by Dick LaFountain
"If you call the Sabbath a delight
"If you keep your feet from breaking the Sabbath and from doing as you please on my holy day, if you call the Sabbath a delight and the LORD's holy day honorable, and if you honor it by not going your own way and not doing as you please or speaking idle words,
then you will find your joy in the LORD, and I will cause you to ride on the heights of the land and to feast on the inheritance of your father Jacob."
- Isaiah 58:13
and the LORD's holy day honorable"
WHAT IS FASTING?
A Disciplined Abstinence
At that time I, Daniel, mourned for three weeks. 3 I ate no choice food; no meat or wine touched my lips; and I used no lotions at all til the three weeks were over. - Daniel 10:2-3
The Purpose of a Fast Is to Humble Oneself Before God
It is limited in time and duration. It is meant to draw us near to God, so he will draw near to us. The purpose is to purge ourselves of leaven, or ferment, that pollutes, poisons, or taints the mind and body. A fast is not a marathon. To avoid the marathon mentality we deliberately do non-dietary fasts lest pride enter our hearts and ruin the God-seeking. Fast from something more than just food. Begin your fasting with one meal, or one day of abstinence from some pleasure that you might devote yourself and you full attention, to the Lord. Hunger for God more than other things.
Every Fast Is Different
Each fast will include some abstinence from such things as entertainment, TV, radio, Internet, magazines, novels, caffeine, candy and sweets, Whatever your fast meals usually will be sparse - bread and water or juices, soup and salads, fruit and vegetables, no fat or meat week, etc. The purpose is to discipline the soul as a reminder to seek God above our own pleasures.
Define Your God-Hunger Fast
First determine the purpose of your fast. Is it to lose weight, cleanse your body, or seek after God? Next, decide the duration of your fast, one meal, one day, one week, or a month. Then, define the type of fast you will do. Is it a food fast, an entertainment fast, a people fast, caffeine fast, or some other abstinence? Finally, designate where you will do this fast, in the prayer room, a prayer closet, a park, a retreat center, or in a large library.
"But you, when you fastest, anoint your head, and wash your face, so that you do not appear to men to be fasting, but to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly" - Matthew 6:17-18
Then John's disciples came and asked him, "How is it that we and the Pharisees fast, but your disciples do not fast?" Jesus answered, "How can the guests of the bridegroom mourn while he is with them? The time will come when the bridegroom will be taken from them; then they will fast. - Matthew 9:14-15
23 Jesus said unto him, If you cant believe, all things are possible to him that believes. 24 And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief. 29 And he said unto them, This kind can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting. - Mark 9:23-29
There are many reasons to fast. Not the least of them is that Jesus said, "Without me you can do nothing." Fasting makes us depend on God and not on ourselves. Elmer Towns in his wonderful book on Fasting For Spiritual Breakthroughs, suggests a number of reasons to fast:
Fasting is for times of trouble and crisis, but also it is a discipline for walking close to God. It is preparatory for the times of trouble that will come later on.
- For the Holy Spirit's anointing for a special ministry.
- For revelation and direction of God's will.
- For wisdom before making an important decision.
- For answers to prayer in times of crisis.
- For the nation and its leaders. (The National Election)
- For lost souls. (The Don Piper Event)
- For understanding of God's word.
- For deliverance in the time of trouble.
- For deliverance when Satan seems to be winning.
- For a miracle when all seems lost.
- For miraculous provisions in times of need.
- For boldness and favor before magistrates.
- For healing from a prolonged disease.
- For employment when you need a job.
- For God to send help in time of crisis or trouble.
- For God to send revival to His people.
One-Day Focus on Prayer Each Week
You could dedicate a whole week (six days) to fasting and prayer. Or over a six week period, one day each week give yourself to fasting from some pleasure to seek after God. It can be as simple as rejecting one meal to have time to seek the Lord. The purpose is not asceticism or self denial, but to rid yourself of distractions that pull you away from God. "Draw near to Him and he will draw near to you." (James 4:8) The purpose is to FOCUS on God alone.
Day Focus & Prayer Discipline Abstinence
1 Praise & Worship for Who He is. Behold His beauty. Early rising, Scripture reading, hourly prayers, singing to God, thankfulness in everything. Praise God all through the day. Liquid Diet, Juice and water. Soup only. Fast at least one meal during the day.
2 Thanksgiving for all things and everyone God puts in our lives. Keep a journal of prayers of your thanksgiving prayers to God for every good thing he has given and done. Give thanks all day. Caffeine Fast at for the entire day. Lay off all soda pop and caffeinated drinks.
3 Confession of sin and prayer of forgiveness and renewal of the Holy Spirit. Change from your normal and customary prayer position to one of humility and repentance. Try on your face bowing before His throne. Confess sin all day long. Full Meal Fast at least one meal during the day. Cut food intake by half. Eat light.
4 Clothe yourself in God's promises and protection.
Pray God's word back to Him. Pray and claim all of God's promises for yourself, your family, your church, your nation. Reckon God's promises. Sweets & Sugar Fast during the day. Stop all sweets. Eat only veggies and fruit.
Cast Your Care. Tell God everything on you heart. Pray frankly, honestly, let it all hang out. Pour out your heart and mind. Make a prayer list in your prayer journal of all your personal burdens. Entertainment Fast, no TV, Radio, Video, Movies, Internet, CD Music during the day.
Wait on God. Be still before His throne to hear his voice. Get alone, Be still, in solitude, wait on the Lord with your Bible open and your mouth shut. Listen! Get alone with God at least three times (three hours) during this prayer day. Fast from Comforts. Go away from comfort during the day. Retreat to God. Withdraw self.
Fasting does not impress God. Fasting is for us, not God. It is the act of giving up something dear to you to pursue something even more important. It is disciplining yourself before God to seek His face. Without the discipline and sacrifice of time to pray your fast is useless.
We have other helpful guides that can assist you in praying. These are in PDF format.
PDF Bulletin Insert Version of this file
A 40-Day Fast