Fasting

Okay, you are not the first person to wonder why giving up something good (like food) could possibly improve your faith or your relationship with God. Fasting strikes some as an old fashioned idea for religious fanatics. This simple guide hopes to dispel that idea and provide a biblically solid and safe way for you to include fasting in your journey of faith.

Why should you fast?

  1. It is a clear Biblical principle and practice
    1. To seek the presence and forgiveness of God
      1. 1 Sam 7:5-6: “And Samuel said, Gather all Israel and they fasted “
      2. Ezra 8:21-23: “Then I proclaimed a fast so we might humble ourselves before our God “
      3. Jonah 3:5-10: “They declared a fast… from the greatest to the least of them”
    2. Jesus spoke of days when there would be a place for fasting.
      1. Matthew 6:16-18: “Moreover when you fast do not be like the hypocrites, for they disfigure there faces to show men they are fasting “
      2. Matthew 9:14-15 Jesus answered . The time will come when the bridegroom will be taken from them; then they will fast.
    3. The apostle Paul instructed husbands and wives in 1 Corinthians 7:5 “to not deprive one another except with consent for a time, that you may give yourselves to fasting and prayer..”
    4. The first Christian church practiced: Acts13:2 and 14:23: “While they were worshipping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said “
  2. It is good for you! No kidding, medical research has proven the health benefits of regular and smart fasting. But more than that, fasting is good for your spiritual development. You see, much of our Christian walk is about learning to deny ourselves and follow Jesus. If I may rephrase that, much our Christian development is about learning to say “No” to ourselves. Well, fasting provides an excellent opportunity to learn to say “no” to a very natural craving. If you can learn this discipline in fasting, you can apply it all over your life - learn to say no to addiction and unhealthy behavior - learn to say no to selfishness, self service and gluttony. I promise, almost nothing will serve your Christian walk better than the ability to say “yes” to Jesus and “no” to much else.
    1. Fasting enables the Holy Spirit to reveal your true spiritual condition, resulting in brokenness, repentance, freedom, and a transformed life.
      1. Isaiah 58:6-12
    2. Fasting and prayer can result in a dynamic personal revival in your own life and make you a channel of revival to others.
      1. Isaiah 58:6-12
    3. Fasting is a way to truly humble yourself before God.
      1. Psalm 35:13; Ezra 8:21-23
    4. Fasting and prayer is a powerful way to seek God for His direction, will, protection, and provision for you and your family.
      1. Ezra 8:21-23 “Then I proclaimed a fast that we might afflict ourselves before our God, to seek him a right way for us, and for our little ones..”

How should you fast?

  1. With a humble spirit, and for all the right reasons
    1. Matt 6:16-18: “Jesus said, When you fast do NOT look somber like the hypocrites do, for they disfigure there faces to show men they are fasting But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that it will not be obvious to men that you are fasting, but only to your father who is unseen; and your father who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.”
    2. Luke 18:9-14: “For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humble himself will be exalted.”
    3. Psalms 51: 17: “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, a broken and a contrite heart-These O God you will not despise.”
  2. With a realistic plan (i.e.appropriate balance between zeal and health)
    1. There are different types of fasting:
      1. Absolute fast - No water, liquids or food. Extremely Ex: Acts 9 The Apostle Paul went on an absolute fast for three days after his encounter with Jesus. Esther 4:16 The Jews went on an absolute fast for three days/nights. Moses and Elijah went on absolute fasts for 40 days - enabled supernaturally by God.
      2. Water only fast - The max duration seen in the bible is 40 days. Water only fasts that last more than three-days should only be undertaken with plenty of rest and under medical supervision.
      3. Water & juice fasting -This type of fasting will provide you with more energy, especially for extended fast (more than three days).
      4. Partial fast - Denying yourself certain foods. An example we see in the bible is Daniel who did not eat bread, meat, or drink any wine for three weeks eating only vegetables and drinking water.
  3. Safely!
    1. Start slowly. Fast for one meal a day, or one day a week, or one week a month. Build up your spiritual muscles so that you able to extend your fasting as the Lord leads you.
    2. In spite of the absolute safety and benefits of fasting, there are certain persons who should never fast without professional supervision: For example:
      1. Persons who are physically too thin or emaciated.
      2. Persons who are prone to anorexia, bulimia, or other disorders.
      3. Those who suffer weakness or anemia.
      4. Persons with medical issues-tumors, blood diseases, cancer, chronic problems with vital organs.
      5. Individuals who take Insulin for diabetes.
      6. Women who are pregnant or nursing.

Finally

There is no formula or magic to fasting. Fasting is about the condition of your heart , spiritual development, and ultimately your obedience to God’s leading. Take this time to devote yourself to seeking the One True God who allows you to call him Father - mediate on Him and his majesty. Worship and praise Him, read His word, pray as often as you can. God will honor your obedience, your sacrifice, your seeking heart and bless this unique time dedicated to Him.