How To Begin Your Fast
Set your objectivePrepare yourself spirituallyPrepare yourself physically
How you begin and conduct your fast will largely determine your success. By following these seven basic steps to fasting, you will make your time with the Lord more meaningful and spiritually rewarding.
STEP 1: SET YOUR OBJECTIVE
Why are you fasting? Is it for spiritual renewal, for guidance, for healing, for the resolution of problems, for special grace to handle a difficult situation? Ask the Holy Spirit to clarify His leading and objectives for your prayer fast. This will enable you to pray more specifically and strategically.
Through fasting and prayer we humble ourselves before God so the Holy Spirit will stir our souls, awaken our churches, and heal our land according to 2 Chronicles 7:14. Make this a priority in your fasting.
STEP 2: MAKE YOUR COMMITMENT
Pray about the kind of fast you should undertake. Jesus implied that all of His followers should fast For Him it was a matter of when believers would fast, not if they would do it. Before you fast, decide the following up front:
- How long you will fastone meal, one day, a week, several weeks, forty days
- The type of fast God wants you to undertake
- What physical or social activities you will restrict
- How much time each day you will devote to prayer and Gods Word
Making these commitments ahead of time will help you sustain your fast when physical temptations and lifes pressures tempt you to abandon it.
STEP 3: PREPARE YOURSELF SPIRITUALLY
Fasting Is Appropriate When Mourning Over Some Great Pain Or Loss
In Matthew 9:15, Christ said this in reply to the question of why his disciples didnt fast, The wedding guests cannot mourn while the bridegroom is with them, can they? But the days are coming when the bridegroom will be taken from them, and then they will fast. When Christ died, the disciples would fast and mourn. Often when people are hurting over the loss of a loved one or some great pain, they dont desire to eat. This is totally normal. But to biblically fast while mourning, we must direct those emotions and thoughts to the Lord, as we mourn in hope.
Bible Verses On Fasting
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9 Bible Verses on Fasting Scripture to show us the value of fasting, praying, seeking, and longing for closeness with God through biblical
Every Lent, I dive a little bit deeper into the idea of fasting.
- Is fasting still relevant today?
- How does fasting bring me closer to God?
- What should I be fasting for anyways?
Whether you are choosing to fast for Lent or as a regular spiritual discipline in your life, it is so encouraging to look back over the people who fasted in the Bible.
Seeing the reasons they fasted and how God responded to them renews your excitement for this practice and inspires you to deepen your relationship with God in this way.
There are examples of fasting in both the New Testament and the Old Testament to show us the value of this spiritual discipline.
In the Bible, fasting is when people have given up food or drink and spent that time praying, mourning, and seeking Gods will.
Below, youll find 9 Bible verses on fasting and be able to see the different purposes behind their fasts to inspire, motivate, and give you more purpose in your own fasting.
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How To Fast Properly
When you fast, do not look sullen like the hypocrites, for they make their faces unattractive so that people will see them fasting. I tell you the truth, they have their reward. When you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that it will not be obvious to others when you are fasting, but only to your Father who is in secret. And your Father, who sees in secret, will reward you.
In Matthew 6, Christ deals with three commonly abused religious practices in Israelgiving, praying, and fasting. The religious leaders had made things that were good in and of themselves into bad things. The rituals of giving, praying, and fasting had become a form of self-worship. They did those acts to be seen and praised by men instead of to honor God and receive his approval.
It is appropriate that right after teaching about proper prayer, Christ focuses on fasting. One can pray without fasting, but one cannot fast biblically without prayer. They go together. Therefore, in one sense, Christ is continuing his teaching on prayer.
Fasting literally means not to eat.1 It is giving up food to focus on seeking God over some matter. It is to be so consumed with this matter that it becomes more important than food.2 Fasting, therefore, is a way to enhance our prayer life and our relationship with God.
In this study, we will consider how to properly fast.
Big Question: According to Matthew 6:16-18 and the rest of Scripture, what does proper fasting entail?
Try Different Kinds Of Fasting
The typical form of fasting is personal, private, and partial, but we find a variety of forms in the Bible: personal and communal, private and public, congregational and national, regular and occasional, absolute and partial.
