Dont Think Of White Elephants
Without a purpose and plan, its not Christian fasting its just going hungry.
When your empty stomach starts to growl and begins sending your brain every feed me signal it can, dont be content to let your mind dwell on the fact that you havent eaten. If you make it through with an iron will that says no to your stomach, but doesnt turn your minds eye elsewhere, it says more about your love for food than your love for God.
Christian fasting turns its attention to Jesus or some great cause of his in the world. Christian fasting seeks to take the pains of hunger and transpose them into the key of some eternal anthem, whether its fighting against some sin, or pleading for someones salvation, or for the cause of the unborn, or longing for a greater taste of Jesus.
This Handout Is For Informational Purposes Only
The information in this handout reflects only the limited opinions, experience, and suggestions of IHOPKC and is not meant to substitute the advice provided by your doctor or other healthcare professional.
You should not use this information for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease, or prescribing any medication. Additionally, this information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. These tips have been found to be helpful and successful, but they are no guarantee that you will fast without experiencing any difficulties. You will need to do your own research, talk with health experts and those experienced in fasting, and continually ask the Lord for increased discernment and wisdom concerning fasting and healthy living.
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Which Of The Different Types Of Biblical Fasting
Weve looked at several different types of Biblical fasting today. Id love to know if youve tried fasting. What types of things drive you to prayer while fasting?
It took years to hone in on the Spiritual discipline of fasting, but I can honestly say it was the answer to overcoming that dryness. It has been years since Ive walked through that spiritual desert because now I know how to draw nearer to God for a time of refreshing.
The Bible repeatedly tells us to draw near to God, to seek God with all your heart, to humble yourself before God. Fasting is a way to draw near, seek and humble yourself before God to receive the breakthrough you are longing for.
Maybe you felt the stir but you are still unsure of the specific how-tos of fasting. No worries. Ive written a short book to help guide you through the process of fasting.
A Beginners Guide to Fast and Pray: Taking Spiritual Warfare to the Next Level. Get your copy and start your journey to spiritual breakthrough today!
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How To Do A Biblical Fast
There are two types of fasts commonly practiced by Christians today:
1. A partial fast. This is described in the book of Daniel. For three weeks, Daniel, who was a prophet during a time when Israel lived in exile, abstained only from delicacies like meat and wine .
2. A complete fast. A complete fast means drinking only water or sometimes juice when fasting for an extended period. Juice fasts will provide you with more energy than water-only fasts and still lead you into the humbling experience of denying your desire for solid, chewable food.
If you are new to fasting, start slow. Progressive steps help your body become accustomed to the drop in food intake. You can start by fasting for one meal a day, one day a week or one week a month.
How To Fast And Pray For A Breakthrough
While fasting for spiritual growth you want to intentionally plan times of prayer and scripture meditation into your day.
Both are key to the breakthrough you are seeking.
Any of the 9 different types of Biblical fasting can help you get the breakthrough in your life. Any of them. Honestly, you may want to try many of them to find the right one for you.
After many years of practicing fasting I have a list of things to fast for God now. But when I first began, I was clueless about how to fast and pray in a way that pleases God.
I tried intermittent fasting, fasting from 6 am to 3 pm, then 3 pm to 6 am. Intermittent fasting helped me find the things that drove me to prayer. I started fasting from all food, then just certain food, finally fasting from non-food things until I found the things that helped.
My list of things to fast for God:
I crave these things. They satisfy me. In and of themselves none of these things are sinful but they can keep me from the breakthrough and spiritual refreshing I desire.
When I am bored, I scroll through Facebook. At the end of the day, I realize I havent found time to do my Bible study. How many good but pointless things are there in my life that rob me of that time with God?
When good things keep you from doing God things, good things are bad. Fasting from good things can lead to spiritual breakthrough!
Fasting From Other Things
The Bible mentions another type of fast that has nothing to do with food. It is about putting aside for a while things that are not food. For example, Daniel stopped wearing perfume when he did the three-week partial fast .
In 1 Corinthians 7:5, we also find the example of abstaining from sex in marriage for a short time in order to devote oneself to prayer. This must be done by mutual agreement of the couple.
Today we see people who decide to refrain from the use of social networks or television for a few days since they want to use that time to go deeper into their relationship with God and focus on seeking his will. This type of fast can be combined with a partial fast.
