It doesn’t matter if you are a big sinner or a little sinner, we all sin. The question is, how do you leapfrog all those speedbumps to gain an audience at the Lord’s feet? One of the most recommended ways across denominations (and even religions!) is to cycle through self-analysis, repentance, and fasting.
When You Are Seriously Stuggling But Don’t Know Where To Start
We all go through hard times – that’s a given in our world – but what do you do when it feels like prayer isn’t enough, like you just aren’t being heard, or like the trouble is so bad you aren’t sure how you can’t hang on anymore?
That’s where I was when I started combing my Bible, looking for an answer. … and I quickly realized I didn’t know where to look or that the answers I was getting didn’t make sense to me. What was the message in the passage? How did that apply to my situation? I started feeling overwhelmed and defeated.
Overwhelmed and defeated? Oh no!
Girrrrrl, I needed to snap my snaps and clap back at that negativity because a) I don’t need any more of that in my life and b) hello, my God is a good God. Bad things can become good things, silver linings are real things, and we were made to Glow in the Dark.
The search for a Word had to go on.
You Better Search, Search It Girl
… do your thing, find that passage!
Oh, come on. We all have quirks. Mine just happens to be cheese. If you are totes confused about the reference, just repeat that line in your head over RuPaul’s “Supermodel Of The World“.
Aside from a few (now guilt-laden) attempts at Bibliomancy, the top 3 ways I search for Biblical insight are:
- Davka’s Tanach (for Android)
- eSword (for Windows)
- Google Search (for whatever platform I’m using but usually the Mac because I haven’t found a Biblical app I like for that one yet)
While I do have several print versions of the Bible (and a JPS Hebrew English Tanakh), I find it easier and faster to just type in a topic, theme, or word and presto! Get a bajillion results. With snippets and sometimes icons too!
*eeee!* (fangirl squeal)
That’s how exciting it is to get a Word. 😀
Don’t get me wrong, I like the topic and special event reading cheat sheet style lists that a lot of these books have. It’s just that sometimes, I can’t figure out how to make the passage fit my situation.
So there I was, searching for insight when BOOM! BAM! Holy Word, Batman! I landed squarely in the Book of Daniel and The Daniel Fast … Fast … Fast. (Imagine that with a really cool echo effect.)
Everything I had been reading up until this point simply said to fast. What was a fast exactly, though? How was I supposed to fast? How long would I be fasting? Could I have any liquid (even a shake) or could I only have water? What if I started feeling sick? How would my prayer be answered then?
I’m not trying to be funny this time. I really had no idea what to expect or if I’d be able to tough it out long enough to get the door busting answer I was so desperate for.
Until I found The Daniel Fast. (Cue Zoolander pose.)
The Daniel Fast
My definition of The Daniel Fast isn’t quite the same as Wikipedia’s. I see it as living a vegetarian (possibly even vegan) life. I mean, Daniel was fasting from meat and wine – indefinitely – to stay kosher, not mourn for a set amount of days. He did say the prison guard could check on his health after 10 days but not that he was going to start eating like all the other young men (Daniel 1:1-21).
Vegans don’t use animals or animal products and, unless I am mistaken, at the least Daniel’s sandles would have been made out of thick hide.
Okay, so we’ve sort of got the definition narrowed down.
Now how do we apply it?
The short and simple answer is to become a full-time vegeterian: ditch all the meat, dairy, fish, and poultry products. This includes value added products like flavored yogurt and byproducts like bonemeal.
Unless you decide to be a pescatarian, lacto or ovo vegetarian, or another type of vegetarian. Seriously, you’ve got options!
There are some churches that encourage keeping The Daniel Fast but do it for just 10, 14, or 21 days at a time. Individuals will sometimes pledge to eat one vegeterian meal a week, one a day, all week with a meaty “cheat” day or two over the weekend, etc. As I said, options.
As for the wine, wellllll …
Technically, wine could be okay on a vegeterian (or even vegan) diet. Daniel most likely abstained because from both the meat and wine because of how it was prepared, stored, and often sacrificed to other gods/idols before being served. It could also have been a desire to keep his head straight and avoid any unintentional sin that sipping a little of the Pharoah’s special grape juice might egg on. He, as you may have guessed, is in his enemy’s house and trying to keep himself together.
What’s that? You aren’t trapped in your enemy’s chateau and you shudder at the thought of having to give up your nightly, heart-healthy wine habit? Fear not! There are vegan, kosher, and even non-alcoholoic halal wines available. (That last one blew my mind: literally 0.0% alcohol!)
The Power Of The Daniel Fast
The power of The Daniel Fast lies in the self-control required to alter your habits. Even if it’s a short term change, it *is* a change and we humans are notoriously prone to staying in our well worn tracks.
In older times, feast fare (aka things like barbeque) were trotted out only for celebrations or holidays. Unless you were royalty or wealthy. Then you had this fab menu avaiable to you every day. With wine, no less!
Modern food cycles have made it possible for everyone to enjoy feasts whenever we want to. (Or at least on weekends or payday.) Which makes a diet like Daniel’s more of a fast. A less drastic, maybe more medically-friendly fast with the potential to help us break through our negative patterns, open our eyes to new possibilities, and free ourselves from whatever bondage we are in.
That is truly powerful.
P.S. Do you have a resource suggestion, an idea for a post or tutorial, or want support on your journey? Contact me here.