Fasting! What is it, how do you do it and why do you do it….that is the question. Fasting is such an important topic and activity but still many people really don’t get it’s implications and benefits. Fasting is by far one activity that I love to do, it is hard initially and it has a way of playing with your mind (or maybe that is vice versa) but it is by far the single handed activity in which I engage in at least 15 times a year that has truly grown me in my walk with God. Fasting is a very important thing that we are children of God must engage in in order to become witnesses to the wonders of God! Today I want us to take a look at what fasting is and all that pertains to it and eventually look at a lifestyle that I’ve adopted which is simply called the Fasted Life.
What is Fasting?
Fasting is a spiritual activity in which the individual makes a conscious decision to abstain from something – commonly, this something is food. There are others who abstain from a variety of things which include a particular type of food, shopping and even watching tv. However, this post is mainly in reference to food products.
Fasting is a sacrifice that an individual makes. This individual knows themselves and what it is they are looking for so the type of fast will be determined accordingly. Everyone knows their own limits and how far they can go and the best part of it all is that so does God. God is ready to honor you where you are as long as you are giving it your very best with the best intentions.
Types of Fast
If you search the web, you will find a host of various types of fast that are listed. But for the sake of this post we will only examine 3 for now.
1. Dry Fast (aka Full or Liquid Fast)
This fast is the most intense form of fasting as the individual will abstain from all foods for the duration of the fast. This fast is for 3-7 days straight. Depending on your strength and your faith some people do have dry fasts that extends past 7 days. The only thing that should be consumed during this type of fast are liquids, preferably water. This fast is not recommended as the first type of fast an individual will embark on, neither is it to be done for extended amounts of period without medical advice.
2. Partial Fast
This fast is the most common form of fasting where the individual is fasting typically during the hours that fall between sunrise and sunset. A lot of people simply use the pattern of fasting between the hours of midnight to 6pm then break the fast at 6 pm with foods of their choice. It is recommended however that when you do break in the evening to go light and to abstain from very spicy foods.
3. Daniel Fast
The Daniel Fast is a fast that is usually done for 21 days where the individual abstains from animal products: meats and dairy, as well as processed foods. This fast is symbolic of the fast that Daniel partook in Daniel 1.
Fasting is not done for fun because to be honest, there will be periods during the fast where you are not having any sort of fun. Fasting is a time to set ones self apart to pray and to seek the face of God. This is the time that the individual is able to place their petitions before God, in a setting where they are not distracted. In the book of Matt 17:21, Jesus tells us that there are certain things that we face in life that can only go out by prayer and fasting. Fasting allows you to be less distracted with the world and even your situation and focused more on the power of God and how God can turn any situation around. Fasting allows for your spiritual muscles to grow. Just as you go to the gym to workout your muscles so that you can grow stronger physically, you need to do the same with your spiritual journey. Eph 6: 12 has made us to know that we are not wrestling against flesh and blood but against principalities, powers and rules of the darkness of this world. There are some dark, dark secrets and agendas out there friend that doesn’t want you to make in this life. So therefore you need to fast and pray.
How to Fast
Fasting should never be done absent mindedly and neither for show. Fasting is not a show and it is not a get slim quick scheme or mechanism. It should be done with expectation and hope believing that your sacrifice will not go in vain. Trust me, it is not easy to fast but the benefits are incredible. When you fast you need to have a schedule and a plan – just as with anything else. You should have a way that you will fast and even the prayer points you want to target. Most times, people do fast for a single issue – so if that is your case, write out the prayer points that you want to place before God. When you fail to plan you surely are planning to fail. You see friend, the devil knows what you are trying to do, to be an overcomer, and he will do everything possible to distract you so do everything you can not to be distracted.
Benefits of Fasting
When you decide to walk with God, there are always benefits and fasting is no exception. Even though it is probably one of the hardest activities you will embark on – in the early stage – it is by far one of the most rewarding. I would say there are many types of spiritual benefits to fasting but the most beneficial for me and I am sure for many others are the spiritual benefits. As I stated earlier, we go to the gym to strengthen ourselves physically so that we feel stronger and possibly able to do things that we ordinarily couldn’t do. When we fast we are strengthen and developing our spiritual muscles. I know some may ask, “spiritual muscles?” – yes, your spiritual muscles. Friend, there are battles in life that we cannot see with the naked eye. Just as a student in a microbiology lab will need a microscope to view microorganisms, we need our own spiritual microscope to view what they enemy is waging against our lives and destinies. The only way to produce the spiritual microscope is through fasting. Fasting increases the sharpness and intensity of your spiritual antennas, making you very alert to what is actually going on around you. Battles are being fought daily on our behalf and people are also suffering daily – man of which can be fought through this act of prayer and fasting. You become os sensitive to what is happening around you which allows you to have the proper game plan of attack. It is with intense fasting and prayer that God reveals secrets to you. Spiritually you can never lose when you fast. Other benefits include physical, emotional and mental growth!
Fasting vs Fasted Life
In my walk with Christ, I’ve had the opportunity to do the 3 types of fast listed above. They are all beneficial and have different meanings for me. I always encourage everyone I am fortunate to discuss this with to try fasting for 3 days.
Prior to the start of your fast develop the list of reasons why you are fasting and what you want the outcome to be. There has to be an outcome you are looking for because that will target and pinpoint your prayers. Is it that you want to get married, do you want stability in your life, are you looking for the purpose why you were created, need a new job, whatever it may be list them out. When you fast you want to divide up the days of your fast so that you are able to place these points on specific days. The problem many people have when they are fasting is that they want to pray 1 million prayers in one day which is impossible and not very practical for you.
As I’ve also stated above, fasting has many benefits which, to me, the spiritual benefits are of most importance. So because of my walk with Christ this far, I’ve began to live what I call the fasted life. This is not a diet but a lifestyle. In order to operate in this lifestyle you must first of all have your goals for your life laid out. They don’t need to be completely known however you must know what you desire generally. For me, it is to do the will of God and to also work for God here on earth. Nothing else pleases me or makes me happier than when I am able to work for God. So because of this fact, there are aspects of my life that needs revisiting and amending. There are so many things that my friends do that I cannot do. There are many things that my friends eat that I cannot eat. There are things that they wear that I cannot wear. I have decided to set myself apart, not because I feel that I am better than them because that is definitely not the case, but because I know what I want for me and my life and what it will take to have those things. When you are able to make that honest decision then it will be so easy for you to live a fasted life. Abstaining from “things of the world” will allow you to focus on the big picture and to hit the nail on the head. Living a fasted life makes you to be very focused on your goals and dreams while leaving all the fluff behind.
When you fast always make sure to keep the end goal in mind. It is to eventually grow in the Lord and also to have your prayers answered. Fasting is not a get answers fast game, I have to be honest that it is not all the time that you will receive your answers/miracles right away. There are times that the fasting you part take of today is not for “right now” but “later”. That is the beauty of it all. You may be praying and fasting for an event that might happen 6, 9 or even 12 months down the line. Which ever the case, it is to your benefit and to the glory of God!
Overall, fasting is very beneficial for anyone who chooses to do it. Make sure you are doing it correctly and you will receive all the benefits you desire and more in Jesus name. If you need further assistance in what to pray for while you are fasting click the link below!
Remember don’t allow your belly to be your God! The bible tells us in Matt 4:4 that man shall not live by bread alone!