Fasting Biblically

fasting

FASTING BIBLICALLY:

A Personal Guide To Fasting

Fasting is the most powerful spiritual discipline of all the Christian disciplines. Through Fasting and Prayer, the Holy Spirit can transform your life.

Fasting and Prayer can also work on a much grander scale. According to Scripture, personal experience and observation, I am convinced that when God’s people fast with a proper Biblical motive, seeking God’s face, not His hand, with a broken, repentant, and contrite spirit, God will hear from heaven and heal our lives, our churches, our communities, our nation, and world.

Fasting and Prayer can bring about healing (Mark 9:28-29), revival, a change in the direction of our nation, the nations of the earth and the fulfillment of the Great Commission.

The Awesome Power can be released through you as you Fast through the enabling of the Holy Spirit.

Fasting is the most neglected spiritual admonitions. In fact, it has been ignored for so long that it is difficult to find information on the “How-To’s” of this life-changing experience. When I first undertook this study I had a difficult time finding information on the nature of a Biblical Fast, how to start, what to expect Physically and Spiritually, and how to terminate a Fast.

These pages are designed to answer your practical questions about Fasting and ease any concerns you might have. In this Article you will learn about the following:

1.Why you should Fast
2. How to Fast Safely
3.How long and what type of Fast is right for you
4.How to prepare yourself Spiritually and Physically
5.How to manage your schedule while Fasting
6.How to deal with the responses of friends and loved ones
7.How to make your Spiritual Experience the best it can be
8.How to maintain nutritional balance and health from beginning to end (including specific juice and broth recipes)
9.What Physical benefits to expect, and How to finish your Fast and return to your normal schedule in a HEALTHY way.

Whether you hold a 1-day Fast or an extended 40-day Fast, I pray that our Lord’s most wonderful love and blessings will be poured out on you as you take this exciting step of Faith.

WHY YOU SHOULD FAST:

If you do not already know of the power and importance of Fasting, here are some very important facts:

1.Fasting was an expected discipline in both the Old and New Testament Eras. For example, Moses Fasted at least two recorded forty-day periods (Exodus 24:15-16; 34:28) Elijah fasted forty days (1 Kings 19:8). Jesus fasted 40 days (Matthew 4:1-2), and reminded His followers to Fast, “when you fast,” not, “if you Fast” (Matthew 6:16).

2. Fasting and Prayer can restore the loss of the “first love” for your Lord and result in a more intimate relationship with Christ.

3. Fasting is a Biblical way, King David said, “I humble myself through fasting.”

4. Fasting enables the Holy Spirit to reveal you’re a true Spiritual condition, resulting in Brokenness, Repentance, and a Transformed Life.

5. The Holy Spirit will quicken (make alive) the Word of God in your heart and His Truth will become more meaningful to you!

6. Fasting can transform your Prayer Life into a richer and more personal experience. Fasting can result in a dynamic personal revival in your own life and make you a channel of revival to others.

Fasting and Prayer are the only disciplines that fulfill the requirements of 2 Chronicles 7:14, “If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”

If you Fast, you will find yourself being humbled. You will discover more time to pray and seek God’s face. And as He leads you to recognize and repent of un-confessed sin, you will experience special blessings from God. Through your Fast, and that of many other believers, God will heal our land.

Biblical Examples Of Fasting:

1.Moses …………………. Exodus 34:27-28
2.Israelites ……………… Judges 20:26
3.Samuel ………………… 1 Samuel 7:5-6
4.David ………………….. 2 Samuel 12:16; Psalms 35:13
5.Elijah ………………….. 1 Kings 19:2, 8
6.Ninevites ………………. Jonah 3:5-8
7.Darius ………………….. Daniel 6:18
8.Daniel ………………….. Daniel 9:3
9.Anna …………………… Luke 2:37
10.Jesus ………………….. Matthew 4:1-2
11.John’s Disciples ……… Mark 2:18
12.Pharisees ……………… Mark 2:18
13.Early Christians ……… Acts 13:2
14.Apostles ………………. 2 Corinthians 6:4-5
15.Paul …………………… 2 Corinthians 11:27

Reasons Why A Person May Fast:

1. Seeking God’s will for your life

2. Seeking a personal favor from God (Hanna): 1 Samuel 1:7

3. Grief: 2 Samuel 12:16

4. Anxiety: Daniel 6:18-20

5. Approaching danger: Esther 4:16

6. Sad news: Nehemiah 1:4

7. Sacred Ordinations: Acts 13:3

8. To chasten and to cleanse your soul: Psalms 69:10

9. Healing for yourself, or for others: Mark 9:28-29

Fasting Should Be Accompanied By The Following

1. Prayer (Luke 2:37)

2. Confessions (Nehemiah 9:1-2)

3. Mourning (Joel 2:12; Nehemiah 9:1; Exodus 34:8)

HOW TO FAST SAFELY:

As you begin your Fast, you may hear from concerned loved ones and friends who urge you to protect your health. And they are right. You should protect your health. But I assure you, if done properly, Fasting will not only prove to be a spiritual blessing but physical blessing as well.

By all means, consult your Doctor before you begin your Fast. But, be aware that many Doctors have not been trained in this area and so their understanding is limited. Even so, it would be wise to ask your Doctor for a physical exam to make sure you are in good health. You may have a physical problem that would make fasting unwise or dangerous.

