During this season of 21 Days of Prayer, we encourage fasting as a spiritual next step that can bring clarity and revelation into your life.
The Goal of Fasting
The goal of fasting is to draw nearer to God. Biblical fasting always has to do with eliminating distractions for a spiritual purpose; to hit the reset button of our soul and renew us from the inside out. It also enables us to celebrate the goodness and mercy of God and prepares our hearts for all the good things God desires to bring into our lives. Remember, your personal fast should present a level of challenge, but it is very important to know your body, your options, and, most importantly, to seek God in prayer and follow what the Holy Spirit leads you to do.
THE DANIEL FAST
The Daniel Fast is outlined in the Book of Daniel.
Daniel 1:12 ESV
“Test your servants for ten days; let us be given vegetables to eat and water to drink.
Daniel 10:3 ESV
I ate no delicacies, no meat or wine entered my mouth, nor did I anoint myself at all, for the full three weeks.
During the Daniel Fast, we remove meat, sweets, bread and any processed food from our diet and consume water and fresh, all natural juice for fluids and fruits and vegetables for food. We deny ourselves such "delicacies," to make room for the Holy Spirit to lead us during our times of prayer.
Below is a list of foods to eat and foods to avoid. Please keep in mind the list is not exhaustive. It is meant to simply be a guide.
FOODS TO EAT
Amaranth, barley, brown rice, buckwheat, bulgur, freekeh, millet, oats, purple rice, quinoa, rye, sorghum, spelt, teff, whole grain pasta, whole wheat, and wild rice.
Beans and legumes
Black beans, black-eyed peas, cannellini beans, garbanzo beans (chickpeas), great northern beans, kidney beans, lentils, peanuts, pinto beans, and split peas.
Nuts and seeds
Almonds, Brazil nuts, cashews, hazelnuts, macadamia nuts, nut butters, peanuts (actually legumes but people think of them as nuts), pecans, pepitas (pumpkin seeds), pine nuts, pistachios, poppy seeds, walnuts, sesame seeds, soy nuts, sunflower seeds.
All vegetables are allowed (fresh, frozen, dried, juiced, and canned).
All fruit is allowed (fresh, frozen, dried, juiced, and canned). However, any dried fruit shouldn't contain added sugar (check ingredients to be sure).
Oils (such as coconut, olive, and sesame, for example) are allowed but should be used minimally. For example, you can sauté foods in olive oil but avoid deep-frying them.
Unleavened bread (whole grain bread made without yeast, sugars, or preservatives. All herbs, spices, and seasonings are allowed, including salt and pepper.
Water should be the main beverage on your Daniel Fast. Distilled, filtered, sparkling, spring, and mineral water are allowed as well. However, you may have 100% fruit juice on occasion (just don't overdo it).
FOODS TO AVOID
Meat (bacon, beef, bison, chicken, lamb, pork, and turkey), dairy, (butter, cheese, cream, milk, and yogurt), fish/seafood, eggs.
Agave nectar, artificial sweeteners, brown rice syrup, brown sugar, cane juice, corn syrup, honey, malt syrup, molasses, and raw sugar.
Yeast (and, therefore, leavened bread) isn't part of the Daniel Fast.
White flour and white rice. Only whole grains are allowed on the Daniel Fast. A whole grain product contains the entire grain kernel ― the bran, germ, and endosperm.
Foods that contain artificial flavorings, chemicals, food additives, and preservatives.
Examples are corn chips, French fries, and potato chips. (Baked chips are acceptable if they don't contain restricted ingredients. Check the label for "baked" to be sure.)
Butter, lard, margarine, and shortening.
Milk chocolate, semi-sweet chocolate, dark chocolate, chocolate syrup, and cacao.
Caffeinated and alcoholic beverages
Alcohol, coffee, caffeinated tea, and energy drinks.
For more specifics on The Daniel Fast, along with recipe ideas, check out the Ultimate Daniel Fast Guide.
The Importance of Prayer
Let's remember that the main premise behind fasting is the strength it provides while we pray.
Prayer and Fasting are meant to go hand in hand.
The point of fasting, is for us to gain a greater perspective of the will of God during our times of prayer. Fasting is not exclusively the work— it is only when prayer is coupled with fasting that we have the opportunity to be fruitful in discerning the will of God this season.