Why and How to Fast
At the end of any fast—regardless of how long, for what, or for whom you’ve fasted for—there is something we should all be able to say with confidence. The ultimate goal for this biblical discipline is that, as a result of your time with the Lord and your dedicated prayers for others, you’ll be able to answer the question, “Who am I now?” with the deepest conviction, “I am more like Jesus!”
During these 21 days, as we pray for someone to come to know the Lord this Easter, our hope is that you would draw nearer to God; that you would experience His presence and see His Spirit overflow in your life.
TYPES OF FASTS
While we do encourage you to prayerfully consider fasting from food (as well as considering any unique medical needs you might have), we also invite you to think about anything else that might divert your attention from the Lord during this time. In this age of information, the list of potential distractions is getting longer and longer.
Take some time to reflect on what God may want you to cross off your list for this fast. Here are a few types of fasts you may want to prayerfully consider:
Also known as a “water fast,” this type of fast involves eating no food and drinking only water, though some also incorporate light juices or tea in addition to water. Some biblical examples of this type of fast include Moses (Deuteronomy 9:9–18), David (2 Samuel 12:1–23), Jehoshaphat and the people of Judah (2 Chronicles 20:3), Esther (Esther 4:15–17), Jesus (Matthew 4:1–2), and Paul (Acts 9:1–9).
There are various examples of selective fasting. The general idea is that you will remove certain elements from your diet. A well-known example of this is the Daniel Fast (Daniel 1:8–16), which involves consuming only water and juice for fluids and fruits and vegetables for food. Other examples include cutting out sweets, soda, coffee, red meat, bread—whatever food source constitutes a significant sacrifice for you.
Also referred to as the “Jewish Fast,” this involves only consuming water for a set amount of time. For example, you fast during the morning and afternoon, essentially skipping breakfast and lunch—plus any snacks you typically consume throughout the day—or you have only one meal at the same time each day. This fast can be done by selecting the hours to fast from (i.e. 6am to 6pm), from sunup to sundown, or fasting one meal at the same time each day.
If you're new to fasting, have any sort of health issues that would prohibit you from any type of food fast, or if the Lord puts it on your heart to realign and refocus a specific area—or areas—of your life, this is a good option for you. Some examples of this are to stop using social media, watching television or playing video games, or using make up. The goal is to shift priorities, put Jesus at the center, and use that time to pray, worship, reflect, and study the Bible. At the conclusion of the fast, with that area now recalibrated in your life, you can carefully bring it back into your life in healthy doses.