Would you like to fast? Have you tried it? If you would like to begin or continue this spiritual discipline, here’s a checklist to follow that will make your time with the Lord more meaningful and spiritually rewarding.
1. Why am I Fasting?
Is it for spiritual renewal, for guidance, for healing, for the resolution of problems, for special grace to handle a difficult situation? Ask the Holy Spirit to clarify His leading and objectives for your prayer fast. This will enable you to pray more specifically and strategically.
2. What type of Fast?
Pray about the kind of fast you should undertake. Jesus implied that all of His followers should fast (Matthew 6:16-18; 9:14,15) For Him it was a matter of when believers would fast, not if they would do it. Before you fast, decide the following up front:
- How long you will fast – one meal, one day, a week, several weeks, forty days (Beginners should start slowly, building up to longer fasts.)
- What is the type of fast God wants you to undertake:
- Absolute fast: no food or water for a period of time
- Normal fast: only water, but no food or other drink
- Partial or Liquid fast: liquids, juices, etc
- Easter fast: like Lent, fasting or giving up something in the weeks leading up to Easter
- Media/Technology: TV, radio, Facebook, telephone, etc.
- How much time will you devote to prayer and time with God?
Making these commitments ahead of time will help you sustain your fast when physical temptations and life’s pressures tempt you to abandon it.
3. Am I Ready Physically?
Fasting requires reasonable precautions. Consult your physician first, especially if you take prescription medication or have a chronic ailment. Some persons should never fast without professional supervision.
Physical preparation makes the drastic change in your eating routine a little easier so that you can turn your full attention to the Lord in prayer.
- Do not rush into your fast.
- Prepare your body. Eat healthier meals before starting a fast.
4. Am I Prepared Spiritually?
The very foundation of fasting and prayer is to seek God. Here are several things you can do to prepare your heart:
- Begin your time of fasting and prayer with an expectant heart (Hebrews 11:6).
- Plan to listen. When you run out of things to pray for, listen to God’s voice.
- Confess every sin that the Holy Spirit calls to your remembrance and accept God’s forgiveness (1 John 1:9).
- Surrender your life fully to Jesus Christ; refuse to obey your worldly nature (Romans 12:1,2).
- Do not underestimate spiritual opposition. Satan sometimes intensifies the natural battle between body and spirit (Galatians 5:16,17).
5. While Fasting
Your time of fasting and prayer has come. You are abstaining from all solid foods and have begun to seek the Lord. Here are some helpful suggestions to consider:
- Prepare yourself for temporary mental discomforts, such as impatience, crankiness, and anxiety.
- Limit your activity.
- Rest as much as your schedule will permit.
- Expect some physical discomforts.. You may have fleeting hunger pains, dizziness, or the “blahs.” Withdrawal from caffeine and sugar may cause headaches. Physical annoyances may also include weakness, tiredness, or sleeplessness.
Tips on Liquid/Juice Fasting:
- Drinking fruit juice will decrease your hunger pains and give you some natural sugar energy. The taste and lift will motivate and strengthen you to continue.
- Mix acidic juices (orange and tomato) with water for your stomach’s sake.
- Avoid caffeinated drinks. And avoid chewing gum or mints, even if your breath is bad. They stimulate digestive action in your stomach.
6. Make a Schedule
For maximum spiritual benefit, set aside ample time to be alone with the Lord. The more time you spend with Him, the more meaningful your fast will be.
- Read and meditate on God’s Word
- Invite God to use you. Ask Him to show you how to influence your world, your family, your church, your community, your country, and beyond.
- Pray for His vision for your life and empowerment to do His will.
- Return to prayer and God’s Word.
- Take a short prayer walk.
- Avoid television or any other distraction that may dampen your spiritual focus.
- Repeat any of the above.
7. End My Fast Gradually
Begin eating gradually. If you end your fast gradually, the beneficial physical and spiritual effects will result in continued good health.
Here are some suggestions to help you end your fast properly:
- Break an extended water fast with fruit such as watermelon.
- Liquid fasts are not as hard on the body, but avoid overly spicy, fatty or sugary foods right after a liquid fast.
8. Expect Results
If you sincerely humble yourself before the Lord, repent, pray, and seek God’s face; if you consistently meditate on His Word, you will experience a heightened awareness of His presence (John 14:21). The Lord will give you fresh, new spiritual insights. Your confidence and faith in God will be strengthened. You will feel mentally, spiritually, and physically refreshed. You will see answers to your prayers.
A single fast, however, is not a spiritual cure-all. Just as we need to seek God daily and live under the Power of the Holy Spirit daily, we also need new times of fasting before God. A 24-hour fast each week has been greatly rewarding to many Christ followers.
It takes time to build your spiritual fasting muscles. If you fail to make it through your first fast, do not be discouraged. You may have tried to fast too long the first time out, or your may need to strengthen your understanding and resolve. As soon as possible, undertake another fast until you do succeed. God will honor you for your faithfulness.
I encourage you to join me in fasting and prayer again and again until we truly experience revival in our homes, our church, our nation, and throughout the world.
Sources and for further reading: