because of the vision, my lord, and I feel very weak. 17 How can I, your servant, talk with you, my lord? My strength is gone and I can hardly breathe.”
18 Again the one who looked like a man touched me and gave me strength. 19 “Do not be afraid, you who are highly esteemed,” he said. “Peace! Be strong now; be strong.”
When he spoke to me, I was strengthened and said, “Speak, my lord, since you have given me strength.”
20 So he said, “Do you know why I have come to you? Soon I will return to fight against the prince of Persia, and when I go, the prince of Greece will come; 21 but first I will tell you what is written in the Book of Truth. (No one supports me against them except Michael, your prince.)