The Daniel Fast is ALWAYS a Spiritual Fast!
Okay, I might get some raised eyebrows on this post! But I’m just trying to bring some clarity about the Daniel Fast. And by the way, it’s a Daniel FAST and not a Daniel DIET!
Why am I making such a distinction? The reality is that the Daniel Fast is much more than the types of food consumed. If you are looking for the Daniel Diet then click on the food list and call it a “twist” on a vegan diet.
Entering the Daniel Fast without a spiritual purpose is like going golfing without clubs. You may have had a great time walking around the course and even yelling, “Fore!” But the reality is that you really weren’t golfing. You were doing something else . . . which is fine, but it wasn’t golfing.
You see, the Daniel Fast originated with the prophet Daniel! And the reason Daniel fasted was because of his devotion to God. The devotion came before the dietary restrictions, not the other way around.
Daniel records three times when he fasted, but he most likely did so more often. The first fast was recorded in Daniel 1. The food and wine the king wanted Daniel to eat had been offered to idols. However, he had already consecrated (set apart) his life to God. If he ate or drank of these things, he would defile his body. So that’s why Daniel requested that he eat only vegetables (which actually included fruit) and drink only water.
Chapter 9 has the second recorded time of Daniel fasting and when he was deeply distraught over the nation of Israel being in exile. Jeremiah had already prophesied that Israel would be set free after 70 years of captivity. The time had come and so Daniel prayed and fasted. This time, it was probably what is called a “normal fast,” which is water only.
Chapter 10 has the third recorded time of Daniel fasting. He was concerned about a powerful dream he had received. The Scripture says he mourned for three weeks and ate no delicacies and no meat and drank no wine. This three week fast is the hub of the current day’s form of fasting commonly known as the Daniel Fast.
You can see that in all three instances, Daniel fasted for spiritual reasons. Once to stay pure before the Lord and two times to seek the Lord’s wisdom, direction and answers to prayer.
Daniel didn’t fast because he was overweight or needed a health tune-up. He fasted because of God in his life.
Now, please don’t get me wrong. I am all for healthy eating and losing weight and even the wonderful health benefits of the Daniel Fast. But to call eating the way Daniel did a “fast” without a primary motivation to draw closer to God just isn’t accurate. Biblical fasting was always about restricting food and always for the purpose of drawing closer to the Lord, observing spiritual laws, or seeking God in prayer.
So if you really want to use Daniel as the model, I hope you will do it all the way. Seeking and finding God is the most significant benefit of the Daniel Fast. Improving ones health is a great side benefit!