“Prove thy servants, I beseech thee, ten days; and let them give us pulse to eat, and water to drink.”
“In those days I, Daniel, was mourning three full weeks. I ate no pleasant food, no meat or wine came into my mouth, nor did I anoint myself at all, till three whole weeks were fulfilled.”
Daniel 10:2, 3
The Daniel Fast is FAST approaching. I feel this urgency to fervently eat everything in front of me. My waistline will testify. At this time of year I’m so ready for it on so many different levels. The house hasn’t felt clean since the season began. Tins filled with uneaten candy and fudge clutter my countertop. Frosted cookies and old pies have got to go. I’m done.
I feel a little…chaotic. I’m ready to take a deep breath and just take charge. I want to take charge of it all; not just the clutter and left over Christmas but my spiritual life as well. Sometimes the season that should rejuvenate me only leaves me exhausted.
The Daniel Fast is near and dear to my heart. It is very personal and intimate – almost something I don’t want to share because it has been so special. It has changed my life with Christ and all aspects of my life. Because of that I feel obligated to tell about it and offer its hope.
Maybe six or seven years ago, I attended a conference where Franklin Jentzen, one of my favorite pastors, was speaking. Several of his church members were in attendance. I had the opportunity to sit with some of them at lunch. The conference was in Dallas. When I go to Dallas I am ready for Mexican food (Pappasitos) and Italian (Campisis). I sat with these church members of Franklin Jentzen’s congregation and they were eating a horrible meal – it was some whole wheat something or other, fruit and water.
I am a very curious person and many times just have to know or at least ask. They were on the Daniel Fast for 21 days. All they could eat was the fruit, whole grains, vegetables and water that Daniel had in chapter one. Their church was doing it together. I thought they were crazy. I respected them with all of my heart, but I thought it was so Bible times stuff, and I could never or would never do it.
Never say never. I have been doing the fast for probably four years now. 21 days is absolutely overwhelming to me, so I do 10 days. I have prayed about it and for now feel good about it from reading Daniel 1. I usually start on the same day that Franklin Jentzen and his church starts because I love knowing someone is out there doing the same thing. He also has great messages, books and daily Bible readings to follow along with in real time.
It is difficult to do this with kids. You just have to plan well. Don’t miss this part. If you don’t, you are “hangry” and trying to figure out what to feed the little people in your life. They know every year when it is coming and the older two have even participated for a few days. On the other evenings, I just suck it up buttercup and cook them dinner. I never wanted to eat Manwich so badly in my life.
I am by no means an expert. I read books by people who are, so they can offer guidance, tell me what I can eat and not eat and still meet the intent of the fast. There are recipes for meals that are good. I would much rather have pizza, but they will work. I share a few of my favorites on the blog. You must wean yourself from caffeine and sugar before the fast, or it will be UGLY! The first three days are the most difficult.
This year, I am starting a little later. I will spend my time before I begin fasting by deciding what I will be specifically praying about. In the past, God has been absolutely amazing with the time I have given over to fasting. He has revealed, answered and even given surprises I hadn’t asked of Him. He has given me an amazing clarity and wonderful opportunities. Above all, His sweet presence has been palpitating.
“There are dimensions of our glorious King that will never be revealed to the casual, disinterested worshiper. There are walls of intercession that will never be scaled by dispassionate religious service. But, when you take the steps to break out of the ordinary and worship Him as He deserves you will begin to see facets of His being you never knew existed. He will begin to share secrets with you. When we worship God we magnify Him.