There is more to fasting than just abstaining from food. Fasting is about our relationship with Christ. It is a spiritual exercise with a focus, a Christ-centered purpose, seeking spiritual results that honor and glorify Christ. (see Isaiah 58:1; Matt. 6:16-18; Ezra 9:1-10)
Fasting is a help to our life of prayer. (John 15; 1 Thes. 5:17; Nehemiah 1:8-10)
Fasting is expected and taught to be a practiced discipline of the faith. (Matt. 6:16-18; 9:14-15)
Fasting was associated with grief and mourning. (1 Sam. 1:7-8; 31:13)
Fasting was associated with seeking God's renewed presence and sustaining strength and salvation from enemies, danger, and temptation. (Exodus 34:28; Matt. 4:1-11; Luke 4:2; 2 Chron. 20:3-4; Esther 4:16)
Fasting goes along with knowing and doing God's will. (Judges 20; Acts 14:23)
Fasting is related to power and fruit through ministry. (1 Kings 13:1-22; Isaiah 58:1-12; Acts 13:1-4; mATTHEW 4:2)
Fasting is linked with worship and adoration of the Father. (Luke 2:37; Zechariah 7:5)
The Bible distinguishes between several kinds of fasts: normal (fast from all food, Matt. 4:2), partial (dietary limitation, Daniel 1:12), absolute (no foods or liquids, Ezra 10:6), and supernatural (Deut. 9:9)
In Scripture, fasts were private (Matt 6:16-18), congregational (Joel 2:15-16; Acts 13:1-4), regular, and occasional (Leviticus 16:29-31; Matt. 9:15)
Biblical fasts lasted for various periods of time: 1 day, 3 days, 7 days, 14 days, 40 days (see Judges 20:26; Acts 9:9; 1 Samuel 31:13; Daniel 10:3-10)
PRACTICAL TIPS: Taken from Bill Bright's 7 Basic Steps to Successful Fasting & Prayer
Set your objectives. Search your motives, set goals, set prayer points and humble yourself before God. (2 Chron. 7:14)
Ask the Spirit to show you how to fast. How long should you fast, what you should focus on during the fast, and activity limitations during the fast.
Prepare spiritually. List sins, confess, repent, seek forgiveness, make restitution, be filled with the Spirit, surrender, mediate on God and His Word, prayer with expectation, and be prepared for spiritual opposition.
Prepare physically. Gradually move into a long fast, eat smaller meals, avoid high fat and sugar, eat raw veggies and fruits before the fast. When fasting avoid drugs if possible (even natural herbal remedies); limit activity; exercise moderately; walk for exercise; rest; expect headaches impatience, and physical discomforts; drink liquids (juices, herbal teas, broth)
Put yourself on a schedule. Worship, read the Word, prayer, surrender to God's purposes and activity, pray for vision, take walks, pray during meals, seek His heart in unceasing prayer, avoid TV, meet with others to pray, and pray with your spouse and family.
End your fast gradually. Replace water with fruit juice, broths, soups, utilize small snacks, etc.
Expect results. A fast is not a spiritual cure all. Keep relationship centered!
New Hope Baptist Church 3007 Beechtree Drive Sanford, NC 27330