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The Daniel Fast for the 2011 New Year

It’s hard to know how many men, women and teens around the world start the New Year with an extended period of prayer and fasting. Estimates range from hundreds of thousands to millions. One thing we know for sure is that the trend is gaining. Very likely, more people than ever will begin 2011 with a New Year fast.  It seems that the preferred method of fasting is the Daniel Fast, which is a partial fast where some foods are consumed and others are restricted.

There is no “official” date to start the 21-day New Year fast, but from what I’ve been able to gather from my research and from the hundreds of email messages I receive each week, most people will begin the 2011 New Year Fast on Sunday, January 9th and complete the fast on Sunday, January 30th.

In years gone by, the common start date for the New Year fast is the first Sunday in January. However, since that’s on January 3rd in 2011, and so close to the New Year when many families will be traveling, many leaders have decided to start the New Year fast on the following Sunday, January 9th.

Jentezen Franklin, the pastor at Free Chapel churches in Gainesville, GA and Irvine, CA has been a prominent promoter of the New Year fast. He teaches about prayer and fasting in the churches he pastors and on his television broadcasts. Many of those joining Jentezen Franklin in this corporate fast will use the Daniel Fast as their method of fasting.

A corporate fast is when as few as three and as many as thousands of Christians join together for a period of prayer and fasting. Many church leaders call their congregations to a period of corporate prayer and fasting. Likewise, many leaders of Christian causes will ask those called to provoking change in the world through intercession to join in a corporate fast. During this time, those fasting will pray for God’s will to be accomplished in the matter for which they are praying.

But you don’t need to fast with other people. Many individuals choose to start the New Year with a period of prayer and fasting for personal needs or to pray for the needs of those who God has placed in their care. Many husbands and wives choose to start the New Year with prayer and fasting and if they have children who are old enough to be introduced to the spiritual discipline of prayer and fasting, it might be a family practice.

Personally, I think it’s wise to start the New Year with prayer and fasting. The purpose of fasting is to draw closer to God, to pray that His will be done, and to study the Word and the ways of the Lord. In these shaky times you and I can either be controlled by circumstances and the tough times – or we can partner with the Lord and through our prayer release His will into our lives and our situations.

If you want learn more about the Daniel Fast, receive a copy of the Daniel Fast Guidelines or find helpful resources that will assist you toward a successful fast, visit www.Daniel-Fast.com and join with hundreds of thousands of men, women and teens around the world as they focus their lives on God for a powerful period of prayer and fasting.

Daniel Fast Instructions

The Daniel Fast is growing in popularity around the world. Just today I received messages from brothers and sisters in Christ from South Africa, Singapore, France, United Kingdom, Canada, and the USA!

The Daniel Fast is a totally plant-based way of eating. It’s based on the fasting practices of the prophet’s fasting experiences as recorded in Daniel 1 and Daniel 10, along with typical Jewish fasting principles. So the fast is centered on whole grains, fruits, vegetables, seeds and good quality oils (i.e. olive and canola).  You can also use herbs and seasonings.

The only beverage on the fast is water, but you can use juice and unsweetened soy milk (also rice, almonds, etc) on cereal or in recipes.

To learn more about the food lists, go to http://Daniel-Fast.com and request a copy of the Daniel Fast Guidelines and they will be emailed to you immediately.

Most people do the Daniel Fast for 21 days, however it is not a required length. Many fast for as few as seven days or for as many as 50.

There are no restrictions as to the amount of food you can eat on the Daniel Fast or when you can eat. However, we do want to keep in mind that this is a fast. So I encourage people to eat no more than three moderate meals and two small snacks.

For more information about the Daniel Fast, visit http://Daniel-Fast.com and review this blog. You can also find the Daniel Fast book and Cookbooks as the website.

Be blessed on your fast!

Lent and the Daniel Fast

 Lent 2008 – February 6th – March 22nd

The season of Lent is the period in the Church Year between Ash Wednesday and Easter. It originated in the very early days of the Church as a time of preparation for new converts. They would receive instructions about their faith, the church and Jesus Christ before being baptized and receiving their first Holy Communion which took place at a Mass on Easter Eve. This is still practiced in most liturgical churches throughout the world. Easter, or Resurrection Sunday,  is the most significant day in the Church Year as it celebrates the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

All churches that have a continuous history extending before AD 1500 observe Lent. This includes the Lutherans, Episcopalians, Catholics, Eastern Orthodox, Methodists, and other Protestant denominations.

Forty Days of Lent

Lent is a forty-day period; however these days are not consecutive. The reason is that Sundays are not included in the count since they commemorate the resurrection of Christ. These 40 days remember Christ’s 40 days in the wilderness when He was tempted by Satan.

Today other members of churches who recognize the liturgical year practice Lent, along with those coming into full communion. It is a time for reflection, repentance and drawing closer to the Lord. During Lent, one makes sacrifices to observe the 40-day fast Jesus experienced in the wilderness. The most common food that is “given up for Lent” is meat, making the Daniel Fast a common way of eating during the 40 days of Lent.

21-Day Daniel Fast

Well, we are drawing closer to New Year’s Day, which will mark the beginning of the 21-Day Daniel Fast for many. Others will start their 21-Day Fast on Sunday, January 6th, which is the first Sunday of the year. Still others will commit to a shorter period of spiritual fasting, but still give a “first fruits offering” of themselves to the Lord by beginning the New Year with prayer and fasting.

The 21-Day Fast is the most popular, primarily because that is the model set out by Daniel in Chapter 10:2, 3“In those days I, Daniel, was mourning three full weeks. I ate no pleasant food, no meat or wine came into my mouth, nor did I anoint myself at all, till three whole weeks were fulfilled.”

