F A S T I N G
The goal of fasting is to draw nearer to God. Biblical fasting always has to do with eliminating distractions for a spiritual purpose; it hits the reset button of our soul and renews us from the inside out. It also enables us to celebrate the goodness and mercy of God and prepares our hearts for all the good things God desires to bring into our lives. Remember, your personal fast should present a level of challenge, but it is very important to know your body, your options, and, most importantly, to seek God in prayer and follow what the Holy Spirit leads you to do.
Types of Fasts
Your personal fast should present a level of challenge, but it is very important to know your body, your options, and most importantly, to seek God in prayer and follow what the Holy Spirit leads you to do.
SOUL FAST: This fast is a great option if you do not have much experience fasting food, have health issues that prevent you from fasting food, or if you wish to refocus certain areas of your life that are out of balance. For example, you might choose to stop using social media or watching television for the duration of the fast and then carefully bring that element back into your life in healthy doses at the conclusion of the fast.
PARTIAL FAST: This fast is sometimes called the “Jewish Fast” and involves abstaining from eating any type of food in the morning and afternoon. This can either correlate to specific times of the day, such as 6:00 am to 3:00 pm, or from sunup to sundown.
SELECTIVE FAST: This type of fast involves removing certain elements from your diet. One example of a selective fast is the Daniel Fast, during which you remove meat, sweets, and bread from your diet and consume water and juice for fluids and fruits and vegetables for food.
COMPLETE FAST: In this type of fast, you drink only liquids, typically water with light juices as an option.
Timing of a Fast
At Sanctuary Church, we encourage fasting for 21 days each year in the month of January. This is part of 21 Days of Prayer and Fasting, a season of focused prayer as a church family.
You may also choose to fast at other times during the year for your own spiritual development. It’s very typical to fast a single meal, a whole day, or three days or more. The timing of your fast is not as important as the strength of your focus on God as you fast.
The Daniel Fast is based upon the prophet Daniel’s experiences as recorded in the Bible. Scripture gives us some insight (such as in Dan. 10:3) into what he ate and didn’t eat; however, we don’t know his complete menu. What we do know is this: In Daniel 1, Daniel chose not to eat the royal food that he was being served and ate only vegetables and drank water. Another time (in Daniel 10:2-3) he deprived himself of choice food, meat, and wine as he sought the Lord in prayer. Most commentaries believe “choice food” would have been bread and sweets.
THE DANIEL FAST FOOD LIST
• All fruit – fresh, frozen, dried, juiced, or canned.
• All vegetables – fresh, frozen, dried, juiced, or canned.
• All whole grains – amaranth, barley, brown rice, oats, quinoa, millet, and whole wheat.
• All nuts & seeds – almonds, cashews, macadamia nuts, peanuts, pecans, pine nuts, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, and sunflower seeds; unsweetened almond milk. Nut butters are also included.
• All legumes – canned or dried; black beans, black eyed peas, cannellini beans, garbanzo beans (chickpeas), great northern beans, kidney beans, lentils, pinto beans, and split peas.
• All quality oils – avocado, coconut, grapeseed, olive, peanut, sesame, and walnut.
• Beverages– water.
• Other – unsweetened almond milk, coconut milk, rice milk, or soy milk; herbs, spices, salt, pepper, unsweetened coconut flakes, seasonings, Bragg’s Liquid Aminos, soy products, and tofu.
FOODS TO AVOID ON THE DANIEL FAST
• All meat & animal products – bacon, beef, buffalo, eggs, fish, lamb, poultry, and pork.
• All dairy products – butter, cheese, cream, milk, and yogurt.
• All sweeteners – agave nectar, artificial sweeteners, brown rice syrup, cane juice, honey, molasses, raw sugar, syrups, and sugar.
• All leavened bread & yeast – baked goods and Ezekiel bread (if it contains yeast and honey).
• All refined & processed food products – artificial flavorings, chemicals, food additives, preservatives, white flour, and white rice
• All deep-fried foods – corn chips, French fries, and potato chips.
• All solid fats – lard, margarine, and shortening.
• Beverages – alcohol, carbonated drinks, coffee, energy drinks, herbal tea (see my FAQ page for explanation), and tea.
See the following website for more info on the Daniel Fast!