Below, you'll find information regarding fasting in general, the Daniel fast specifically, as well as a Bible study tool called S.O.A.P. This information can also be found in print form in the Blue Room at church. We're so excited for this season and all the wonderful things God has in store for our church and in your lives personally.
We love you,
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 souls 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.
TIMING OF A FAST
At Riverside Church, we encourage fasting for 21 days each year in the month of January. This is part of a season of focused prayer as a church family. You may also choose to fast at other times during the year. You could fast a single meal, a whole day, or several days. The timing of your fast is not as important as the strength of your focus on Him as you fast.
This fast calls for drinking only liquids, typically water with light juices as an option.
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.
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.
This fast is common for those who do not have much experience fasting food, who have health issues that prevent them from fasting food, or who wish to refocus certain areas of their lives that are out of balance. For instance, someone might select to abstain from using social media or watching television for the duration of the fast.
Daniel Fast FAQs
How Do I Get Started?
Pray and Be Specific
Ask God to show you what the purpose of your fast will be.
- Identify the kind of fast you want to do
- Identify specific prayer targets
- Identify a length of time you will fast
- Plan your meals and go shopping
What Can I Eat?
You will find some variations to this list, so use your discretion.
All fruits. These can be fresh, frozen, dried, juiced, or canned. Fruits include but are not limited to apples, bananas, all berries, grapefruit, grapes, honeydew melon, kiwi, lemons, limes, mangoes, nectarines, oranges, peaches, pears, pineapples.
All vegetables. These can be fresh, frozen, dried, juiced, or canned. Vegetables include but are not limited to asparagus, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, celery, corn, cucumbers, garlic, kale, lettuce, mushrooms, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, zucchini.
All whole grains, including but not limited to whole wheat, brown rice, quinoa, oats, barley, grits, whole wheat pasta, whole wheat tortillas.
All nuts and seeds, including but not limited to sunflower seeds, cashews, peanuts, almonds. Also nut butters including peanut butter.
All legumes, including but not limited to pinto beans, lentils, black eyed peas, kidney beans, black beans, cannellini beans, white beans.
All quality oils, including but not limited to olive, canola, grape seed, peanut, and sesame.
Beverages: spring water, distilled water, or other pure waters.
Other: tofu, soy products, vinegar, seasonings, natural sea salt, herbs, and spices.
What Can I NOT Eat
All meat and animal products, including but not limited to beef, lamb, pork, poultry, and fish.
All dairy products, including but not limited to milk, cheese, cream, butter, and eggs.
All sweeteners, including but not limited to sugar, raw sugar, syrups, molasses, and cane juice.
All leavened bread and baked goods.
All refined and processed food products, including but not limited to artificial flavorings, food additives, chemicals, white rice, white flour, and foods that contain artificial preservatives.
All deep-fried foods, including but not limited to potato chips, French fries, corn chips. All solid fats including shortening, margarine, lard, and foods high in fat.
Beverages (besides water and fruit), including but not limited to coffee, tea, herbal teas, carbonated beverages, energy drinks, and alcohol.
Why Do I Feel Sick?
During the Daniel Fast, many people experience a physical detox during the first few days of the fast including headaches, fatigue, leg cramps, and other typical symptoms.
You can reduce these effects by weaning yourself from these foods before the fast begins and also by drinking at least 1/2 gallon of filtered water each day before, during, and after the fasting period.
Anytime you have concern about symptoms you may experience, be sure to contact your health care provider. Fasting should never be harmful to the body!
For More Information, Check Out These Resources:
S. O. A. P.
Bible Study Guide
S.O.A.P. is an acronym describing an approach to reading the Word of God. This simple guide will help you discover a refreshing way to make your daily reading more personal and meaningful.
Select a section to read today. While you are reading carefully, select a passage that stands out to you. Write it down in your journal under the letter “S.”
What do you think God is saying to you in this passage? Summarize it in your own words and write it in your journal under the letter “O.”
How can you apply this insight to things you are dealing with right now in your life? Write your thoughts in your journal under the letter “A.”
Talk to God about insights and understanding. Ask Him questions and listen for His guidance in making His Word real in your life. Write your prayer in your journal under the letter “P.”
Tips and Suggestions:
- Set aside time each day to explore and discover God’s Word. There is no perfect time of day or length of time. Sort out what works for you and be flexible.
- Practice clearing your mind when you start and listen for God’s voice as you read.
- Set up time without interruptions. Just like an appointment with a friend, this time should be reserved for you and God alone.
- Distractions will come. Be ready to redirect your mind as you practice digging deeper into God’s Word.
- Start with a reasonable amount of time and make a goal to be consistent. You will get out of it what you put into it.
- If you get off track, jump back in quickly. Don’t let an off day turn into an off week. Try again!