Daniel was a faith-filled person. He lived his life praying regularly and giving thanks to God. Daniel took care of his body, mind, and soul and God was pleased with him. He lived by the Spirit of Christ which set him free, no matter what external worldly events were taking place.
Like Daniel, we can let the Holy Spirit guide our lives. When we live by the Spirit, we won’t let the sinful nature influence us. It will produce in us the fruit of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Fasting is a way of adding self-control to our lives whether we need to lose weight, gain health, or fill our soul with God’s Spirit.
What Is the Daniel Fast?
The Daniel Fast in the Bible is based on Daniel 1. King Nebuchadnezzar ordered his chief of staff to bring in some of the young men of Judah’s royal family that had been captured and brought to Babylon. King Nebuchadnezzar wanted strong and healthy young men that were also learned and gifted with knowledge and good judgment to serve in his palace. The men would be trained for three years in the Babylonian language and literature. They would be served a daily ration of food and wine from the king’s kitchens. Four of these men were Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah whom the chief of staff would rename with the Babylonian names, Belteshazzar, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, respectively.
Daniel was worried that the king’s food and wine might not be acceptable to God, so he asked for permission to have something else to eat while he was there. The chief of staff at first said no because he was afraid that the king would be angry if his subjects were to eat the wrong things and become pale and thin and therefore lose their strength.
Daniel knew that his body was God’s temple so he spoke again and respectively asked if the chief of staff would test his idea. For ten days Daniel and his three friends would eat a diet of vegetables and water. If the chief of staff thought that they were losing their strength and vitality, they would switch to the king’s food.
At the end of the ten days, Daniel and his friends looked healthier and better nourished than the other young men who had eaten the king’s food. So, the four young men got to continue with their food regimen. And God gave the four an unusual aptitude for understanding literature and wisdom. To Daniel, He gave a special ability to interpret the meanings of visions and dreams.
At the end of the three-year training period, Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah impressed the king more than any of the other young men and they were able to enter the royal service where they excelled in the king’s work.
The discipline that Daniel and his friends showed has been modernized to teach modern-day disciples of Christ about eating healthy so that they are strong for their service of the Lord. Being a poor steward of our health and well-being doesn’t honor God. But the Daniel Plan is more than just a diet. It involves the five essential elements of Food, Fitness, Focus, Faith, and Friends. It calls you to dedicate your body to God so that your life may be a living and holy sacrifice (Romans 12:1-2). It also calls you to pray for God for His help in training you to live a healthy lifestyle. You eat as many whole, God-created foods as possible, as well as drink lots of water. In this way, it is similar to Daniel’s vegetable and water diet.
Diets and fasting aren’t easy. Discipline seldom is. That is why prayer is such an integral component of the plan. You pray for help to:
Make healthy food choices,
Live a more active lifestyle,
Get enough sleep,
Cut down on stress,
And spend regular time in God’s Word.
Your physical health affects every other aspect of your life. That is why it is important to God. Plus, our body is the temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19) and should be cared for and respected.
Photo Credit: ©Getty Images/master1305
21-Day Daniel Fast Prayer Guide
Test yourself for 21 days. Make healthy food choices that include lots of whole foods. Think about how people ate before the 20th century when fast and convenient food became a norm.
This 21-day period is a chance to set good habits into place so you will be able to continue the program as long as it takes for you to get healthier. Even if you don’t need to lose weight, these steps can be applied as a way to build some other type of discipline in your life. It’s about trusting in the Lord and letting Him guide your steps throughout life.
Day 1: Pray for the faith to stick to and complete this challenge. It takes perseverance. It won’t be easy but good things seldom are. Pray that you will endure in making better food choices every day. Pray that you don’t give up so that you might reap a blessing (Galatians 6:9). Don’t forget that you can do all things through Him who gives you strength (Philippians 4:13).
Day 2: Pray for God’s strength to help you make good choices daily and to avoid temptations that will set you back. Just like Daniel and his friends, God wants to bless you for disciplining your body so that it can honor Him.