Whichever fast we choose, the most important thing is to dedicate that time to seeking more of God. The emphasis should be on spending time with him, praying, worshiping him, and reading his Word. It should be a time when everything else takes a back seat to delight in listening to our Father and receiving what he wants to give us.
Powerful Prayer During Biblical Fasting
You are righteous, compassionate, merciful and loving and all glory and honor are Yours. You are the source of all wisdom and knowledge and bring light into darkness. You have created us to be curious and to seek wisdom and understanding.
We praise you and thank you for hearing our prayers and for Your Son, in whom all treasures of wisdom and knowledge are hidden. We thank you for giving us Your Word to guide us.
Father, please guide me to seek Your wisdom each day. Lord, help us to be obedient to you and your ways. Help us to seek your face each day, in all we do.
Jehovah, keep us free from temptation and evil. Help us to turn to you as our stronghold and refuge. Thank you, Lord, for the temptations that we face as they reveal to us our dependence on you.
I am a sinner, Father and I ask forgiveness for my sins. Although I deserve punishment, you are merciful and forgive my fleshly transgressions. I am so sorry for my weakness and rejoice in your mercy.
God, I desire to relentlessly pursue You. Please walk with me and stir in me a passion for you that is unbending.
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Why Should You Fast
According to Dr. Bill Bright, who produced a guide to fasting for cru.org, there are a number of reasons why the practice of fasting can be spiritually beneficial.
- Fasting is biblical. We see examples of biblical fasting in the lives of figures like Moses, Jesus, and King David.
- Fasting and prayer can restore or strengthen your intimacy with God. Many longtime Christians find that fasting helps them rediscover their first love for God again.
- Fasting is a way to humble yourself in the sight of God . King David said, I humbled my soul with fasting . You may find yourself relying on God more fully for strength when you fast.
- Fasting and prayer can help us hear God more clearly. To listen to God as you fast, consider combining a time of fasting with a practice of listening prayer. Together, fasting and prayer can transform your prayer life into a richer and more personal experience of God.
- Fasting enables the Holy Spirit to reveal your true spiritual condition. When you see your own brokenness more clearly, youre able to move toward repentance.
- When you experience revival in your own life through fasting, the grace and love of God can shine through you into the lives of others.
The Benefits Of Fasting
While the physical impact of fasting is real, the spiritual benefits of fasting are undeniable. Any fast undertaken must be done with spiritual wholeheartedness and wisdom when dealing with our physical body we must count the cost honestly and honor the temple of the Holy Spirit. Whether we are partaking or abstaining, everything should be for the glory of God.
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Your Own Personal Health
While individuals in the Bible fasted for extended periods of time , before you fast for any period longer than twenty-four hours, please consult your doctor. Fasting for a longer period of time can lead to dehydration and have other detrimental health effects, especially if you suffer from conditions such as diabetes that may require you to eat at certain times and monitor your bodys sugar levels. If during the course of your fast you start to feel ill, stop fasting and ease back into eating.
Fasting Is Always Voluntary
Though spiritual leaders may invite others to join in corporate fasting with a specific goal in mind and for a specific time, fasting can never be forced or made compulsory. In light of this, fasting is not a mandatory requirement for joining staff at the International House of Prayer, but we do promote and encourage it as a biblically and historically proven means of positioning our heart to receive more of Gods grace in the context of commitment to prayer and to the Word . The level at which a person engages in fasting should be determined according to age and with regard to any physical limitations. Those with a known or suspected physical disability or illness, or those with any history of an eating disorder, should never fast, except in consultation with, and under the supervision of, a qualified doctor. Pregnant or nursing mothers should not fast food or drink as it could negatively affect the health and development of their baby and their own personal health.
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Fasting And Medical Safety
According to The Foods and Nutrition Encyclopedia, For healthy individuals, no harm results from short-term fasting. The average healthy person can go without food between 21 and 40 or more days before the body begins to eliminate vital tissue . Consult your physician before beginning any fast lasting longer than three days.
If you have underlying health conditions such as pregnancy, anemia, behavioral disorders or other chronic health problems, you should never fast without consulting a physician first.
Helpful Hints For Your Fast
- Drink plenty of water.
