Fasting provides a very practical and perhaps even stark set of lessons for anyone participating in the spiritual discipline. As followers of Jesus Christ who are on a quest to grow in our faith, we can use the fast to learn about ourselves. And one thing I know for sure about the Daniel Fast is that the experience gives us many clues about our strengths and our weak areas. We can see where we are mature in our faith and also where we need to do a little growing up. Plus, we can see if we are catering to our flesh (the Bible calls that being carnal) and when we are submitted to the Lord and walking in the Spirit.
One very easy-to-discover clue is about our level of carnal living. If you find yourself so focused on the food and your “deprivation,” you just found a valuable clue about your attitudes and perhaps this even spills into others areas of your life. Do you find yourself being concerned about YOU a lot of the time. I laugh every time I see Joyce Meyer do here little robot dance as she says, “What about me? What about me?”
Oh, we are so self-centered in our culture today and that way of thinking is promoted in advertising, television shows, competitions and even school! We are trained by the world to watch out for #1 (ourselves).
But our faith takes us into a different way of thinking. We are actually called to deny ourselves . . . put ourselves to death and instead live in Christ. That means we’re to submit our thoughts, ideas, wants, opinions and will to the Lord. Paul says it so clearly in his letter to the Galatians:
I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. Galatians 2:20
So how does the fast show that you may have an issue about submission or that you want to hold on to your own ways? One very clear example is your decision to not comply with the Daniel Fast eating guidelines “because YOU don’t want to.” Or making a decision to do the fast your own way because that’s the way YOU want to do it.
Please don’t get me wrong. There are times when modifying the Daniel Fast guidelines is a wise and good decision. For example mothers who are pregnant or nursing need extra protein because they are supporting their child’s life along with their own. So to keep the core of the fast and then add some additional chicken, fish, cheese and yogurt can be a wise and prudent decision. This is the same with anyone who has health issues. Fasting should never bring harm to your body. So keep the core of the fast and then add the appropriate foods to meet your health needs.
Last year I exchanged message with a woman who was so angry with me because I told her the only beverage on the Daniel Fast was water because of Daniel 1. Her response was, “I will never come back to this site. I’m going to find a site that allows me to drink juice.” Hmmmm. Clue?
Another clue we can see in our fasting experience is if you find yourself so busy that you don’t have time to pray, study or meditate on God’s Word. So the fast is just changing the way you eat for a while, but it doesn’t promote spiritual growth or changes that improve your life.
You’ve probably heard the line, “If you’re too busy to pray – you’re too busy.” There is a lot of truth there. Busyness keeps us from being able to have God and His Word affect our lives. Consider what Jesus said about this very matter in the parable about the seed and the Sower:
Now he who received seed among the thorns is he who hears the word, and the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and he becomes unfruitful. Matthew 13:22
If you find yourself too busy to be in God’s Word and to spend quality time in His presence, then this is your clue that changes are in order. Even if you can’t give a full hour to daily study, what can you do?
A woman I know really struggled with this issue when she had two toddler boys who rightfully needed her attention all day long. She knew her spirit needed daily feeding and the thought of getting up early or staying up late just didn’t work. She also needed rest. So she developed a different plan that worked for everybody. She called it the “Quiet Hour.”
Every day at a specific time, everyone was quiet for one hour. Each of the boys were to lay on their beds. They could read books or play quietly with toys. But there was not talking. No interrupting mom. No getting off their beds until the hour was up. The boys usually fell asleep. Then during this time, mom would have her very special time with the Lord. And she had her own boundaries. This hour was reserved. Not a time to put on the dinner roast or get the laundry done or make that phone call. She had an appointment with God and His Word and keeping it changed her life.
I have another friend who uses her lunch hour at work for her quiet time. I do best first thing in the morning. Whatever can work for you . . . be creative and figure out a way you can spend daily time feeding your spirit with God’s nourishment.
There may be times when your routine for quiet time gets interrupted. But these should be the abnormal times. Create a “new normal” for yourself. Make a daily appointment with your Lord and then keep it!
If you find yourself struggling during your fast . . . pause, look and discover clues about your life. The fast can serve as a reflection to show you areas needing change. Ask the Lord to help you uncover behaviors or attitudes that are not aligned with Him. And then use this time of extended prayer and fasting to develop new habits and your “new normal.”