Day 3: Pray for God to speak to you each day as you read your Bible. The Daniel Fast is a plan that will teach you wisdom for life as well as tips to lose weight and gain energy. The Bible is living and active and will sharpen your senses to live with more discipline.
Day 4: Pray for the Holy Spirit to aid you in this quest. A vibrant relationship with the Holy Spirit comes from listening to God as you read His Word and then staying in a continual prayer conversation with the Spirit. The more you ask, the more He will help you.
Day 5: Pray that your daily food choices will honor God. Remember that what you eat, drink, and do should be done for the glory of God (1 Corinthians 10:31).
Day 6: Pray the Lord’s Prayer over your food, health, and lifestyle. Dear Father in Heaven, I come to You with my spirit bowed down. Let Your kingdom come on earth and in my lifestyle. Give me my daily bread and help me to choose the most healthful choices. Forgive me when I choose wrongly and give me the wisdom to continue forward after any mistakes. Help me to withstand any temptations of unhealthy food and to never stop pressing forward to make better health choices. Amen.
Day 7: Pray about the amount of sugar that you typically take in. Sugar is so plentiful today. It’s easy to overindulge. Too much sugar can cause heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, cancer, type 2 diabetes, and dementia.
Day 8: Pray about the wisdom of eating lots of natural, God-made food and a lot less chemical concoctions. Fruits and vegetables are a lot easier for our bodies to process.
Day 9: Remember to pray before your meals. Pray that you will eat sensibly and eat for fuel more often than you eat to party. Celebrations may include food, but we should concentrate on the event more than the food or drink we take in.
Day 10: Pray for the wisdom to decipher food labels. If you cannot pronounce an ingredient name, the chances are pretty good that it’s not a God-made food.
Day 11: Pray about how much you’re moving. Our bodies weren’t designed to sit most of the time. We need to walk, build some muscle for strength, and stretch for flexibility.
Day 12: Remember that no discipline is enjoyable while you are in the middle of it. It can be painful and hard. But afterward, there will be a peaceful harvest of right living (Hebrews 12:11).
Day 13: Pray for the Holy Spirit to empower you as you focus on renewing your mind and transforming your body and energy.
Day 14: Remember that a cheerful heart is good medicine (Proverbs 17:22). Taking care of your health (body, mind, and soul) pays great dividends in life.
Day 15: When you eat the wrong thing, don’t beat yourself up. Continue on making good choices as much as possible. Don’t give up when you do something wrong. Remember that God’s grace flows in our weakness. He will help you to learn for the future.
Day 16: Replace negative thoughts with God’s truth. Reflect on His promises daily. God wants you to be full of hope, not discouragement.
Day 17: Find someone who has similar goals as you and walk this healthy path with them. Two are better than one, they have a good return on their labor (Ecclesiastes 4:9) and someone is there when you fall to pick you back up.
Day 18: Pray about your pacing. All you need to do is take one step, build it into your lifestyle, then take another step and build that in as well, then take another step and another. Continue in this way. You don’t have to change all-at-once, overnight.
Day 19: Reward yourself when you realize you’ve made strides forward in your health. This can be pounds lost, resisting temptation, or even thinking rightly instead of believing lies.
Day 20: Remember the essential thing in the Christian life is to help people. Gaining health and energy helps you to do that.
Day 21: Remember that none of this needs to be extremely difficult. Do what you can to make these processes simple. Eat natural foods. Eat less. Move your body regularly. And incorporate everything as a means to an end—to enjoy and make the most of your life.
Benefits of the Daniel Fast
There are many benefits of eating similarly to the way Daniel did. You will lose weight. Your digestion will improve. You will retain less fluid. Your risk of chronic illnesses will lessen. You will think better and focus more clearly. Your mood and energy level will improve. Joint pain will diminish. And you will sleep better. You will spend less time worrying about poor health symptoms, so you will be able to spend more time loving God and your neighbor. The discipline of a good diet will help you live obediently as a good disciple of Christ. Therefore, you will be more full of God’s Spirit than you are of your sinful nature.
