Hello! I hope that you all are doing well! For those who are choosing to join in on our fast, hopefully you have been preparing yourself…or if not then start today. I am in no way a medical professional, but I have studied fasting from many sources, and consulted teachings on this topic. I am simply trying to share some information about fasting to help gain understanding. Fasting is definitely something you should be planning, preparing your heart and mind for. It is also a good idea to start limiting yourself of items you will be fasting now…so that when you start your fast you do not shock yourself too much….for example….I have cut my coffee consumption in half by today…and hopefully tomorrow will be almost nonexistent. I do anticipate some headaches….if you are planning including coffee in your fast, expect headaches…these will go away after a few days, my advice is to drink plenty of water and if you feel a headache coming on….drink a large glass of water or two…this always seemed to help me.
So there are many questions to fasting, and most people are eager to fast but do not because they do not “think” they will be able to keep their commitment. I also want to encourage you…if you have any questions about fasting…please ask me! Email, text, call, facebook, or whatever way you want. One of the biggest downfalls to fasting is….people start, make a mistake and throw the whole thing out….I want to encourage you, do not quit…if you make a mistake or if you forget and eat what you are supposed to be fasting…treat it like you would anytime you miss the mark….just hit the reset button…ask God to forgive you (which he will 1 John 1:9) then start from that moment again fresh and new. But just don’t think that if you have a moment of weakness, or accidently eat something you shouldn’t that this somehow voids your entire fast. We do our very best to honor our commitments to God, but there are days we fall down…so just get back up!
Ways to fast
I would like to say that there are many ways to fast, probably as many ways to fast as there are ways to pray, as I have studied these are among the most popular. You should always pray and seek direction of God, consider your medical needs and consult a physician if necessary. If you are new to fasting or have never done a really strict fast, you should not jump into an extremely vigorous fast to start. This should be something that you build up to. Like a person who lifts weights, just because one can bench press 500 pounds doesn’t mean he should, unless he/she has trained with that level of weight…same rules apply. Your fast should be a sacrifice, but also shouldn’t be so extreme that you cannot complete or hurt yourself in the process.
I also would like to add keep in consideration you job….you need to be able to fully perform in the work place without any problems. I was fasting once and was doing a 4 day water only fast and my blood sugar dropped so low that every time I stood up I almost fainted. This was extremely foolish for me to do this, I had to drive 70 miles one way to work, and I worked in a prison…not a place to faint at…so I encourage you use wisdom!
Not everyone can do extreme fasts, some because of health reasons or occupation reasons need food to function…I advise you to not put yourself or others in jeopardy…this is why there are many ways to fast…pick out or make a fast that best suits your lifestyle and health concerns…so with that being said this list is not the end all lists for fasting but a suggestion or to be used as a building block….the key is not the religious practice as much as your heart in seeking God!
1. Normal fast or Juice Fast This fast is where you go without food and only consume water or juices for a period of time. The duration can be 1 day, 2 days, 3 days….one week…2 weeks….one month….forty days….This duration is left up to the person fasting, but I might add that EXTEME care should be taken with longer fasts, and they should ONLY be attempted after obtaining medical advice from your physician and by the direction of the Lord. God will not honor you nearly killing yourself any more than a 1 or 2 day fast…it’s your heart he studies not your actions!
2. The Absolute Fast This allows no water or food at all. This fast must be a short fast, and should never be attempted for more than 3 days. The body is 55-80 percent water and it must be replenished on a regular basis. In His book Dr. Towns says Moses fasted for 40 days and 40 nights with no water and no food. This would certainly kill anyone who attempted this without supernatural intervention, and shouldn’t be attempted today. He encourages the reader to be sure and test the spirit that tries to convince you to do this, even if it is a 40 day liquid fast….The enemy would love nothing more than to destroy you and make it look like God’s fault. Use wisdom!!
3. The Daniel Fast and Partial Fast This fast omits certain foods for a period of time, or it incorporates a schedule that limits eating. A partial fast is from 6:00 am to 3:00 pm or from sun up to sundown. This fast may also consist of fasting 1 meal a day or eating only one meal a day. The Daniel fast only permits fruits and vegetables for the duration of the fast. That means no processed foods, no meat, dairy, animal products, no cakes, cookies, chips, anything with yeast including crackers, breads of any kind, and any kind of sweeteners (sugar, honey, agave nectar, and artificial sweeteners). This type of fast can and should be modified to your medical and health needs! This is by far the most popular fast for a variety of reasons….You can fast a meal or meals, a certain food or foods, or perhaps medically you cannot cut out much from your diet…this is where you can cut away anything processed and eat fresh, organic foods. Stay away from preservatives and sweets….stay away from caffeine and sodas of all kinds….the possibilities are endless…that’s why it is a partial fast. Build it to your needs....
