Biblical fasting always has to do with eliminating distractions for a spiritual purpose; it hits the reset button of our soul and renews us from the inside out. It also enables us to celebrate the goodness and mercy of God and prepares our hearts for all the good things God desires to bring into our lives. Remember, your personal fast should present a level of challenge, but it is very important to know your body, your options, and, most importantly, to seek God in prayer and follow what the Holy Spirit leads you to do. If this is new to you, seeking the advice of a mentor may also be wise.
Fasting should not be a harmful process. Complete Fast: In this type of fast, you drink only liquids, typically water with light juices as an option. Selective Fast: This type of fast involves removing certain elements from your diet. For example, cutting added sugar or caffeine. This can either correlate to specific times of the day, such as am to pm, or from sunup to sundown.
Soul Fast: Your soul reflects your whole life. This fast is a great option if you do not have much experience fasting food, have health issues that prevent you from fasting food, or if you wish to refocus certain areas of your life that are out of balance.
For example, you might choose to stop using social media or watching television for the duration of the fast and then carefully bring that element back into your life in healthy doses at the conclusion of the fast. Matthew ; Matthew ; Luke ; Acts ; Nehemiah God wants to open our eyes to the relationship we can have with him and to increase our confidence in his ability to sustain and strengthen us.
If you sense God has more for your life, prayer is a great place to start believing for all that he has for you. As you practice seeking, he will move on your behalf like never before. Some health professionals suggest eating only raw foods for two days before starting a fast.
I also recommend weaning yourself off caffeine and sugar products to ease your initial hunger or discomfort at the early stages of your fast. How long you fast, the kind of fast you undertake, and how you adjust your work schedule depends mostly on your occupation. Persons with office jobs, pastors, or homemakers may find it easier to continue their duties and fast for longer periods of time. In fact, on the basis of my personal experience, worldwide travels and the many letters, which I have received, I am confident that many, many thousands of pastors and lay men and women have already completed a day fast!
Though there are many who engage in strenuous physical labor and have enjoyed their extended fast, if you are so engaged, you may wish to fast only one or more days of the week, limiting yourselves to partial fasting if you are so engaged. Or you may look to weekends as the prime time to abstain from food. Remember, too, fasting during major holidays is not always a good idea.
Families may be inconvenienced, and temptations to eat can be overwhelming. The first is physical. Throughout your fast, you may feel somewhat weaker than normal. During the first few days, you may feel tired and irritable. Lightening your workload and cutting down on strenuous exercise would be a very good idea to maintain your health and your morale. The second reason is spiritual. Fasting is not just denying yourself food. It is exchanging the needs of the physical body for those of the spiritual.
While fasting, if you dissipate your energy on numerous errands or busy-work to the neglect of spending special time with God, you will starve both physically and spiritually.ranked matchmaking battleborn">
A Short Series On Prayer Part 3: Fasting And Prayer - David Legge - Preach The Word
You will find yourself becoming discouraged and frustrated with your fast instead of being benefited and uplifted and blessed. The more time you spend with God in fellowship, worship, and adoration of Him, and the more you read and meditate upon His Word, the greater your effectiveness will be in prayer and the more meaningful your fast will be.
So I encourage you to arrange your schedule accordingly! Many people are reluctant to tell others that they are fasting so they will avoid the sin of the Pharisees: fasting just to gain recognition for themselves. By isolating ourselves from the support of other Christians, we will be more susceptible to doubts and negative influences both human and demonic. We need the prayer shield of our Christian friends and family members to help us continue when we feel alone and when the enemy tempts us to give up Our Lord as he did Jesus Christ. Eventually, people will notice you are not eating.
However, I have found that unless you see them daily, they do not consider your skipped meal much of a concern.
Prayer and Fasting
If friends and family express concern for your health, ease their fears by telling them that you will stop fasting the moment you feel you are harming your body or if the Lord leads you to end your fast. There is usually no reason for telling strangers or casual acquaintances that you are fasting. If you do, they may subject you to a lot of questions that you may not want to answer.
Arranging special time each day with God is absolutely crucial in attaining intimate communion with the Father. Read His Word and pray during what were mealtimes. Meditate on Him when you awake in the night. Sing praises to Him whenever you please. Focus on your Heavenly Father and make every act one of praise and worship. As you enter this time of heightened spiritual devotion, be aware that Satan will do everything he can to pull you away from your prayer and Bible reading time. When you feel the enemy trying to discourage you, immediately go to God in prayer and ask Him to strengthen your resolve in the face of difficulties and temptations.
The enemy makes you a target because he knows that fasting is the most powerful of all Christian disciplines and that God may have something very special to show you as you wait upon Him and seek His face. Satan does not want you to grow in your faith, and will do anything from making you hungry and grumpy to bringing up trouble in your family or at work to stop you. Make prayer your shield against such attacks. My major reason for fasting is for personal revival, revival for our nation, for the world and for the fulfillment of the Great Commission.
But praying for our own needs and interceding for others are also important reasons to fast and pray. Bring your personal needs before the Lord, intercede for your loved ones, your friends, your church, your pastor, your community, your nation, and the world. By your prayers of humility, as you fast, you will help the Great Commission be fulfilled. However, do not become so caught up in praying for yourself and others that you forget about simply reverencing and praising God.
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True spiritual fasting focuses on God. Center your total being on Him, your attitudes, your actions, your motives, desires, and words. This can only take place if God and His Holy Spirit are at the center of our attention.
Confess your sins as the Holy Spirit brings them to your attention and continue to focus on God and God alone so that your prayers may be powerful and effective. A renewed closeness with God and a greater sensitivity to spiritual things are usually the results of a fast. Many people who have successfully completed extended fasts tell of feeling a nearness to God that they have never before known, but others who have honestly sought His face report no particular outward results at all. For others, their fast was physically, emotionally, and spiritually grueling, but they knew they had been called by God to fast, and they completed the fast unto Him as an act of worship; God honored that commitment.
