March 5th is Ash Wednesday, which marks the beginning of the Lenten season. Lent is a special time when the Church remembers how Jesus spent 40 days fasting in the desert before He launched His public ministry. Although mostly observed by Roman Catholics, Lutherans, Methodists, and Presbyterians, Lent is becoming increasingly popular among evangelicals and other denominations. (SIGN UP HERE to receive your Lent 2014 Prayer Guide).
The purpose of Lent is to reflect on Jesus Christ — his life, death, burial, and resurrection. Typically, people abstain from meat during Lent and may also give up other vices, such as sweets, television, or Facebook. Many believers also participate in a Daniel Fast.
The Daniel Fast is a 21-day partial fast based upon the prophet Daniel’s experiences in the Bible. The purpose of the fast is to restrict commonly enjoyed foods as an act of worship and consecration to God (see Food Guidelines). On one occasion, Daniel was greatly concerned for his people and sought the Lord’s wisdom during a time of prayer and fasting. Daniel 10:2-3 says, “At that time I, Daniel, mourned for three weeks. I ate no choice food; no meat or wine touched my lips.” The meaning of “choice food” is not clear; however, most commentaries conclude that he ate no bread or sweets. The Message translation sums up Daniel’s eating habits during that time: “I ate only plain and simple food.” The idea behind the fast is not to duplicate Daniel’s menu but to imitate his spiritual hunger. Daniel’s passion for the Lord caused him to seek spiritual food rather than physical food, which should be the desire for anyone doing the Daniel Fast.
How will you prepare for Easter Sunday? Consider doing the Daniel Fast as you celebrate what the Lord has done for you!