What is fasting?
Abstaining from food for spiritual reasons. (You may also choose to fast from something else like wine, Netflix, TV or something else you enjoy, for spiritual reasons.)
We fast not to get something we want from God, but for God to change our wants. We fast because Jesus fasted, He expected we would fast, and we see that the early church fasted. In fasting, we choose a period of time in which we forsake what we need to live physically (food), in recognition that our greater need is to live spiritually, and that means we need God.
How do I fast?
- Choose a date and determine ahead of time what kind of fast you wish to do. If you’ve never fasted before, or have only fasted rarely, start small. Here are a few options to consider:
- Normal Food Fast – Going without food for a predetermined period of time. It could be one day or several days. One must drink water, and be cautious of existing medical conditions.
- Partial Food Fast – Going without a meal during the day, or multiple meals for one day. A partial food fast may also mean going without a certain kind of food for a set period.
- Juice or Fruit Fast – Choosing only to have a certain juice or fruit for a meal for a period of time (adapted from a fast guide from Perimeter Presbyterian Church, Atlanta GA).* Whichever type of fast you decide to do, it’s important to stay hydrated throughout your fast and consider any existing medical conditions that might make fasting unwise for you. If you’re unsure, check with your doctor before you fast.
- Whether you’re skipping a meal or skipping all meals for an entire day, take that meal time (or a specific, scheduled time) to pray, read your Bible, listen to God, meditate, and reflect.
- Every time you feel physically hungry during your fast, turn it into a physical reminder of your spiritual need for God by praying this simple prayer: Lord, I need You more than I need food. Thank You for meeting my need.
Our prayer is that individually and corporately the fruit of our time of prayer and fasting is a deeper hunger and thirst for God, that results in a greater hunger and thirst for the things of God – His glory made known through the gospel that changes lives, that change the world. Learn more about the what, why and how of biblical fasting from Richard Foster’s article.