In January 2016, many individuals, as well as churches, enter into the popular 21-day Daniel Fast to begin a new year. While fasting is a great way to begin the year, I want to examine our motives for selecting the Daniel Fast.
A couple of years ago I joined in our church-wide 21-day Daniel Fast. When I looked online I was surprised to see many Daniel Fast Cookbooks (some even offered approved “dessert” recipes.) I ordered a cookbook and began to prepare for the fast by selecting recipes I would use. Then I began shopping, prepared to read every single food label on the ingredient list to make sure I didn’t transgress the “no additives” rule of fasting. In the end, I spent way too much time and money at a health food supermarket.
During the fast, I also spent more time preparing my Daniel Fast recipes than I would have spent preparing my usual meals, and in my spirit I knew something was not right:
- Instead of using my fasting time to pray and read Scripture, I was spending it trying new “Daniel Fast-approved” recipes.
- I was allowing my fast to become legalistic, seeking to adhere to the approved food list (which varies with each Daniel Fast cookbook).
- I was merely “substituting” approved foods instead of really denying my flesh and humbling myself before God, which are the two key components of a God-approved fast.
I sadly believe that the “Daniel Fast,” as adopted by our current Christian and church culture, has become “commercialized” and a “fad” that can become merely a substitute for a true fast. This may not be true in your experience using the Daniel Fast. It truly is a matter between you and God. The real issue is our motive: are we truly humbling ourselves, seeking God, denying our flesh? Or are we simply trying to make fasting as palatable as possible? Only you can answer those questions.
(For more on fasting, see my book, LORD, IT’S BORING IN MY PRAYER CLOSET (How to Revitalize your Prayer Life–available at Amazon.com and kindle at: