Most of the fasts mentioned in the Bible were public fasts initiated by the priests; Jesus gave us the model for private fasts in Matthew 6:16-18; 9:14-15. Whether you are beginning a private fast, or fasting corporately as we do each year at Free Chapel, I believe you will find these tips helpful.
PREPARING SPIRITUALLY- Confess your sins to God. Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal areas of weakness. Forgive all who have offended you and ask forgiveness from those you may have offended (Mark 11:25; Luke 11:4; 17:3-4). Surrender your life fully to Jesus Christ and reject the worldly desires that try to hinder you (Romans 12:1-2).
PREPARING PHYSICALLY- If you have health concerns, consult your doctor prior to beginning a fast and explainwhat you plan to do. This is especially important if you take prescription medicationsor have a chronic ailment. Some people should never fast without professionalsupervision.
HOW TO BEGIN- Start with a clear goal. Why are you fasting? Do you need direction, healing,restoration of marriage or family issues? Are you facing financial difficulties?Ask the Holy Spirit for guidance. Pray daily and read the Bible.
DECIDING WHAT TO FAST- What you fast is up to you. It may be a full fast in which you only drink liquids, oryou may desire to fast like Daniel, who abstained from sweets and meats, and drankonly water. You could even fast watching television or something else that would be asacrifice from your normal activities. Remember to replace that time with prayer andBible study.
DECIDING HOW LONG- You may fast as long as you like. Most people can easily fast from one to three days,but you may feel the grace to go longer, even as much as 21 to 40 days. Use wisdomand pray for guidance. Beginners are advised to start slow.
WHAT TO EXPECT- When you fast, your body detoxifies, eliminating toxins from your system. This cancause mild discomfort such as headaches and irritability during withdrawal fromcaffeine and sugars. And naturally, you will have hunger pains. Limit your activity,and exercise moderately. Take time to rest. Fasting brings about miraculous results.You are following Jesus’ example when you fast. Spend time listening to praise andworship. Pray as often as you can throughout the day. Get away from the normaldistractions as much as possible and keep your heart and mind set on seekingGod’s face.
HOW TO END- Don’t overeat when the time comes to end your fast. Begin eating solid foodsgradually and eat smaller portions or snacks. GThe type of fast you choose is between you and God, depending on your physical ability. He will honor your best. You may want toinclude a combination of fasts. For example, you may want to participate in a Full fast for 1-3 days and then continue with a Daniel Fast.
FULL FAST- Drink only liquids (you establish number of days). Consult your doctor.
DANIEL FAST- Eat no meat, no sweets, no bread and drink water and juice. Eat fruits and vegetables.Veggie burgers are an option as well if you are not allergic to soy. Some people drink protein drinks.
3-DAY FAST- This fast can be any type of fast (Full Fast, Daniel’s Fast, Give up one food). It could be a sacrifice other than food.
PARTIAL FAST- Fast from 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. or from sun-up to sundown. This fast can also be any type of fast.
FAST OF SACRIFICE- Giving up television or anything that would be a sacrifice for you personally.
SCRIPTURE REFERENCES FOR FASTING: Matthew 6:16-18, Matthew 9:14-15, Luke 18: 9-14.
RELATION TO PRAYER AND READING OF THE WORD: 1 Samuel 1:6-8, 17-18, Nehemiah 1:4, Daniel 9:3,20, Joel 2:12, Luke 2:37, Acts 10:30, Acts 13:2, 1 Corinthians 7:5
CORPORATE FASTING: 1 Samuel 7:5-6, 2 Chronicles 20:34, Ezra 8:21-23, Nehemiah 9:1-3, Joel 2:15-16, Jonah 3:5-10, Acts 27:33-37 Remember that it is the attitude of a heart sincerely seeking Him to which God responds with a blessing(Isaiah 58; Jeremiah 14:12; 1Corinthians 8:8). May God greatly bless you as you fast!