Principles of Fasting
Why Do Christians Fast? What Does Biblical Fasting Accomplish?
Biblical fasting is not a hunger strike between you and God. It can be easy to think of fasting as a way to add an extra oomph to your prayers. But biblical fasting isn’t so much about how God responds to your prayers: it’s more about how you bring your prayers to Him.
“God opposes the proud, but shows favor to the humble” (1 Peter 5:5, NIV; see 2 Samuel 22:28). Fasting is a means of humbling ourselves before God. In the Old Testament, fasting was often accompanied by other signs of humility and brokenness, such as weeping, mourning, and lamenting, as well as wearing sackcloth and sitting in ashes.
Bill Bright, Cru’s co-founder, made it his practice to fast and pray. He believed it played a vital role in what God did through him and through Cru as a ministry. He listed several benefits he gained from fasting:
· Fasting is a biblical way to truly humble yourself in the sight of God. King David said, “I humbled myself with fasting” (Psalm 35:13, New King James Version; see Ezra 8:21).
· Fasting enables the Holy Spirit to reveal your true spiritual condition, resulting in brokenness, repentance and a transformed life.
· Your confidence and faith in God will be strengthened. You will feel mentally, spiritually and physically refreshed.
How to Do a Biblical Fast
There are two types of fasts commonly practiced by Christians today:
1. A partial fast. This is described in the book of Daniel. For three weeks, Daniel, who was a prophet during a time when Israel lived in exile, abstained only from “delicacies” like meat and wine (Daniel 10:3).
2. A complete fast. A complete fast means drinking only water or sometimes juice when fasting for an extended period. Juice fasts will provide you with more energy than water-only fasts and still lead you into the humbling experience of denying your desire for solid, chewable food.
Fasting is about humbling yourself and denying your fleshly desires. In addition to fasting from food, consider fasting from social media or entertainment during these three weeks.
Please ask the Lord what kind of fast to do. If you have health issues, please consult with your physician before undertaking a water or juice fast.
During the Fast
During your fast, set aside specific and significant time to worship and seek God in prayer.
New Life Family Church is calling a corporate fast and inviting all members to participate. We strongly encourage you to join in our time of corporate prayer through one of the following ways:
· Morning prayer Monday through Friday, 6 am - 7 am and Saturdays at 10 am at church
· Noon prayer Monday through Friday, 12 pm - 1 pm at church
· Connect live through Facebook
Plan ahead so your time can be unhurried and conducive to enjoying the Lord. Many people begin this time by repenting of any sins the Holy Spirit brings to mind and asking for God’s forgiveness. This is essential to ensure that sin is not hindering your communication with God.
Then take time to make your requests known to God (please join us in praying the Scriptures and daily prayer points in this guide) and to seek His will. Take breaks to study Scripture passages you have chosen. Don’t rush your time with God. Take time to listen. Keep a notebook and pen nearby to record the ideas, insights, directions and instructions He impresses on your mind. When you turn down the “noise of Western civilization” by fasting, you can more easily hear God.
Anticipate that the Lord will speak to you through this fast, and answer petitions for your family, the Church and our nation.
In Matthew 6:1-18, Jesus instructed how we should pray, fast and give. Please take some time to read through this passage in preparation for the fast.
The Scriptures also provide us with the example of Cornelius, a devout man who was continually seeking God. He practiced praying, fasting and giving:
30 So Cornelius said,“Four days ago I was fasting until this hour; and at the ninth hour I prayed in my house, and behold, a man stood before me in bright clothing, 31 and said, ‘Cornelius, your prayer has been heard, and your alms are remembered in the sight of God. 32 Send therefore to Joppa and call Simon here, whose surname is Peter. He is lodging in the house of Simon, a tanner, by the sea. When he comes, he will speak to you.’ 33 So I sent to you immediately, and you have done well to come. Now therefore, we are all present before God, to hear all the things commanded you by God.”...44 While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who heard the word. 45 And those of the circumcision who believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the Gentiles also. 46 For they heard them speak with tongues and magnify God.
(Acts 10:30-46, NKJV)
Share About Your Breakthroughs!
We are anticipating that the Lord will move in our lives in mighty ways!
Throughout the fast, we invite you to share how the Lord is speaking to you or the breakthroughs you are experiencing. Share your experiences through the comment section.
Higley, S., A Month of Prayers for Your Church. [online] Prayerleader.com. Available at: <https://www.prayerleader.com/resources/prayer-guides/prayers-for-your-church/> [Accessed 30 December 2021].
News + Resources. 2021. PDF: 21 Days of Prayer + Fasting 2021 - News + Resources. [online] Available at: <https://resources.foursquare.org/download/pdf-21-days-of-prayer-fasting-2021/> [Accessed 30 December 2021].
Yesudasan, B., 2021. What Is Biblical Fasting, and How Does It Work? | Cru. [online] Cru.org. Available at: <https://www.cru.org/us/en/train-and-grow/spiritual-growth/fasting/biblical-fasting.html> [Accessed 30 December 2021].