WHAT IS A SPIRITUAL FAST?
A spiritual fast is the intentional withholding from oneself of an item or items for a spiritual purpose. Fasts are commonly done for the purpose of seeking God’s direction, focusing one’s prayers, waiting on God, worship, and simple devotion. People often fast during times of crisis, opportunity, and change.
WHY SHOULD I FAST?
Whole books have been written on this topic. Just three reasons to fast: (1) Jesus assumed His people would fast (Matthew 6:16); (2) Some of the greatest leaders in the Bible and church history fasted, including Moses, Hannah, David, Elijah, Anna, the Apostles, Martin Luther, John Calvin, John Knox, Jonathan Edwards, John Wesley, Charles Finney, and many others. Even Jesus, Himself, fasted. (3) Fasting is a channel of spiritual power that God makes available to every believer.
HOW SHOULD I PREPARE FOR MY FAST?
Preparing for a fast is as important as the fast itself. Here is a suggestion of four steps to follow in preparing for your fast: (1) Pray. This is important to do before, during, and after your fast. (2) Decide on the type of fast you are going to do and the length of time. (3) Prepare yourself spiritually and physically for the fast. For more on this, see 7 Basic Steps to Successful Fasting and Prayer. (4) Enlist a few people to pray for you.
HOW LONG SHOULD I FAST FOR?
This depends on what you are fasting from, the experience you’ve had in fasting, and your sense of God’s leading. If you are fasting from food, make sure you consult a doctor first and start with a short fast (perhaps 24 hours).
WHAT SHOULD I DO DURING THE FAST?
Take the time that you would normally spend doing the activity you are fasting from to pray, read Scripture, meditate, do devotional reading, etc. Use the time to focus on God and spiritual activities.
WHAT IS A DANIEL FAST?
A Daniel fast is a biblically-based partial fast based on two Scriptures: Daniel 1:12 and 10:1-2. Generally speaking, a person participating in a Daniel fast will eat only fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds, and legumes. Remember to consult your doctor before participating in any fast, including the Daniel fast.
HOW SHOULD I END MY FAST?
Like preparing for a fast, finishing a fast is as important as the fast itself. If you’re coming off a water only fast make sure to follow medical recommendations to gradually reintroduce food to your system. For all types of fasts, continue to have people pray for you after your fast is completed. The Evil One will often pick that time to level an attack against you. Try, too, not to jump right back into old patterns but continue to follow some of the new ones you’ve developed.
Note: If you do a Google search of 7 Basic Steps to Successful Fasting and Prayer by Bill Bright a handy booklet-sized pamphlet will come up.