Fasting is a spiritual discipline designed to align our will with God’s. We’re fasting together in order to deepen our relationship with God – to know Him better – and to ensure our plans and pursuits are led by Him. Your fast should challenge, but it’s very important to know your body, your options, and, most importantly, to seek God in prayer and follow what the Holy Spirit leads you to do. Prayer and fasting go hand in hand.
In scripture we God’s people fasting to strengthen their prayer life, to seek God’s guidance, to express grief, to seek deliverance or protection, to express repentance and a return to God. When you fast with the right motives, it is a physical expression of humility before God just as kneeling or prostrating yourself in prayer can reflect humility before Him. Fasting just to fast won’t do anything except reduce your waistline a little; fasting with a goal, a purpose to grow in your knowledge, understanding and love of God will supercharge your year.
If you’re able, we encouraged you to participate in a juice fast during these 7 days, consuming liquids from fruit or vegetables only. There are different types of fasts you can consider such as a partial-fasts included when someone fasts one meal a day, or from a certain type of food. You may need to consider the Daniel Fast or a liquid protein fast, media fast or even an activity fast. The type of fast is less important than denying yourself to some extent for the purpose of getting more of God.
If you sense God has more for your life, this time of Prayer and Fasting is a great place to start believing Him for all that He has for you. As you practice seeking Him first, He will move on your behalf like never before. You will see the power of prayer impact your relationships, work, family, and every area of your life – you’ll make a difference. We’re praying for you as you consider this ancient spiritual habit.
Physically Preparing for a Fast That Extends More Than Two Days
Prepare your body for the fast and prevent constipation during and after the fast by eating certain preventative foods at least two days beforehand (even longer before an extended fast), such as: fresh fruit and raw vegetables, fruit or vegetable juices, oatmeal, etc.
Eat smaller meals a few days prior to the fast.
Avoid high-fat and sugary foods before the fast.
Make your commitment and determine the length. You can fast in many different ways. Pray, and ask God what He will give you faith for in terms of the duration of the fast.
A Daniel fast, with vegetables and water, is good for those carrying a heavy workload.
A fruit or vegetable juice fast allows you to enter into fasting but still gives enough energy to function. If you have sugar sensitivities or problems (e.g. diabetes), consult your doctor before attempting this (or any other) fast.
Helpful Hints for Your Fast (Physical)
- Drink plenty of water. (Drinking at least half of your body weight in ounces of water per day is a good rule of thumb whether you are fasting or not.)
- It is wise to abstain from strong stimulants such as caffeinated and sugary drinks during a fast, including the artificial sweeteners found in diet drinks. Also, avoid soy protein drinks, which have been known to cause health problems during a fast.
- If you are on a juice fast, drink raw fruit juices such as apple, grape, and pineapple, which are excellent sources of necessary natural sugar to stabilize blood sugar and keep energy levels up. Orange and grapefruit juice are also good, but they are not recommended for arthritis or allergy sufferers. Monitor juice acidity carefully as it can cause canker sores (mouth ulcers). Raw vegetable juices such as carrot, celery, beet, or green vegetable combinations are excellent as well. Fresh fruit and vegetable juices can be made in a juice extractor or purchased ready-made (be sure to buy juices without any added sugars). Some of the benefits of drinking raw juice versus bottled are that it does not stimulate digestion (hunger) and it maintains all of its enzymes and nutritional value.
- Expect some physical discomforts because of the detoxification process, especially on the second day. You may have fleeting hunger pains or dizziness. Withdrawal from caffeine and sugar may cause headaches, but it is a part of the detoxification process. Physical annoyances may also include weariness, tiredness, nausea, and sleepiness.
During a fast, four major areas of the body are going through a detoxification process. Take care to attend to each of these:
- The bowels/colon/large intestines: During a fast of three days or more, taking an herbal laxative (inquire at your local health store) or an enema before bedtime will help eliminate solid waste products; these can cause headaches and sluggishness if left in the body during a fast. This should be done early during the fast and then intermittently throughout the rest of the fast. The body begins detoxifying during a fast, depositing the toxins into the intestines. If you do not take a laxative or an enema, the toxins can hurt your intestines or reabsorb into your bloodstream, making you feel nauseous.
- The kidneys: Drinking fruit juices, vegetable juices, broth, or just plenty of water will remove many toxins via the kidneys.
- The lungs: If strength permits, walk half an hour during the day to help cleanse the lungs. Also do some deep breathing throughout the day by inhaling through the nose and exhaling through the mouth.
- The skin: Since one-third of the waste products eliminated during a fast are removed via the skin, adequate bathing is essential. Use a natural bristle body brush or loofah sponge on your skin prior to bathing, to help cleanse the skin.
Helpful Hints for Your Fast (Spiritual)
- Seek advice and permission before the fast. Seek medical advice before the fast, especially if you have any existing medical concerns or conditions. If you are under 18 years of age, discuss your desire to fast with your parents. Spiritual covering, submission, and unity are important factors when fasting. Discuss your plans with your church leaders. Remember, fasting is an attitude of the heart! Ask them if they would consider fasting with you.
- Fast and pray in order to humble yourself and purify your worship. In fasting we are not trying to get something from God, but seeking to realign our hearts’ affections with His. In fasting we can more readily say, “We love you, Lord, more than anything in the world.” Lust of any kind is perverted worship, but fasting enables us to cleanse the sanctuary of our hearts from every other rival.
- Don’t boast about your fast. Let people know you won’t be eating only if necessary (Mt. 6:16–18).
- Do the fast with someone else. Two are better than one! We encourage parents and kids to consider fasting together. Several generations fasting together has a powerful impact.
- Have a clear target as your prayer focus. Without a vision (a clear, prayer goal), the people perish. Write down your vision, so you can run with it (Hab. 2:2).
- Take time to pray and read the Word. This may seem obvious, but busyness and distractions can keep you from devotions.
- Expect to hear God’s voice in the Word, dreams, visions, and revelations. Daniel prepared himself to receive revelation through fasting (Dan. 10:1–2). There is a fasting reward (Mt. 6:18).
- Prepare for opposition. On the day of your fast you can bet that donuts will be at the office or in class. Your spouse (or your mom) will suddenly be inspired to cook your favorite meals. Press through. Many times you may feel more tension build at home. Satan tempted Jesus on the fast, and we must expect the same. Discouragement may come in like a flood, but recognize the source and take your stand on the victory of Christ.
- If you fail, don’t give in to condemnation. The “to fast or not to fast” dilemma can be a major tool of the enemy. Even though you may fail several times, God always extends grace. Just hit the “delete” button and continue on your fast.
- Feel free to rest a lot and continue to exercise with supervision.
- Breakthroughs often come after a fast, not during it. Do not listen to the lie that nothing is happening. It is our conviction that every fast done in faith will be rewarded.