4. A Rotational Fast This consists of eating or omitting certain families of foods for a designated time periods. This takes some planning!! For example only grains may be eaten every fourth day….or a person might do a juice/water fast Monday, vegetables on Tuesday, bread and water on Wednesday, beans and fish on Thursday….you get the idea…
These are again just guidelines…you can build your own fast. I suggest making it with items you really enjoy and desire…your treasure is where your heart is….if you are really serious about getting closer to God then what are you willing to part with in order to achieve that?
In his book Dr. Elmer Towns gives several biblical fasts with purposes….these are not a ritual to get or manipulate God or people….but their purpose is to illustrate the fast God has chosen…
The Fast that God Chooses
Isaiah 58:6-8 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? Is it not to deal thy bread to the hungry, and that thou bring the poor that are cast out to thy house? when thou seest the naked, that thou cover him; and that thou hide not thyself from thine own flesh? Then shall thy light break forth as the morning, and thine health shall spring forth speedily: and thy righteousness shall go before thee; the glory of the LORD shall be thy rereward.
SO basically, God’s people in Isaiah’s day had been fasting, but without any results….God is not honored by rituals….He is honored by obedience….Their fasting should have changed their lives…it should have caused them to have God’s heart and do His works because they caught His heart during their intimacy with Him….but their fasting was treated as an empty ritual…..if you look at verse 3,4
Why have we fasted, and you see it not? Why have we humbled ourselves, and you take no knowledge of it?’ Behold, in the day of your fast you seek your own pleasure, and oppress all your workers. Behold, you fast only to quarrel and to fight and to hit with a wicked fist. Fasting like yours this day will not make your voice to be heard on high.
Their fasting wasn’t producing results because they approached it incorrectly…They sought out their own pleasures…more concerned with their physical needs and God said that they will never get anywhere with Him fasting in this way….In today’s culture, many view worship as a private, inward act…It is sad to see that most only ever focus on their own lives, what concerns them personally….but once you learn to be intimate with God…you will learn His ways, and His heart…and this will teach you what the focus of your life should be….Dr. Elmer Towns writes in his book…
”the purpose of all worship, including fasting, is to change the worshiper in ways that have a social and interpersonal impact. We worship not to just gratify ourselves, but also to become empowered to change the world!”
God is not asking His people to stop fasting, but to expand fasting through their actions into their daily lives. In Joel 2:12 it says Turn to me with all of your heart, with fasting…..God’s desire is that fasting should be continued, and that its effects go beyond just a personal reasoning….If you look at Isaiah 58….God says He has chosen fasts that….1) Loosen the bonds of wickedness 2)undo heavy burdens 3)let the oppressed go free 4) break every yoke 5)give bread to the hungry and provide for the poor 6) allow peoples light to break through like the morning 7)cause their health to spring forth speedily 8) cause their righteousness to go before them 9)cause the glory of the Lord to be their reward or in some translations. Their rear guard…
Although this passage was not written in 2020, it still has a personal application today. Dr.Towns in his book listed 9 biblical characters whose lives personified the literal and figurative theme of each of the 9 aspects in Isaiah 58….These again are not the only kinds of fasts or the only purposes of fasts for believers and as he states in His book….”these are not a ritualistic fast performed for a particular problem”….these are only suggested fast models to use and adjust to your own particular needs and desires as you seek to grow closer to God….which should be the most important reason of fasting….I am including this for sake of knowledge and growth.
1. The Disciple’s Fast
Purpose: “To loose the bands of wickedness” (Isa. 58:6)—freeing ourselves and others from addictions to sin.
Key Verse: “This kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting” (Matt. 17:21, KJV).
Background: Jesus cast out a demon from a boy whom the disciples had failed to help. Apparently they had not taken seriously enough the way Satan had his claws set in the youth. The implication is that Jesus’ disciples could have performed this exorcism had they been willing to undergo the discipline of fasting. Modern disciples also often make light of “besetting sins” that could be cast out if we were serious enough to take part in such a self-denying practice as fasting—hence the term “Disciple’s Fast.”
2. The Ezra Fast
Purpose: To “undo the heavy burdens” (Isa. 58:6)—to solve problems, inviting the Holy Spirit’s aid in lifting loads and overcoming barriers that keep ourselves and our loved ones from walking joyfully with the Lord.
