The trend of partaking into the Daniel fast has been around for years. Many churches have taken it on and made it a part of their culture. When churches call a fast, it is usually the Daniel’s fast. We tie and cross the stories together to make it sound more friendly and attainable rather than telling the story how it is supposed to be. The word fast means to “cover mouth” or to abstain from food. If you are not abstaining from food, then it is not consider a fast. If you decide to take some food out of your diet, then it is a diet modification.
When I decided to study Daniel, I was very shocked on what I found out and that we have been approaching the Daniel’s fast completely wrong. It shows that we as a people do not read scriptures for ourselves and allow religious traditions to carry on for years.
It is all about going through the book of Daniel and really read about what is going on.
The church gets the Daniel fast from Daniel 1 when Daniel refused to defile himself and would not eat from the king’s table. He asked permission to just eat vegetables (it does not mention fruit) and drink water and for 10 days and they would be judge accordingly.
But Daniel said to the overseer whom the commander of the officials had appointed over Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah, “Please test your servants for ten days, and let us be given some vegetables to eat and water to drink. Then let our appearance be observed in your presence and the appearance of the youths who are eating the king’s choice food; and deal with your servants according to what you see.” So he listened to them in this matter and tested them for ten days. At the end of ten days their appearance seemed better and they were fatter than all the youths who had been eating the king’s choice food. So the overseer continued to withhold their choice food and the wine they were to drink, and kept giving them vegetables.
We have taken this practice and said that when we go on this fast, we would gain intellect and wisdom like Daniel and the other boys had received. This went on for only 10 days. Not 21 days. This was technically not a fast. Nowhere in scripture does it say that it was a fast. It was an eating modification or diet. Daniel and the other young men decided not to go on the fast because they did not want to defile themselves. Their providence, Judah, were under Babylonian captivity. To partake in any Babylonian tradition or lifestyle would be dishonorable to God. So where did we get this from? Over in Daniel 10:
“In the third year of Cyrus king of Persia a message was revealed to Daniel, who was named Belteshazzar; and the message was true and one of great conflict, but he understood the message and had an understanding of the vision. In those days, I, Daniel, had been mourning for three entire weeks. I did not eat any tasty food, nor did meat or wine enter my mouth, nor did I use any ointment at all until the entire three weeks were completed.”
Still, in this scripture it says that he did not eat any tasty food, meat, nor wine. Pleasant food in other translations. You have to understand that Daniel had the best of the best. He did not partake in the royal foods. The food that he did partake it could be define to vegetables and unleavened bread. Daniel went on a partial fast because of the news he received. There was so much adversity going on in the land. The Jews has the option at this moment to return to their land, but many decided to stay in Babylon and it grieved Daniel. Daniel constantly had dreams and visions and he was not in a good place. The burden of the people was upon His heart and all He could do was to cry and fast unto the Lord.
Then behold, a hand touched me and set me trembling on my hands and knees. He said to me, “O Daniel, man of high esteem, understand the words that I am about to tell you and stand upright, for I have now been sent to you.” And when he had spoken this word to me, I stood up trembling. Then he said to me, “Do not be afraid, Daniel, for from the first day that you set your heart on understanding this and on humbling yourself before your God, your words were heard, and I have come in response to your words. But the prince of the kingdom of Persia was withstanding me for twenty-one days; then behold, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, for I had been left there with the kings of Persia. Now I have come to give you an understanding of what will happen to your people in the latter days, for the vision pertains to the days yet future.”
This is not a pretty fast that we have portrayed it to be. For years, preachers and pastors have taught this story all wrong. And I am one of those. But I have decided not to walk in ignorance and walk in the truth. Daniel was praying for a nation and it grieved him so much!
So what does this mean?
We as a people are not ready to pray for the nation. We still are fighting over arguments on Facebook media by bashing each other in the kingdom. While the world is dying and perishing, we are caught up in the minor. The enemy has gotten us and we do not even know it. We are not ready for the Daniel fast mentioned in Daniel 10. We do not want that burden nor have a desire to have that burden. The state of the world is not getting any better and the earth is waiting for the sons of God to get in place. Romans 8:19 says that, “For the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God.” The earth knows who we are but we do not!
So we must be conscious of partaking the Daniel’s Fast. If we are going to do it, let’s make sure we are doing it for the right reasons. I would not recommend this fast if you do not have a strong prayer life. This is another level of spiritual warfare and we must be secured and planted in the word of God.
We are continuing out Fasting Series and we will be on the topic of fasting for the next few months leading up to the release of my book, “Praying and Fasting, Still an Effective Kingdom Principle”. Many churches have declared their yearly fast and some have given prayer points and many have their members pray on their own. You may have decided to fast on your own get clarity on the New Year. Whatever the reasoning and the process of how you are fasting, it does not have to be announce to the world that you are doing so. There are 3 things that God will reward openly if done in secret
So we are looking at 2 of the 3 which are praying and fasting. If you apply these Kingdom Principles in your life, you will achieve and receive results.
Matthew 6:18- So that your fasting will not be noticed by men, but by your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.
In the old testament, it was announced when the Israelites fasted and they said to God, In Isaiah 58, have you noticed my fasting? Why should we do it if you do not notice? Even the Pharisees fasted a few times a week and they made it known to everyone. When you decide to pray and fast, make sure you are being led by the Spirit of God. You do not want your practice to become religious like the Pharisees. Then it looses its sanctity. The fast no longer unto the Lord, but to self to show others of how righteous you can be.
