Different Types of Fasts

By Vladimir Savchuk | January 8, 2024 | 3 mins

Different Types of Fasts

If you are wanting to start a fast, but don’t know which one to do. Here are a few of the most commonly done by believers.

5 Types of Fasts

1. An Absolute Fast

An absolute fast is choosing to go without food or water for a duration of time, a.k.a. a dry fast. Moses went on this type of fast for 40 days, and it was supernatural (Exodus 34:28). The city of Nineveh also fasted like this for three days (Jonah 3:7) as well as the apostle Paul after his encounter with the Lord (Acts 9:9).

Caution: This should NOT be undertaken for more than three days.

2. The Normal Fast

This type of fast is done when you don’t eat, but choose to only drink water. We believe that Jesus went on this type of fast for 40 days. The Bible says He ate nothing, but it doesn’t mention that He didn’t drink anything (Luke 4:2).

Usually, if a person in the Bible didn’t drink anything during their fast, Scripture would point that out.

3. The Partial Fast

Next, we also see that there is a partial fast that many can choose to do, a.k.a. The Daniel Fast. It’s where you abstain from certain foods, including meats, no sweets, dairy, or other pleasant foods.

This fast is named after the prophet Daniel: “I ate no pleasant food, no meat or wine came into my mouth, nor did I anoint myself at all, till three whole weeks were fulfilled” (Daniel 10:3).

For me, this is the hardest fast. I don’t think I have ever done more than seven days because I don’t like fasting and thinking about food at the same time. Plus, eating an entire meal and still feeling hungry is a tougher challenge for me than simply not eating at all.

4. The Non-Food Fast

This type of fast is recommended for those who have medical conditions, are pregnant, breastfeeding, are children, or even those taking heavy medications. A non-fast food is the safest way to practice this spiritual discipline.

In Daniel 10:3, we see that he not only abstained from sweets, meats, dairy, and wine, but he also did not anoint his face. During this time, you could also fast from social media, television, certain friend group gatherings, social events that bear no spiritual fruit, etc.

By doing so, this can help us regain our sensitivity and closeness to God and give us more free time to spend time reading the Word and praying.

5. The Corporate Fast

The last type of fast is a corporate fast.

Now, your private fasting should be done in secret, as Jesus instructed in Matthew 6:16, but there is also a public fast that is proclaimed by leaders. There are a few biblical examples of this, such as the prophet Samuel calling an entire nation to a fast (1 Samuel 7:6); Esther calling her Jewish people to a fast (Esther 4:16); Ezra proclaiming a fast (Ezra 8:21–23); the pagan king of Nineveh declaring a fast to his nation (Jonah 3:5); and the disciples fasting and ministering to the Lord (Acts 13:2–3).

Read: Beginner’s Guide to Fasting

I pray this brought about some clarity. May the Lord give you grace as you start your fast!

If you’d like to have a daily devotional with Scripture and encouragement as you fast, check out my book Fast Forward.

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