Simply stated, biblical fasting is refraining from food for a spiritual purpose.
According to the Bible, there are three duties of every Christian: give, pray and fast.
Biblical fasting takes a lot of discipline and strength—strength which you can only receive from God. Your private discipline will bring you rewards in Heaven,
says Matthew 6.
When you give God your first through fasting, prayer and giving at the beginning of the year, you set the course for the entire year.
Why should I fast?
- Are you in need of healing or a miracle?
- Do you need the tender touch of God in your life?
- Is there a dream inside you that only He can make possible?
- Are you in need of a fresh encounter?
- Do you desire a deeper, more intimate and powerful relationship with the Lord?
- Are you ready to have heightened sensitivity to the desires of God?
- Do you need to break away from bondages that have been holding you hostage?
- Is there a friend or loved one that needs Salvation?
- Do you desire to know God’s will for your life?
BIBLICAL FASTING FOCUS
1 TIMOTHY 2:1-2
“I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.”
“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, [which is] your reasonable service.”
“But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.”
“[Is] not this the fast that I have chosen to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke?”
We want to encourage you to target your prayers during the fast. Two specific areas we will be focusing on together are leadership and finances. The Bible instructs us to continually pray for our leaders (1 Timothy 2:1-2). When we lift up our leaders, here in the United States and around the world, we can expect God’s peace in our lives and in our nation.
Another great promise, from the book of Isaiah, proclaims that the chosen fast will “undo the heavy burdens and let the oppressed go free.” We are living in tough economic times and we know that so many people are under a financial burden. As we come together to fast and pray, we believe that your burdens will be lifted and that financial blessings will be released into your life!
We encourage you to seek the Lord in prayer and let your decisions about your biblical fasting come from Him. Ask the Lord to show you areas to target during your time of fasting and prayer. We believe that, as we pray and seek God and give Him our best at the first of the year, He will bless our ENTIRE year (Matthew 6:33)!
There are several types of fasting. The one you choose is between you and God. He will honor your best sacrifice.
Drink only liquids (you establish the number of days).
The Daniel Fast
Eat no meat, no sweets and no bread. Drink water and juice. Eat fruits and vegetables.
This fast can be a Full Fast, Daniel Fast or give up at least one item of food.
A partial fast is from 6:00 am to 3:00 pm or from sun up to sundown. You can select from three types of fasting —a Full Fast, Daniel Fast or give up at least one item of food.
Step 1: Be Specific
Daniel was not vague in his objection to the Babylonian diet. He defined the problem immediately.
- The king’s food was against dietary laws.
- Daniel and his friends had vowed against wine.
- The king’s food had been offered up to idols/demons.
Step 2: Fast as a Spiritual Commitment
The Daniel Fast involves a spiritual commitment to God. “Daniel proposed in his heart that he would not defile himself” (Daniel 1:8).
Step 3: Reflect Inner Desire by Outer Discipline
Many people have an inner desire for better health, but they can’t discipline themselves to avoid junk food, and other foods that are not good for their health. The physical health you seek from God may be more than an answer to prayer. Your physical health can be linked to any of the following factors:
- Your food choices.
- The level of your spiritual commitment as reflected in constant prayer during the fast.
- Your time commitment. If you determine to fast for a certain time, keep it. For example, if you determine to fast 10 days, don’t stop on Day 9.
- Your testimony commitment. Your fast is a statement of faith to God that you want Him to heal your body, and faith is foundational to the Daniel Fast.
Step 4: Pray to Perceive Sin’s Role in Poor Health
Notice James 5:13-16:
- Sin is something related to the cause of sickness.
- Lack of health/healing may be the result of spiritual rebellion.
- Lack of health/healing may be due to sin of wrong intake, i.e. drugs, pornography.
- Repentance is linked to health according to James.
- Elders have a role in healing both spiritual and physical health.
- Sick people must desire to be well
- The anointing oil could mean
- Medicine for healing,
- Symbolic of the Holy Spirit, or
- It could be baptism
- Prayer alone may not gain healing, faith is the major factor.
- In Greek there are several words for “sick”. James uses “Kanino”, which not only includes disease, but also means weak or weary.
- Attitude is important. James said, “are there any among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing psalms.”
Step 5: Fast as a Statement of Faith to Others
Daniel was making a statement of faith when he asked for only vegetables to eat and water to drink, then dared the overseer to compare the appearance of the four sons of Israel with the young men who ate the king’s food.
Step 6: Learn the Effects of the Food You Eat
Why are some foods good for us, and other foods not? What does certain food do to your body? If we really knew, there would likely be some things we would never eat again.
Step 7: Yield All Results to God
Daniel said, “as you see fit, deal with your servants” (Dan. 1:13).
FOOD GUIDELINES FOR A DANIEL FAST
“Please test your servants for ten days, and let them give us vegetables to eat and water to drink.”
Daniel 10:3 KJV
“I ate no pleasant food, no meat or wine came into my mouth, nor did I anoint myself at all, till three whole weeks were fulfilled.”
When going on a Daniel fast, or any type of fast, if you have questions outside of what Scripture says, prayerfully seek the Lord and be led by the Spirit for the specifics for your personal fast.
Whether you are beginning a private fast, or fasting corporately as we do each year at Turning Point, I believe you will find these tips helpful.
-Pastor Justin Mitchell
How to Begin
Start with a clear goal. Be specific. Why are you fasting? Do you need direction, healing, restoration of marriage or family issues? Are you facing financial difficulties? Ask the Holy Spirit for guidance. Pray daily and read the Bible.
Confess your sins to God. Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal areas of weakness. Forgive all who have offended you and ask forgiveness from those you may have offended (Mark 11:25; Luke 11:4; 17:3-4). Surrender your life fully to Jesus Christ and reject the worldly desires that try to hinder you (Romans 12:1-2).
Deciding What to Fast
The type of fasting you choose is up to you. You could go on a full fast in which you only drink liquids, or you may desire to fast like Daniel, who abstained from sweets and meats, and the only liquid he drank was water. Remember to replace that time with prayer and Bible study.
Deciding How Long
You may fast as long as you like. Most can easily fast from one to three days, but you may feel the grace to go longer, even as much as 21 to 40 days. Use wisdom and pray for guidance. Beginners are advised to start slow.
What to Expect
When you fast your body detoxifies, eliminating toxins from your system. This can cause mild discomfort such as headaches and irritability during withdrawal from caffeine and sugars. And naturally, you will have hunger pains. Limit your activity and exercise moderately. Take time to rest. Fasting brings about miraculous results. You are following Jesus’ example when you fast. Spend time listening to praise and worship. Pray as often as you can throughout the day. Get away from the normal distractions as much as possible and keep your heart and mind set on seeking God’s face.
How to End
Don’t overeat when the time comes to end your fast. Begin eating solid food gradually; eat small portions or snacks.