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The Daniel Fast

by Kristen Feola

Each day we’re bombarded with advertisements that guarantee instant happiness and fulfillment if we simply buy into their products: Get rich quick! Lose 15 pounds in a week! Find the love of your life! Even though we understand that such messages don’t truly deliver, we’re often tempted by their promise of immediate gratification. We’d much rather bypass any hard work that’s involved and get right to the results.
When it comes to knowing God, though, there are no shortcuts. If you truly want to grow in your relationship with him, you must be willing to put forth some effort. You have to get to the point where you say, “Lord, nothing is more important than you. I’m ready to sacrifice my time, my physical comfort, and my desires so I can hear from you.”
One way to experience God on a deeper level is through the spiritual discipline of fasting. When accompanied by fervent prayer, fasting will help you develop intimacy with the Lord like nothing else can. You’ll have a greater sense of his presence in your life, the indescribable joy that comes from walking in obedience, and God’s richest blessings as you seek Him wholeheartedly.
When you fast, you deny yourself food, or certain foods, for a specified period of time as an act of surrender and worship. When people think of a fast, the first image that usually comes to mind is going without food for several days and drinking only water, broth, and/or juice. However, there is more than one type of fast. Another option is a partial fast, such as the Daniel Fast. On this fast, commonly enjoyed foods are restricted for twenty-one days as you devote yourself to seeking the Lord. Since you’re able to eat solid food, the Daniel Fast is much less intimidating than a liquid-only fast. Plus, you’ll be more likely to stick with it.
The food guidelines for the Daniel Fast are based upon accounts of Daniel’s fasting experiences as recorded in the Bible. In Daniel 10, Daniel received a vision from God that disturbed him so greatly that he entered into a state of mourning, or fasting. The Bible says that he ate no choice food and had no meat or wine for three weeks (10:2-3). Most commentaries agree that such desirable foods probably included bread and sweets. The English Standard Version of Daniel 10:3 says, “I ate no delicacies,” and another translation puts it this way: “I did not eat any tasty food (10:3 NASB).”
The goal on the Daniel Fast is not to duplicate Daniel’s menu but to imitate the spirit in which he sought the Lord. Daniel ate simple foods, taking in only what was necessary for physical sustenance. His passion for God caused him to long for spiritual food more than physical food, which should be the ultimate desire of anyone choosing to participate in a fast. Therefore, foods that are allowed on the Daniel Fast are fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, legumes, nuts, seeds, and oils. Restricted foods include dairy, meat, sugar, all forms of sweeteners, yeast, refined and processed foods, deep-fried foods, and solid fats.
In 2009, when my pastor invited our church to join him in a Daniel Fast to pray for the launch of our second campus, I had no idea how that three-week journey with the Lord would change the course of my life. God flung open new doors of ministry for me, which included writing a book called The Ultimate Guide to the Daniel Fast. He certainly did more than I could have ever asked for or imagined in my wildest dreams!
God has amazing plans for you as well. Your mind can’t even begin to comprehend what he has in store for you! Don’t allow fear, laziness, or the excuse, “It’s too hard!” keep you from stepping out in faith and committing to a Daniel Fast. You can do it. God will give you the strength and perseverance you need.
Are you hungry for the Lord? Do you want to know Him more? Pursue the Lord with great passion. Make every effort to read his Word and spend time with Him. Matthew 5:6 makes it clear that God will reward you: “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.” That’s a promise you can count on.

Disclaimer: If you have a medical condition or any causes for concern regarding your health, you should always consult your physician before beginning any type of fast, including the Daniel Fast.
How to Make Your Daniel Fast More Effective:
  • Find a friend who will fast with you and be your accountability partner.
  • A week before your fast begins, stock up on food items you’ll need.
  • Make double portions of recipes and freeze them to use later during the fast.
  • Read your Bible and pray first thing in the morning before your day begins.
  • Record prayer requests and answers in a journal.
  • Use The Ultimate Guide to the Daniel Fast to help you on your journey.

Kristen Feola is the author of the book, The Ultimate Guide to the Daniel Fast, an encouraging resource for individuals and groups who are participating in the Daniel Fast. She has worked as a personal trainer, nutritional consultant, First Place 4 Health leader, and fitness instructor. Kristen and her family attend James River Assembly in Ozark, Missouri. Her blog address is

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