For the past 16 years, our church has been spending 21 days or more in January starting off the year with a Daniel Fast. If you’ve never done one, honey, you don’t know what your missing. The basis for this fast is found in the Old Testament book of Daniel, a prophet of the Lord. Two references are made-one in chapter 1 and also in chapter 10. In short, The Daniel Fast consists of eliminating meats, dairy, sweets and processed or refined grains and sugars from your daily diet.
Spiritually speaking, a fast is abstaining from certain foods, activities or entertainment for a period of time in order to focus the mind, body and soul on God's voice. Clarity of spirit is often found as we “turn the plate down” and spend that time normally devoted to eating to prayer, worship and meditation. It centers our hearts and allows God our undivided attention.
How many of you would agree that food takes up quite a bit of our thoughts throughout the average day? Especially if you're the chief cook of your home and are responsible for feeding your spouse and/or family, this means you not only have that burden, but you are constantly thinking about how you're going to adhere to the scriptural food list for those 21 days without making everybody crazy. Can I just insert right here that I'm already crazy when it comes to the Daniel Fast? I have lovingly referred to it as "the slow" because it seems to creep by, at least for me. I know, food is too important to me at times (hence the need for a fast, Lisa Ann, thus saith the Lord). Add to that the fact that I consider myself to be a foodie--one who is, at times, obsessed with all things culinary--and you've got a recipe for potential disaster (see what I did there?).
I know the Lord wants my undivided attention at all times, and especially during a season of fasting and prayer. So why do I find it so dad-burn difficult to function for the better part of those 21 days? And when I pray, it can feel like my prayers are hitting the ceiling and then plonking back on my head. Yeah, I said it--plonking. And BONUS: No meats, no sweets. Sooo, yeah...there's that.
Since I'm being all transparent with my readers right out of the box in this New Year, I'm really needing a breakthrough on some prayer requests I've been bringing before the Lord for a few years now. Now, I know God is not nearly as concerned with whether I'm thinking about a grilled cheese sandwich as He is the posture of my heart. And I'm just as certain that He is not withholding breakthroughs from me just because I secretly fantasized about Chick-Fil-A in the middle of prayer meeting. But boy, wouldn't it be cool if I could manage to keep my sanity for the rest of the month and actually spend time hearing God's voice?
Oh, that I might be more like my elder Brother and Savior, Jesus, who said, "My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me and to accomplish His work. (John 4:34)" That I might hear His voice speaking to me loudly and clearly, "Lisa, it's not about what you're putting in your mouth; it's about what's in your heart."
I'd love to hear from you all regarding your own experiences with the Daniel Fast. I'd also be happy to post links and recipes if anyone is interested!
Post script: There are MANY physical benefits to eating the Daniel Fast plan, including: clearer thinking, sustained energy throughout the day, regulated digestive motility (holla), and better sleep!