Your motive in fasting must be to glorify God, not to have an emotional experience, and not to attain personal happiness. When your motives are right, God will honor your seeking heart and bless your time with Him in a very special way. I know the prospect of going without food for an extended period of time may be of concern to some.
But there are ways to ensure that your body is getting the nutrients it needs so you can remain safe and healthy during your fast. For an extended fast, I recommend water and fruit and vegetable juices. The natural sugars in juices provide energy, and the taste and strength are motivational to continue your fast. Try to drink fresh juices, if possible. If you are beginning a juice fast, there are certain juices you may wish to avoid and certain ones that are especially beneficial. Because of their acid content, most nutritionists do not advise orange or tomato juice these are better tolerated if mixed with equal portions of water.
The best juices are fresh carrot, grape, celery, apple, cabbage, or beet. I usually dedicate a portion of my day fast to a special liquid formula, which I have found to be effective over many years. A few recipes and my comments are on this page, as well as a helpful schedule. The juice is available in frozen cans under the Welch label. Most knowledgeable nutritionists recommend:. Some nutritionists recommend warm broth, especially if you live in a colder climate. You may find their recipes helpful:.
You may find the following daily schedule helpful during your fast. I recommend you print it and keep it handy throughout your fast. I suggest that you do not drink milk because it is a pure food and therefore a violation of the fast. Any product containing protein or fat, such as milk or soy-based drinks, should be avoided. These products will restart the digestion cycle and you will again feel hunger pangs. Also, for health reasons, stay away from caffeinated beverages such as coffee, tea, or cola. Because caffeine is a stimulant, it has a more powerful effect on your nervous system when you abstain from food.
This works both against the physical and spiritual aspects of the fast. Another key factor in maintaining optimum health during a fast is to limit your physical activity. Exercise only moderately, and rest as much as your schedule will permit this especially applies to extended fasts. Short naps are helpful as well. Walking a mile or two each day at a moderate pace is acceptable for a person in good health, and on a juice fast.
However, no one on a water fast should exercise without the supervision of a fasting specialist. Although fasting can be an indescribable blessing, it is not always easy for everyone. In this time of discipline, self-sacrifice and reflection, do not be surprised if you experience mental and physical discomforts. To begin, you may experience some inner conflict when you deny yourself the pleasure of eating delicious food. Any sort of fast may sometimes leave you feeling impatient and irritable.
During a 3-day fast, this struggle can intensify toward the end of the second day. I have done enough. Hunger Pangs: These are greatest usually during the first three days of the fast. Your body is adjusting from using the food in your digestive tract which remains about three days to consuming stored fats. Psyllium Bulk: Help eliminate hunger pangs and also aids in cleansing the body.
Several capsules can be taken throughout the day with plenty of water. Silymarin tablets may also be helpful, for they are believed to protect and enhance the cleansing of the liver. Coldness, bad breath and heightened body odor, changes in elimination constipation or diarrhea , light-headedness, changes in sleeping and dreaming patterns, aches and pains. After the first two weeks of an extended fast, many of these symptoms subside. Continuing aches in a certain area of the body usually means elimination of fatty tissue is going on in that area, which is not harmful.
However, any extensive pain should be examined immediately. Stop for a second or two, then recover. Move slowly. A word of caution: these conditions may be symptoms of other problems requiring medical attention. Take one teaspoon of psyllium seed powder morning and evening. Mixed in lukewarm water, it becomes like Jell-O. This powder will hasten the elimination of toxins from your colon and help to prevent headaches and dizziness for most healthy people.
Alfalfa tablets can help control bad breath and cleanse the system. Two tablets at a time can be taken several times a day. In my desire to be absolutely faithful to my first day fast, I stopped taking my usual vitamins and minerals. However during subsequent fasts, I have felt strongly impressed to continue my vitamin and herbal therapy and also using psyllium. During your fast, you may have your struggles, discomforts, spiritual victories, and failures. In the morning you may feel like you are on top of the world, but by evening you may be wrestling with the flesh-sorely tempted to raid the refrigerator and counting how many more days are left in your fast.
This is especially true if you are new at fasting. To counteract temptations like these, take extra time with the Lord to spend with God. Step outside for fresh air and a moderate walk of a mile or two, and talk to the Lord as you walk along. And in the process always keep on sipping water or juice frequently during your waking hours. While your body is in the resting mode, your stomach shrinks and your intestines become idle, so solid food must be re-introduced very slowly to avoid kidney failure or digestive distress.
In fact, after a day fast, you should make a careful transition for at least three days before returning to eating meats or fats or normal foods. Further, if you end your fast gradually, the beneficial physical and spiritual effects will linger for days. But if you rush into solid foods, you may lose much of your deep sense of peace and experience physical problems such as diarrhea, sickness, fainting, and frankly even death in some cases, due to shock! Paul Bragg and his daughter Patricia have conducted fasting clinics for many years. Their book, The Miracle of Fasting, gives a specific daily food plan for breaking a 7-day fast that could be adapted and stretched out over several more days for a day fast.
Most experts agree that breaking a fast with vegetables, either steamed or raw, is best. Your stomach is smaller now, so eat lightly.
Stop before you feel full. Also avoid meats, dairy products, and any fats or oils for a week or more. Introduce them very slowly and in small amounts. Extended fasts are not the only fasts which need to be ended with caution. Even a 3-day fast requires reasonable precautions. It is wise to start with a little soup — something thin and nourishing such as vegetable broth made from onion, celery, potatoes, and carrots — and fresh fruits such as watermelon and cantaloupe.