Daniel was among many other young people forcibly carried to Babylon by King Nebuchadnezzar,after the Babylonians invaded and defeated Judah in 606 BC. Daniel and his young friends were plunged into a lifestyle completely alien to what they were accustomed to. They were unable to observe the rituals of Jewish life, or the aspects of purity in their food and customs, which were all an intrinsic part of their worship of God. For these young men who had lived for God, life was turned upside down, and everything aimed at destroying their identity, and way of life. It looked like things were out of control, and could not be reversed or changed. The boys needed a breakthrough, and just when they felt there was nowhere to turn, someone stood up to make a difference!
“Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king’s delicacies, nor with the wine which he drank; therefore he requested of the chief of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself.
Now God had brought Daniel into the favor and good will of the chief of the eunuchs. And the chief of the eunuchs said to Daniel, “I fear my Lord the king, who has appointed your food and drink. For why should he see your faces looking worse than the young men who are your age? Then you would endanger my head before the king.” So Daniel said to the steward whom the chief of the eunuchs had set over Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah, “Please test your servants for ten days, and let them give us vegetables to eat and water to drink. Then let our countenances be examined before you, and the countenances of the young men who eat the portion of the king’s delicacies; and as you see fit, so deal with your servants”. So he consented with them in this matter, and tested them ten days.”
There is no better way to consecrate the new year to Jesus than by observing a fast for the first few days of it. It also prepares your heart to hear from God and receive His guidance and direction. Fasting builds your faith, and enables you to stand up and pray forth the breakthrough you are waiting for. May this year be one of victory, favor, and divine wisdom and revelation, like Daniel knew, as you set out to purposefully place your life in the hands of Almighty God.
We can take some tips from Daniel:
1)Be specific and purposeful about what you want to achieve through your fast. Daniel was intentional about his fast – he was seeking to return to the purity he had walked in. The king’s food had been offered to idols and was against the Jewish dietary laws. Also, Daniel and his friends had vowed not to drink wine.
2)Your fast is a spiritual commitment to the Lord, even as Daniel’s fast was.
3)Fasting the Daniel way can result in better health physically, spiritually and mentally. The effects of the fast were seen on the faces of Daniel and his friends – they were glowing, and were in good shape (Daniel 1:15).
4)Include times of prayer and worship into your day. Daniel prayed three times a day, no matter what. (Daniel 6:10). It is also important to feed on the Word during your fast.
5)Daniel’s fast was for 10 days in Chapter 1, and 21 days in Chapter 10:3. Keep to the days you commit to fast. If you miss a day, you can always continue and add on a day at the end.
6)Your fast is a statement of faith in God. Daniel had no doubt that God would come through for him.
7)It is a statement of faith to others. Daniel was making a statement of faith when he asked for only vegetables to eat and water to drink, and then dared the overseer to compare the appearance of the four sons of Israel with the young men who ate the king's food.
8)Pray for breakthrough, health and wholeness in every aspect of your life. God will reveal to you the things that need to change, or the things that are hindering the health of your body, mind or spirit. (Daniel 1:17 and 20). He will show you what you need to do to prosper financially.
9)Know that fasting will not be easy. There will be much opposition and temptation to break your fast before the days are completed. Daniel had opposition from the chief of the eunuchs, a powerful man in the court of the king, but he prevailed and was victorious.
10)Ask the Holy Spirit for grace and enabling. He makes all things possible.
11)Surrender yourself to the will of God. (Daniel said “As you see fit, so deal with your servants.”) The benefits will be immeasurable!
Minoli Haththotuwa, 27 December 2010