I’m thankful to have just started this spiritual journey today and continuing through Lent. I’m looking forward to God’s direction. I want to remain committed the entire time; however, my daughter wants to celebrate my birthday in a week. It’s quite a quandary to have when fasting. I don’t want to disappoint her as she’s made plans, but equally, I don’t want to “fail” in my fasting commitment.
Celebrate in a way that doesn’t involve food. This can be a great learn. Instead “feast” on an experience with your daughter. And celebrate the great relationship you have.
I wanted to fast today but somehow the heart talked me out of it. So as I was taking breakfast I somehow got to your post. I
Started fasting immediately now am going the whole 9 yards thank you
You are a blessing for me; January 2014 was my first fasting in my life; I’m almost 60 yrs old; completed the fasting with more knowledge of my Lord and Savior; I completed the fast this year too; it looks like that I’m addicted to fast and prayer; my prayer is to know Him more and more; during this fasting period, I didn’t have any cravenness for any food; now again I started in the middle of March and going be finished by the second week of April; I want to continue this partial fast for the rest of the year ( if God willing); I would like to know your suggestions on this every month fasting?
thank you, Kunjumol
Fasting is a temporary experience where you will want to focus at a more intense level for a specific purpose or need. It’s seeking God and His wisdom to answer questions, develop disciplines, or to learn more about Him and His ways.
Fasting monthly is certainly a good thing to do. Developing a closer and deeper relationship with God and getting to know Him better is our call as He says, “Be holy as I am holy.”
Be blessed as you continue to grow in the love and knowledge of Jesus.
Thanks so much for your devotion to Our Lord’s Kingdom.The family of God is helped greatly by this article. Thanks so much.As I think on the points stated,they prompt me to decide what are my priorities. Thank God, for the privileges He gives His children.
Continue to feed His body as you draw from Him.
Have a great 2015
Basically, I moved from the FOODS TO AVOID list to the FOODS TO INCLUDE list – it was a huge lifestyle change. I did not stop drinking coffee because of my demanding job – I have to deliver to stay employed and I get spacey when I stop drinking coffee. But I did limit coffee to mornings only and stopped drinking coffee and tea at night. Even though I tried freezing or sharing any food left in my refrigerator before I started the fast, I had some items that I felt should not just be thrown away – very minimal. I’ve cooked special meals for my family and did not indulge. So I feel good about my journey, even though I am washing more dishes! I need to spend more time in prayer and study and will focus more on that now that I am in week 3. I am also surprised to have found some veggie items and recipes that actually taste good! I will incorporate them moving forward! Good blog!
I just thank you.
To God Be The Glory!!! Have been on a fast before but not the Daniel Fast. The Lord has truly bless me not saying that I have been tempted . The Lord and I was doing a conference on Saturday and when I entered for the breakfast part the coffee smelled so good along with bagels etc. But I had water and grapes. Also was able to eat fruit for lunch. All I can say is To God Be The Glory again. Started to think about foods we have messed but have not eaten them. Thank you so much for your daily devotions which have helped. In fact I have made copies of the ones the spirit leads. We started on Jan 4, 2015 and put on my calendar Philippians 4:13 for each date. Three weeks = Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Looking for favor for all that are on the fast in Jesus Name. Love you my sister from another mother.
I am writing to let you know that this is the second year our church has participated in the fast. We have a small flock of about 12 members and I have sent your devotionals and articles to our members to help sustain us. We are all very appreciative, and one our minsters, Wilma Gaines, sent me the following in regards to this article: “Thanks for another tool to use to help change our way of spending time with the Lord. Let’s go forward”. We appreciate your encouragement and showing us what thus says the Lord through these times.
God is good. I am so blessed that He uses me as His vessel to help others. I am humbled and thankful.
I hope the best for you in all you do to change lives for Him.
Excellent article. Thank you and be blessed!
Thank you very much. This is so helpful,
Thank you Susan. Right on time as usual. You know we are almost done
Thank you for allowing God to use u to change the way we have thought about fasting. Some months ago I did notice that I am easily irritable during fast so I am learning to keep calm and not be anxious. Thank you Sue
Susan, please give me your comment on having natural yoghurt sugar free
Margie, the Daniel Fast is totally plant-based. So o yogurt on the Daniel Fast. Check out our food list.
