Today I will start the Daniel fast. I know that fasting is a private matter, but I would like to document this as a spiritual journey for the growth and development for myself and others.
I bought a book called The Ultimate Guide to the Daniel Fast. I chose this book because I have never done the Daniel fast before. This book contains 100 + recipes and 21 daily devotions with Scripture to read that take your devotion to a deeper level. I think these things make up a great plan, all in one book, for the fast. I also picked up some vegan cookbooks from the library.
The book I purchased also talks about how to prepare for the fast physically and spiritually. So the ways I've prepared so far are:
Biblical Perspective on Fasting
Repentance- "Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord" (Acts 3:19). Acknowledging our sin to the Lord at the beginning of a fast is crucial. If our hearts are not right before him, any fasting we do will be meaningless and in vain.
Sincerity- "with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith" (Heb. 10:22). Examine your motives for beginning this fast, and ask the Lord o purify you from any unrighteous attitudes or behaviors. When the Lord sees that your genuine desire is to honor him and live a godly life, he will come near to you in return.
Intercession- Crying out to God for our own needs during a fast is important, but our prayers will be incomplete if we fail to intercede for others. Praying for others is commanded by the Lord, "confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results" (James 5:16 NLT). According to the Forerunner Commentary, the purpose of fasting is "to free others from their sins, to intercede with God for their healing, to help provide for their needs, and to understand his will. Fasting is a tool of godly love we are to use for the good of others, and any benefits we derive from it are wonderful blessings!"
Compassion- Isaiah 58:10 says that for our fasts to be acceptable to God, we must "spend" ourselves "in behalf of the hungry." The phrase spending ourselves implies much more than just having good intentions. In the Hebrew, the meaning is "to draw out." To make this verse a reality in our lives, we can't sit on the sidelines. Instead we must get involved and respond to the hurting people God places in our paths.
During your fast, prayerfully seek the Lord's direction as to how he wants you to spend yourself on behalf of those around you. Ask him to give you opportunities to bless others and then get ready, because he will.
- Identify your primary motivation for fasting. Ask yourself why you want/need to fast. Once you answer this question, thank God for his provision and trust that He will answer as you seek Him. Think about other prayer requests you have for yourself and others, and make a list of those needs.
- Decide on a Bible reading plan. The book offers a Psalm and Proverbs reading for the day of the month you're on. Example: January 1 - read Psalm 1 and Proverbs 1. I'm going to be reading a the book of John one chapter a day. I downloaded a full fasting guide from Elevation Church here. This plan also has a great list of foods to eat and not eat.
- Read Isaiah 58 and other verses on fasting. Studying these passages will help you align your heart and mind with what God desires for a fast.
- Ask a friend to be your prayer partner. Have this person pray with you and for you throughout your fast. You might want this person to be doing the fast with you, but it is not required. The point is to have someone praying for you and your needs and to have someone to hold you accountable. Learn here why accountability is important among Christians.
- Buy a journal or use a notebook. Expect God to do amazing things during your fast. It's a good idea to write them down. Use this journal to write down prayer requests, praises, and answers to prayer and to record what the Lord shows you through his word.
- Ease into the fast. Start cutting back meat, dairy products, caffeine, and sugar. Increase your water consumption. The book recommends half your body weight in ounces. If you weigh 150, you should be consuming about 75 ounces of water- that's about 9 cups. The diet includes a lot of fiber, so we need the water to avoid being constipated. Foods will also have water in them, so this is a total amount. So prepare for this amount early by increasing your water.
- Plan your meals for the first week. It will save time and frustration. You don't want to add to the temptation of bad foods because you don't have the ingredients to prepare a meal.
- Make a grocery list for the first week. This book has great solutions to meal planning.
- Prepare food ahead of time. Look at your first week's recipes to find ways to speed up food preparation time. Cook parts of your meals in the morning. If your meal calls for brown rice, you can make it in the morning.
- Cook and freeze meals. Cook a few meals at a time on the weekends. Make extra and store in the freezer for later. This way a late night coming home or when you're in a crunch, you won't be tempted to grab something that isn't good for you.
Day 1 Devotion: 1 John 1:9
Verses for additional study: