Fasting

Guidelines for Fasting

• Seek the Lord’s direction as to the type and length of your fast.

• The body adjusts to fasting by degrees; do not begin with a three or seven day fast if you have never fasted for one day. Begin small – one or two meals.

• Prepare. The longer or more intense the fast, the more you will need to prepare. Eat less in anticipation of a fast, which will make the transition easier.

• Enter a time of fasting with positive faith. God requires faith in all who seek Him. If you determine to seek God earnestly by fasting, you have a scriptural right to expect that God will reward you.

• Do not wait for an emergency to drive you to fasting. Fasting for spiritual reasons is a discipline and must be cultivated. It is better to begin fasting when you are spiritually “up,” rather than “down.”

• During your fast, spend time in the Word. Be careful to keep the Word of God and prayer connected, as they go together. It is in His Word that He will often show you what He wants you to pray. If you aren’t sure where to start, the Psalms are helpful.  Read them out loud.  Identify yourself with the prayers, the praises, and the confessions contained in them.

• Be considerate of your family.

• If you have family members who do not understand fasting and seem wary or even hostile to the idea, pray. God may work out a time for you to fast when no one will even know. God knows your situation and your heart, and He will direct your path. This may be a time to undergo a partial fast that does not seem as drastic to those with whom you live.

• Do not be bound by legalism.  If you receive invitations for meals during a planned time of fasting, some can be easily refused and some not. Pray and consider going and eating very little. God looks at your heart.

• In any time of fasting, your life and conduct should be as normal and as unpretentious as possible.

• Read Isaiah 58:1-12 and check your motives.  Take note of attitudes and motives that are and are not pleasing to God.  Although there are medicinal benefits to fasting, if you are fasting solely for those benefits, or if your main concern is weight loss, then you are not fasting unto the Lord. The benefits we receive physically from a spiritual fast are byproducts, not the main objective.

• Consider setting specific objectives in your fasting and write them down. This exercise will strengthen your faith as you look back.

Physical Aspects of Fasting

• God is pleased when you take proper care of your body, seeking to make it a clean and healthy temple for His Spirit.

• If you are pregnant, have a medical condition such as diabetes, or are on regular medication, check with your doctor before fasting – especially beyond one or two meals.

• In the early period of a fast you may experience unpleasant physical symptoms, such as dizziness, headache, nausea, etc. After the first day or two, these unpleasant physical reactions usually subside.

• Hunger is partly a matter of habit. In the early stages of a fast, hunger will probably return at each normal meal time. Be patient, as the sensation of hunger will pass away without eating.  Drinking a glass of water is helpful.

• During a fast some people drink only water. Others consume various kinds of fluid such as fruit juices, broth, skim milk, etc. It is wise to abstain from strong stimulants such as tea, coffee, or sodas.

Please note:  Do not feel threatened by someone else’s theory. Work out for yourself (with the Lord) the particular pattern of fasting that suits you best as an individual.

• Be aware that you may notice a reduced libido during times of fasting. Consider the importance of one spouse fasting with the consent of the other.

• Some find they do not sleep as much during periods of fasting.

• After one or two days of fasting, you will find your mind to be very clear and alert – your perceptions, sharper.

• You may stay chilled. Without the normal intake of food to burn as fuel, the body burns your reserves.

• If you participate in strenuous physical workouts, adjust accordingly depending on the type and length of your fast.

• When fasting is complete, begin with meals that are light and easy to digest. Eating too heavily after a fast can produce serious physical discomfort, and can nullify the physical benefits of fasting. During any fast that exceeds two days, your stomach will shrink.

Guidelines for Collective Fasting

• In Matthew 18:19, Jesus emphasizes the special power released when believers “agree” in prayer. All participants in a collective fast should achieve and maintain agreement with each other.

• Make a commitment to pray specifically for each other during the fasting period.

• Come together to pray at a time mutually agreed upon.