What is Fasting?

"The voluntary denial of an otherwise normal function for the sake of intense spiritual activity." - Richard Foster
  • Fasting is not merely going without food for a period of time; that’s dieting.
  • Fasting is not just a physical discipline, but it can be a spiritual feast.
  • Fasting is not a manipulative tool to get something from God, but “. . . it is your reasonable service. . .” (Romans 12:1).
  • Biblical fasting is refraining from food for a spiritual purpose. All fasts in the Scriptures refer to refraining from food. 
  • Fasting is starving your flesh and feeding your spirit (I Thes. 5:23; Matt. 6:25).
  • Fasting is positioning yourself and preparing your heart for what is to come.  If you are willing to seek Him, He will be willing to give.
  • Fasting always occurs together with prayer in the Bible.  You can pray without fasting, but you cannot fast without praying. When you fast, your focus is always on prayer and on God’s Word

Why should I fast?

In Matthew 5:18 Jesus says, "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness for they will be filled."  Extreme physical hunger and/or thirst is not something most of us have experienced because we are blessed to live in a country of plenty.  All of us however have experienced moments where we have said "I'm starving."  When those "I'm starving" moments come, we are willing to light the fuse and strap a stick of dynamite to pretty much any obstacle that stands between our hunger and being filled.


When we fast we are making the choice to light the fuse and strap a stick of dynamite to a "normal activity" in our lives so that we can seek God without distraction.  

In Proverbs 8, God promises that if we seek Him we will find Him.


Why should you fast?  Because fasting...

  • Is a vital part of that 3-fold chord of each Christian’s duty that Jesus outlines in Matthew 6: “When you give. . .” and “When you pray. . .” and “When you fast.”
  • Brings you into a deeper, more intimate and powerful relationship with the Lord.
  • Gives God the opportunity for a breakthrough in your life.  Every example of fasting in scripture brought reward.
  • Prepares the way for God to give you fresh revelation, fresh vision, and clear purpose.
  • Helps you “spring clean” in a spiritual sense because it makes you sensitive to the desire of the Lord. Un-forgiveness, bitterness, and the like can all be linked to illnesses, fatigue, stress, and more.
  • Helps you separate what you want from what you need.  It causes you to focus on those things that really matter.
  • Can help you tear down the "high places" and "idols" in your life.
  • Makes you more sensitive to the voice of God, thus, becoming more effective under the leading of His Holy Spirit.
  • Helps you establish dominion and authority over your flesh.  Selfish ambition and pride will be affected and removed from you for greater effectiveness in your life for Him.
  • Releases the anointing, the favor, and the blessing of God in your life.


The Lord will guide you continually.  Though the path before you may be obscure, when you fast and pray in faith, God will reward you and guide you.  “Your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, ‘This is the way, walk in it’” (Isaiah 30:21).


“You shall raise up the foundations of many generations” (Isaiah 58:12). When you fast, you begin to lay a spiritual foundation that not only affects your life, but it will affect the generations to come after you.

Preparing for your fast

STEP 1  >>  LEARN ABOUT FASTING

  

Before you can begin making plans for your fast it's important that you understand...



STEP 2  >>  SET A GOAL(S) FOR YOUR FAST

     

Here are a few questions to help you get started in defining a personal goal(s):

  • Is there a characteristic of God that I want to learn more about?
  • Is there something about myself that I want God to show me?
  • Is there a need I want God to meet?
  • What decision do I need God to provide clarity about?
  • What dream do I have that I need God to provide clear direction for?



STEP 3  >>  PICK A TYPE OF FAST

   

HOW you fast is far less important than WHY you are fasting and WHO your fast is about!


Here are four types of fasting that we recommend:  (click each to learn more)



STEP 4  >>  MAKE A PLAN

  

The EFFORT and SACRIFICE you put into your plan will determine the GROWTH you get from it!


