A Guide to Fasting

Spiritual Discipline

The Bible presents fasting as an ongoing spiritual opportunity.  Among other things, it's presented as a spiritual discipline or practice with spiritual implications and value as a treatment for a chronic spiritual condition we all suffer with - sin.

Indeed, we could say that it functions as an effective means of spiritual “detoxification” for followers of Jesus.

Why Fast

The purpose of fasting is to draw nearer to God. Biblical fasting is about focusing our hearts on God and eliminating distractions for a spiritual purpose. It causes us to hit the reset button of our soul and renews us from the inside out. It also enables us to celebrate the goodness and mercy of God and to prepare our hearts for all of the good things God desires to bring into our lives.

Your personal fast should present a level of challenge, but it is very important to know your own body and the options. Be certain to check with your doctor before engaging in any sort of dietary fast. Most importantly, seek God in prayer and follow what the Holy Spirit leads you to do.

Types of Fasts

There are many different types of fasts, but the one thing that ties them all together is the sacrifice and commitment to God. Regardless of whether you are fasting from all foods, individual meals, social media or any other thing that involves sacrifice and commitment, fasting increases the clarity and intensity of our prayers.

Complete Fast

This fast calls for drinking only liquids, typically water with light juices as an option. Pay particular attention to your health needs when considering this type of fast and contact your medical provider to ensure that physically you are able to participate.

Selective Fast

This type of fast involves removing certain elements from a diet. One example of a selective fast is one in which you remove meat, sweets, or bread from your diet and consume water and juice for fluids and fruits and vegetables for food.

Partial Fast

This fast is sometimes called the Jewish Fast and involves abstaining from eating any types of food in the morning and afternoon. This can either correlate to specific times of the day, such as 6am to 3pm or from sunup to sundown. You may also choose to eliminate a particular meal each day.

Media Fast

This fast is common for those who do not have much experience fasting from food, who have health issues that prevent the fasting of food or who wish to refocus certain areas of their life that are out of balance. For instance, someone might select to abstain from using social media or watching television for the duration of the fast, then carefully bring that element back into their life in an orderly fashion.

Additional Resources

Fasting for Beginners | Article from Desiring God

Sharpen Your Affections with Fasting | Article from Desiring God

The Forgotten Partner of Effective Prayer, Part 1 | Sermon from Steve Corts

The Forgotten Partner of Effective Prayer, Part 2 | Sermon from Steve Corts

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