Fasting can be one of the most difficult spiritual practices to adopt. Fasting happens to be one of the healthiest things to do, scientifically. Fasting is one of those wonderful mysteries in life that people don’t explore, because they’re afraid of making “King Stomach” suffer from hunger.
There are many benefits from fasting as well as many ways to work it out, so you reap the maximum spiritual, physical, and mental benefits.
Jesus said in Matthew 6:16-18, “Moreover when ye fast, be not, as the hypocrites, of a sad countenance: for they disfigure their faces, that they may appear unto men to fast. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. But thou, when thou fastest, anoint thine head, and wash thy face; That thou appear not unto men to fast, but unto thy Father which is in secret: and thy Father, which seeth in secret, shall reward thee openly.”
Benefits of fasting
- Fasting brings you more deeply into your relationship with GOD.
- Brings health and healing to one’s body.
- Reminds you of your dependency on GOD. When you hunger for GOD, He will fill you up!
Instruction for Fasting
- Fasting is not just going without food for a period of time (which is like dieting or starving). You can make yourself go without anything else, such as TV, social networking, etc.
- Fasting is for everyone, not just fanatics, ministers, etc. The only exception would be for those that have health problems preventing them from going without food, or other problems. In this case, it’d be best to contact your doctor.
- Biblical fasting specifically was going without food for a spiritual purpose. Therefore, we must base our decision to fast on a spiritual purpose.
- There are three main Christian duties for your personal relationship with GOD: prayer, fasting, and giving.
- The Lord will provide the grace to endure the fasting.
- There usually isn’t a convenient time to fast. You need to just do it. Something may always try to get in the way, but you need to push past and take control (in discipline).
- When you fast, spend a lot of time in prayer and in GOD’s Word. You will receive the maximum of benefits by doing this.
- Just 1-2 days of a fast can already start bringing spiritual benefits. Any length is necessary.
- The longer you’re willing to go without food, the more emphasis you place on your relationship with GOD and how much you care for His blessings on your life.
- Fasting while you sleep doesn’t count.
- Only fast things that truly mean something to you. If you fast something that doesn’t mean anything to you, or being without it doesn’t challenge you – then you’re just fasting for an excuse or an easy way out. It’s best to fast something that means a lot to you (like food, TV, Internet, etc.), because it will tell GOD that you’re sacrificing something for Him and His glory.
- Fasting without prayer and alone time with GOD is basically like dieting. It’s best, as said above, to fill your fasts with prayer and special time with GOD.
- What fasting is, is like a continual prayer to GOD.
- A good rule of thumb, when fasting food, is to keep in mind to not gorge yourself days before a fast begins. Instead, if you know you’re going to fast, start tapering off food.
- A headache may be possible for a day or two of the start of your fast. This goes away over time, and should not create any hindrances for you. Sometimes the headaches are caused by toxins and other chemicals leaving your body.
- Repent of known sins before entering a fast, so GOD can hear all of your prayers!
Types of Fasts
1. Absolute Fast
(Note: should only be attempted under medical supervision. We do not warrant any medical advice on this site, and will not be held liable for your attempts for any and all fasting you may pursue.)
- Absolute means no food or water.
2. Normal Fast
- Normal means without food (or other fasting article, like TV, Internet, etc.) for a certain period of time.
- Drink plenty of water.
- Clear broth & juice should be good to maintain strength for the more lengthier fasts.
3. Partial Fast (sometimes people call it the Daniel Fast)
- Partial means giving up particular food/drink for a certain period of time.
- Usually partial fasts are very long.
- Many times, the general (practical) rule to be urged is to only eat a serving of fruits, vegetables, and nuts once a day.
- Drink lots of water.
Scriptural examples and other notes
Psalm 42:1-11 – David’s Fast