Fasting can encompass various aspects of our lives—from specific foods, sugary treats, and entertainment like TV and movies, to habits like swearing, smoking, excessive gaming, worrying, spending, and even caffeine intake. It’s essential to approach fasting with a Biblical perspective. Take time to pray and discern if this is a calling from God, and reflect on what He specifically wants you to abstain from.

First, make sure you know why you are fasting. Do you need guidance, healing, wisdom, grace, or answers regarding a situation? Knowing this will help you be more intentional and specific in your prayers.

Second, decide what kind of fast you are doing and set an amount of time. You may want to check your schedule to make sure there isn’t an event that would interfere. Then make a commitment to complete it. You can tell a friend or write a note to the Lord -whatever helps hold you accountable.

Third, create a daily schedule with set time to pray, worship, and read God’s Word. You might want to even pick out a devotional to go along with your fast. The YouVersion Bible app has a ton of great choices.

Fourth, prepare yourself spiritually. Pray, pray, pray. This isn’t supposed to be easy so ask God to give you the strength as He opens your heart up to receive.

Fifth, prepare yourself physically. Talk to your doctor if you have any health issues. Start eating smaller portions or less food. Cut out caffeine. Whatever you can do to give your body less of a shock.

This is for the Lord and it’s important, but if you fail remember that the God you serve is a God of grace and mercy and He loves you deeply.

The greatest example of fasting, in my opinion, was Jesus Himself. He spent 40 days and 40 nights fasting and praying to prepare for the calling His Father gave Him. Maybe you have a calling on your life, but it is overwhelming, or you don’t know where to start. This is a great reason to fast.

(Read Matthew 4, Mark 1, and Luke 4)

Paul and Barnabas fasted when seeking God’s wisdom regarding the elders of the churches. Maybe you have an important decision to make and want to be sure you choose properly. This is a great reason to fast. (Read Acts 14)

After Jonah preached to the Ninevites, they repented and began a fast. Maybe you made some bad choices, and you are feeling convicted. This is a great reason to fast. (Read Jonah 3)

Nehemiah mourned and fasted when he heard terrible news about Jerusalem. Maybe you suffered a loss, or something didn’t go the way you planned. This is a great reason to fast. (Read Nehemiah 1)

Daniel fasted when seeking an answer from God. Maybe you’ve been praying for a long time and not seeing results. This is a great reason for fasting. (Read Daniel 10)

The Israelites fasted when they had lost many men in battle and realized they needed God’s help for victory. Maybe you’ve been fighting a battle and you feel like you just keep losing. This is a great reason to fast. (Read Judges 20)

The New Testament does not demand you to fast. It presents a fast as something good, beneficial, and profitable. It assumes that you will fast, because of the advantages. Matthew 6:16 says “When you fast”. It does not say, “if you fast”. So, it is important to remember that fasting is not a requirement, but it is a necessity.

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Many people focus on what they are giving up when they fast, but it is important to recognize what you can gain during this time. You can gain strength, guidance, deliverance, humility, compassion, dedication, and love. You can overcome temptation, express repentance, show grief, remove negative emotions, and seek guidance. Fasting does not change God or make Him hear your prayers more loudly, but it changes you and allows you to hear Him more loudly.

It is amazing how being hungry can cause us to become agitated, impatient, and angry. Fasting helps you remember that your flesh is not in control. It is hard but lean on the Lord and allow Him to be what strengthens you.

Let’s talk about how to fast – from getting started, to staying strong in the middle, and to completing your fast.

Beginning: Pray, pray, pray, pray, pray. Fasting is simple – but it is not easy. It’s amazing how quickly our flesh reacts when it doesn’t get what it wants. You must start your fast by spending time with the Lord. If you are doing a longer fast, start each morning and end each night with prayer and worship.

Middle: When you start to get hungry, use that as a sign to pray, read, or worship. Also, take a walk or do some light aerobics, trusting the Lord to provide you with the strength. If you accidentally eat something – don’t quit. Just jump back into your fast.

Ending your fast: End your fast slowly. Depending on the length of your fast, your body might not be prepared for a large intake of food. Start with small portions of food that will be gentle on your digestive system. When my husband did his 10 day fasts, he first drank some bone broth, which is highly nutritious and easy to digest. When he made sure his stomach could handle it, he ate sauerkraut. Fermented foods are a natural source of probiotics so they will help your body prepare for more food. Then he ate avocado which is a food you can eat small amounts of yet feel full.

The last thing about ending a fast is that you should end it expecting results.

Remember these verses:

  • Matthew 7:8 or everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.
  • James 1:5 But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him.
  • John 15:7 If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.
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There are several types of fasts. I’m going to list the most common ones.

  1. Regular fast: this means no food or drink – water only. This is the type of fast Jesus did, which is talked about in Matthew 4 & Luke 4.
  2. Partial fast: this can mean a few different things. One is to abstain from a particular food or only eat particular foods. This is the type of fast Daniel did which is described in Daniel 1. You can also skip a meal or only eat during certain hours.
  3. Liquid Fast: this means you do not eat solid foods, only liquid. This is different than a regular fast because you can drink any liquid – juicing is common.
  4. Absolute Fast: this means you do not eat any food or drink any liquid at all – even water. Esther, Mordecai, and the Jews in Susa did this according to Esther 4. They fasted for 3 days and 3 nights. Paul also did a 3 day fast just after being blinded by the sight of Jesus on the road to Damascus. This is described in Acts 9.
  5. Non-Food Fast: this is giving up something other than food for the Lord. It can be soda, shopping, television, swearing, smoking, or anything else.
  6. Supernatural Fast: this is a long period without eating or drinking anything – longer than what your body could typically survive. Moses did this for 40 days – abstaining from all food and drink.

*You need to speak with a doctor before attempting any fast if you have any health issues.

This is an important topic to discuss. Many people get the wrong idea about spiritual fasting. Here are a few things you need to know.

  • Spiritual Fasting is not a hunger strike. You are not protesting, and you are not trying to manipulate God. You are allowing your body to conform to His divine will.
  • Spiritual Fasting is not punishing your body. You are simply trying to redirect your attention off your flesh and onto the Lord.
  • Spiritual Fasting is not a diet. While there are many health benefits to fasting, losing weight cannot be your main focus.
  • Spiritual Fasting does not make you better than others. This is a personal tool to help you in your spiritual walk and your walk should never be compared to those around you.
  • Spiritual Fasting does not mean that food is bad. It simply means that you are telling your flesh that God is better.
  • Spiritual Fasting is not something you should do for attention. The Bible says you shouldn’t let others see you sad, hungry, or hangry (not in those exact words). It does not mean that no one is allowed to know you are fasting, as it is a good way to set an example for others to follow, but regardless of how hungry you get, you should have a positive and friendly attitude.
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