During the fast, you may not see any results. When you feel God moving the least, the more He is actually moving. You cannot get discouraged when God is silent, you keep pressing through your fast. When Daniel was not getting an answer from heaven, he remained constant in his praying and fasting until his breakthrough moment. We also have to remain faithful and constant in our fasting and praying until we receive our breakthrough. Until we receive the answer to the reason why we are praying and fasting. That is why we cannot put a time limit on our praying and fasting. You might call a 3-day fast and God has decided that he wants to move on the 7th day. You may fall short of your breakthrough. You go on the fast until you experience your breakthrough. Then you go back and count the days.
Daniel did not decide to go on a 21 day fast nor did Jesus decided to go on a 40 day. It end up being 21 days or 40 days. Try not to put a time limit on God. Just stay in his flow.
Not to say that God cannot give a length of days, but if He has not and He has called you on a fast, stick with it until. It is the until moment we are waiting on.
After your fast, your life should not be the same. If it is the case, you have wasted your time. Something should have eternally adjusted in your life. Rather it be around you but especially inside of you.
The phrase “In Secret” in scripture is translated to mean “the inner part of man- the soul”. So when you read Matthew 6:18 it should say:
“So that your fasting will not be noticed by men, but by your Father who is in your inner man, your soul; and your Father who sees what is done in your inner man, soul will reward you.
When you fast, you are afflicting the soul. Afflict means to humble, to bow down, and to weaken.
You soul is stubborn and spoiled. It has no desire to fast, pray or give. So when you decide to afflict your soul, you are putting it under the subjection of the Holy Spirit. It will be a struggle because your soul is determined to have its way.
So that the righteous standard of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.
So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.
For it is we who are the circumcision, we who worship by the Spirit of God, who glory in Christ Jesus, and who put no confidence in the flesh–
Col 4:3- Withal praying also for us, that God would open unto us a door of utterance, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in bonds
How are we supposed to live by the spirit? By fasting and praying.
It is in the secret place, your soul, God will reward openly. More than money and tangible things.
You will be renewed and cleansed. Energized and jolted to keep going.
As we embark upon the new 2017 year, there are many churches who have decided to go on a fast. Many participate in the 21 day fast or even a 7-day fast. Fasting can be intimidating for some especially those who do not practice fasting as often or this may be your first time.
I want to assure you that during your fasting period, it will be tough and at times you want to give up, but hang in there. Don’t feel guilty if you fall or slip one day, the question is can you get back up again and continue the journey or count one day out of the required days a lost?
I want to give you practical steps to follow during your fast moment. These steps can help if you are doing 3 day, 21 day, or 40 day.
Your church may have guidelines and prayer points for the members to meditate on but these next few points can work in conjunction with what your church has laid out.
- First step: Do not solely focus on what you CANNOT do during the fast.
When we begin to think about the restrictions we will face during the fast, we are easily discouraged and it becomes harder for us to step out and fast. In result we choose not to do it at all. But I want for you to focus on what you CAN do during the fast. There are so many things that are going to occur during your time of praying and fasting. You will become more sensitive to the spirit and the voice of God. You will develop discipline by creating time for God. You will have the ability to control your flesh from what it wants and be able to submit and yield to the will of God. During that moment you are taking your attention off the world and focus more on the Kingdom of God. You may enjoy and appreciate the spiritual result so much that praying and fasting becomes a part of your lifestyle.
Fasting and Praying will allow you to change and cleanse not just inward but outward. Isaiah 58:6-7 says that, “Is this not the fast which I choose? To loosen the bonds of wickedness, To undo the bands of the yoke, And to let the oppressed go free And break every yoke? “Is it not to divide your bread with the hungry And bring the homeless poor into the house; When you see the naked, to cover him; And not to hide yourself from your own flesh?” You will not only be able to be free from the bonds of wickedness, but you will be able to help those who are in the same situation to show them a better way.
- Do not forget to pray during your fast
Many times during prayer and fasting, we forget to pray. Many times we are so focused on the fasting part that we do not pray or do not stay in the presence of God long enough. Increase your prayer time by modifying your schedule. Make a sacrifice. If you are a morning person, try to wake up earlier and spend it in the presence of God. Do just roll over and begin to pray, but get up, take a shower and get yourself ready early so you can be alert in the presence of God. I used to wake up early, get myself ready, eat breakfast and commune with God by praying and reading the word of God. You’ll feel so much better throughout the day knowing that you started your day with God. Make sure you have your prayer points written out and keep a journal of what you heard from God, dreams, and visions. When you take time to do this, you’ll forget the fact that you are abstaining yourself from food but rather delighting yourself in the Lord.
During your prayer, do not to all the talking. Take time to sit and listen. Sometimes it is hard for us to sit quietly anywhere because we feed off of stimulation. You can sit with soft worship music or instrumental music to keep you focus on listening to God’s voice. In Proverbs 2:1-5 “My son, if you receive my words and treasure up my commandments with you, making your ear attentive to wisdom and inclining your heart to understanding; yes, if you call out for insight and raise your voice for understanding, if you seek it like silver and search for it as for hidden treasures, then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God.” It is in your stillness that you learn who God is. (Ps. 46:10)
- Submit your mind and your heart under the spirit of God
Sometimes we allow our flesh to rule our mind and heart. Our flesh can be so demanding and we always give in to its wants. During this prayer and fasting moment, you have to submit your mind and heart under the spirit of God. Your inner man, who is led by the spirit, should be leading your flesh. Your flesh will become hostile but you have to let you flesh know who is in control. Galatians 5:16–17, “But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please.”
You should not be doing this alone, the spirit of God should be leading you. By allowing Him to lead, it makes the walk through prayer and fasting easier. We should be crucifying our flesh on a daily basis. Paul says in 1 Corinthians 15:31, “I affirm, brethren, by the boasting in you which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily.”