The goal of fasting is to draw nearer to God. Biblical fasting always has to do with eliminating distractions for a spiritual purpose; it hits the reset button of our soul and renews us from the inside out. It also enables us to celebrate the goodness and mercy of God and prepares our hearts for all the good things God desires to bring into our lives. Remember, your personal fast should present a level of challenge, but it is very important to know your body, your options and, most importantly, to seek God in prayer and follow what the Holy Spirit leads you to do. At River of Praise, we encourage fasting for 21 days each year in the month of January. This is part of a season of focused prayer as a church family. You may also choose to fast at other times during the year for your own spiritual development. It’s very typical to fast a single meal, a whole day or three days or more. The timing of your fast is not as important as the strength of your focus on Him as you fast.
This fast calls for drinking only liquids, typically water with light juices as an option.
This type of fast involves removing certain elements from your diet. One example of a selective fast is the Daniel Fast, during which you remove meat, sweets or bread from our diet and consume water and juice for fluids and fruits and vegetables for food.
This fast is sometimes called the Jewish Fast and involves abstaining from eating any type of food in the morning and afternoon. This can either correlate to specific times of the day, such as 6:00am to 3:00pm or from sunup to sundown.
This fast is common for those who do not have much experience fasting food, who have health issues that prevent them from fasting food or who wish to refocus certain areas of their life that are out of balance. For instance, someone might select to abstain from using social media or watching television for the duration of the fast and then choose to carefully bring that element back into their life in a orderly fashion at the conclusion of the fast.
Matthew 6: 16-18
16 “Whenever you fast, do not put on a gloomy face as the hypocrites do, for they [j]neglect their appearance so that they will be noticed by men when they are fasting. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. 17 But you, when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face 18 so that your fasting will not be noticed by men, but by your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you. (NASB)
Matthew 9: 14-15
14 Then the disciples of John *came to Him, asking, “Why do we and the Pharisees fast, but your disciples do not fast?” 15 And Jesus said to them, “The[j]attendants of the bridegroom cannot mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them, can they? But the days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast. (NASB)
Nehemiah 9: 1-3
Now on the twenty-fourth day of this month the sons of Israel assembled with fasting, in sackcloth and with dirt upon them. 2 The [a]descendants of Israel separated themselves from all foreigners, and stood and confessed their sins and the iniquities of their fathers. 3 While they stood in their place, they read from the book of the law of the Lord their God for a fourth of the day; and for another fourth they confessed and worshiped the Lord their God. (NASB)