The Bible tells us that Daniel embarked on a 21-day fast. But what motivated him to do this, and how can fasting be used to invite God into our spiritual lives? Fasting can bring an element of discipline and focus to your spiritual practice while deepening your connection with the divine.
Understanding the Context of Daniel’s Fast
Daniel’s fast was set in the context of his exile and captivity in Babylon, when he and the Israelites were cut off from familiar comforts and practices of their homeland. Fasting during this period was likely a way to express humility before God and remind them of their Pilgrim identity. Through fasting, Daniel hoped God would show compassion on his people and grant them favor. Even today, fasting can be useful for reducing distractions so that we remember our true faith-foundation as pilgrims relying completely on God for hope.
How to Approach Fasting in Your Own Life
Fasting can be an opportunity to remind yourself of how we are all dependent on God. A good way to approach your own fasting experience is to begin by taking stock of your current spiritual life. Talk with God before you begin and make sure you express why you want to fast—to draw closer to him, gain wisdom, heal a particular area in need of attention, etc. Then make a plan for the sort of fast you should undertake in light of this purpose (eg. day extent, food selection). Finally, keep in mind that continuing communication with God is important throughout the entire fasting period as you explore what He may be revealing about your life.
Using Fasting as a Spiritual Discipline
Fasting is a powerful spiritual discipline that can bring physical, mental, and spiritual healing. It can help us to focus on God and prayer as we draw intensely near to Him in our times of need. Daniel’s 21-day fast was likely an opportunity to seek God while seeking His direction for his whole life. Similarly, fasting today can be used as a form of deliberate denial in order to gain knowledge, purify the soul, and surrender more effectively to the Lord for spiritual growth.
Worshiping God During a Fasted State
During a fast, one can experience many spiritual benefits, namely opportunities for conscious focus on the Lord and ability to glorify God by honoring Him with willing abstinence from food. Daniel prayed three times each day, used God-inspired language in his prayer, and made requests unto God. By worshiping God during a fasted state it allowed Daniel to more fully focus on his prayers as his thoughts were not encumbered by meet cravings.
The Benefits of a 21-Day Fast for Greater Intimacy With God
Fasting is often seen as a spiritual discipline that can help believers grow closer to the Lord. By abstaining from food for an extended period of time, Christians can focus more intentionally on praying and meditating on God’s Word. Daniel’s 21 day fast exemplifies how fasting can increase intimacy with the Lord and allow individuals to hear his still small voice more clearly. It can cause one to feel closer to God while at the same time developing a greater realization of dependence upon Him.