2018 is here!! Are you excited about it? I am!! I know most people have been out ringing the year in with friends and family. Growing up, we had to be in church for an overnight service that would end at 6am on 1 January. The last couple of years have been different though – my husband and I decided to do something different. We stay in, away from the noise, cuddled on the sofa, talking about what we are looking forward to doing together and individually. We then take the whole month of January to fast.
We embarked on our very first 31 day Daniel Fast last year and boy oh boy – was it hard but equally rewarding! I have done the Daniel fast before – usually 3 – 7 days – but 31 days? That was tough! It required a lot of discipline on our part – not only physically due to the restrictive nature of the fast (and especially at this time of year – the struggle is real in winter!!), but spiritually as well. We had to purposefully dedicate time on a daily basis for worship, prayer, reading and meditating on scripture.
Fasting, in a religious context, is an important discipline for spiritual growth as well as petitioning God. The focus in on God, concentrating on prayer, Bible study and reflection. We fast severally during the year for various reasons, but January for us is a time to commit our plans to God and seek direction.
The Daniel Fast
So what is the Daniel Fast? It is a biblical fast based on the Prophet Daniel’s experiences as he sought God at different points in his life. These are referenced in Daniel 1:12 and again in Daniel 10: 2-3.
Daniel 1:12 (MSG) “Try us out for ten days on a simple diet of vegetables and water. Then compare us with the young men who eat from the royal menu. Make your decision on the basis of what you see.”
Daniel 10:2-3 (MSG) ” During those days, I, Daniel, went into mourning over Jerusalem for three weeks. I ate only plain and simple food, no seasoning or meat or wine. I neither bathed nor shaved until the three weeks were up.”
The Daniel fast is a partial fast that was restricted certain foods and water. In essence it is ‘clean’ and vegan in nature with additional restrictions (no leavened bread, water only etc).
Daniel Fast – Guidelines
Below are general guidelines on what to/not to eat. As you read this, try not to obsess about this list lest your fast become legalistic. Recognise that a fast will require sacrifice, and that your body will want you to give in. Ask God to help you see your fast through, but don’t get hung up if you eat something you shouldn’t. It is more important that your heart is open to know God and to receive from Him. Also, seek advise from a doctor before embarking on the fast. Your health is important!
What to eat
All fruit (fresh, frozen)
All vegetables (fresh, frozen)
All whole grains
All nuts and seeds
All plant based oils
Salt, pepper, herbs and spices
Dairy alternatives to milk (no added sugar/sweeteners)
Juice (preferably fresh, if from carton ensure it is unsweetened and not from concentrate)
Try to avoid canned foods where possible as they tend to have a lot of chemical additives. Always read the label to ensure that packaged the foods are in line with these guidelines.
What to avoid
All animal products (including and not limited to meat, chicken, fish, eggs, milk, butter, cheese, yoghurt)
All sweeteners and sweets (including but not limited to agave nectar, stevia, maple syrup, honey)
All leavened bread (anything that has raising agents like yeast, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda)
All refined products
All solid fats
Deep fried food
Drinks other than water (Tea/coffee/hot chocolate)
I hope this post has been helpful in giving you an understanding of what the fast is about. My next post will focus on how to prepare spiritually and physically .
I’d love to hear from you. Let me know if you would like to join me for this fast in January. You can do it at any time and for whatever length of time you choose to. What are you praying about?
I’m looking forward to starting the year right!
The Girl Who Wears Heels xoxo