A decade ago I attended a Bible Study and Sunday School with a few individuals who introduced to me to the Daniel Fast. When the Babylonians invaded Israel in the Old Testament, several young Jews were taken back to Babylon. Held captive against their will, these teenagers were reprogrammed to a new culture by king Nebuchadnezzar. Overwhelmed with conviction, Daniel proposed a 10 day eating challenge limited to fruits, vegetables and water to a chief official.
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, Daniel 1:8.
This proposal has evolved into what churches refer to as the Daniel Fast, a three week period to eat healthy. Some where along the way, 10 days was extended to 21, usually occurring at the beginning of each year. To avoid shocking my own body, I do a modified fast in 7 day segments. By the end of the first week, I give up soda or tea to transition over to water. Depending on how I feel after 2 weeks, I might do a strict fast the last 7 days. However, the hardest part of any fast involves coping with hunger pains which can ruin the spirits of any participant.
“Please test your servants for ten days: Give us nothing but vegetables to eat and water to drink,” Daniel 1:12.
Although, I am still relatively a newbie when it comes to fasting, I discover something new each January. During my first week of this year’s fast, the Holy Spirit placed a thought in my mind, “to move beyond hunger pains to experience worship.” While I still have 2 more weeks to go, this mindset is helping me see the purpose of fasting, to draw closer to the Lord by worshiping God daily. Thus, the next time you feel called to begin a fast, don’t forget to move beyond hunger pains to experience a heart set on worshiping God.
by Jay Mankus