Beginner’s Guide to Fasting

By Vladimir Savchuk | January 4, 2024 | 3 mins

Beginner’s Guide to Fasting

Everyone of importance in the Bible practiced fasting: Moses, David, Elijah, Esther, Daniel, Anna, Paul, Jesus, just to name a few.

When Jesus taught on fasting, He said, “When you fast,” not “If you fast.” He assumed that we would fast. In fact, we were created with fasting engrained into our very lifestyle. Think about it–if you sleep 8 hours a day, that’s 1/3 of your life. If a person lives around 75 years, that means they would have slept 25 years of their life. That’s 9,125 days! When we sleep, we are fasting, that’s why our morning meals are called “breakfast” – it’s when we break our fast.

Types of Fasting

When thinking about fasting, there are a variety of different ways in which we can fast.

  • The Full Fast – Only drink liquids (you establish the number of days).
  • The Partial Fast – From 6:00 am to 3:00 pm (from sun up to sundown). You can choose to do the full fast, the Daniel Fast, or just give up one item of food during these hours.
  • The Daniel Fast – Eat no meat, sweets, or bread. Drink water and juice. Eat fruits and vegetables.

How to Begin

1. Start with a Clear Goal

Be specific. Why are you fasting? Do you need direction, healing, or the restoration of your marriage? Are you facing financial difficulties? Ask the Holy Spirit for guidance as you set out to begin this journey.

2. Prepare Spiritually

Confess your sins to God. Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal areas of weakness within you. Forgive all who have offended you and ask forgiveness from those you may have offended. Surrender your life fully to Jesus Christ and reject the worldly desires that try to hinder you (Romans 12:1-2).

3. Decide Your Type of Fast

The type of fasting you choose is up to you. The list of the main types I have written above. Despite the type of fast you choose to do, remember to replace that time with prayer and Bible study.

4. Decide the Length

You may fast as long as you like. Most can easily fast from one to three days, but you may feel the grace to go longer, even as much as 21 to 40 days. Use wisdom and pray for guidance. Beginners are advised to start slow.

5. Expect Changes In Your Body

When you fast, your body detoxifies and eliminates toxins from your system. This can cause mild discomfort such as headaches and irritability during withdrawals from caffeine and sugars. It’s also normal to experience hunger pains.

Limit your activity and exercise moderately. Take time to rest. Fasting brings about miraculous results. You are following Jesus’ example when you fast, so spend time listening to praise and worship. Pray as often as you can throughout the day. Get away from the normal distractions as much as possible and keep your heart and mindset on seeking God’s face.

6. End It Properly

Don’t overeat when the time comes to end your fast. Begin eating solid food gradually; eat small portions or snacks.

Read: Fasting is the Key to Spiritual Fervency

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