What Is Fasting?
The Bible mentions fasting throughout the Old and New Testaments. Jesus fasted for 40 days (Matthew 4:1-4). Nehemiah fasted when he asked for God’s forgiveness and direction (Nehemiah 1:4). Daniel, Ezra, Moses, the people of Israel, the early Church, and many more fasted (Daniel 9:3, Ezra 8:23, Exodus 24:38, Judges 20:26, Acts 13:2-3).
Fasting isn’t some magic ritual to try to get God to answer our prayer. It isn’t about harming our bodies or depriving ourselves. Fasting is about what we gain from the process. Fasting is a discipline of abstaining from something good, like food, so we can concentrate on our spiritual lives and find satisfaction in God.
During Jesus’ fast, He quoted Deuteronomy and said, “It is written: Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.” (Matthew 4:4) Fasting can help us understand this truth with new meaning. We can better understand that Jesus is the Bread of Life, who sustains us and supplies our greatest needs (John 6:26-35).
When you fast, you will be physically reminded of your spiritual need. And when you are, God will show you that He is what we are truly desperate for.
Here are 4 Great Types Of Fasts You Can Do:
Your personal fast should present a level of challenge, but it is very important to know your body, your options, and most importantly, to seek God in prayer and follow what the Holy Spirit leads you to do.
1. Complete Fast
In this type of fast, you drink only liquids, typically water with light juices as an option.
2. Selective Fast
This type of fast involves removing certain elements from your diet. One example of a selective fast is the Daniel Fast, during which you remove meat, sweets, and bread from your diet and consume water and juice for fluids and fruits and vegetables for food.
3. Partial Fast
This fast is sometimes called the “Jewish Fast” and involves abstaining from eating any type of food in the morning and afternoon. This can either correlate to specific times of the day, such as 6:00 am to 3:00 pm, or from sunup to sundown.
4. Soul Fast
This fast is a great option if you do not have much experience fasting food, have health issues that prevent you from fasting food, or if you wish to refocus certain areas of your life that are out of balance. For example, you might choose to stop using social media or watching television for the duration of the fast and then carefully bring that element back into your life in healthy doses at the conclusion of the fast.
Here Are 3 Good Reasons To Start A Fast:
1. To Connect with God
In the Bible, fasting is a way to grow a deeper connection with God. Fasting is almost always paired with praying because when we give something up for a set time, we can exchange the time spent preparing a meal and eating with time spent talking and listening to Jesus.
2. To Focus on God
Fasting is about remembering that God comes first in our lives. It helps us practice saying “no” to our desires and saying “yes” to Jesus. When we give something up for these 21 days, we are more focused on God than the things that may distract us. Rather than focusing on a craving for food, we should hunger and thirst for what's good and true (Matthew 5:6).
3. To Depend on God
Fasting is an opportunity to place complete dependence on God. We can intentionally step away from something we regularly enjoy to remind ourselves that Jesus provides for all our needs. God is a generous God, and fasting is one way to remember how good He is to us (Philippians 4:19).
7 Quick Tips for Fasting:
1. Start slow. If you’ve never fasted before, begin with just one meal.
2. Continue to drink water to stay hydrated. While some individuals in the Bible fasted from both food and water, this choice can be dangerous if you’re not experienced with fasting or haven’t consulted a medical professional.
3. If you’re accustomed to drinking caffeine, don’t stop suddenly. Decrease your intake for a few days before you fast or you may suffer headaches.
4. Don’t overeat before or after your fast. Eat smaller, healthier meals, including raw foods before and after.
5. Tell only people that you must, but try to be considerate of others in your schedule if you fast.
6. Make a firm, prayerful commitment before you begin that you can remember while you’re fasting. Your commitment to fast is between you and God, so be sure to make a sincere, wholehearted commitment.
7. Consciously reflect on Scripture and your experience. Your physical response will often reveal spiritual truths.
We just want to say that we are believing with you and for you during this time that we draw near to God together as a Church. We love you and we can’t wait see everyone stepping into all that God has for us in 2019.
Dustin and Danielle Wise