When we fast, we deny ourselves things we love for something we love even more. There are many ways to fast–all foods, partial fasts, and media fasts.
What does the Bible say about fasting?
Biblical fasting, unlike fasting for medical or health reasons, must be done with an attitude of seriousness and sincerity. When we fast, we willingly deprive the body of nourishment and the pleasurable taste of food. The body requires food for sustenance; therefore our hearts and minds must be totally focused and directed toward God so that He may be the full source of our strength during our period of fasting.
Fasting must also be done in an attitude of humility. It is not necessary for others to know we are fasting; it is directed toward God. But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that it will not be obvious to men 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 6:17-18 NIV
In addition to our attitudes toward God and our stance before man, our motives must also be correct. We should fast to further the building up of God’s kingdom by seeking to minister to others. The prophet Isaiah received from the Lord the acceptable motives for our fasts. Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke? Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter–when you see the naked, to clothe him, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood? Isaiah 58:6-7 NIV
Fasts may last for varying lengths of time–one day, three days, seven days, or more. We should prayerfully seek the Lord about the length of our fast. Fasting should have an object in mind; we should have a clear idea of the need and purpose. One of the most pressing reasons for Christian fasting may be revival: Will you not revive us again … Psalm 85:6 NIV
Types of Fasts
- Full Fast: Drink only liquids (you establish the number of days).
- Daniel Fast: Eat no meat, no sweets, and no bread. Drink water and juice. Eat fruits and vegetables.
- Three-Day Fast: This fast can be a Full Fast, a Daniel Fast, or giving up at least one item of food.
- Partial Fast: A partial fast is 6:00am-3:00pm, or from sunup to sundown. You can select from three types of fasting—a Full Fast, Daniel Fast or giving up at least one item of food.
- Media Fast: Eliminate any choice of media influence–television, movies, Internet, gaming systems, cell phones, etc.