In the third year of Cyrus king of Persia a word was revealed to Daniel, who was named Belteshazzar. And the word was true, and it was a great conflict. And he understood the word and had understanding of the vision. 2 In those days I, Daniel, was mourning for three weeks. 3 I ate no delicacies, no meat or wine entered my mouth, nor did I anoint myself at all, for the full three weeks. (Daniel 10:1-3 ESV)
I recently completed the 21-day Daniel Fast. It has been a few years since I participated in the corporate fast with many other members of my church. I was amazed at the transitions I went through while going through the process. It was a journey indeed.
Foods allowed on the Daniel Fast include vegetables, fruit, nuts, whole grains and beans. No meat, no dairy, no fried or processed food, no sweeteners, no artificial sweeteners and no beverage other than water are allowed. There are many websites and resources that offer more insight into the Daniel Fast including its origin such as http://www.allaboutprayer.org/daniel-fast.htm.
The first day of the fast was fairly easy, but days 3-6 were really tough for me. By day seven, I found myself wishing I was at the 21-day mark already. I was frustrated that my body was going through a detox that was exacerbated by the fact that I was sick with a cold, dealing with bursitis in my left hip, and on my monthly cycle. I prayed but they were prayers of frustration. I was “mad” at Daniel. How ridiculous is that, lol? I wished I had not even started the fast, but I’ m not known to quit easily so I endeavored to continue on if for no reason than to say I’d finished what I started.
Sometime during that first week, I talked to my brother and I was whining about the fast and my challenges. I wanted meat, at least chicken. I wanted coffee, only one cup in the mornings. I wanted a potato with cheese and sour cream, not just salt and pepper. He said to me, “You’re going about this all wrong. You’re more focused on the foods you can’t have than the food you can have.”
Then he went on to ask me, “Are you praying?” I was like, “yeah, I’m praying but this is not getting it.” After that, I felt convicted. Drowning in my on sorrows was not going to make this fast any easier and it surely wasn’t going to do what fasts are designed to do. So by the time week two started I had hit a stride. I still had some trouble with suppressing my flesh but not nearly like it was the prior week. I became more prayer-focused and spirit-centered and less food-focused and self -centered. I started a fasting devotional that I incorporated into my alone time with God and I saw God move in various ways.
Week three started and I couldn’t believe it was the last week. I’d somewhat become accustomed to the “Daniel menu” and God and I were in a groove so to speak. I was hearing Him , seeing Him and feeling Him. A few added bonuses were the 7 lbs I lost, improvement in my fatigue, more mental clarity, and clearer skin. At the end of the fast I was glad I had done it and glad I had finished it. I will not act like I wasn’t glad to reincorporate chicken and coffee back into my life but some things I’ve given up for good. I’m not only healthier spiritually but physically as well. I have a renewed thirst for God and for that I’m thankful.
In considering whether or not I would do another fast before this time next year my brother reminded me of another scripture that says and when you fast, not if you fast or if you decide to fast. Therefore it is an implied part of our Christian walk that at times you should and will fast.
“And when you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces that their fasting may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. 17 But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, 18 that your fasting may not be seen by others but by your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you. (Matthew 6:16-18 ESV)
Thank You for equipping me to fast and for deepening my understanding during it. Help me to continue to build on the principles learned and to have a good attitude. Thank You for the blessings and benefits reaped for me and for others during and after the fast. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
I EMPOWER you to fast and pray! When you fast and pray, I EMPOWER you to stay the course and to pray even more when the going gets tough. I EMPOWER you to fast and pray as a means to build and strengthen your relationship with God.
Read a related EmpowerMoment: Lent
Mrs. Coretta Collins is a wife and mother who enjoys reading, writing, movies and spending time with family and friends. She is avid about health, healing and helping which serves her well as a Family Nurse Practitioner in a hematology and oncology practice. Striving to be led by the Lord throughout life and having overcome significant challenges, her favorite scripture is Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future. Coretta is a member of St. John A.M.E. Church in Birmingham, Alabama. She resides in Calera, Alabama with her awesome husband and two wonderful sons.