Definition: Fasting means to intentionally go without food and/or liquids for a set period of time. We usually fast for 1-3 days. If this is your first time, consider starting with a shorter fast. Most of us allow coffee and tea. Some choose to fast from liquids altogether the first 24 hours to jumpstart the process. Others do a juice fast, allowing for fruit juices. But it's entirely between you and God. For our "3 day fasting weekends" we start by skipping dinner Thursday evening, and break our fast together with communion and a shared meal together Sunday evening.
Motivation: To fast is to humble ourselves before the Lord, to deny our flesh and pick up our cross, to seek the Lord in our brokenness and desperation. Fasting is saying we are more hungry for God than our daily bread. We may fast as a part of seeking the Lord regarding a specific situation, but we should avoid the mindset of fasting to get God to do something. Fasting is mentioned many times throughout the Bible. Jesus fasted and He expected His followers to fast and taught on how to fast in Matthew 6.
Examples of fasting in the Bible:
Esther 4:16 “Go, gather together all the Jews who are in Susa, and fast for me. Do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my attendants will fast as you do. When this is done, I will go to the king, even though it is against the law. And if I perish, I perish.”
Nehemiah 1:4 When I heard these things, I sat down and wept. For some days I mourned and fasted and prayed before the God of heaven.
Ezra 8:21 Then I proclaimed a fast there at the river of Ahava, that we might humble ourselves before our God, to seek from Him the right way for us and our little ones and all our possessions.
Daniel 9:3-5 So I turned to the Lord God and pleaded with him in prayer and petition, in fasting, and in sackcloth and ashes. I prayed to the LORD my God and confessed: “Lord, the great and awesome God, who keeps his covenant of love with those who love him and keep his commandments, we have sinned and done wrong. We have been wicked and have rebelled; we have turned away from your commands and laws.
Joel 2:12 “Even now,” declares the LORD, “return to me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning.”
Acts 13:2 While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.”
Acts 14:23 Paul and Barnabas appointed elders for them in each church and, with prayer and fasting, committed them to the Lord, in whom they had put their trust.
Matthew 6:16-18 “When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show others they are fasting. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that it will not be obvious to others that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.
Benefits: Fasting can result in heightened sensitivity to God's presence and hearing His voice. Fasting can open the way for deeper conviction resulting in repentance and transformation and breakthrough. Fasting leads to deeper worship and contentment in Him. You may also experience heightened mental awareness. Physically, fasting promotes elimination of toxins from the body and boosts immunity. Research suggests fasting regularly can reduce the risk of cancer, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes and may even prolong life expectancy.
Precautions: People with health conditions should consult your doctor before fasting. People with chronic diseases, elderly, young children, pregnant women or those breastfeeding, should not fast. Most people who don’t have any health conditions and aren’t part of an at-risk group are probably fine fasting. However this paper is NOT to be considered medical advice; if in doubt consult your doctor before fasting.
Preparation: If you've never fasted before it can be intimidating, and your first time may be difficult. But it gets easier fast (pun intended). The most important thing you can do in preparation is to pray. Ask the Lord how long He wants you to fast, and what He wants you to fast from (ie: solid food, coffee, tea, fruit juices). Ask Him to prepare you spiritually, mentally, emotionally and physically. In the days before starting your fast, drink plenty of water and taper down your food intake. Avoid eating larger meals.
What to expect: During the first 24 hours, you will feel hungry. Your glucose stores will decline as you transition to fat-burning. As your body goes into "battery-saving" mode, your energy levels will decrease and you may experience light-headedness or headaches or fatigue or muscle aches. Get up and down slowly. Staying well hydrated will help you avoid muscle cramps. You will learn that hunger is a fleeting feeling and can soon be quelled with a drink of water, coffee or tea. During the next 24-48 hours you will be in full ketosis or fat-burning mode. As time passes you will feel less hungry and some *may* have more energy. Most feel physically lethargic but mentally and spiritually alert. You probably will need less sleep than usual.
Breaking your fast: To break your fast you should not eat something super heavy. We have broken our fast together with communion and a shared meal. This is a beautiful way to break a fast but comes with a warning: please avoid the temptation to overeat! Ideally begin with a lighter meal and gradually start reintroducing foods as time passes.
CONTACT US for information on our next scheduled 3 Day Fasting Weekend!