For more information:
The ideas in this article have come from the Bible as well as the book, The Daniel Plan: 40 Days to a Healthier Life, by Rick Warren, D.Min., Daniel Amen, M.D., and Mark Hyman, M.D. Pick it up if you would like even more tips to live a healthy lifestyle.
Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/Jantanee Rungpranomkorn
Jennifer Heeren loves to write and wants to live in such a way that people are encouraged by her writing and her attitude. She loves to write devotional articles and stories that bring people hope and encouragement. Her cup is always at least half-full, even when circumstances aren’t ideal. She regularly contributes to Crosswalk. Her debut novel is available onAmazon. She lives near Atlanta, Georgia with her husband. Visit her ather website and/or onFacebook.
We pray you experience the presence and power of God in an extraordinary way as you commit yourself to Him, over the next 21 days. May God continue to bless you and enlarge your faith as you seek Him first!How do you pray during Daniel fasting? ›
- Pray daily and read the Bible.
- Prepare spiritually by confessing your sins to God.
- Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal areas of weakness.
- Forgive all who have offended you and ask forgiveness from those you may have offended. ( Mark 11:25; Luke 11:4; 17:3-4)
O Lord, in keeping with all your righteous acts, turn away your anger and your wrath from Jerusalem, your city, your holy hill. Our sins and the iniquities of our fathers have made Jerusalem and your people an object of scorn to all those around us. "Now, our God, hear the prayers and petitions of your servant.What prayers to pray during fasting? ›
Prayer for Fasting
Father, thank you for this wonderful food. Please bless those who have prepared this beautiful meal for us. We invite your Holy Spirit to be with us as we enjoy this precious time together. Lord, as we eat and drink may we celebrate the love and goodness you give us each day.
During the fast, increase the frequency of your daily prayer time by a factor of three or more. Reserve time with God during the day by studying the Bible. Seek the Lord diligently for the answers to your prayers. Ask for God's guidance in your life.How many hours a day did Daniel pray? ›
Three times a day he got down on his knees and prayed, giving thanks to his God, just as he had done before.What is the Daniel Fast rules? ›
The Daniel Fast is a partial fast based on a story from the biblical Book of Daniel. It's a strict vegan diet that prohibits animal products, leavened breads, processed foods, caffeine, and alcohol for 10–21 days. Some folks follow the diet as an act of spiritual devotion. It is not intended as a weight loss diet.Why does Daniel pray three times a day? ›
Some scholars believe that Daniel had a prayer chamber built on top of his house, with the windows permanently open toward Jerusalem. It was an act of faith on the part of an exiled Jew to pray three times a day toward the land from which he had been taken captive.What are the 3 prayers? ›
The prayer of protection. The prayer of transformation. The prayer of restoration.What are the 5 basic prayer? ›
We've defined the primary types of prayer: supplication, thanksgiving, adoration, confession, and intercession.
These prayers include: Prayer of Confession, Prayer of Salvation, Prayer of Pardon, Prayer of Promise, Prayer of Submission, Prayer of Praise, and Prayer for Blessing.What should you do during Daniel Fast? ›
The Daniel Fast diet consists of non-energy-restricted choices of foods from plant sources, minimally processed and prepared in a healthy and simple way. The diet eliminates animal products, caffeine, and alcohol; and includes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds.What is the Daniel fast rules? ›
The Daniel Fast is a partial fast based on a story from the biblical Book of Daniel. It's a strict vegan diet that prohibits animal products, leavened breads, processed foods, caffeine, and alcohol for 10–21 days. Some folks follow the diet as an act of spiritual devotion. It is not intended as a weight loss diet.What can I drink during Daniel Fast? ›
Beverages: Water should be your primary source of hydration on the Daniel fast. It's also something you don't want to slack on since following a plant-based diet increases most people's fiber intakes. Other beverages typically allowed are decaffeinated herbal teas and fresh squeezed or 100% fruit juice.What happens to your body when you do the Daniel Fast? ›
Side effects of the Daniel Fast typically include increased energy, weight loss, improved insulin sensitivity, improved blood pressure, as well as mental and spiritual clarity.