……I have been challenged……giving up my coffee time to be the my LORD
Thanks so much for writing the book, the daily emails, the blogs, and all the information you are providing to help me find my way on this journey. I am in the process of allowing God to redefine and rebuild my relationship with Him (somewhere between raising my children, being wife to my now deceased husband, building a career and doing ministry, my relationship with the Father suffered). For the first time in over 35 years, my focus is on me and I have to admit, it is a little scary. My church corporate fast was from January 4 – 11th. I followed the fast with no problem. During the fast, I felt led to continue on after the corporate fast ended, that is when my problem started and I find myself compromising (changing the rules). This blog is a timely rebuke from the Father. Repenting and returning . Thanks for the encouragement, direction and the instructions.
Giving all the love to our Lord Jesus. Very much true. God Blessed Susan and your family. Thank God for you.
Susan, thanks for your very timely remarks. Over the last several years God has revealed to me that one of my Gods was food and that I had an addiction to sugar. After confession and repentance God did an amazing work and helped me loose 30 pounds over about 3 months. I now eat much more healthy and exercise more regularly. Last year over the 21 day fast I lost 6 more pounds and never picked them back up. This year as I began to consider fasting I made my mind up to do my own variety of fasting. The Lord quickly reminded me that my body is His temple and that He expected sacrifices to still be made in His temple. I may loose weight over this fast but I am thankful that God is always bigger and always able to do more that I can think or ask.
Thank you Susan!
What a relevation! Last year I did the 21 day fasting and the change I needed was fighting with my colleague, and when I was on fasting it became worse. I didnt understand until I prayed to God that I cant handle it. After the fast it just disapear and I realised I needed to change my character.
Thank You for encourangement and this year started already, and my prayer is LORD I can see I’ve lost a little bit of weight and would love if unwanted habits may be removed in me.
I am so encouraged to go all the way and I am so glad that I did this fast. The Bible is correct when it says that these things only come through fasting and prayer. I did not think I would ever go without my tea in the morning, but I have not missed it as much as I thought because my mind is on keeping Christ the center and I want God to be first in my life. It is amazing how we can put people, relationships and things before God, so this is a good time to reflect. I do not miss the food as much as I miss talking on the phone and hanging out, but I must keep my focus. I know that god will bless me for the sacrifice.
Thank you for sharing this. Yesterday I found myself asking me some questions and this post as answered some of it.
I believe I asked a question last week but unfortunately I can’t seem to figure what page I left my comment. I’ll ask again. It’s about modifying the Daniel fast. I’m accustomed to fasting with no food or water from 6am to 6pm. But with my knowledge of the fast, I now fast till 3pm n then have a smoothie n have dinner at 6.
Is this okay? Or is this considered as me having it my own way?
2ndly your list says we can use seasoning. I used the know stock cube to cook yesterday and now I feel like I’ve got it all wrong.
3rdly are brands with stickers saying suitable for vegetarians good for the fast or do I still need to check the label for additives and all.
Do I need to start over? (I’m a week into my fast)
You may have posted your other message at http://danielfast.wordpress.com – it is our other site that I first started in 2007 when God first called me to this ministry. I encourage you to read the information on the sites to learn about the fast. You will be much more confident when you are equipped. The book of course is the complete resource for the fast and provides the background of successful fasting, a complete Daniel Fast cookbook, and a daily devotional.
1) The Daniel Fast is a 24/21 plan. Twenty-four hours a day for 21 days you will follow the eating plans for the fast.
2) Stock cubes likely include ingredients not allowed on the Daniel Fast. You will find the answer in the list of ingredients found on the products label. Read the list of ingredients and make sure they comply.
3) The same practice as stated above is for vegetarian products. Read the list of ingredients.
No need to start over. Just invest the time and resources to learn about the fast and then do better when you know better.
Some people say that one should drink water when you are fasting from all foods. I’m not referring to the Daniel fast, but abstaining from food for a certain amount of hours per day. Is this right or should you exclude water as well?
There are three kinds of fast. An absolute fast is no food or liquid. This type of fast is not advised unless you receive an absolutely unmistakable word from the Lord. A normal fast is when you drink water, but consume no food. The third type of fast is a partial fast, where some foods and beverages are restricted and others allowed. The Daniel Fast is a partial fast.
I hope this helps . . .
He is always right on time. Thank you for your words of wisdom!!
Wow! Such an eye opener! Thanks for the encouraging words.
Hi Susan, I’m on my 4th day of the Daniel fast and it has not been easy for me. Your blog has been incredibly helpful with great encouragement.
this blog has helped reveal the truth about myself, about my experience so far, Im so glad I read it earlier in my fast, now I have the rest of the days to rectify where I have been going wrong.
May God continue to bless you
Thank you so much an encouragement such a blessing to me!
