Daniel Fast

Jan 2, 2012

From January 2-22, Nightlifers will be participating in a Daniel Fast.  The purpose of this fast is to focus attention on the Lord and prayer at the beginning of the new year.  Fasting is a spiritual discipline in which we practice self-denial and prayer.  The Daniel Fast is a partial fast meaning that rather than refraining from all food, during the Daniel Fast you can partake of a strictly limited diet over an extended period of time.  This allow you to fast for a greater duration than complete abstinence of food might.  The purpose of denying yourself is not to get God’s attention, as such, but to get your own attention and center it on God.  You will find that as you deny yourself and commit additional time to prayer and seeking the Lord, you will be more sensitive to His presence and His will.   We invite you to join us for this fast as we pray for God’s will to be worked out in our families, personal lives, and particularly at Bethany and in Nightlife.  Below I have included some additional information as well as some frequently asked questions concerning the Daniel Fast and some links which can help answer some of your questions and help you prepare for meals.  Please keep in mind as you visit these websites that some people participate in Daniel Fasting for reasons such as physical and emotional health.  While these are desirable side effects of the fast, they are not the reasons for which we are engaging in this fast.  Also, as you browse various sites you will find that for the most part there is agreement on acceptable foods.  However, you may find some minor discrepancies here and there.  When you do, I encourage you not to worry about those differences and to remember why you are fasting as you decide what foods you should or should not include in your fast: the goal is not to see how far we can go without violating some imagined rule; the purpose is to deny ourselves and seek the Lord.

I am excited about what the Lord will do as we seek Him with special intensity at the beginning of this year.  I have created a Facebook event page so that Nightlifers who are participating in the fast can connect, share insights and helpful tips, and ask questions.  I will also be posting some specific prayer requests to that event page throughout the duration of the fast.

Grace & Peace

Pastor Stephen


What is the Daniel Fast? 

The Daniel Fast is a biblically based partial fast. It is a method of fasting that men, women and young people all over the world are using as they enter into the spiritual discipline of prayer and fasting.

There are two anchoring scriptures for the Daniel Fast. In Daniel 1 the Prophet ate only vegetables (that would have included fruits) and drank only water. So from these scriptures we get two of the guidelines for the fast:

1. Only fruits and vegetables
2. Only water for a beverage

Then in Daniel 10 we read that the Prophet ate no meat nor any precious breads or foods and he drank no wine for 21 days. So from this scripture, we get a third guideline:

3. No sweeteners and no breads

Another important guideline is drawn from Jewish fasting principles, where no leaven is used during the fast.  So that’s why yeast, baking powder and the like are not allowed on the Daniel Fast.

Finally, with all the above puzzle pieces, we conclude that no artificial or processed foods nor any chemicals are allowed on the Daniel Fast.

When asked about the eating plan on the Daniel Fast, I often say it is a “vegan diet with even more restrictions.”

Be sure to read the ingredients on labels of prepared foods to make sure they only include Daniel Fast friendly ingredients.


What is the Daniel Fast?

It’s a biblically based partial fast based on two accounts of the Prophet Daniel’s fasting experiences (seed Daniel 1 and 10) and typical Jewish fasting principles. The Daniel Fast eating plan is similar to a vegan diet with additional restrictions. See the Daniel Fast Food List for a more complete outline of foods to include and foods to avoid.

Why are fruits and grains allowed when the Bible says Daniel ate only vegetables and drank water?

The early translations (including KJV) use the word pulse instead of vegetables. That word is rightly translated as “foods grown from seed.” Therefore, the Daniel Fast includes fruits, vegetables and whole grains. 

Can I take medications during the Daniel Fast?

If you have health issues, you should always talk with your health professional before starting the Daniel Fast or any other major change in your diet. Fasting should never bring harm to the body, so medications should be continued.

Are supplements okay to take during the Daniel Fast?

Yes, but read the label to make sure they are of good quality and that the ingredients comply with the Daniel Fast Guidelines.

Why can’t I have herbal tea on the Daniel Fast?

This is a common question! The reason that no tea is allowed is because the only beverage on the Daniel Fast is water (see Daniel 1). This is based on the prophet’s fasting practice in Daniel 1 where he and his companions ate only pulse (food grown from seed) and drank only water. Tea is not water and therefore is not allowed on the Daniel Fast.

Can I have honey on the Daniel Fast; it’s natural with no preservatives?

No sweeteners are allowed on the Daniel Fast. This is based on Daniel’s fast recorded in Daniel 10 where he ate no meat and consumed no precious foods. So even though honey is natural and free of chemicals, it would be considered a “precious food” and therefore not allowed during the Daniel Fast.

I am pregnant; can I still engage in the Daniel Fast?

First, you will want to contact your doctor and explain that the Daniel Fast is a vegan diet with additional restrictions (leavened breads, caffeine, alcohol, sweeteners and chemicals). Generally, pregnant and nursing mothers follow the Daniel Fast guidelines, but add enough chicken or fish to meet the additional protein demands.

How much food can I have on the Daniel Fast?

The Scriptures don’t really state an amount of food that can be consumed. However, I do encourage people to keep in mind that this is a fast (restricting food for a spiritual purpose). With that in mind, eating no more than three moderate meals and two small snacks would be appropriate.

Can I eat food during the daylight hours?

Many fasts begin at sunrise and end at sunset. However, the Daniel Fast does not require this modification to our eating patterns. If you choose to add this step to your fast, then that would still be okay, but it is not a required step for the Daniel Fast.

How do you know what Daniel really ate?

I don’t! That’s why the fast isbased on the fasting experiences recorded in Daniel 1 and Daniel 10. If you want to “eat as Daniel ate,” then I encourage to research what that could have been. But my guess is that you will soon realize that you can’t be sure. That’s why the fast is only based and modeled after Daniel 1, Daniel 10 and typical Jewish fasting principles.

Can I have (fill in the blank)?

You can have all foods that include ingredients that comply with the Daniel Fast approved food lists. READ THE LABEL on any prepared or packaged foods to make sure all of the ingredients comply. Even foods marked as “natural” my still contain sweetener or other foods that are not allowed on the fast.

What foods can I eat straight from the grocery store?

You will quickly learn that most of the prepared foods found in grocery stores include sweeteners, chemicals or other ingredients that are not allowed on Daniel Fast. That’s why most meals are made from scratch and the reason I’ve written two eCookbooks and included a cookbook in the new paperback edition.

What if I want to do the Daniel Fast for dietary reasons and not spiritual purposes?

The definition of fasting is to restrict food for a spiritual purpose. Using the Daniel Fast eating plan for strictly health purposes would be a Daniel Diet rather than a fast. Many people do use the Daniel Fast eating plan to improve their health and for weight loss.

What about gum and breath mints?

I have yet to find either gum or breath mints that don’t have sweeteners or chemicals included in the ingredients. So alternatives like mint leaves, parsley, whole cloves and cinnamon sticks can be used. Also, adding lemon slices to your water will freshen your mouth. You will also find that eating a plant-based diet produces a “sweeter” breath than eating meats and animal products.

These definitions and FAQs were taken from www.daniel-fast.com.  Visit the website for further details.

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