In particular, consider fasting together with your family, small group, or church. Do you share together in some special need for Gods wisdom and guidance? Is there an unusual difficulty in the church, or society, for which you need Gods intervention? Do you want to keep the second coming of Christ in view? Plead with special earnestness for Gods help by linking arms with other believers to fast together.
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How To Do A Biblical Fast
There are two types of fasts commonly practiced by Christians today:
1. A partial fast. This is described in the book of Daniel. For three weeks, Daniel, who was a prophet during a time when Israel lived in exile, abstained only from delicacies like meat and wine .
2. A complete fast. A complete fast means drinking only water or sometimes juice when fasting for an extended period. Juice fasts will provide you with more energy than water-only fasts and still lead you into the humbling experience of denying your desire for solid, chewable food.
If you are new to fasting, start slow. Progressive steps help your body become accustomed to the drop in food intake. You can start by fasting for one meal a day, one day a week or one week a month.
How To Fast According To The Bible The Protestant Churches
Within the Protestant churches, on the other hand, fasting does not occur in the same way. Lent Sunday has come to be seen as the beginning of Lent, but the practice of fasting in the literal sense has almost completely disappeared. Fasting is simply not something that is prescribed. It is not considered in itself to be something religious or to have any spiritual value of its own.
On the other hand, fasting is considered a tool. Among other things, it helps us to gain control over our body and the bodys demands. Luther, for example, recommended fasting as a way to curb sexuality and other carnal desires. But above all, fasting aims to bring us closer to God by emphasizing our own fragility and weakness as physical human beings.
Fasting can also be a way to focus our thoughts. By setting aside our bodily needs, we can concentrate entirely on our contact with God. The only nourishment we receive during fasting is of the spiritual kind.
When Jesus finished his 40-day fast in the wilderness, he was extremely hungry. It was then that Satan tried to persuade him to satisfy the craving for food and the satisfaction of his physical needs . Jesus answer was that man should not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God .
When you fast, do not look as gloomy as the hypocrites. Father, who sees in the hidden, rewards you .
Letyourwill be done, notmine
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Bible Verses About Fasting
Daniel 10:3: I ate no choice food no meat or wine touched my lips and I used no lotions at all until the three weeks were over.
Esther 4:16: Go, gather together all the Jews who are in Susa, and fast for me. Do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my attendants will fast as you do. When this is done, I will go to the king, even though it is against the law. And if I perish, I perish.
Joel 2:12: Even now, declares the LORD, return to me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning.
Luke 2:37: and then was a widow until she was eighty-four. She never left the temple but worshiped night and day, fasting and praying.
Luke 4:2-4: where for forty days he was tempted by the devil. He ate nothing during those days, and at the end of them he was hungry. The devil said to him, If you are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread. Jesus answered, It is written: Man shall not live on bread alone.
For the Top 40 Bible Verses about Fasting, click here.
Helpful Hints For Your Fast
- Drink plenty of water.
- It is wise to abstain from strong stimulants such as caffeinated and sugary drinks during a fast, including the artificial sweeteners found in diet drinks. Also, avoid soy protein drinks, which have been known to cause health problems during a fast.
- If you are on a juice fast, drink raw fruit juices such as apple, grape, and pineapple, which are excellent sources of necessary natural sugar to stabilize blood sugar and keep energy levels up. Orange and grapefruit juice are also good, but they are not recommended for arthritis or allergy sufferers. Monitor juice acidity carefully as it can cause canker sores . Raw vegetable juices such as carrot, celery, beet, or green vegetable combinations are excellent as well. Fresh fruit and vegetable juices can be made in a juice extractor or purchased ready-made . Some of the benefits of drinking raw juice versus bottled are that it does not stimulate digestion and it maintains all of its enzymes and nutritional value.
- Expect some physical discomforts because of the detoxification process, especially on the second day. You may have fleeting hunger pains or dizziness. Withdrawal from caffeine and sugar may cause headaches, but it is a part of the detoxification process. Physical annoyances may also include weariness, tiredness, nausea, and sleepiness.
- During a fast, four major areas of the body are going through a detoxification process. Take care to attend to each of these:
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What Is Fasting According To Secularism
Before elaborating on the question about fasting in the secular world, I decided to googlewhat secularism is and what fasting is according to secularism. Remarkably, the majority of the search results for secularism gave me a simple definition. Secularism is a doctrine that seeks the separation of religion and government. However, this definition is a lie and deception. And here is why.
