Are you interested in trying a Daniel fast? There are many books on the market describing what a Daniel Fast is, but save your money. Some of these books make the fast too complicated. The purpose of any fast is to abstain from certain types of food so you can spend more time in prayer and studying the Word. If your fast is too complicated, you will spend too much time thinking about food. So turn in your Bibles to Daniel 10 so we can learn how and why to perform a Daniel Fast.
When should I do a Daniel Fast?
I usually fast when I feel led of the Lord to do so. Sometimes I have fasted for better direction in my life, a prayer that has not been answered after considerable time praying, when spiritual warfare seems strong in my life or when I feel that I have drifted so much that I can no longer hear the Lord’s still small voice. If you read all of Daniel 10, you will see that Daniel’s prayer and fasting actually helped to fight a spiritual battle that he was unaware of. When you pray, you are in a spiritual battle and fasting helps to fight that battle.
I have done Daniel Fasts, Juice Fasts, Fasts where I skip one meal or skip all meals for a day. I have never done a fast that eliminated both food and drink. When skipping meals, I will usually drink water.
What is a Daniel Fast?
A Daniel fast is a particular type of fast that Daniel did for 21 days to receive an interpretation from a vision. In Daniel 10 we see Daniel fasting and praying for 3 weeks or 21 days. “In those days I Daniel was mourning three full weeks. 3 I ate no pleasant bread, neither came flesh nor wine in my mouth, neither did I anoint myself at all, till three whole weeks were fulfilled” Dan 10:2-3 (KJV). I do not believe that Daniel set out to fast for 3 weeks, but rather to fast until he received an answer to his prayer. Usually when I have done a Daniel Fast I have done this fast for 3 weeks.
I have never done the fast longer than 3 weeks, because I am tired of beans and rice by the time it is over. If you have never tried an extended fast, then I recommend trying it sometimes. You will grow closer and closer to the Lord as the fast progresses. I am usually saddened at the end of the fast because I know this closeness will soon fade. As you grow closer to the Lord, you will be able to hear his voice more clearly.
What do I eat or not eat during a Daniel Fast?
In Daniel 10:3 we learn that Daniel ate no pleasant bread, no meat or wine neither did he anoint himself during this time. There are several different interpretations of this diet, which you can find in books or online. I interpret this fast very simply. Because I don’t want to spend all my time during the fast thinking about food preparation. I interpret no pleasant bread as sweet breads or cakes. I do not eliminate all bread, because I have to be able to sustain myself during this fast. This fast is not like Jesus’ fast in the wilderness so you don’t have to starve yourself.
No Meat or Pleasant Bread
I interpret“no meat or flesh”, according to the Hebrew meaning of the word “meat” or “flesh” depending on which version of the Bible you use.. According to Jewish dietary laws, “foods are divided into three categories to prevent the consumption of forbidden mixtures”1. These categories are as follows: meat (basari), dairy (halavi) and fish (parve). In Daniel 10:3 the Hebrew word for meat is basari, this category does not include fish (parve). So when I am on a Daniel fast I do not eat beef, chicken or of course pork, but I do eat fish. I also eat beans and rice as another source of protein.
No Wine or Grape Juice
In order to interpret the word “wine” in verse three, we must have an understanding of the Hebrew words used for wine in the Old Testament. There are three Hebrew words in the Old Testament used for wine or grape juice. They are as follows:
• “yayin” [pronounced yah-yin] — This word occurs 140 times in the Old Testament. It is a general term for grape beverages and includes all classes of wine, non-alcoholic or alcoholic; unfermented, in the process of fermentation and fermented. It was always diluted with water.
• “shekar” [shay-kawr] — This Hebrew word occurs 23 times. It is the word for strong drink, unmixed wine. The 1901 edition of THE JEWISH ENCYCLOPEDIA says “Yayin, wine, is to be distinguished from shekar, or strong drink. The former is diluted with water; the later is undiluted.”
• “tirosh” [tee-roshe’] — This word is used about 38 times. It refers to fresh grape juice. It is referred to often as new wine or sweet wine.
Whenever you see the word “wine” in the Old or New Testament, you should look up the Hebrew (Old Testament) or Greek (New Testament) words to see exactly what type of wine or grape juice the verse is describing. This would clear up much of the controversy as to whether Jesus turned the water into wine or grape juice, but that is a lesson for another day.
In Daniel 10:3 the word for wine is yayin, which you can see above either refers to wine or grape juice.
To summarize all of this, when I do a Daniel fast, I do not eat sweet bread, cake, beef, chicken, pork or grape juice. I do not drink wine so this is not an issue for me. You can read other books on the Daniel fast, but you will find the diets are more complicated. This simple fast has worked for me many times.