Types of Fasts
Be sure to consult your doctor before beginning any fast, especially if you have any type of medical condition.
FULL FAST | Drink only liquids – especially water. On this type of fast you may also take clear broth and 100 percent fruit and vegetable juices in order to maintain your strength. You establish the number of days you fast in your prayer time.
PARTIAL FAST | There are many options for partial fasts. Below are just a few for you to select from.
DANIEL FAST | The most frequently used example of a partial fast is found in Daniel chapter 10. The Daniel Fast is a fast from means, sweets, breads, and any drink except water, for a specific time period (Daniel 10:2-3). The easiest way to think of this fast is eating only vegetables and fruits, and drinking only water.
OTHER PARTIAL FASTS | The following are examples of other types of partial fasts:
- Give up one item of food or drink such as caffeine, coffee, soft drinks, or sweets.
- Give up one meal a day for a specific amount of time, or one meal a week, etc.
- Fasting for a specific number of days: one, two, three days, etc.
- Choose to fast for a certain amount a time each day, for example, fast from 6am to 6pm, sunrise to sunset, etc.
Remember, the type of fast that you select is what you and the Lord agree upon in your prayer time. The Lord speaks of Private fasts and Corporate fasts in Scripture.
CORPORATE FAST | A Corporate fast is a joint fast of believers for a specific purpose that can yield powerful results. Although this fast involves others, it is also very much a “private and personal experience.” Esther called all of her people to fast for protection against danger (Esther 4:16). Samuel declared a fast for national revival (1 Samuel 7).
Scripture References for Fasting
BLESSINGS OF FASTING | Deuteronomy 28:13-14; Deuteronomy 28:2; 2 Chronicles 7:14; Isaiah 58:8
CORPORATE FASTING | 1 Samuel 7:5-6, 2 Chronicles 20-34, Ezra 8:21-23, Nehemiah 9:1-3, Joel 2:15-16, Jonah 3:5-10, Acts 27:33-37
DANIEL FAST | Daniel 10:2-3
ESTHER FAST | Esther 4:16
FASTING DO’S | Matthew 6:16-18
FASTING DON’TS | Matthew 6:16-18, Luke 18:9-14
PRAYER AND SCRIPTURE WITH FASTING | Luke 2:37; Nehemiah 1:4; 1 Samuel 1:6-8, 17-18; Daniel 9:3, 20; Joel 2:12; Acts 10:30; Acts 13:2; 1 Corinthians 7:5
PREPARING TO FAST | Mark 11:25; Luke 11:4; Romans 12:1-2
WHEN TO FAST | Matthew 9:14-15
WHY FAST | Romans 12:1; Matthew 6:33; Mark 9:29; Isaiah 58:6; 1 Samuel 7:3; Luke 4:1-13
Sharpen Your Axe!
Abraham Lincoln was our 16th president. Long before becoming president, Lincoln was also known as an accomplished lumberjack. He knew how to handle an axe and how to chop down trees. Lincoln once shared an important analogy regarding the importance of a sharp axe. He said, “Give me six hours to chop down a tree, and I will spend the first four sharpening my axe.”
Lincoln knew the difference between working with a dull axe and working with a sharp axe. He knew that a dull axe was inefficient, took more effort, would wear you out faster, and could even be dangerous to yourself. Likewise, Lincoln knew that a sharp axe would lead to a much more efficient and effective effort of chopping down a tree. A sharp axe would bring success!
This is what Biblical fasting can do for you and I. Fasting is a way to sharpen your spiritual axe and to re-connect to a dynamic and close walk with Christ. A way to break through barriers to unanswered prayer, to bring about healing, to clearly hear the Lord’s guidance, and to break down spiritual strongholds! Amazing and miraculous victories occur through the Biblical practice of Fasting. It is time to get spiritually sharp! It is time to Fast.
Fasting and Your Health
We recommend that you always consult your physician prior to beginning any type of fast. If you are poor in health or have concerns about your physical ability to fast, we especially urge you to consult a physician before beginning your fast. There are different types of fasts recommended on these pages. Your doctor can provide advice on how you can participate in our church-wide fast in a way that is healthy for you.
Let’s cover some quick basics of What fasting is, Why you should fast, and How to Fast.
What is Fasting?
In his book, The Fasting Edge, Jentezen Franklin provides a good summary, “Simply stated, biblical fasting is refraining from food for a spiritual purpose.” Jesus fasted and prayed for 40 days in order to prepare for the spiritual warfare that was to come over his next 3 years on earth.
Why should we Fast?
Jesus fasted for 40 days because he needed to be prepared. If Jesus had to fast in order to prepare for the battle to come, then how much more must we need to have a lifestyle of regular fasting in order to prepare for the battles that we will face.
In Matthew 6, Jesus gave us specific direction on how to live as a child of God. He said, “When you give”. . .“when you pray” . . . “when you fast.” He made it clear that fasting, like giving and praying, was a normal part of Christian life.
Fasting has been a core part of many who have walked closely with the Lord. Daniel, King David, Esther, Ezra, Nehemiah, Peter, and Paul are just a few of the past believers who drew close to the Lord via fasting. They each prepared for their battles or need to reconnect through regular prayer and fasting. They each sharpened their spiritual axe by fasting.
We can fast for troubled marriages, wayward children, addictions that need to be broken, health that needs to be restored.
How to Fast?
Before beginning a fast, write down a plan and make a verbal commitment to the Lord. When you approach it with determination, you’ll be less likely to waiver in weak moments. But if you do find it to be a battle, don’t lose heart. God knows your weaknesses. His fasting principles allow you the flexibility to take care of your job and duties while still making a sacrifice to honor Him.
If the traditional full fast (no food, only water) has always made you shy away from this important principle, you may be surprised to know that there are actually many different types of fasts.
For example, if you choose to go on a 21-day fast, you may want to begin with a full fast for 1 – 3 days and then continue with a Daniel Fast or some other type of partial fast for the remainder of the 21 days. No matter which fast you choose, you must always remember to consult your doctor and drink lots of water.