I hope you will find all the information you need on this site to be successful on your fast. One thing I want to advise: be prepared! First, have the right kinds of foods in the house that you can eat for the Daniel Fast. See the Daniel Fast Food List. Also, plan your menus and prepare the foods so they are available to you. See the Daniel Fast Cookbook, plus there are many recipes on this site that you can make ahead.

Second, you might want to get rid of or at least put away foods that are tempting. Kind of like the biblical accounts of Jewish women as they prepared for the Passover by cleaning their houses from top to bottom and removed all yeast from their homes. Many Jews engage in this same practice today when they prepare for the Passover.

Third, plan time to prepare meals as they will likely take a little longer than when you are not fasting. Most of the mels you prepare will be from scratch since there are so few prepared products that don’t have chemicals in them. So you will want to set aside enough time to prepare your meals, not only for those you will have at home, but also those you will have at work or when you are traveling.

Of course, you also want to prepare your heart for the 21-Day Fast. Seek the Lord’s guidance as you get ready to start the fast. Are there issues in your life that you need to address? Are their needs in your family or ministry that can use special attention? Are you seeking healing? Do you feel oppressed by financial bandages? These last few days of the year are an excellent time to search your heart, open yourself to the Lord, and allow Him to lead you into you personal 21-Day Fast. See The Daniel Fast for the Body, Soul and Spirit.

Continue to visit The Daniel Fast Blog as I add content every day. Also, if you have questions, please leave a comment and I try to respond within a couple hours — many times immediately.

God bless you and I hope the very best for you as you set aside this time to give the first of yourself to Almighty God. Remember, He rewards those who diligently seek Him. So keep your mind on Christ and your focus on righteousness.

The 21-Day Daniel Fast

“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

The Prophet Daniel recorded several times of fasting, which can be found in the Old Testament Book of Daniel. For this fast, Daniel was seeking God’s wisdom, direction and insight. He had received powerful visions and dreams about times to come and he wanted understanding.

As a way of  devoting himself to the Lord and seeking God’s wisdom, Daniel fasted for 21 days, eating no delicacies or meat, and drinking no wine. This would be considered a “partial fast” since some food was consumed. This differs from what is called a “normal fast,” which is eating no food and drinking only water; and from an “absolute fast,” which is eating no food and drinking no liquids.

We don’t know for sure why Daniel chose a partial fast in Daniel 10:2, 3 as opposed to a normal fast, which it seems he did in Daniel 9:3. The length of the fast in the 9th chapter isn’t noted, so perhaps Daniel knew that a physically taxing 21-day fast from all food wouldn’t be wise considering his duties.

What we do know is that the 21-day partial fast resulted in Daniel seeing visions of angels and receiving powerful direction from the Lord.

Most Christians who will fast in the 2008 New Year Fast will chose the form of the 21-day Daniel Fast. This will  mean confining food intake to vegetables and fruits, and drinking only water (pure fruit and pure vegetable juices are considered acceptable).

Fasting has benefits for the spirit, the soul, and the body. However, if you have health issues, please consult your health care provider before starting any fast, including the 21-day Daniel Fast.

How Long is the Daniel Fast?

There is no prescribed time in the Daniel Fast. Rather, the Daniel Fast is about limiting the types of food intake to vegetables and water. The word vegetable in the Scripture actually means fruits and vegetables as these were all allowed under the Jewish dietary laws.

Daniel asked the Chief of the eunuchs to allow his three friends and him to eat just vegetables and water for 10 days and then check in to see their condition. But that didn’t end the dietary restrictions to this 10-day period. It appears that instead, this was a lifestyle for Daniel and the others. If the only meat available to them was that which had been offered as sacrifices to idols, they did not eat it.

There was another time in Daniel 10 where he was seeking wisdom from the Lord and he consecrated himself in a fast of vegetables and water for 21 days. This is perhaps why so many link the Daniel Fast with a 21-day fasting period. “In those days, I Daniel, was mourning for three weeks. I at no delicacies, no meat or wine entered my mouth, nor did I anoint myself at all, for the full three weeks.”  Daniel 10:2, 3

There are a couple things we see from this portion of Scripture. One is that it seems that Daniel had resumed eating meat. The meat that he rejected in Chapter 1 was that which had been offered to idols and false gods. For him to consume that meat would defile his body, which he had consecrated (set apart) to the Lord.

Secondly, we see that in this fast, Daniel ate no delicacies. With what is known of diets during that time, this probably referred to breads (especially yeast breads), sweets, and other rich foods.

So when you plan a Daniel Fast, you need to also decide how long you want your fast to be. Most Christians who will enter the 2008 Fast in January chose a 21-day fast. That’s because this is more of a corporate fast with Christians throughout North America  joining together in a common effort to fast and pray.

Not everyone is starting on the same day, however most start on the first few days of January. If you are joining in a corporate fast with your church or a group of believers, then your start date might be determined. Otherwise, this is a prayerful decision you can make.

The same it true with the length of your fast. Remember that this is a spiritual fast, with the Daniel Diet serving as the definition for the foods that you will eat. So planning your fast should be serious and with a purpose.  Spiritual fasting is for spiritual results. So consider your goals.

The common lengths of time for fasting are 1-, 3-, 7-, 10-, 21-, and 40-day fasts. Obviously, there is no set rule for any number of days. If you are new to fasting, you might want to start with 3 or 7 days. If you are more experienced, a 21 day fast is probably the one to match a fast for entering the New Year. The 40-day fasts are generally undertaken only a few times (if ever) in ones lifetime.

Keep in mind that there are many kinds of fasts — and there are numerous types of spiritual fasting. They vary in length and in the types and amounts of food intake. This site focuses on the Daniel Fast as it grows in popularity among the Christian community.

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