I revised this guide I made a few years ago, for a presentation about fasting. It’s my prayer you will be encouraged to find a time soon to fast and pray. Have you felt called to something deeper?
What is fasting: Refraining from food for spiritual reasons. It’s a powerful spiritual discipline for a season of time, to seek God’s will and purpose.
Why fast?: Personal revival, pray for others, revival of the nation, the world, fulfillment of the Great Commission, seek God’s will to glorify Him.
Examples of fasting in the Bible—Old and New Testaments.
David: Ps. 35:13; Ezra 8:21
Daniel: Dan. Chap. 1; 10:3
Joshua: Josh. 7:6—fell face down till evening, dust on heads—walls of Jericho
Elijah: 1 Kings 19:8
Moses: Ex. 34:28
Esther: Es. 4:14-16
Paul and the Apostles: Acts 13:2-3
Jesus: Matt. 4:1-10, 14; Matt. 6:16—Jesus said, “when you fast,” not if you fast; Luke 4:1-13.
Modern day: John Wesley, Martin Luther, John Calvin, Jentezen Franklin, Francis Chan
Fast safely: Research different ways, talk to doctor, consider your situation, medications, occupation, etc. Some people should not fast from food.
How long and what type is right for you: Absolute fasts are no food or water. Partial fasts of various methods, such as skip a meal once a week, 3 days long, liquids only, etc. A Daniel fast is “No meats, no sweets.” Nutritional balance option–a liquid diet based on fruits/juices in the mornings, vegetables in the afternoons, and broths in the evenings. Lots of water. Various ideas on the websites below.
Spiritual preparation: Examine your heart, detect any unconfessed sin. Ps. 66:16-20. Exhaling the impure and inhaling the Holy Spirit.
Managing your schedule: Consider your occupation–how long, what kind, adjustments, weekends, time off, etc. You work out a time. Start small. The important thing is that you spend time in prayer and Bible reading. Don’t distract yourself with errands and busy work. Build up your spiritual muscles.
Managing reactions of friends and family: Saying things like “I have different plans for lunch today,” or drinking water at a luncheon. Family– explain, educate, they can participate. Children could refrain from video games, TV, desserts, etc.. We shouldn’t keep it from people, or lie. Satan can use fear of reactions to keep us from fasting.
How to make your spiritual experience the best it can be: Devote yourself to seek God when you’re weak. Sing, read the Bible, pray, listen, prayer walk, music, get away alone, etc. Avoid social media or TV, limit texting and emails. Satan will try to discourage, make you hungry, grumpy, or trouble stirred up in your family, etc. He’ll do anything he can, because he knows God may reveal something special.
*Keep a journal of prayers and answers.
*It helps to have a fasting buddy–to check in occasionally for accountability, support, and sharing what the Lord has been impressing on your hearts.
Evaluation: After a fast, open your eyes to what God has shown or taught you. Adjust and plan for your next fast.
Fasting can transform your prayer life into a deeper personal experience.
Don’t fast to manipulate God. Seek His face and not His hand.
Habakkuk 1:5— “…I am going to do something in your days that you would not believe, even if you were told.”
Eph. 3:20—“….He is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine.”
Matt. 6:16-18—“when you fast….wash your face….”
Matt. 6:33— “But seek first the kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given unto you as well.”
Romans 12:1—“Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship.”
Matt. 17:21—“This kind only comes out with prayer and fasting…”
Isaiah 58 — “Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen….” (Full of wonderful reasons for fasting.)
Francis Chan: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GT0vXPde7Ss&t=218s
Jentezen Franklin: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5QDJNWecmdk&t=497s
Campus Crusade for Christ site—Bill Bright