Fasting can be one of the best things you will ever do for your body, but it can also be a life-changing experience for you and your walk with God as well.
He can show you ways to break through strongholds in your life that you would have never believed could be defeated.
Whenever you start a fast, keep this cautioning found in Ephesians 6:12 in mind: “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms” (NIV).
When you undergo a fast, the enemy knows you are about to have an incredible discovery in your life, and he wants to stop it. Here are some of the challenges that you may face during a fast that you undertake for spiritual purposes, such as a ten-day Daniel Fast:
On The Spiritual Side
Circumstances in your life may seem to be impossible to overcome. This means the fast is working. The temptation to break the fast may seem to increase, and you may come up with several “good” reasons to stop it. This means the fast is working.
On The Emotional Side
Because your body will begin throwing off deadly emotions, an initial increase in nervousness, anxiety, and worry may result. This means the fast is working.
On The Physical Side
Since your body will begin to detoxify, you may experience a coated tongue, headaches, bad breath, body odor, digestion and elimination changes, mild fatigue, and possibly even the sniffles. This means the fast is working.
If you look up fasting in the dictionary, you’ll see the definition is “to go without food,” but we believe, as our ancestors did and as Jesus Himself did, that fasting can be so much more than that.
If you need a spiritual awakening or to hear from God, the answer is fasting. It allows you to receive breakthrough in areas of your life that simply cannot be accomplished any other way. That must be why the great men and women of God and the Son of God chose not only to pray but also to fast.
Remember that intensity you felt when you first got saved? Is it still there? If it’s not, fasting can rekindle your fire and your passion for growing closer to Christ once again.
Now you can’t just fast to force God to do something, and you can’t just fast to get a physical benefit or believe you are somehow “entitled” to a breakthrough. You have to fast and devote your time and your body to God, expecting nothing in return but yet remaining open to possibility and fully expecting Him to bring about His will for your life.
The Fab Four And A Bold Request
Let’s talk a little bit more about the young man Daniel, and his three friends Hananiah, Azariah, and Mishael. These four Jews were taken into captivity at the great siege of Jerusalem, where King Nebuchadnezzar and his army brought people from Israel to be enslaved in Babylon.
There’s every indication that this quartet was treated well because they were seen as assets by the king’s court. They were the best of the best, the crème de la crème who, were they alive today, would have gotten perfect 2400 scores on their SATs or aced their law school entrance exam.
Think National Merit Scholars.
Biblical academics believe the fab four were around fourteen years old when they were placed under the guidance of Ashpenaz, who was in charge of the palace personnel, to teach them the Chaldean language and literature. Like hotshot recruits entering college, they were assigned the best foods from the king’s own kitchen during their training period. Nothing would be spared for these elite scholars who looked—as well as acted—the part.
Daniel and his three friends may have grown up in spiritually depraved Judah, but somebody in their lives (a parent, an uncle, a rabbi, or a prophet) must have modeled how they should serve God. That’s the best explanation we have for why they refused to eat the rich foods set before them at the king’s table.
You see, these “foods” were considered detestable to the God of Heaven whom they faithfully served. Perhaps they were presented with meats that had been sacrificed to idols, or meats that were unclean because the animals had been strangled or contaminated with blood or fat—or all of the above.
More likely, though, they were offered meats that God forbade His people to eat in Leviticus 11 and Deuteronomy 14. We’re talking about pork, rabbits, camels, badgers, snakes, and flesh-eating birds such as vultures.
Shellfish was also unclean according to the ancient law, but it’s doubtful that lobster or scampi were on King Nebuchadnezzar’s menu because Babylon was too far away from a saltwater ocean. But they could have been served catfish, eel, or other smooth-skinned species that were also off-limits according to God’s commands.
Daniel also passed on the king’s wine. While there was no scriptural injunction against drinking wine, perhaps Daniel knew the pitfalls that awaited those consuming excess alcohol and wanted to present his body to God as a living sacrifice.
The desire to obey God and treat his body like a temple prompted him to make the request: “Please give us only water to drink and pulse to eat and test us in this. See if, after ten days, we do not have greater physical strength, health, and appearance.” (See Dan. 1:12–13.)
For a young man to utter those words—that’s more than bold.
By now, you know how the story ends. After just ten days, they looked better and performed better than all the other boys. They were found to have a more exceptional physical appearance, greater wisdom, and superior health.
God bestowed on them and multiplied upon them during those ten days. They had so much faith in their God that when Daniel’s three friends, later renamed Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego, were asked to bow to an idol or be thrown in the firing furnace, they said, “Our God will deliver us, but even if He doesn’t, we will never bow.” (See Dan. 3:17–18.)
Oh, that we would all have that kind of faith!
Spiritual Revolutions Await
Most Christians we meet and other fasting enthusiasts are interested in the benefits of the Daniel Fast, which is why we want to emphasize that the Daniel Fast can be so much more than just a natural way to look and feel better.
We consider the Daniel Fast to be a divine or supernatural health plan that combines the Bible’s ancient wisdom and the best of modern science. In the same way that the king and his men were shocked at Daniel’s and his friends’ transformation, we’ve been in awe of the change we’ve seen in people who do the Daniel Fast for just ten days.
