Today I sat at work…very hungry. I’m sure my co-workers could hear my stomach grumbling and rumbling throughout the day. I could have easily taken a quick break to grab some food, or I could have eaten a big breakfast before I came in to hold me over for the day, but I was hungry by choice. I chose to fast from food from sunrise to sunset in order to hear the voice of the Lord more clearly. I needed answers from God about where He’s taking me in my future. I needed clarity, direction.
Growing up, I tried and failed at fasting many times. I just couldn’t stick with it!! But once I actually learned about the true meaning of fasting I was able to commit to it fully, even cheerfully! This post is for someone who needs to hear from the Lord, but doesn’t know where to begin with fasting.
The purpose of fasting is not just denying yourself food just to impress God or appear super spiritual. Fasting is an intimate act of worship to the Lord that occurs when you choose to deny yourself of something desirable for a limited amount of time.
There are many different types of fasts out there, but the most common are the Daniel fast, absolute fast, and intermittent fasts. However, I recommend doing a fast that works best for you. For example, if fasting from food for an entire day will cause you to faint or become seriously ill, then it would be better to restrict your diet in another way.
The Daniel fast is derived from Daniel 10:2-3. He fasted for three weeks and denied himself pleasant food and wine during this period. Today, many Christians have mimicked Daniel’s fast by only eating raw fruits and veggies, no meat, and only drinking water during a three-week period. This type of fast is ideal for those who are active or who may have health conditions which require them to eat during the day. This is also the most common type of fast.
“At the time I, Daniel, was mourning three full weeks. I ate no pleasant food, no meat or wine came into my mouth, nor did I anoint myself at all, till three whole weeks were fulfilled.” (NKJV)
This type of fast occurs when a person denies themselves of all kinds of food for a short period of time. This is not recommended for someone who has a medical condition and should be done no longer than three days.
This kind of fast you can sort of make your own. For example, Tre (my fiancée) and I fasted during the first three days of nearly every month in 2018. We chose to fast from 6am-6pm. During our fasting period, we only drank water and didn’t eat anything. But after 6pm, it was on and popping! I mean we went IN! This type of fast worked best for us and our busy schedules.
Fasting builds your faith
Fasting allows you to grow deeper in relationship with God. With the right approach, you will receive direction from Him, an answer, and/or a deeper understanding of who He is. Most importantly, if done correctly, fasting will expand your faith in God! Once you see your prayers answered you will not help but realize even more just how amazing God is.
So Jesus said to them, “Because of your unbelief; for assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you. However, this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting.”
Matthew 17:20-21 NKJV
Christians should fast occasionally because we live in world full of chaos and busyness. With so much going on around us, sometimes it is harder to hear from the Lord and fully understand what He needs from us. Once we reduce the noise, we can hear His still, quiet voice. You may not get your answer during your fast, it may happen weeks or longer after it’s over. But you positioned yourself to hear His voice, and God always hears the cries of His people (Psalm 34:17)!