Here’s the deal . . .
When people of faith use the word “fast,” they are referring to a spiritual experience during which food is restricted for a temporary period of time for a spiritual purpose.
When people not of faith hear the word “fast,” they usually equate it as a diet to have an effect on the physical body.
I want to be very clear. The Daniel Fast is NOT a diet. Like other methods of fasting, the 21-day Daniel Fast is a spiritual discipline. And the purpose of the fast is to consecrate (separate) oneself from typical daily life and focus more time, attention and thought on God, His Word, and His ways.
There are many religious experiences that include fasting. Yom Kippur is a fast. Lent is a fast. Ramadan is a fast. Likewise, these fasts are spiritual experiences during which food is restricted for a temporary period of time for a spiritual purpose. Most people understand the definition of “fast” in these incidents, and don’t equate them to health or diets.
The reason I’m bringing all this up is due to the recent flurry in the press about Chris Pratt, the popular film star, who started the New Year with the Daniel Fast.
I first heard about Chris Pratt beginning the New Year with the Daniel Fast when my son sent me a text message on January 10th. He included a link to a People Magazine’s online feed. They were one of the first in the media to start reporting about the actor and his fewer than 30-second Instagram post sharing with his fan followers that he was on the third day of the Daniel Fast.
Soon after, dozens of media outlets were on the story. And they all equated the Daniel Fast as a diet. Some included criticism about the “diet” and it not being healthy. Here are just a few:
Some gave a more balanced approach, but still considering the Daniel Fast as a “diet.”
The point is they were all missing the real point. Chris Pratt is using the Daniel Fast, a method of fasting, to begin his New Year with a focus on God and to spend more time in prayer, spiritual study, and growing in his faith.
Does the Daniel Fast have health benefits? Yes! Is it a safe way to eat for 21 consecutive days? Yes! If you have health conditions that need special attention, should you first consult your health professionals about eating restrictions of any kind? Yes!
One of the best articles I’ve read about Chris Pratt and the Daniel Fast is on Premier Christianity. Author Emily Howarth gets the definition of “fast” in the Daniel Fast.
I think some folks get confused by some of the other sites out there that refer to Daniel and the Daniel Fast. Rick Warren’s most recent book titled The Daniel Plan is not about fasting. It’s instead about healthy eating and lightly refers to Daniel and his companions being healthier than the other young men in the king’s court.
Dr. Josh Axe promotes the Daniel Fast, referring to the spiritual benefits. However, his primary emphasis and work are health-related.
I’m really thankful to the reporters who did contact me to get the facts about the Daniel Fast. And I was able to clear up a lot of the misconceptions. Great professionals and I give them kudos for taking the time to check out the details and get their questions answered.
The good news is that a lot of people are hearing about the Daniel Fast. My hope is that they will discover what the Daniel Fast really is. It’s not a diet. Instead, it’s a powerful method of spiritual fasting and most of those who use the fast experience profound changes in their lives including deepening their faith, growing in their understanding of Christ and their life with Him, along with insights and answered prayer.
We always value your thoughts and insights. Please leave your comments below . . . and be blessed on your fast.