by Deborah A. Mitchell, Chair of the Lenten Task Force Chair, Holman UMC
When I began my faith walk ten years ago, I was new to fasting. I couldn’t conceive of going 1 day without food, much less 3, 21, or forty days! As I delved more in scripture and began a personal relationship with God (during my quiet time and praise and worship) He began to show me how to deepen my walk with him. Fasting was the vehicle that allowed me to empty myself to hear more clearly from God. Because of health concerns, the Daniel Fast became the fast I go to often. When I fast (which I do as led by the Holy Spirit) I use the 21-day Daniel Fast (a Biblical fast), which consists of fruits, vegetables, legumes, and some healthy starches.
We are spiritual beings living a human or body experience. The Daniel Fast affects not only our body, but it replenishes our souls (flesh) and heightens the Holy Spirit, which dwells within us. Here’s how: our bodies are affected as our diet is changed, for some in very dramatic ways, during the Daniel Fast. Many men and women experience detoxing from caffeine, chemicals and sugar. The symptoms are most often headaches, leg cramps, fatigue and malaise. Our soul or flesh is greatly impacted during the Daniel Fast. The soul is the seat of our emotions, intellect, personality and will. It is in the “soulish realm” where we experience cravings, frustration, anger . . . and even happiness.
During the Daniel Fast, your soul may very well rebel against the dramatic change in your diet. Experiencing and winning this battle over the flesh is often one of the most powerful lessons of the Daniel Fast. Lastly, our Spirit, that born-again part of us that surrenders to God and then abides with the Father and the Son. Our spirit is filled with the Holy Spirit when we yield to Him. During the Daniel Fast, we want to put our spirit in charge of the other two parts of us. When our flesh is acting out with a craving, we take control of it with our spirit (just as a parent takes control of a rebellious child).
I invite you to try the Daniel Plan and give control of your body, soul and spirit back to God. Where do you start? Open your Bible to the Book of Daniel and let it be your guide.