FASTING FOR SPIRITUAL BREAKTHROUGH
What is fasting?
Abstaining from something, usually food, for spiritual purposes.
What is the purpose of fasting?
The primary purpose of fasting is to focus on God and to center our attention on Him. In doing so, we glorify God (Zechariah 7:5). Outer fasting is to lead to inner prayer, worship, and devotion. We "fast from food so we can feast on God." Fasting is not for personal glory or any other selfish motives (Matthew 6:16-18).
Secondary purposes of fasting: fasting can reveal non-essential things that control us and take precedence in our lives (1 Corinthians 6:12); fasting can increase the effectiveness of prayer (2 Samuel 12:16); fasting can bring guidance from God in decisions (Acts 14:23); fasting can bring revelations (Acts 13:2); fasting can help our physical wellbeing (Daniel 1:12); fasting can aid in concentration; and fasting can help bring deliverance for those who are in bondage. But these benefits come only when fasting is our attempt to diligently seek God.
What does the Bible say?
Examples: Moses (Exodus 34:28; Deut. 9:9,18), David (2 Samuel 12:16), Elijah (1 Kings 19:8), Nehemiah (Nehemiah 1:4); Esther (Esther 4:16), Daniel (Daniel 1:12), Anna (Luke 2:37), Paul (Acts 14:23), Jesus (Matthew 4:1-2), early church (Acts13:2)
Jesus put fasting on the same level as financial giving and prayer (Matthew 6:1-18). Jesus said that there is a time for fasting (Matthew 9:15). Paul says we should give ourselves at times to prayer and fasting (1 Corinthians 7:5).
CHOOSING THE RIGHT FAST
Your personal fast should present a level of challenge, but it is very important to know your own body, know your options and most importantly, seek God in prayer and follow what the Holy Spirit leads you to do.
TYPES OF FASTS
An absolute fast is what Moses did when he was on Mount Sinai for forty days when,“he neither ate bread nor drank water.” (Exodus 34:28) Rarely is an absolute fast practiced for a long period of time. Some will abstain from all food and all water for a short period, but longer periods are not recommended since physical complications could result.
A normal fast is when only water is consumed. This would be the type practiced by Elijah (see 1 Kings 19:8) and Jesus (see Matthew 4). They abstained from food for 40 days.
A partial fast is when some foods are restricted. Two of the most common partial fasts are:
*A juice fast: Consuming vegetable and fruit juices and water instead of solid food. Some include whey protein in their liquid plan as well. This is a popular and effective fast. Substituting liquids for one or two meals is an alternative.
*A Daniel fast: Based on the fasting principles of the prophet in Daniel 1 and 10. Daniel 1 states that he ate only vegetables and water, and Daniel 10 states that he ate no rich (or choice) foods, as well as no meat or wine. The foundation of the Daniel fast is fruits and vegetables. The website www.daniel-fast.com is a good source of information about this fast.
Remember, the power of fasting has less to do with food than with setting yourself apart for a specific period of time to focus more on the Lord, prayer, and worship.