Often times people ask the question, “What is the best way for me to fast?” Clearly, the way one fasts depends on a number of circumstances. For example, are you under doctor’s care? If so, you should consult your physician to get sound medical advice regarding the types of fasts you can take while on medication. Another item to consider, “What is the Holy Spirit saying to you regarding the kind of fast you should do?” Below I have listed four ways one can fast. This can assist you in your decision process. During this 21 days of fasting and prayer, you may start with one kind of fast, then change to another or you may simply choose to do a particular fast such as, a partial fast (often called the “Daniel Fast”) for the whole 21 days. Remember: Listen to the Holy Spirit and don’t be afraid to ask others about the different ways to fast.
1. The Normal Fast
This is when no food of any kind is eaten for a certain number of days. The person drinks only water—and plenty of it. Depending on the length of a normal fast, you may also choose to drink clear broth and juices to maintain your strength.
The normal fast involves going without food for a definite period during which you take in only liquids (water/juice). In Leviticus this fast was accomplished from Sunset to Sunset the next day. This makes this a fairly easy fast since a great percentage of the time fasting is spent in bed sleeping.The duration can be 1 day, 3 days, 1 week, 1 month, or 40 days. Extreme care should be taken with longer fasts, which should only be attempted after medical advice from your physician.
The partial fast, also known as the Daniel fast, can be interpreted many ways. This fast usually involves giving up particular foods and drinks for a time. The most commonly used example is recorded in Daniel 1:11-14 in which, Daniel and his three companions ate only vegetables and drank only water for 10 days. As a result, they were blessed more than the king’s men, who ate the richer, royal diet.
In Daniel 10:3 Daniel participated in a limited diet again on his own. The partial fast is one that omits certain foods, or is on a schedule that includes limited eating. It may consist of omitting one meal a day. Another way to participate in this fast is by eating only fresh vegetables and fruits for several days People who have hypoglycemia or other diseases might consider this type of fast with doctor supervision.
3. Absolute or Radical:
This fast has been used in desperate situations, such as when Queen Esther learned that execution was planned for herself and her people. She abstained from Food and Water for Three days.
- Ezra went without food and water for three days (Ezra 10:6-9).
- The Apostle Paul did the same (Acts 9:9).
- David went 7 days with food as a plea to God to save the life of his son (2 Samuel 12:15-20).
- Moses went beyond 7 days in Deut. 9:9-18
- Elijah 1Kings 19:8
- Jesus in Matthew 4:1-11
This is an extreme fast that should be done only for very short periods of time. You take in nothing—no food, no water (Sometimes taken with limited water). It should be attempted only with medical supervision. This is the * The absolute fast allows no food or water at all, and should be for a short period, no more than three days.
4. The Rational Fast
This fast consists of eating or omitting certain families of food for a designated period of time. For example, you may choose to only eat whole grains every other day. The various foods can be rotated so that a different type of food is available daily.
The important thing to remember here is, “fast the fast, God has chosen for you!” Do not come under the pressure of what others are doing. Your fast should reflect your sincere desire to seek God first.
One final note, you hear a lot of people talking about fasting things like, TV, computers, social networking sites, newspaper, etc. It is obvious that one can benefit from limiting access of these kinds of things during a fast however, a word of caution here, fasting deals with the bodies intake of food not TV. For some limiting TV may seem like a sacrifice, but lets be real! If you have a DVR your gonna record your stuff for later, or they will re-run that missed episode and you can catch up. On the other hand, missing meals is different. Consider, if I am fasting TV is that really a sacrifice? If I miss food, I will feel the pain of hunger and that goes deep into my physical, emotional, and spiritual being. Granted, escaping the media for a season will do you good. You may even find more time to read your Bible. Until tomorrow, God bless you and keep you, and cause His face to shine upon you and give you peace!