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Teens on the Daniel Fast

I receive many questions about getting family members on board for a Daniel Fast, and frequently parents ask about how to motivate their teens to enter into the discipline. So I wanted to share my thoughts about this topic, especially since fasting and the Daniel Fast are growing in popularity among followers of Christ around the world.

First, I encourage parents familiarize themselves with the fast and why it is such a powerful discipline. Also, learn of the health benefits of the Daniel Fast as well as the benefits to the spirit and soul.

Then, call a family meeting to introduce the Daniel Fast to the other family members. Explain that you (the parents) have chosen to enter into the spiritual experience and that your hope is that the whole family will engage in the fast. Explain what the fast is, perhaps reading Daniel 1 and Daniel 10 and showing them a print-out of the Daniel Fast Food List.

However, be quick to explain that you understand that as teens, their food needs are different since they are growing and physically more active. Suggest that they continue to eat chicken and less bread or other foods that would assure their success on the fast.

Ask them if this is something they would like to do and what modifications they think might be good. And tell them you want to help them be successful on their fast.

If your teen balks at the fast, ask him or her to consider it for a day or two before giving a final answer. If they don’t want to participate, then accept their decision and let it go. Tell them they can change their minds, or decide to fast from soda or candy or some other single food. But since this is a decision they need to make for themselves, let them decide.

Younger children should not be required to engage on a full Daniel Fast, however it would be okay to introduce your children to fasting by leading them into a fast from candy or sugary desserts.

Remember, a fast should never be harmful to ones body and should guide the believer into a deeper walk with Christ. Fasting is a discipline, but it is not legalistic. There is no power in foods eaten or restricted. The power is in putting your spirit in charge of your soul and your body . . . committing the fast and the time to the Lord and drawing closer to Him as you seek Him with your whole heart.

Parents, please offer your comments! Perhaps you have some ideas that can help others as they lead their family into the power and discipline of spiritual fasting.

7 Comments Post a comment
  1. Kayla #

    I am about to do the daniel fast with some friends at school. I am really excited. I think it is important as teens to do things like this.

    October 6, 2008
  2. Hey Kayla,

    Thanks so much for your post! And congratulations on your decision to do a Daniel Fast. Wow! You are making wise decisions for your life at a young age.

    God bless you and please stay in touch!

    October 7, 2008
  3. Christina #

    My husband and I have 2 kids, one 9 and one 13. Our church is planning to do a 21 Day Daniel Fast the first of the year. It will be the first time our family has fasted together. Since our kids eat breakfast and lunch at school, we have decided to have them continue eating as they normally would in public, but as a family, we will observe the fast. That way I know that they are getting the proteins they need… our 13year old has a mild allergy to raw nuts, and it is something that remains private… the kids don’t have to try to defend their choice as they are facing a new element to their walk with God. It’s not even been 48 hours since this was first discussed at church, and it is really awesome to see my family wanting to do this. Praise God for his loving guidance!

    December 5, 2008
  4. Good morning Christina,

    I am so glad that you are already experiencing some of the spiritual benefits of the Daniel Fast. Jesus spoke of the “mysteries” in our faith. Surely, the unexpected strength, joy and faith we receive from fasting is one of those mysteries. It’s hard to explain to those who have never experienced it!

    Also, you plan for your children is perfect. Actually, children up to 13 years old are not expected to fast, however if they choose to enter into this spiritual experience that’s great.

    I send my sincere blessing to you as you ready yourself for the Daniel Fast.

    December 5, 2008
  5. Christina #

    Thank you so much for your kind support. As I start to prepare the menu, it is kind of scary, but I know that we well make it through!
    God Bless You for your commitment, grace, and guidance!

    December 11, 2008
  6. Hi Christina,

    Thanks for your nice comments. I hope the very best for you on your fast. It’s a powerful experience as you increase your focus on the Lord and His ways.

    I hope the very best for you!

    December 16, 2008
  7. KELLY #

    I have four girls, ages 5, 10, 13, 14. This is about the fourth time that we are trying the fast, they always seem to be excited and obedient. Thank the Lord.

    December 30, 2008

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