“At that time I, Daniel, mourned for three weeks. I ate no choice food; no meat or wine touched my lips; and I used no lotions at all until the three weeks were over.” – Daniel 10:2-3
Northstar Church will start our 21-Day Daniel Fast on March 15 and end on Easter. We are so excited to see what God will do during our fast. Entering into a period of extended prayer and fasting is like pushing the “pause button” on life so you can draw nearer to God. The Holy Spirit joins you in this experience as you open your heart to receive from the Lord. The Daniel Fast is based on the fasting experiences of the Old Testament prophet.
I will be sharing a lot more information in the weeks leading up to March 15. In this post, I want to give you the Biblical background for the Daniel Fast.
The concept of a Daniel fast comes from Daniel 1:8-14. The short version is that the king’s food was against dietary laws. Daniel and his friends had vowed against wine. The king’s food had been offered up to idols/demons. But Daniel had found favor with the king. The story picks up in verse 10:”…but the official told Daniel, “I am afraid of my lord the king, who has assigned your[a] food and drink. Why should he see you looking worse than the other young men your age? The king would then have my head because of you.”Daniel then said to the guard whom the chief official had appointed over Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah, “Please test your servants for ten days: Give us nothing but vegetables to eat and water to drink. Then compare our appearance with that of the young men who eat the royal food, and treat your servants in accordance with what you see.” So he agreed to this and tested them for ten days.”
Daniel and his three friends had been deported to Babylon when Nebuchadnezzar and the Babylonians conquered Judah (2 Kings 24:13-14). Daniel and his three friends were put into the Babylonian court servant “training program.” Part of the program was learning Babylonian customs, beliefs, laws, and practices. The eating habits of the Babylonians were not in complete agreement with the Mosaic Law. As a result, Daniel asked if he and his three friends could be excused from eating the meat (which was likely sacrificed to Babylonian false gods and idols).
The result of the 10 day test is recorded in Daniel 1:15-16. “At the end of the ten days they looked healthier and better nourished than any of the young men who ate the royal food. So the guard took away their choice food and the wine they were to drink and gave them vegetables instead.”
In verse 17 we read: “To these four young men God gave knowledge and understanding of all kinds of literature and learning. And Daniel could understand visions and dreams of all kind.”
Fasting is a very important part of having a healthy relationship with God. It helps put our spiritual and physical life in perspective. God gives us specific ways to worship and honor Him in the Bible and He instructs us to fast in many scriptures. Joel: 2:12 says, “Even now,” declares the Lord, “return to me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning.”
We believe fasting opens our hearts and minds to receive what God is saying and perceive what God is doing in our lives and the lives of our church as we pursue our vision of helping the whole world find and follow Jesus.
Stay tuned for more information.
1. Do you believe that is it important for every believer to practice the spiritual discipline of fasting? Why or why not?
2. If you are going to participate in the Daniel Fast, what are your specific aims? What do you foresee your challenges to be as you take part in the Daniel Fast? How might you use prayer to help you overcome them?
3. Do you have any fears or apprehensions about beginning the Daniel Fast? What wisdom can you glean from Daniel’s story that could help put your fears to rest?
4. Share about a time you fasted and prayed. What did God reveal to you during that time? What might you do differently this time around with the Daniel Fast?
5. Pray and ask God that He will bring you closer to Him through your fasting.