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.