What is the Daniel Fast?
The Daniel Fast is named after the prophet whose name also titles the Old Testament’s Book of Daniel. His name means “God Is My Judge,” which he upheld with his unshakable consecration to Yahweh and his loyalty to God’s chosen people.
He was deported from Jerusalem as a teenager in 605 B.C. to Babylon where he lived for more than sixty years. This deportation was prophesied by Isaiah, “And they shall take away some of your sons who will descend from you, whom you will beget; and they shall be eunuchs in the palace of the king of Babylon.”
So Daniel was among those sons . . . initially serving as a trainee in Nebuchadnezzar’s court and later was an adviser to foreign kings. The expansion of the Babylonian Empire required many skilled and educated workmen. Much of this manpower was found through the slaves. Because of their wisdom, knowledge, and handsome appearance, four young Hebrews were selected for the training program. The outstanding character of Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah locked in their positions in the king’s palace. It was Daniel that rose to the top and excelled all the wise men of the vast empire.
In Daniel 1:1-21, we find the model for the Daniel Fast. The four young men were to become servants of the king. Nebuchadnezzar instructed the master of the eunuchs to feed them a daily provision of the king’s delicacies and of the wine which he drank. Most people would want to eat “like a king,” but Daniel had a higher calling. He did not want to defile himself with these foods that were not consistent with the Jewish dietary laws.
Daniel requested a plain diet from the chief of the eunuchs. The chief was very concerned that granting Daniel the plain foods would leave him weak and emaciated. And then the king would behead the chief for not obeying his command.
Daniel negotiated with the chief, asking for a trial period, “Please test your servants for ten days, and let them give us vegetables to eat and water to drink. Then let our appearance be examined before you, and the appearance of the young men who eat the portion of the king’s delicacies; and as you see fit, so deal with your servants.”
At the end of the ten days, Daniel and his three other companions looked better and fatter in flesh than all the other young men who ate the portion of the king’s delicacies.
So Daniel and his friends were allowed to remain on their diet. God rewarded the young men with knowledge and skill . . . and the king found them to be ten times better in wisdom and understanding than all his magicians and astrologers.
So the Daniel fast is limiting ones diet to vegetables and water, and at the same time increasing time in the Word of God and prayer. This is not a fast to lose weight, although that certainly will happen. And it’s not a diet to improve your health, yet you will likely feel better than you have felt for some time. Instead, the Daniel Fast is a time to consecrate yourself unto the Lord in a desire to draw closer to Him.