What is Fasting?
The purpose of fasting is to redirect our hunger toward God. To fast is to choose to abstain from food, drink, sleep, or something else for the sake of some special spiritual purpose. It is a way to humble oneself before God & make time for intensified prayer and focus.
SOME SPIRITUAL REASONS & BENEFITS OF FASTING (WITH SCRIPTURE REFERENCES):
- To truly humble ourselves before God (Ezra 8:21; James 4:8-10; 2 Chronicles. 7:14)
- To learn how to depend on God for strength (Mathew 17:21; Isaiah 40:31)
- To ask for supernatural intervention from God (2 Samuel 12:16; Acts 14:23)
- To help us hear & respond better to the Spirit of God (Luke 4:1; Ephesians 6:18-19)
- To obtain supernatural protection and provision (Ezra 8:21-23)
- To prepare for a special task or assignment (Exodus 24:12-18; Luke 4:1, 14)
- To make more time for prayer in order to get closer to God. (Matthew 6:16; Mark 2:20)
7 Basic Steps to Successful Fasting and Praying
Summarized from an article by late Bill Bright. You can find the original resource HERE
STEP1: Set Your Objective
Why are you fasting? What specific results do you desire to get (personally and for your family and/or community)?
STEP 2: Make Your Commitment
What will you fast (food, TV, entertainment…)? How long will you fast for (one meal, one day, once a week)? How much time each day will you devote to prayer and God’s Word?
STEP 3: Prepare Yourself Spiritually
Repentance is the foundation of fasting. Confess your sins, seek and give forgiveness, ask for the Spirit to fill you (Ephesians 5:18)
STEP 4: Prepare Yourself Physically
If fasting from food, eat smaller meals before starting a fast. Limit exercise and activity, rest more, drink more, and focus your thoughts. Avoid caffeinated drinks and limit acidic juices (orange, tomato)
STEP 5: Put Yourself on Schedule
Set aside quality time to spend with God for reading Scripture, meditating, singing, inviting Him into different areas of your life…
STEP 6: End Your Fast Gradually
When you end a fast from food, begin eating gradually with small light portions.
STEP 7: Expect Results
Expect God to reward you for your obedience to His Word. You will experience a heightened awareness of His presence and He will give you fresh, new spiritual insights. Your confidence and faith in God will be strengthened and you’ll see answers to your prayers.
Types of Fast
Full Fast – Drink only liquids (you establish the number of days).
The Daniel Fast – Eat no meat, no sweets, and no grains. Drink water and juice. Eat only fruits and vegetables.
3 Day Fast – This fast can be a full fast, Daniel Fast, or give up at least one item of food.
Partial Fast– A partial past is from 6:00 am to 3:00 pm or from sunup to sundown.
Corporate Fasting – Choosing to fast in some way with others.
Media Fast – Avoiding all types of media for a set amount of time. Also known as the Facebook Fast.
Meal Fast – Choosing to skip the same meal repeatedly for a set amount of time.
Sleep Fast – Getting up extra early for the purpose of meeting with God.
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Recommended Resources on Fasting and Praying
Fasting for Beginners by David Mathis
Fasting: Intimidating but important by David Platt
Personal Guide to Fasting by Bill Bright
How to Begin Fasting by the Navigators
A Hunger for God by John Piper
The Power of Prayer and Fasting by Ronnie Floyd
Habits of Grace: Enjoying Jesus through the Spiritual Disciplines by David Mathis
Celebration of Discipline by Richard Foster
Fasting For Spiritual Breakthrough by Elmer Towns