What is a fast?
Fasting is willfully abstaining from food, or certain foods. It is important in our walk with God, to make fasting a part of our regular life. Each of us must decide as an individual, how we will fast and for how long. Since, we are all in different places in our walk with God, and our health conditions vary from person to person, it is vital that we listen to the leading of the Spirit in choosing our fast.
Prayer is a part of fasting and should be part of any fast that you decide to do. Your attitude should be one in which you take time in meditation and prayer. There is no point in fasting without prayer. Whereas fasting subdues our flesh, praying and reading God’s Word strengthens our spirit.
Why should I fast?
Fasting is our spiritual tune-up. It helps clear our mind and looses us from the habits of our day to day existence and allows us to refocus on our Creator and the true Sustainer of our lives. As Jesus told us, “Man should not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.” Matt. 4:4 (KJV)
How do I fast?
There are three basic ways to fast; full fast, partial fast, and activity fast. It can be one of these or a combination of one or more of the three.
Drink only liquids, especially water using broths, and 100% fruit and vegetable juices. Be wary of overly processed or juices that contain high amounts of sugar. Concerning caffeine, going cold turkey will make you no friends and make you quite a grouch to be around. If the fast will continue for several days, slowly lowering your caffeine intake will allow your body to adjust to the idea.
A partial fast is giving up a specific type of food such as sweets, coffee, or chocolate cake. It can also be giving up one or two meals per day for a pre-determined amount of time. It can also be choosing to fast for a specific amount of time like from 5:00 AM – 3:00 PM or from sunrise to sunset. An example of a partial fast is the Daniel fast in Daniel chapter 1 where he ate only vegetables and drank only water.
Consider ‘fasting’ activities such as your computer time, social media, and television time. Any regular activity that has become a habit in your life should be considered. Rather than do your normal routine, replace it with time in prayer, reading the Word, meditation and worship. Allow yourself to become more in tune with God’s Spirit. Remember, fasting is also about disconnecting to the world.
How long should I fast?
You can fast for a day, three days, a week, a month … the important thing is to getting to a different place in your walk, a closer walk with God. Let the Spirit lead you into the length of the fast. This is your spiritual tune-up after all so it’s a personal decision between you and God. Since the goal is to be able to reset your own spirit to be more in tune with the Holy Spirit, the time may vary. Realize that you may need to readjust your goal during the fast as well. It’s your walk; it’s your relationship with God so listen to what He is telling you and what He wants from you during the fast.
What should I do while fasting?
Scripturally, fasting is partnered with prayer. (See examples in Ez. 8:21, Luke 2:37.) Other things you need to do during your time of fasting are:
Worship (Neh. 9:1-3, Acts 13:1-3)
Petition (Dan. 9:3, 17)
Reading the Word of God (Neh. 9:1-3, Jer. 36:6)
Humbling yourself before God (Ez. 8:21)
Asking for direction and guidance (Judg. 20:19-46)
Mourning (I Sam. 31:8-13, Neh. 1:3-10, Esther 4:1-4)
Confession of sins (I Sam. 7:6, II Sam. 1:12, Dan. 9:4-18)
Repentance (Joel 2:12-17)
Just like prayer and fasting, reading the Word of God is about connecting to God in a more powerful way. Take time each day to read a chapter or more. Read consistently, prayerfully and expectantly. While reading, tune in to what God is trying to say to you. Apply the words that you have read to your own life, to what you are experiencing now.
Use wisdom and stay hydrated.
Remember it isn’t the kind of fast that determines its effectiveness, but rather the changes that it brings about in you. May your fast stir your passion for God, give you clarity of vision, strengthen your faith, and take you to new depths in His Spirit.