- It is wise to abstain from strong stimulants such as caffeinated and sugary drinks during a fast, including the artificial sweeteners found in diet drinks. Also, avoid soy protein drinks, which have been known to cause health problems during a fast.
- If you are on a juice fast, drink raw fruit juices such as apple, grape, and pineapple, which are excellent sources of necessary natural sugar to stabilize blood sugar and keep energy levels up. Orange and grapefruit juice are also good, but they are not recommended for arthritis or allergy sufferers. Monitor juice acidity carefully as it can cause canker sores . Raw vegetable juices such as carrot, celery, beet, or green vegetable combinations are excellent as well. Fresh fruit and vegetable juices can be made in a juice extractor or purchased ready-made . Some of the benefits of drinking raw juice versus bottled are that it does not stimulate digestion and it maintains all of its enzymes and nutritional value.
- Expect some physical discomforts because of the detoxification process, especially on the second day. You may have fleeting hunger pains or dizziness. Withdrawal from caffeine and sugar may cause headaches, but it is a part of the detoxification process. Physical annoyances may also include weariness, tiredness, nausea, and sleepiness.
- During a fast, four major areas of the body are going through a detoxification process. Take care to attend to each of these:
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The Duration Of The Fast
Fasting can be done on a daily, weekly, or annual basis. Many people who choose to fast do so intermittently, such as during a portion of their workday, to focus on seeking God for an hour or two, and then they go back to a regular eating schedule. Others find benefits in fasting during a certain time of the month or year to pursue guidance and direction from God. Again, the duration and length of your fast are personal decisions only you can make.
Seek The Kingdom Of God Above All Else And Live Righteously And He Will Give You Everything You Need
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Fasting In The Bible New Testament Fasting Specifically
First, we see that Jesus fasted but we dont see examples. Jesus lack of explanation is beautiful because it reinforces the point that fasting is between you and God.
The truth is, you know what you seek for satisfaction. What of that is often apart from God? That thing, or those things, are probably what you need to set aside for a time to re-engage with God.
For me, I turn to junk food when I am hurting or angry, knowing full well that I should turn to God. A partial fast for a period of time is a way that I can intentionally re-engage with God.
What are those things for you?
Plan What Youll Do Instead Of Eating
Fasting isnt merely an act of self-deprivation, but a spiritual discipline for seeking more of Gods fullness. Which means we should have a plan for what positive pursuit to undertake in the time it normally takes to eat. We spend a good portion of our day with food in front of us. One significant part of fasting is the time it creates for prayer and meditation on Gods word or some act of love for others.
Before diving headlong into a fast, craft a simple plan. Connect it to your purpose for the fast. Each fast should have a specific spiritual purpose. Identify what that is and design a focus to replace the time you would have spent eating. Without a purpose and plan, its not Christian fasting its just going hungry.
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How Long Are You Supposed To Fast
There isnt any specific time set for fasting since the different fasting types in Christianity will definitely require different timelines. For instance, the time you can take for an absolute fast will definitely be shorter than that one of the partial one.
The purpose of fasting is not necessarily to be granted all your wishes as a genie in a bottle. Whether its sexual, partial, absolute, or regular, the process involves seeking after the heart of God and all the other benefits and blessings come after. This is one of the attributes that set apart biblical fasting from the other cultural and religious practices around the world.
What Are Other Types Of Fasting
The most common type of fast is fasting from food for a period of time, but are there other types?
TV/Movie Fast: You can take a break from a weekly favorite and use the time to pray or read the Bible. Is there a small group at church that you’ve thought about joining but it’s during the time your show is on? Do you spend your Saturday binging Netflix when you could take some time to mentor someone God has placed on your heart? This is also a good time to evaluate how much of your time is spent watching TV and whether you need to cut back to make time for other priorities.
Social Media Fast: This is becoming one of the more common fasts in our culture. Do you need to take some time away from the noise and refresh? Log out of your accounts, delete them from your device for a period of time, and just spend that time being present with God. Pray and listen. Spend some time in nature soaking in His beauty. Spend some time alone worshipping God.
Secular Music Fast: Instead of listening to Top Hits on the radio, you can choose to listen to the Christian radio station for a period of time. Pop in a CD of your favorite worship leader when you’re driving to work. Listen to a Christian podcast or audiobook. You can even turn the stereo off completely and spend that time in prayer. You’ll be amazed what this little change will do for your life.
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