“Without a purpose and plan, it’s not Christian fasting; it’s just going hungry.”
There are a few different variations to this fast - a drink only fast (including protein drinks or smoothies), a water-only fast, an absolute fast (no food or drink), or a combination of any of these. Because of the length of the fast we're participating in (21 days), we encourage you to choose certain meals or certain days in which to engage in this type of fasting.
PARTIAL FAST: NO FOOD
A fast abstaining from solid food but allowing for liquids (fruit or vegetable juice and/or broth, protein shakes, vegetable smoothies, etc). Some call this a “normal fast.” (Again, you establish the number of days.) Drink water, and plenty of it (a good goal is a gallon a day).
NORMAL FAST: WATER-ONLY
A strict water fast for more than two or three days is not recommended unless you can completely rest and are medically supervised. However, this water-only fast has been successfully undertaken by many people. *We DO NOT encourage this fast beyond two or three days without strong medical supervision, particularly in the case of young or elderly people.
If you are doing a short water-only fast, don't presume that it will be easy. Some people are shocked when they first abstain from food. Your blood sugar level may drop and your instinct will be to rush for a chocolate bar. But then you will remember that you are supposed to be fasting, though we have known people who have impulsively eaten before realizing what they were doing. Such an outcome can be discouraging; but do not despair; things will change once you get into the rhythm of fasting.
COMPLETE FAST: NO FOOD OR LIQUIDS
An absolute fast is without food or water (all liquids). Never go beyond three days without water. Discuss your plans with your doctor, church leaders, and spouse or parents. We do not encourage the kind of fasting that abstains from all liquids without specific confirmation from the Lord through your church leadership or parents/spouse, etc.
The absolute fast is the rare fast and only mentioned a few times in the Bible. Paul, during his Damascus Road experience “was three days without sight, and neither ate nor drank.” We can’t tell for sure if this was because he was so shocked by what was happening with him or if it was for spiritual purposes. In Ezra 10 we find the prophet so distraught over the actions of the people that he went into great mourning and praying before the Lord. At this time he neither ate nor drank for at least one night and perhaps longer.