Join Us as We Fast for Lent This Year!
We believe that many Christians fail to tap into one of the most powerful and rewarding spiritual reservoirs we have at our disposal — fasting. It’s often because we lack understanding about this important command for Christ’s followers. This guide is devoted to sharing the what, why, how, and when of this important scriptural discipline so you can put it into action. If you’ve never fasted or want to know more about it, we want to cover the basics with you here.
“...WHEN YOU PRAY, GO INTO YOUR ROOM AND SHU T THE DOOR
AND PRAY TO YOUR FATHER WHO IS IN SECRET. AND YOUR FATHER
WHO SEES IN SECRET WILL REWARD YOU.” | MATTHEW 6:6 ESV
FASTING QUICKSTART GUIDE PDF DOWNLOAD
Download the FASTING QUICKSTART GUIDE and learn the WHAT, WHY, HOW, WHEN and WHERE's of Fasting and open the door to God’s provision and direction in your life. When you deny your body, you feed your spirit and grow closer to the Lord.
WHAT IS FASTING?
Fasting, prayer, and reading God’s Word go hand in hand, but without prayer, fasting becomes merely a diet. When you fast, pray for God’s purpose and plan for your life to be revealed. Many choose to fast and pray about every major decision in life. Simply put, fasting is a way to conquer the physical, and open the door to God’s provision and direction in your life. When you deny your body, you feed your spirit and grow closer to the Lord.
Biblical fasting is giving up particular foods and drinks for a specified number of days. The type and length of the fast you choose is between you and God, and should not be determined by what anyone else is doing. Seeds Church participates in Lent, the Church season of fasting and prayer as a practice of seeking God.
In Matthew 6, Jesus gave us simple direction on how to live as a child of God. That pattern referenced three specific duties of Christian living: Giving, Praying and Fasting. Jesus said, “when you give,” “when you pray,” and “when you fast.” In doing so, He made it clear that giving, praying, and fasting are all a normal part of Christian life. When all three disciplines are at work, you release the complete power of God in your life.
HOW DO I FAST?
Before beginning a fast, ask the Lord what you should fast. After you feel like the Holy Spirit has revealed to you what you should fast, write down a plan and make a verbal commitment to the Lord. When you approach it with determination you’ll be less likely to waiver in weak moments. You may be surprised to find that fasting is not as daunting as
you may think. But if you do find it to be a battle don’t lose heart, push through, and know that God understands your struggle. God’s fasting principles allow you the flexibility to take care of your job and duties while still making a sacrifice to honor Him.
If the traditional complete fast has always made you shy away from this important principle, you may be surprised to know that there are many different types of fasts. Find the fast or combination of fasts that best fits your needs. No matter which fast you choose, you must always remember to consult your doctor and drink plenty of water.
WHEN SHOULD YOU FAST?
If you want to make fasting a way of life beyond these 40 days, work out a plan for the entire year to include days or meals to fast that works into your lifestyle. You may decide to fast one day a month, one meal a week, or fast specific foods or comfort items for a period of time.
There may be other unexpected times that you feel a need to fast—during family struggles, financial problems, or times you are in need of breakthrough in your life.
WHERE CAN I FIND FASTING IN SCRIPTURE?
- Blessings of Fasting: Isaiah 58:8-9
- Corporate Fasting: 1 Samuel 7:5-6, 2 Chronicles 20:3-4, Ezra 8:21-23, Nehemiah 9:1-3, Jonah 3:5-10, Esther 4:16
- Daniel Fast: Daniel 10:2-3
- Fasting Do’s: Matthew 6:16-18
- Fasting Don’ts: Matthew 6:16-18, Luke 18:9-14
- Prayer & Scripture with Fasting: Luke 2:37, Nehemiah 1:4, Daniel 9:3, Joel 2:12, Acts 13:2
- Preparing to Fast: Mark 11:25, Luke 11:4, Romans 12:1-2, 1 Samuel 7:3
- When to Fast: Matthew 9:14-15
- Why to Fast: Romans 12:1, Matthew 6:33, Mark 9:29, Isaiah 58:6, Luke 4:1-13
While most opt to participate in their fasts around the clock, others who are new to fasting–or that have other limitations may decide to have a different schedule that works best for them. Some options for fasting times follow.
- Half-Day Fast – From sunrise to 3PM
- Full-Day Fast – From sunrise to sunset
- Total Fast – Around the clock
TYPES OF FASTS
The type of fast that you ultimately choose should be what you feel the Lord is leading you to commit to for these 40 days.
Below are some of the types of fasts you could choose to participate in.
See Daniel 10:2-3. This is a partial fast that provides many attributes to the idea of denying self and seeking God, but with less discomfort than a juice or water fast. Here are some guidelines for a good Daniel Fast:
- Foods to eat: Fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds, legumes, 100% juice, natural oils, and water.
- Foods to avoid: Meat, dairy, all natural and artificial sweeteners, all leavened breads, refined and processed foods, fried foods, solid fats, coffee, tea, alchohol, and carbonated beverages.
Fasting from comfort items is a great option if fasting is a new experience for you or if you have any health limitations regarding food-based fasts. If you feel led to participate in this way, here are some ideas of things you can fast from:
- Electronic Entertainment
- TV Shows, Movies, Netflix, Video Games, etc.
- Social Networking Apps or Sites: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Blogs, etc.
- Any major thing you find comfort in.
Keep in mind the goal of comfort fasting is to allow space for your hunger to drive you to God, and to not satisfy ourselves with other things. Be intentional about your fast and push yourself out of your comfort zone.
In this fast, abstain from food and only drink water and 100% juice for a period of time. Drink mildly acidic or non-acidic fruit juices such as apple, grape, peach or pineapple juice, which are excellent sources of natural and necessary sugar to stabilize blood sugar and keep energy levels up. Raw vegetable juices such as carrot, celery, beet or green vegetable juice combinations are excellent as well. (100% VEGETABLE JUICES ONLY, without added sugars, salt or preservatives such as V8 Juice). You can do normal daily activities on a juice fast.
This type of fast is abstaining from food and only drinking water for a period of time. Drink plenty of water, at least half your body weight in ounces of water per day (example: 150lbs = 75 oz./day). Distilled water is most beneficial, but filtered and purified water also works well. A water-only fast is, by far, the most diffcult fast due to the detoxification process that the body goes through and the lack of energy that is experienced as a result of not eating.
Many people who are experienced in fasting have fasted this way for 40 days or more. Long-term water fasts are possible, but definitely not comfortable. You may choose to do a short-term water fast sometime during the 40 days.