Have some conversations before your fast begins

  • If you have children, invite them to give input about what they might want to fast from and help them set a goal(s)
  • Talk with your family, especially your children, about what you are fasting from so that they will understand why meals, evening schedules, etc. are going to be different
  • Talk with a trusted friend about your fasting goals and what you are fasting from so that they can encourage and support you during your fast


Daniel Fast & The THREE

  • Meal planning is vital to your success! 
  • With your meal plan in hand - heading to the grocery store before the fast begins will help position you for success from day 1
  • Refer to the "Daniel Fast" for help with meal planning


Full Fast

  • Make a plan for how you are going to invest the time you would spend eating meals - such as...
  • In place of breakfast - Dig deep into God's Word
  • In place of Lunch - Spend an hour in prayer
  • In place of Dinner - Journal about what you learned during the day & spend time in the Word & Prayer 


Full Media Fast & The THREE

  • Make a plan for how you are going to invest the time you would normally spend on social media, internet, TV, etc... - such as...
  • Dig deep into God's Word in place of TV time
  • Stop and pray every time you would normally hop on social media
  • Spend some quality time with family or friends in place of TV or internet time

GET MORE IDEAS for your media fast plan




STEP 5  >>  PREPARE FOR DIFFICULTIES

   

Any time that we make sacrifices to seek greater intimacy with Christ, we can expect there to be difficulties along the way.

The best time to PREPARE for difficulties is BEFORE you ENCOUNTER them.


It is likely that during your fast you will experience...

  • Physical Difficulties
  • Spiritual Difficulties
  • Spiritual Attack from the enemy

LEARN MORE about how to prepare for difficulties.

   


Explore FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS about fasting.

Types of Fasting

  • Full fast

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  • The 3

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  • Daniel Fast

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  • media fast

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How Do I Approach My Fast?

  • Examine your heart to make sure all is right between you and Him.
  • Have a time of confession on the front end of your fasting, spending the necessary time to purify and consecrate yourself before Him     (Psalm 66:18).
  • We do not fast to obtain merit with God or to get rid of sin.  However, fasting will begin to bring to the surface any area of compromise in your life and make you more aware of any sin in your own life, so you can repent, and truly enter into His presence.
  • We don’t fast to lose weight; though it can be a side effect. 


The Enemy Will Be Against You

  • When you seek the Lord as you will be for these 21 days, you can expect that the enemy will be working against you.
  • Read Ephesians 6:10-18 and ask the Lord to wrap you in His armor and protect you from anything that the enemy may try to use to distract you from seeking Him.

How Can I Get the Most from My Fast?

  • If it doesn’t mean anything to you, it won’t mean anything to God.  Without being combined with prayer and the Word, fasting is little more than dieting.
  • Fasting is a continual prayer before God.  There may be days when your energy is sapped and you just cannot seem to focus in prayer at all.  Don’t condemn yourself, remember, God sees your sacrifice.
  • Avoid watching the TV food commercials; stay away from being tempted.
  • Don’t gorge yourself when ending a fast; when the fast is over don’t have a big, heavy meal.
  • It is possible to fast and not hear from God (Isa. 58:4).  In other words humble yourself and be repentant, then you will hear from heaven. 
  • Satan does not like it when you fast.  He knows that you’re serious about meeting God and meeting Him for a purpose.  Don’t walk in fear, just beware of it; after all, God is bigger.  God desires for you to meet Him and wants to give you His blessings.
  • Spend some time praising Him every time you meet with Him.

How Will Fasting Affect My Normal Activities?

Fasting is something you do while carrying on your everyday activities.  Jesus depicts this in: Matthew 6:16-18 while Christians are going about their normal duties; 1 Samuel 14:24, soldiers are in the activity of warfare; and Acts 27:33, while sailors are on the ship with Paul.  While in your daily activities, fasting becomes a constant prayer to the Lord.  When experiencing hunger, you are reminded to quickly pray for the specific things about which you are fasting.

What Physical Effects Can I Expect While Fasting?

  • You will be hungry. (Be aware that you may become frustrated with the people around you simply because of your hunger.)
  • When you make a drastic change in what you eat, your body will respond in different ways. You can expect it to be difficult.
  • You may experience headaches, but they usually disappear once your body gets used to the fast or you come off of the fast.
  • You may experience sluggishness as the fast progresses.
  • Be sure to consult a doctor before beginning a fast if you have any medical concerns.