A Simple Guide To Fasting

 

1. Why should you fast and pray?


“When you practice fasting to better connect with God, don’t make a production out of it. That might turn you into a small-time celebrity but it won’t make you a saint. If you practice this spiritual discipline, act normal outwardly…God doesn’t require attention-getting devices. Be authentic—God won’t overlook what you are doing; he’ll reward you well.”  Matthew 6:16-18 (Paraphrased)

It was a common practice for God’s people in Biblical history.

Fasting was a common practice for God’s people.
  • 1 Sam 7:5-6 “And Samuel said, ‘Gather all Israel’… and they gathered… and fasted…”
  • Ezra 8:21-23 “Then I proclaimed a fast… So we fasted, so we might humble ourselves before our God…"

Jesus spoke of a day when there would be a time for fasting.

  • Matthew 6:16 (not if, but when you fast…) “Moreover when you fast do not be like the hypocrites…” Matthew 9:14-15 “Jesus answered…The time will come when the bridegroom will be taken from them; then they will fast."

Apostle Paul instructed husbands and wives to fast.

  • 1 Corinthians 7:5 “Do not deprive one another except with consent for a time, that you may give yourselves to fasting and prayer…
"The Church in Acts fasted.

  • Acts 13:2 “While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said…” Acts 14:23 “And when they appointed elders for them in each church, and with prayer and fasting…”
It can restore the loss of the “first love” for God and result in a more intimate relationship with Christ.

  • Joel 2:12 “… turn to me with all your heart, and with fasting, and weeping, and with mourning.”
It is a way to truly humble yourself before God.
  • Psalm 35:13 King David said, “I humble myself through fasting”,   Ezra 8:21-23 “Then I proclaimed a fast… So we fasted, so we might humble ourselves before our God…”
It enables the Holy Spirit to reveal your spiritual condition, resulting in brokenness, repentance, and a transformed life. Isaiah 58:6-12

It is a powerful way to seek God for His direction, will,  protection, and provision for you and your family.

  • Ezra 8:21-23 “I proclaimed a fast, so that we might humble ourselves before our God and ask him for a safe journey for us and our children, with all our possessions. . .  The gracious hand of our God is on everyone who looks to him. . .  So we fasted and petitioned our God about this. . .”
It can result in a dynamic personal revival in your own life and make you a channel of revival to others. Isaiah 58:6-122.

2. What are the guidelines set forth in the Bible concerning fasting?

It is to be done in a manner of humility with a right heart unto Father God, not for public display or seeking the approval of man.
  • Matt 6:16-18 “Jesus said, ‘When you fast do not look somber like the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show men they are fasting… But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that it will not be obvious to men that you are fasting, but only to your father who is unseen; and your father who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.’ ”
  • Luke 18:9-14 “… For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted”
  • Psalms 51: 17 “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, a broken and a contrite heart—These O God you will not despise…”
3. How should you fast?

There are different types of fasting.

  • Absolute Fast - No water, liquids, or food. Ex: Acts 9 The Apostle Paul went on an absolute fast for three days after his encounter with Jesus. Esther 4:16 The Jews went on an absolute fast for three days/nights. Moses and Elijah went on absolute fasts for 40 days enabled totally supernaturally by God.
  • Water Only Fast - The max duration seen in the Bible is 40 days. Water-only fasts that last more than several days should be undertaken with plenty of rest and under medical supervision.
  • Water & Juice Fasting - This type of fasting will provide you with more energy, especially if you are going to fast for an extended period of time.
  • Partial Fast - Denying yourself certain foods. An example we see in the Bible is Daniel who did not eat bread, meat, or drink any wine for three weeks eating only vegetables, fruit,  and drinking water.
  • Media/Activity Fast - If you cannot fast food safely, instead remove media and outside activity from your life for the week. Take that time to focus on God during the silence that will replace our usual busy loud lives.
4. How to fast safely.
  • 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 able to extend your fasting as the Lord leads you.
In spite of the absolute safety and benefits of fasting, there are people who should NEVER fast without professional supervision.

For example:
  1. People who are physically too thin or emaciated.
  2. People who are prone to anorexia, bulimia, or other behavioral disorders.
  3. Those who suffer weakness or anemia.
  4. People with medical issues—tumors, blood diseases, cancer, chronic problems with vital organs.
  5. Individuals who take Insulin for diabetes.
  6. Women who are pregnant or nursing.

5.  Spiritual activities you can add:


Pick one, two, or all of these activities to add to your week to replace the item you have removed for the fast.

  • Read Your Bible.  Today there a number of daily Bible reading plans and devotionals online on available on mobile devices.  Select one and stick with the plan. 
  • Memorize Scripture. Search and pick a verse in the Bible that ministers to.  Print it and keep it somewhere easy to see and repeat it daily. 
  • Pray. Take time each day to pray. Praying is just talking to God and listening to what He has to say.  Make it a practice to establish the same prayer time every day.  You will discover it will become a beneficial spiritual habit.

  • Have a specific request for this season of prayer and fasting? Email our Intercessory Prayer Team at prayerrequest@bahamasharvestchurch.org.
Final thoughts: There is no formula to fasting. Fasting is about the condition of the heart and being obedient to God’s leading. Devote yourself to seeking God, mediating on Him,  and worshiping and praising Him for who He is and what He has done. Read His word, pray as often as you can, and God will honor your seeking heart and bless your time with Him in a special way!

Adapted from: Simple Guide to Fasting by James Rene