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This article was co-written by David Holt Boshart, Jr. and Tonya Smiley
All applicable copyright laws apply and are reserved by the Christ-Centered Mall.

What Is Fasting?

One of the most powerful weapons of spiritual warfare that God has given to His children is fasting -- a way of crucifying the flesh or denying your flesh the basic sustenance of food. Although fasting will weaken you physically, it will highly enlighten you spiritually. It is important to note that fasting should be combined with prayer for utmost effectiveness.

Fasting is a form of spiritual discipline that informs God that you are serious about repentance. Fasting is a significant part of your Christian walk just as praying and reading the Bible is significant. Fasting is for everyone who desires to draw closer to God.

When you fast, you do not have to give up just food; it can be anything of importance to you that is a sacrifice to give up. Whenever you fast, you need to pray and seek the Lord, otherwise you are just depriving your body of food and not getting in touch with what the Holy Spirit is trying to tell you.

Although fasting is not commanded in the Bible, it is expected of all believers in their Christian walk, for Matthew 6:17-18 says "when you fast." Jesus did not say, "if you fast" but rather "when you fast'; therefore Jesus reveals through scripture that fasting is expected of us; however, it is not commanded (for example, you are not committing sin by not fasting).

Types of Fasts

The Normal Fast involves abstaining from all solid and liquid food except for water.

The Absolute Fast involves abstaining from both food and drink. You should never stay on this fast more than three days unless under the direction of the Holy Spirit.

The Partial Fast involves abstaining from just certain foods. You can live on just certain foods during the duration of this fast such as bread and water, or you may choose to fast a certain meal each day.

The Daniel Fast consists of fruits, vegetables, and water.

The Juice Fast consists of fruit and vegetable juices only.

The Television and Entertainment Fast involves setting aside television, radio, newspapers, and other forms of entertainment to seek the Lord.

The Water, Honey, & Lemon Fast is considered a cleansing fast. Squeeze lemon in a cup of hot water and add honey to add flavor. This recipe can be used for an extended fast

Reasons for fasting

"Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke?
Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter--when you see the naked, to clothe him, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?
(Isaiah 58:6-7 NIV)

There are 7 reasons for fasting according to Isaiah 58:6-7, and they are as follows:

1. To bring justice
2. To undo heavy burdens and break the yoke of bondage
3. To free the oppressed and loose the bands of wickedness
4. To share food
5. To provide shelter for the poor
6. To clothe the naked
7. To provide for one's family

There are other reasons as well:

1. To mourn and repent Daniel 10:2-3 (Also see Esther 4:3; Isaiah 58:5; Joel 2:12-13; Zechariah 7:5)
2. To receive God's instructions Exodus 34:28 (Also see Acts 9:9-12; Acts 13:2)
3. To die to the flesh Isaiah 58:3
4. For humility and deliverance from bondage Psalm 35:13 (Also see I Samuel 7:3-14; Ezra 8:21-23)
5. To resist the devil's temptations I Corinthians 7:5 (Also see Luke 4:1-2)
6. Due to lack of food I Kings 19:8
7. For health and healing Isaiah 58:8 (Also see Psalm 35:13)
8. For spiritual power to cast out demons Matthew 17:18-21

Preparation

The first thing you need to do before you fast is set a definite time period for your fast. Will your fast be 1 meal, 3 days, 7 days, 21 days, 40 days?

The second thing you need to do is decide which type of fast you will undertake. Will it be a normal fast, a Daniel fast, or perhaps a television and entertainment fast?

If you are going on a prolonged fast, please don't begin your fast immediately but rather gradually cut your food intake back and then begin your fast. Also cease drinking caffeine products a few days before you start a prolonged fast so you can get over the withdrawl headaches before you start.

Precautions


Drink warm water instead of cold and do not drink too much water at one time. Do not drink milk, coffee, or other beverages during the fast for this will be considered dieting and not fasting. (Follow these procedures on all types of fasts except the absolute fast.)

Do not take excessively hot baths during a prolonged fast; for this may cause dizziness. However, take a bath regularly during your fast because fasting causes many impurities to be secreted through the pores of your skin thus causing an odor.

Do not engage in excessive work or exercise.

Walk, read, pray, and worship during mealtimes to overcome temptations.

Some Symptoms You May Experience

1. Headache
2. Nausea
3. Low fever
4. Sleeplessness
5. Stomach pains

If you have any of these symptoms do not take medication for them.

Three phases of a prolonged fast:

Phase 1 Craving food
Phase 2 Feeling weak and faint for 2-3 days or even longer.
Phase 3 Growing stronger and no longer having concern about food.

Breaking the fast

Breaking the fast is the most difficult period after the fast; it requires discipline and self-control. If you fast for 40 days, then you should allow your body an adequate period of time to recover so you will be able to resume your regular diet.

Start with some vegetable and fruit juices a little at a time and maybe a cup of watered-down soup. The following day, start to drink juices and increase the thickness of the soup. Continue to do this until you gradually begin to build yourself back up.

Final Thought

If our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ could fast for 40 days and 40 nights while in human form, couldn't we do the same?


This article was co-written by David Holt Boshart, Jr. and Tonya Smiley
All applicable copyright laws apply and are reserved by the Christ-Centered Mall.

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