During my research, I came across the article on the National Secular Society. Further in the article, it states that the Queen is both head of state and Supreme Governor of the Church of England. It is obvious to me that such a statement is not just hypocritical but even blasphemous, is not it? Also, it reminds me about another Supreme Governor of the ChurchVicarius Filii Dei the Pope himself in all his glory. The one who dares to pervert the Word of God. Further, he took on himself alone all the religious powers. Moreover, he has tremendous influence in the political world.
How To Fast According To Scripture
When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show others they are fasting. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that it will not be obvious to others 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. Matthew 6:16-18
Many scholars are quick to point out that Jesus does not say if we fast, but when. It was assumed that followers of Christ would fast. However, Jesus also makes a point to shut down any legalistic or religious formality to fasting, telling his followers they should not be fasting to be noticed, nor fast in such a way as to draw attention.
Jesus command for people to pull themselves together before they go out in public was to highlight the importance of fasting as a connection to God. Only He needs to know we are fasting. Fasting reminds us to be grateful to God for His providence and provision. The understanding is that we would recognize fasting as a habit of grace, a gift from God which He has given to His people in order for us to have a greater, heightened, awareness for the things of God, Stephen Um says for thegospelcoalition.org.
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Who Exemplifies How Often Should A Christian Fast And For How Long
Take King David for example, he fasted a few hours overnight, which exemplifies how often Christians fast and for how long.
David therefore besought God for the child and David fasted, and went in, and lay all night upon the earth, .
How often David fasted? He fasted seven times over a week. How long did he fast? He fasted overnight for each of those seven nights.
The first night the child took ill, he fasted all that night, . However, the child didnt die until the seventh day.
And it came to pass on the seventh day, that the child died. And the servants of David feared to tell him that the child was dead: for they said, Behold, while the child was yet alive, we spake unto him, and he would not hearken unto our voice: how will he then vex himself, if we tell him that the child is dead? .
Different Types Of Biblical Fasting
Seasons of dryness are a normal part of Christianity. Just keep doing all the things until you start to feel alive again. That is the advice Ive been given many times. Its not bad advice, but its not the only way to overcome the spiritual deserts we all experience. While studying about the different types of Biblical fasting I learned how to get breakthrough and spiritual refreshing.
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How Many Times What Time & What Direction To Pray
The prophet Daniel tells that he prayed 3 times a day. Morning , Noon and Night . He would also face toward Jerusalem, which is to the east.
10 Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went into his house and his windows being open in his chamber toward Jerusalem, he kneeled upon his knees three times a day, and prayed, and gave thanks before his God, as he did aforetime.
We are are also told in the Wisdom of Solomon that praying takes place before Sunrise and at Sundown/Sunset:
Wisdom of Solomon 16:28
That it might be known, that we must prevent the sun to give thee thanks, and at the dayspring pray unto thee.
Wisdom of Solomon 16:28
to make it known that one must rise before the sun to give you thanks, and must pray to you at the dawning of the light
Above you can see the times that we are supposed to pray to the Most High, as always we use his creation to judge this. Before the sunrises, we are supposed to be up and giving praises
And as the Sun goes down and daylight decreases were supposed to be praying to the Most High.
Fasting For The Sake Of Fasting
Another wrong way to fast that many Christians are doing, including me in the past. As a new believer, especially with a Ukrainian Orthodox background, I was fasting for the sake of fasting. Martyn Lloyd-Jones calls it mechanical fasting. This kind of religious practice makes fasting an end in itself. Here is the logic: Now, because I have become a Christian, I have to do this or that because it is a part of the Christian religion. That is the wrong motive, and if that is your case, you might as well not fast at all.
A routine is a form of false conduct found in many areas of the Christian life. Many believers simply make up a program for the week to fill their spare time with religious rituals. Thus, it makes such a relationship with God similar to that of a robot with its creator. Moreover, fasting is not the only rite that falls in that category. Christians do mechanical prayer and mechanical Bible reading. Even Sunday service became a part of their weekly routine. And now my question is: if you are a true believer, can you call such conduct worship? Can you call it holy?
And the four beasts had each of them six wings about him and they were full of eyes within: and they rest not day and night, saying, Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come .
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