About two months ago, I felt the Lord prompting me to set secular music aside. Although most of the music I listened to was Christian, I would listen to secular music several times a week to unwind. There was nothing hard or dark; most of it was from my era (70s, 80s and some 90s).
But God had me shelve secular music to pave the way for the next step He had in mind – a fast.
The Daniel fast is patterned after the fast Daniel took in Daniel one, where he ate only vegetables, fruits and grains; only foods that came from the ground. No meats, dairy, sugar, bread, or processed foods. He drank only water.
God put it on my heart to start the Daniel fast on April 1, so I did so, for five days.
It was amazing.
First, the hard part. It took several days to get past the withdrawals from sugar, processed food, bread, and meat. I like chocolate and enjoy a hearty burger from time to time, so letting all of that was an adjustment. There were moments when my intestines ached a bit, along with periods of weakness and fatigue. My flesh was screaming to be fed the way it was used to, and was balking at a diet of healthy foods only.
In the weeks leading up to the fast I’d had a sense that my life was too much about indulging myself. I was often looking for ways to eat the foods I like (ie chocolate), or do the fun things that would provide pleasure. I’m involved with ministry so it’s not like I’m a full time hedonist, yet there was a lingering sense that too much of my focus was on self-indulgement.
Fasting turns all of that on its head. The flesh is told “NO, life is not about you. Life is about seeking God so He can shape us as He pleases and use us for His purposes.” The flesh screams like a two year old who had an ice cream yanked out of his hand; it’s not used to being told “NO,” or not getting it’s way.
As the flesh pines, shrivels, and withers, blessings arise. We can hear God much clearer, and the Holy Spirit has more room to work in the heart. The end result is that the power and presence of God are more intense than usual, when He’s fighting for space in our lives with the flesh.
On each of the five mornings of the fast, the Lord brought me to specific verses and worked in powerful ways on my heart. One morning He showed me sin that I had been forgiven for, yet needed to release some shame and unworthiness that had plagued me. Another morning He revealed that I was too wrapped up around work, and needed to “go back to my first love” with Him. He also showed me crevices in my heart where fear and condemnation were lodged, and replaced them with joy and freedom.
Every morning I arose with anticipation at what God would do, and every morning He performed intense, healing surgery on my heart. I felt closer to Him than ever before, and wanted more of Him.
As I ended the fast on the sixth day, I dropped into a mild depression. Although I was dying for non- Daniel Fast food, I missed the closeness and wonder of those mornings with the Lord. He truly is amazing. It blows me away when He exposes a need for grace I wasn’t aware of, and then touches that place with His healing love.
The Lord is amazingly gentle. When we try to confront someone over sin, we’re often clumsy at it, prone to saying stupid things, and can sometimes do more harm than good. God comes to us in kindness, gently exposes the area of need, and provides healing. When He convicts of sin it’s with a laser sharp beam of light that only seems to hit the area that needs to be exposed; the other parts of our heart are left undamaged.
I should also mention that the spiritual warfare went off the charts from the first morning I started the fast. Things started going wrong at the office. Someone sent me an email with curses in big red letters. I got attacked with fear and insane thoughts at other times. But God used the attacks to teach me to stand strong on who I am in Christ. One morning after a barrage of dark thoughts, I started stabbing back with Scripture, and then yelled out, “I will not back down!” Shortly after that the dark chatter stopped.
I’ve read that fasting is the most powerful spiritual exercise there is, which is probably why the enemy attacks so fiercely when we do it. The last thing he wants is God’s people getting close to and renewing their passion for Him.
I plan on doing the Daniel fast again as I want more of God and what He wants to do.
I encourage you to consider and pray whether God might have you do a fast. The Daniel Fast by Susan Gregory is a great resource with insight on the best way to go about the Daniel fast, as well as recipes.