Thank you very much for the encouragement and clear explanations. It makes it so much better and understandable
I just wanted to double check something. I know we’re alowed to eat soy products but do soy alternatives to milk, yogurt, and cheese count?
Substitutes are discouraged. One of the essential issues in fasting is denying the flesh. So when a substitute continues to meet the needs of the flesh, then you can miss out on what you can learn and receive from the experience.
Thank you for writing this article. I have always struggled with finding time to get into God’s word. At the writing of this blog, I am presently out of work on an injury and yet still struggle to find time. Thank you for encouragement. This is my first time doing the fast and yes I am finding more things out about me that need to be changed. To God be the glory, there will be changes! Thank you again.
It’s my first day today, I never fasted before, by the grace of God I am still fine and doing okey. Except for the green tea I drank this morning, I was not aware that its excluded
Thank you so much for this article. I found it very enlightening. I will absolutely set an appointment with my Lord, There are times when I need to settle down in the comfort of His presence, and open all the doors to my inner closets for Him to completely clear out. I start out with good intentions, then I get distracted by everything else clamoring for attention. I will keep my appointment, and I will be on time.
Great article. When I decided to do the Daniel Fast, I too thought going without coffee for 3 weeks was impossible. Then I went on a mission trip and all there was, was a cup of instant coffee every morning for which I was really grateful for. I then said ok, God I can give anything up for you for a mere 3 weeks. It still is hard sometimes, especially when I get too hungry but with God’s grace I’m doing it.
God and His perfect timing is why I read this today! After doing the fast for 5 days, I decided yesterday that I would either stop doing it or modify it. Yesterday I basically went rogue at lunch time for the rest of the day, but did not feel right about it. I had not felt right about the fast all week either, like I had 2 yrs ago when I first did the fast. I felt Holy Spirit motivated and even though the person who was fasting with me gave up, I kept going for the 21 days and experienced major changes in my attitude toward this vessel God has given me to live in and to use for His purpose. But that wasn’t happening this time and I felt that maybe this time I needed to change it up a bit to suit my homelife better. It worked well for me this week while at work, but at home with my husband, the fast seems to be a burden to him. So that plus not feeling lead by the H.S. I decided not to do it the same way this time. Modify it to add meat or something. But after reading this blog, I realize that I wasn’t spending enough time in prayer and that was why I wasn’t feeling lead by the Spirit or feeling like I was growing spiritually. And that changing the fast would mean that I am thinking about me and not dying to flesh. So I will do my best to add in more prayer time and to make this fast work. Thank you for the encouragement.
God is so good, Nancy. He is calling you closer to Him. Even leading you to read something that would speak to your heart.
Be blessed on your fast.
Praise God Nancy, that’s an encouragement for me,I started my fast January first, that first week I did good, then I gave into the flesh,I will definitely go all the way,it’s a must that I die to self and live unto God I will in Jesus name crusafi this flesh in Jesus name,Amen.
Nancy, I thank GOD for your message. It has been encouragement to me. I started the Daniel Fast last Monday, and seemed to have failed miserably!! I realize that this fast has been challenging for me because i didn’t start it with my heart in the right place. My main focus seems to be more about what i can and cannot eat, instead of focusing on the LORD. While reading your blog along with others, I also recognize how selfish I am, and how I have been so caught-up in pleasing flesh, that surrendering completely and totally to GOD has not been my one and Only priority. Again, I have been Blessed by your post. Thank you for sharing!
Thank you for this wonderful insight into Gods word. The devotionals have been an encouragement to me over this past week . I am anticipating a break through in several area of my life. I am learning of selfish attitudes in my life and I am asking the Lord to forgive me and I’m taking steps to make the proper adjustments . Thank you again for allowing the Lord to use you in such a marvelous way. Your book has really been a help to me in my spiritual walk with the Lord. Thank you and I pray the Lord continues to bless you
I so love this! ! Our prayer pastor to ales to us about setting an appointment with the Lord and keeping it. I also love the one hour no talk rule. Especially with little kids sometimes it’s hard to be creative to know how to get thay quiet time. Thank you so much!
Thank you Susan for giving me further insight about these clues that uncover our deepest behaviors and attitudes. We can be some entangled by things in our daily lives, that we’ve developed over time that hinder or prevent a relationship with GOD. The sad thing is, we don’t even realize how insidious these attitudes can be to our Spiritual growth and life. Through the Daniel fast I am discovering that I need a closer walk with the LORD!