We’ve seen twenty pounds gone in days. We’ve seen addictions broken. We’ve seen relationships healed. In both of our lives, we’ve personally experienced God’s power through both natural medicine and supernatural healing.
We believe that there are immense physical, emotional, and spiritual benefits to fasting. The benefits of fasting for a spiritual breakthrough are many, but we feel the top four spiritual reasons to fast are:
1. Fasting Can Bring You Closer To God.
Fasting can undeniably bring you closer to God. Isaiah 58:9 says that you will call on the Lord and He will say, “Here I am.” When you give Him the control of your most primitive desire (hunger) and focus on God, the distance between you is significantly reduced. You will have a relationship with God that you never thought possible because you are giving up what is most important to the human body—and God knows it.
2. Fasting Can Make You More Sensitive To God’s Voice.
When you begin to orient your life around God’s plan, you begin to hear Him. You may be thinking, “I’ve never heard God. I read about God. I know who God is, but hearing Him?” We believe that God will speak to you during your fast. You will hear His still and small voice and know it’s God. He will move you to do things that you couldn’t think of on your own. He will give you abilities that you never had before.
3. Fasting Helps Break Addictions.
The lust of the flesh is intense, and this world is filled with temptation. There are gambling and pornography. There are drugs and alcohol. There is also food addiction. When you give up the physical desire to eat, strongholds will begin to be broken, and yolks will be broken as well.
4. Fasting Shows Us Our Weakness And Allows Us To Rely On God’s Strength.
We are all sinners. It’s always good to be reminded of this and to remember from whom our strength comes. Fasting will also help you see that creator God made no mistakes when He made you. You are perfect and perfectly His.
Fasting can help relieve anxiety, nervousness, and even fear. Fasting can also help ease depression and clear your mind of negative thoughts. Fasting brings peace. When you give up your most significant appetite to God, He will allow you to break free. He will enable you to take your thoughts captive and renew your mind.
Philippians 4:6–7 says, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (NIV).
Let us tell you that fasting in this manner is worth every hunger pang and every doubt, so ask God to give you the strength and the desire to fast for a breakthrough.
There Is Power In The Name
When you fast and pray—two words that go hand in hand in Scripture—you pursue God in your life and open yourself up to experiencing a renewed dependence on God, but it isn’t easy. It is a spiritual discipline that requires denying your physical and mental self, because your stomach and your brain will most likely work overtime to remind you when and what they want to eat.
Here are some questions to ask yourself as you consider whether now might be the right time to engage in the Daniel Fast:
Do I need God’s hand to touch my life?
Do I need a healing miracle?
Am I fearful of the world or current events?
Do I desire a deeper relationship with God?
Do I feel shackled by bondages that I cannot escape?
Am I in a toxic relationship, and I don’t know what to do?
Do I have a friend or loved one who needs salvation?
Am I ready to find what plans God has next for my life?
Do I feel distant from God, and I’m not sure why?
Before you begin your fast, you can make a list of prayer requests you are asking God to answer. Then, every time you experience hunger pangs or food or drink cravings, ask God to work in your Daniel Fast prayer request areas.
The Daniel Fast requires you to eat a vegan diet for ten days. Now we are both personally omnivores. Jesus consumed animal foods, and we have reason to believe that all the disciples did. But for ten days, Daniel and his friends consumed pulse and water. If you also eat in this manner for ten days, God will do supernatural things in your body, mind, and spirit.
God gave us three governing principles to follow on this fast:
Eat only what God created for food.
Eat food in a form that is healthy for the body and don’t try to alter God’s design.
Don’t make any food or drink your idol. We idolize caffeinated beverages. We idolize alcoholic drinks. People worship at the table where we eat—and that is not the kind of worship God wants.
Follow these guidelines and submit to God, and we will launch you into a lifestyle of healthy eating and living, with revelations that you’ve never heard before.
If you find yourself struggling to keep your eyes fixed on Jesus, we encourage you to go to the Word and read. Hebrews 12:1–2 reminds us, “Let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith” (NIV).
If you feel negativity or doubt creep in, speak words of life over yourself and your fast. Read Romans 8:28: “And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them” (NLT).
Here are some other positive affirmations that you can use to speak life into your body, your finances, your family, your career, and your spirit.
In the name of Jesus, I refuse every negative word and opinion working against me.
In the name of Jesus, I claim healing over my body.
In the name of Jesus, every power against me is dismantled by God’s grace in my life.
In the name of Jesus, my body is blessed because I choose to walk in obedience.
In the name of Jesus, every financial mismanagement that is hindering my prosperity is released.
We recommend that while you are following the Daniel Fast you spend quiet time with God each day, reading Scripture and journaling your thoughts and your victories, both big and small. Let this be a time of personal awakening. Each day write down the areas of your life where you can feel God working.
We worship the living God. Remember that He is with you and has not forgotten you. Fasting could be the catalyst you need to draw closer to Him.
When in doubt, just say His name! There is power in the name of Jesus.