Also, if you are under any type of medication, make sure you talk to your Doctor before changing your regime. Prudence and caution are in order.

When you are assured that you are in good health, you are ready to begin your Fast. Follow The Guidelines listed at the end of this Article.

In spite of the absolute safety and benefits of Fasting, there are certain people who should NEVER Fast without Professional Supervision.

For example:

1. Those who are physically too thin or emaciated

2. Those who are prone to Anorexia, Bulimia, or other Behavioral Disorders

3. Those who suffer Weakness or Anemia

4. Those who have Tumors, Bleeding Ulcers, Cancer, Blood Diseases, or who have Heart Disease.

5. Those who suffer Chronic Problems with Kidneys, Liver, Lungs, Heart, or other important organs

6. Those who take Insulin for Diabetes, or suffer any other Blood Sugar problem such as Hyperglycemia

7. Women who are pregnant or nursing

.

HOW LONG AND WHAT TYPE OF FAST IS RIGHT FOR YOU:

If you have never Fasted before, I applaud your present interest! Fasting has been a major emphasis in the lives of many of the great spiritual leaders throughout history. John Wesley, the founder of the Methodist denomination, Fasted every Wednesday and Friday and required all of his Clergy to do the same. Effective ministers of God from the Apostle Paul to Martin Luther to John Calvin made it a continual part of their walks with God.

None of those men had a “Formula Fast” that was the only “right” way. Fasting is about the condition of the heart, not the number of days. Each time that men have fasted for forty days, it was because they felt impressed by God to do so.

So, start slowly. Fast for one meal a day, or one day a week, or one week a month. Build up your spiritual muscles so that you will be prepared in a period of several months to Fast for an extended 40 day period.

The Bible recounts primarily two types of fasts. A partial Fast is described in the book of Daniel. Although the water Fast seemed to be the custom of the prophet, there was a three-week period in which he only abstained from “delicacies,” meat, and wine. (Daniel 10:3)

The two primary types mentioned in the Bible are the “absolute” and “supernatural absolute” Fasts. These are total Fasts-no food (solid or liquid) and no water. Paul went on an absolute Fast for three days following his encounter with Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:9). Moses and Elijah engaged in what must be considered a supernatural absolute Fast of forty days (Deuteronomy 9:9; I Kings 19:8).

So, I strongly advise you to drink plenty of liquids. Obviously, if God leads you to undertake an absolute fast, you should obey. If so, be certain, without doubt, that God is leading you.

Water-only Fasts that last for more than several days need to be undertaken with complete rest and under medical supervision because of the extreme danger of over toxification, a breakdown of vital body tissues, and loss of electrolytes.

I personally recommend water and juice Fasting, especially if you are going to Fast for an extended period of time. This type of Fast will provide you with more energy than absolute or water-only Fasts and still lead you into the humbling experience of denying your desire for solid food.

When it comes to making your final decision about what type of Fast is right for you, the best advise I can give you is to follow the leading of the Holy Spirit. He will guide your heart and mind as to what is best for you.

Remember, the most important consideration in Fasting is your motive. Why are you Fasting? To seek something personally from God’s hand, or to seek His face in worship, praise, and thanksgiving?

HOW TO MANAGE YOUR SCHEDULE WHILE FASTING:

How long you Fast, the kind of Fast you undertake, and how you adjust your work schedule depends mostly on your occupation. Persons with office jobs, Pastors, or homemakers may find it easier to continue their duties and fast for longer periods of time. In fact, many thousands of Pastors and lay men and women have already completed a 40-day Fast!

Though there are many who engage in strenuous physical labor and have enjoyed their extended Fast, if you are so engaged, you may wish to Fast only one or more days of the week, limiting yourselves to partial Fasting if you are so engaged. Or you may look to weekends as the prime time to abstain from food. Remember, too, fasting during major holidays is not always a good idea. Families may be inconvenienced, and temptations to eat can be overwhelming.

Reasons for schedule adjustments, especially during an extended Fast, are two-fold…

1. The first is physical.

Throughout your Fast, you may feel somewhat weaker than normal. During the first few days, you may feel tired and irritable. Lightening your workload and cutting down on strenuous exercise would be a very good idea to maintain your health and your morale.

2. The second reason is spiritual.

Fasting is not just denying yourself food. It is exchanging the needs of the Physical body for those of the Spiritual. Long times of Prayer and reading God’s Word will be very essential if you are to enter into a more intimate Communion with God to maintain your Fast to its completion.

While Fasting, if you dissipate your energy on numerous errands or busy-work to the neglect of spending special time with God, you will starve both Physically and Spiritually. You will find yourself becoming discouraged and frustrated with your Fast instead of being benefited and uplifted and blessed. I do not want that to happen to you.

The more time you spend with God in fellowship, worship, and adoration of Him, and the more you read and meditate upon His Word, the greater your effectiveness will be in Prayer and the more meaningful your Fast will be. So I encourage you to arrange your schedule accordingly!

By James and Mary Lee Thornton

.

 

About the author

James Thornton

I am a retired pastor currently living in the Nashville, TN area. We attend First Church, Bro. Ron Becton pastor. We've been putting our sermons and Bible studies online for more than five years in an effort to continue our ministry.