WHAT IS FASTING?
Fasting is a spiritual discipline that is rooted in the Bible that means we abstain from something (usually food) to grow spiritually and depend more on Jesus. The focal point of fasting is intentional time in prayer to draw near to God, pursuing a deeper relationship with Him. It's also about disciplining our minds and bodies through the power of the Holy Spirit to ensure no fleshly desire or comfort has a stronghold on us, keeping us from clearly hearing from the Lord. It's about trusting Him to provide our "daily bread" and "living water" through His Word. The rewards of fasting are incredible. Fasting and prayer often brings about powerful personal transformation. When we practice prayer and fasting, God hears from heaven and can heal lives, churches, communities, nations and our world. Every great revival or movement of God was preceded by men and women fasting and praying, longing for God. It’s important to note that our Savior fasted often and desired his disciples to fast as well.
It’s important to ensure you’re listening to both the Holy Spirit and your own body in the way you fast. Instead of abstaining from food altogether, you may fast from a particular type of food or even something other than food, such as social media. You might decide to fast until a certain time in the day or skip a certain meal. There are many ways to ensure you’re getting the physical nourishment you need while still enjoying the spiritual nourishment fasting and prayer offer.
FASTING IN THE BIBLE
Fasting was an expected spiritual discipline in both the Old and New Testament. In fact, we see examples of fasting in the Bible from several significant biblical figures. Moses, for example, fasted at least two recorded 40-days periods (Deuteronomy 9:18-19, Exodus 34:28). Jesus also fasted for 40 days and nights (Matthew 4:2).
Jesus modeled and taught His followers that fasting is a spiritual tool to seek God's face, not a Biblical law to enforce. It is a cry of the heart to grow in intimacy with Jesus, not a ritual to observe for the sake of being "holy." When a Pharisee questioned Jesus about why his disciples weren’t fasting like the Pharisees, he offered his own guidance on the role of fasting. Comparing his disciples to guests at a wedding, Jesus said “The wedding guests cannot mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them, can they? The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast” (Matthew 9:14-16). This teaching applies to us today. When we fast, we draw close to Jesus.
TYPES OF FASTING
01. REGULAR FAST
A regular fast is when you abstain from all food and drink except for water. We recommend this for short periods of time (1-3 days) and not all 21 days. Fasting 1 day out of the week each week throughout the 21 days may be an option. Be sure to check with your doctor if you have any health concerns.
02. LIQUID FAST
Fasting from solid food and sticking with liquids. This fast is more sustainable over a longer period. Again, be sure to check with your doctor if you have any health concerns.
03. PARTIAL FAST
This is a type of fasting that involves abstaining from a particular type of food/group of foods or abstaining from a certain meal each day and replacing it with time in prayer. For example some may decide to omit lunch every day to spend time in prayer. This fast can also involve choosing something that takes away from our time with the Lord or something we’ve become dependent on. Many people choose to fast TV and/or social media during the 21 days of fasting and prayer.
04. DANIEL FAST
The fast Daniel observed while in captivity in Babylon is another example. Daniel abstained from the delicacies of Babylon and ate fruit and vegetables. This type of fast can be sustained over a longer period. Click Here to read more information on what the Daniel Fast looks like.