Please keep the words of wisdom and encouragement coming, for their are many of us who need to hear it!
Thanks for this reminder, this is my third year fasting with you and this year I have to work. It is so hard to work, take care of the kids and fast. But I really need to submit this time to God. I pray in the morning and through out the day but last year and the year before the time was so much more intimate with him. I felt his presence. Thanks for the words of encouragement Susan you’re a great spiritual mentor.
I very much want to get closer to God. I do hunger for His word. I have read some books of the Bible over the years. I came to Christ when I was about twelve or earlier. I am now I am 63. I have become wiser and more mature about life. joined another Church, remarried and rebaptised to reclaim my faith if that makes sense. I pray every morning but I want to get back into reading God’s word and grow more spiritually but I don’t know where I should start because I need Him in my Life not that He hasn’t been because I’m a living testimony of how he’s healed and delivered me and gave me a new start. I want to start this new year off right but I just don’t know where to begin. I am doing the Daniel Fast praying with His strength to make it all the way through. I do have some health issues but I’m trying to find some things containing proteins. I hope this makes sense to you. I look forward to hearing from you.
Happy New Year,
Your friend in Christ Clementine
You clearly are hungry for God! And entering into the fast is a great move as you open your heart to the Lord.
Continue to ask the Lord to show you and He will. Maybe this is one of His answers to your prayer! Because I am going to suggest that you “get to know Jesus in the Scriptures.” What I mean by that is read the Gospels with the intention to learn about how Jesus treated people. How He used His time. How He reacted to things. What was His personality? Was He somber? What He joyful?
And then one more suggestion: Read the Gospel of John over and over again. Not quickly, but thoughtfully and prayerfully. What are the Scriptures saying specifically to you? Whenever your get the sense that you need to pause and consider, then be sure to do that. The Holy Spirit is nudging you and wants to show you. So pause, listen, and hear the still small voice of God speaking to your spirit.
I hope this helps!
Susan, Susan, Susan!!! AWESOME, I know GOD is speaking through you to touch many people and myself. You are a leader. You see many are called only few are chosen. The chosen ones not only pass God’s words they partake in doing THE WORK. The work shows up through us when we know God is first and he is our ALL and All. Keep Shinning and blessing all God’s people with his words and actions.
Great advice Susan! At this moment my church has us doing the essential 100 bible reading planner called The Essential Jesus: 100 readings through the bibles greatest story by Whitney t Kuniholm. This reading does exactly what Susan is suggesting. It tells the the passages to read so u can find out exactly who Jesus is. And it asked u questions about the passage and ways to apply it to ur life. I hope u will check it out!
Daniel Fasting is there a time to eat or not to eat is it like a normal fast where you sustain your self from eating or is it putting God during my breakfast , lunch , dinner with a menu change to eat healthier also juice yes but only blended fruits in your blender all natural nothing bought in a bottle
There are no specific times when to eat or not to eat on the Daniel Fast. Also, the only beverage on the Daniel Fast is water (see Daniel 1). You can use juice in recipes or in smoothies (which are considered liquid meals).
I do encourage you to learn about the fast by going through the posts on this site or our other site at http://danielfast.wordpress.com
Of course the book has everything you need for a successful Daniel Fast including detailed background and fasting and the Daniel Fast, a complete cookbook and a daily devotional.
Thank you for giving such timely encouragement.
Make an appointment with God. How profound! Such a critical appointment that I never took seriously until this fast. I am so excited to put on my suit of armor and settle into my new normal. Thank you Susan for being God’s servant!
Thank you for these words of reflection. Causing me to be more thoughtful …….
Thank you for this article to remind us that we may have obstacles, but we can find creative ways to get around it. About the food, it would be easy to cheat…but God is watching and trying to change our hearts. Our Pastor’s sermon last week on commitment and faithfulness really helped me not want to make my own fast, thinking I could not give up my coffee time with the LORD.
Thank you for the sriptures you have posted me and the guidelines through this fast.You have been a blessing to me as i trust the Lord and draw close to Him to see His will and purpose been done in my life ,i just want to please my God.
God bless you.
Thanks for your leadership , stay the course, you help us get back on track. Praise God for your continued faithfulness . The comments about the Gospels is great for new, or longtime Christians. Blessing Lare
Thank you I needed to hear that this morning being that I deviated away from the fast yesterday I was so hurt that I gave in now I’m just praying for strength to deny any weakness.
Love it! I’m learning so much from you!