When it comes to fasting there is a lot of discussion on what you can do and what you should not do. It can become so confusing that some become discouraged in the process or focus too much on the wrong things and quit. Fasting is simple. Daniel 10 lays out the guidelines for a Daniel fast that should be the foundation for how we conduct ourselves.
Biblical fasting has always centered on the object of food. (For more on that check out “Why We Fast Food“.) So when it comes to a Daniel fast, keep centered on the three main elements, no meat, no wine and no delicacies. The first two go without much explanation and yes, fish is a meat. Delicacies tend to be the category where things get a little “blurry”.
Delicacies are usually identified as sweets, treats and processed foods. Also included in this category are specific items that you choose to sacrifice. For some people eating no meat, drinking wine, or not eating delicacies may be a part of their normal diet. Since the idea behind fasting is sacrifice this is where you choose to sacrifice something to the Lord. This varies between people.
Not To Do List
When it comes to a fast there are things we are to do and things we should not do. Here is a list of the things you should NOT do on a fast.
Compare foods. The idea of a fast is not suffering but sacrifice. Yes, there is some suffering in sacrifice but the idea is to deny your carnal desires for spiritual breakthrough. Choose what you will sacrifice to the Lord and don’t be distracted by what others sacrifice. Remain committed to what you have purposed in your heart and don’t worry about others.
Judge others: Probably the worst thing you could do on a fast, other than break it prematurely, is to judge someone. This goes hand in hand with comparing foods. Don’t judge someone’s spirituality or commitment based on what they are sacrificing or what you think they should be sacrificing.
Complain about fasting. Fasting is tough, no question. If it weren’t everyone would be doing it. There will be good days and days when you will feel you’re in a fog. This is part of the detox process of fasting food. It also reveals how tight a grip food has on you. When I feel the struggle to eat something I’m sacrificing I remind myself of the reason why I’m fasting.
Don’t focus on the sacrifice. The crux of a fast is to be more like Jesus. Fasting exercises faith on a supernatural level which unites us with the character and likeness of God. Once you’ve decided what you are going to sacrifice, set your mind on Christ.
Neglect prayer and the Word. Fasting without prayer and the Word is a bad diet at best. Fasting is a continual prayer before God. That said, set aside time to pause and pray. It’s not the quantity of time; it’s the attention to prayer. Make a list of prayers you want to see answered and throughout your day spend a few minutes praying for those. Over the course of your fast that will add up.
Fasting is not an exercise in hope but an expression of faith. It’s not an “I hope this works” or “I hope God hears me”. Fasting is a divinely ordained discipline that breaks the grip the enemy has on keeping you from answered prayer.