Fasting Faithfully

A Discipline of Devotion and Trust

What is fasting?

Biblical fasting is giving up particular foods and drinks for a specified number of days. Fasting, prayer, and reading God’s Word go hand in hand. Without prayer, fasting is just a diet.

Many choose to fast and pray about every major decision in life. Fasting is a way to overcome the physical, and open the door to God’s provision and direction in your life. When you deny your body, you feed your spirit and grow closer to the Lord.

Why should we fast?

Fasting is an invaluable practice in a spiritual relationship. Denying the flesh grants the spirit allowance. You are putting God first, giving him the lead, and trusting Him to guide and provide. You are showing just how much you “believe that He really does exist and that He rewards those who seek Him.”

In Matthew 6, Jesus referenced three specific duties of the children of God: Giving, Praying, and Fasting. Jesus said, “when you give,” “when you pray,” and “when you fast.” In doing so, He made it clear that giving, praying, and fasting are all a normal part of the Christian life. When all three disciplines are at work, you release the complete power of God in your life.

How should you fast?

With clear intention and an expectation to hear from God. Write down a plan, or follow alongside one of the plans featured here, and make a verbal commitment to the Lord. When you approach it with determination you’ll be less likely to waiver in weak moments. You may be surprised to find that fasting is not as daunting as you may think, but if you do find it to be a battle, don’t lose heart, push through, and know that God understands your struggle. There are many different types of fasts. Find the fast or combination of fasts that best fits your needs. 

For how long should you fast?

While most opt to participate in their fasts around the clock, others who are new to fasting–or that have other limitations may decide to have a different schedule that works best for them. Some options are:

• Half-Day Fast – From sunrise to 3PM
• Full-Day Fast – From sunrise to sunset
• Total Fast – Around the clock

If you want to make fasting a way of life, you may decide to fast one day a month, one meal a week, or fast specific foods or comfort items for a period of time. There may be other unexpected times that you feel a need to fast—during family struggles, financial problems, or times you are in need of a breakthrough in your life.

Types of Fasts

Daniel Fast

This is a partial fast that provides many attributes to the idea of denying self and seeking God, but with less discomfort than a juice or water fast. Here are some guidelines for the Daniel Fast:

Foods to eat: Fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds, legumes, 100% juice, natural oils, and water.

Foods to avoid: Meat, dairy, all-natural and artificial sweeteners, all leavened bread, refined and processed foods, fried foods, solid fats, coffee, tea, alcohol, and carbonated beverages.

Here is a thorough Daniel Fast Plan & Guide – complete with a list of foods and a full 21-day meal plan.

Comfort Fast

Fasting from comfort items is a great option if fasting is a new experience for you or if you have any health limitations regarding food-based fasts. Here are some ideas of things you can fast from:

  • Electronic Entertainment
  • TV Shows, Movies, Netflix, Hulu, Video Games, etc.
  • Social Networking Apps or Sites: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram,
    Pinterest, Blogs, etc.
  • Any major thing you find comfort in.

Keep in mind the goal of comfort fasting is to allow space for your hunger to drive you to God, and to not satisfy ourselves with other things. Be intentional about your fast and push yourself out of your comfort zone.

Juice Fast

In this fast, abstain from food and only drink water and 100% juice for a period of time. Drink mildly acidic or non-acidic fruit juices such as apple, grape, peach or pineapple juice, which are excellent sources of natural and necessary sugar to stabilize blood sugar and keep energy levels up. Raw vegetable juices such as carrot, celery, beet or green vegetable juice combinations are excellent as well. 

You can do normal daily activities on a juice fast.

Water Fast

This type of fast is abstaining from food and only drinking water for a period of time. Drink plenty of water, at least half your body weight in ounces of water per day. Distilled water is most beneficial, but filtered and purified water also works well. A water-only fast is, by far, the most difficult fast due to the detoxification process that the body goes through and the lack of energy that is experienced as a result of not eating. Many people who are experienced in fasting have fasted this way for 40 days or more. Long-term water fasts are possible, but definitely not comfortable.

Eat Slowly

Did you know that meditating is compared to chewing something with your mind? More specifically, it is a synonym for ruminating which also refers to "chewing the cud" - a process of eating for optimal digestion and absorption of nutrients. Below are 3 simple steps to improve your ingestion of God's word.

Isolate

Be focused.

Invoke

Pray earnestly.

Internalize

Take it personally.

The Word of God is spirit and life (John 6:63); it is living and active (Hebrews 4:12).

But whenever you pray, go into your private room, close your door, and pray to your Father who is unseen. And your Father, who sees what others cannot see, will reward you.

MATTHEW 6:6

Fasting in the Bible

Blessings of Fasting:

Isaiah 58:8-9

Corporate Fasting:

1 Samuel 7:5-6
2 Chronicles20:3-4
Ezra 8:21-23
Nehemiah 9:1-3
Jonah 3:5-10
Esther 4:16

Daniel Fast:

Daniel 10:2-3

Fasting Do’s:

Matthew 6:16-18

Fasting Don’ts:

Matthew 6:16-18
Luke 18:9-14

Prayer & Fasting:

Luke 2:37
Nehemiah 1:4
Daniel 9:3
Joel 2:12
Acts 13:2

Preparing to Fast:

Mark 11:25
Luke 11:4
Romans 12:1-2
1 Samuel 7:3

When to Fast:

Matthew 9:14-15

Why to Fast:

Romans 12:1
Matthew 6:33
Mark 9:29
Isaiah 58:6
Luke 4:1-13

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