Key Verse: “So we fasted and entreated our God for this, and He answered our prayer” (Ezra 8:23).
Background: Ezra the priest was charged with restoring the Law of Moses among the Jews as they rebuilt the city of Jerusalem by permission of Artaxerxes, king of Persia, where God’s people had been held captive. Despite this permission, Israel’s enemies opposed them. Burdened with embarrassment about having to ask the Persian king for an army to protect them, Ezra fasted and prayed for an answer.
3. The Samuel Fast
Purpose: “To let the oppressed (physically and spiritually) go free” (Isa. 58:6)—for revival and soul winning, to identify with people everywhere enslaved literally or by sin and to pray to be used of God to bring people out of the kingdom of darkness and into God’s marvelous light.
Key Verse: “So they gathered together at Mizpah, drew water, and poured it out before the Lord. And they fasted that day, and said there, ‘We have sinned against the Lord’ ” (1 Sam. 7:6).
Background: Samuel led God’s people in a fast to celebrate the return of the Ark of the Covenant from its captivity by the Philistines, and to pray that Israel might be delivered from the sin that allowed the Ark to be captured in the first place.
4. The Elijah Fast
Purpose: “To break every yoke” (Isa. 58:6)—conquering the mental and emotional problems that would control our lives, and returning the control to the Lord.
Key Verse: “He himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness.… He arose and ate and drank; and he went in the strength of that food forty days and forty nights” (1 Kings 19:4, 8).
Background: Although Scripture does not call this a formal “fast,” Elijah deliberately went without food when he fled from Queen Jezebel’s threat to kill him. After this self-imposed deprivation, God sent an angel to minister to Elijah in the wilderness.
5. The Widow’s Fast
Purpose: “To share [our] bread with the hungry” and to care for the poor (Isa. 58:7)—to meet the humanitarian needs of others.
Key Verse: “The jar of flour was not used up and the jug of oil did not run dry, in keeping with the word of the Lord spoken by Elijah” (1 Kings 17:16, NIV).
Background: God sent the prophet Elijah to a poor, starving widow—ironically, so the widow could provide food for Elijah. Just as Elijah’s presence resulted in food for the widow of Zarephath, so presenting ourselves before God in prayer and fasting can relieve hunger today.
6. The Saint Paul Fast
Purpose: To allow God’s “light [to] break forth like the morning” (Isa. 58:8), bringing clearer perspective and insight as we make crucial decisions.
Key Verse: “And he [Saul, or Paul] was three days without sight, and neither ate nor drank” (Acts 9:9).
Background: Saul of Tarsus, who became known as Paul after his conversion to Christ, was struck blind by the Lord in the act of persecuting Christians. He not only was without literal sight, but he also had no clue about what direction his life was to take. After going without food and praying for three days, Paul was visited by the Christian Ananias, and both his eyesight and his vision of the future were restored.
7. The Daniel Fast
Purpose: So “thine health shall spring forth” (Isa. 58:8, KJV)—to gain a healthier life or for healing.
Key Verse: “Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king’s delicacies, nor with the wine which he drank” (Dan. 1:8).
Background: Daniel and his three fellow Hebrew captives demonstrated in Babylonian captivity that keeping themselves from pagan foods God had guided them not to eat made them more healthful than others in the king’s court.
8. The John the Baptist Fast
Purpose: That “your righteousness shall go before you” (Isa. 58:8)—that our testimonies and influence for Jesus will be enhanced before others.
Key Verse: “He shall be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink” (Luke 1:15, KJV).
Background: Because John the Baptist was the forerunner of Jesus, he took the “Nazirite” vow that required him to “fast” from or avoid wine and strong drink. This was part of John’s purposefully adopted lifestyle that designated him as one set apart for a special mission.
9. The Esther Fast
Purpose: That “the glory of the Lord” will protect us from the evil one (see Isa. 58:8).
Key Verses: “Fast for me … [and] my maids and I will fast … [and] I will go to the king … [and] she found favor in his sight” (Esther 4:16; 5:2).
Background: Queen Esther, a Jewess in a pagan court, risked her life to save her people from threatened destruction by Ahasuerus (Xerxes), king of Persia. Prior to appearing before the king to petition him to save the Jews, Esther, her attendants and her cousin Mordecai all fasted to appeal to God for His protection.
Living Water Christian Outreach
7735 Meadow Gap Rd
Three Springs, PA 17264
Copyright © 2018 Living Water Christian Outreach - All Rights Reserved.