How To Fast
When we fast we purposely deprive ourselves of physical, worldly things in order to help us draw nearer to God. In essence, we remove distractions and comforts to help us focus more on God and seek Him wholeheartedly as we discussed in 'Why Should I Fast?'
Before beginning a fast you need to first have a plan and set goals - they will help you keep focused, give you strength to press on when you really want to cheat and have an overall beneficial fast.
Take some time to think about these things:
- What are your prayer goals? These are things you are going to commit to pray for daily. The can be church goals (for leaders, church growth or for your community group). They can also be personal goals (like personal holiness, freedom from sin in your daily living, opportunities to share about Jesus or for people you know to come to faith in Jesus).
Ask God for Strength
Fasting is not about you testing your willpower. It is an exercise in humility where we recognise that everything about our lives is totally dependant on God. So ask Him to help you, both before you start and throughout the duration of your fast.
You're objective is to draw near to God and you will be depriving your body of things it is accustomed to so plan to:
- Limited your physical exercise
- Rest as much as you can
- Drink plenty of water.
- Use your regular mealtimes as prayer times
- Maintain an attitude of prayerfulness throughout the day. Intercede for your family, friends, community, church, nation, world missions, etc.
- Pray with others.
Different Kinds of Fast
Scripture lays out a few ways that we can do this. You need to pray and ask God which type of fast is right for you to participate in. You should also seek advice and talk to your doctor if you are unsure.
Here's your options:
The Absolute Fast
This involves abstaining from all food and water for a certain period of time, not recommended to be more than 3-days. This type of fast was practiced by Moses and Elijah (Deuteronomy 9:9, 10:10, 18:25-29, 1 Kings 19:18) but BE CAREFUL - this kind of fast is rarely performed and should only be carried our under the supervision of your doctor.
The Solid Food Fast
In this type of fast you abstain from solid foods whilst allowing yourself to drink water and juice. Some theologians think Jesus fasted like this because the scriptures don't mention Him being thirsty at the end of it (Matthew 4:2).
The Partial Fast
This type of fast was carried out by Daniel, who abstained from rich foods like meat, wine and delicacies for 21-days (Daniel 10:3). You can also expand the concept out to other everyday luxuries and distractions we indulge ourselves in, like social media, television or hobbies in order to give more time to prayer and reflection with God.