Fasting Day 10: Answering A Fasting FAQ- Shades of Grace | Natalie Nichols

Fasting Day 10: Answering a Fasting FAQ

Answering a Fasting FAQ

People around the world are fasting with Pursuit 21. Consequently, I receive a lot of questions about fasting.

Recently someone asked a question about the Full Fast. I’ve heard from others who are unsure about the same issue. Although I replied to the questioner privately, I am posting my answer here publicly in case it will be of help to others as well.


Dear Natalie,

Thank you so much for the excellent articles on fasting. Although you do cite other sources of info, the manner in which you put it together with scripture, insight and exhortation is truly wonderful.

I’m writing to seek clarification regarding full fasting as I’m thinking about Pursuit 21 and my plans to go 21 days. I was thinking that a full fast was only water. However, you note that juice and broth are OK. I’m currently doing a 5-day fast. I wanted to go water only but seemed to struggle. I therefore drink only water during the day but take 1/2 cup of diluted grape juice or chicken broth at 5 p.m. I particularly enjoy the broth but also feel guilty that I’m compromising. I will be glad if you can shed some light on this.


Dear Faster,

Thank you for your encouraging feedback regarding the fasting posts! It’s uplifting to hear specific ways God is working through the fasting content online.

I will do my best to answer your question about the full fast, but it really comes down to a matter of prayer and God’s personal leading.

Full fasting is mainly eliminating all solid foods. When it comes to the liquids, it is really a matter of prayer and the specific direction God gives each faster.

In the Bible, fasting most often refers to people not eating solid food. The issue of drinking liquids is usually omitted. This is the way Luke described the 40-day fast of Jesus: “In those days He ate nothing, and afterward, when they had ended, He was hungry” (Lk. 4:2). Nothing is said about Jesus drinking liquids. It doesn’t say He was thirsty; only hungry. So He apparently drank. (It wasn’t an absolute fast of neither water nor food.)

As far as what liquid to drink, it is a personal choice. One pastor drinks only water in the day and broth at night, feeling that fruit juice is merely a different composition of solid food. His rule is not to drink anything nutritious.

In Fasting Can Change Your Life, Jerry Falwell describes the fasting that took place in the early days of building Liberty University. “We always fasted from solid food, except for non-nutrient liquids,” he said.

Some people use a juicer or drink fresh fruit juice (without sugar & additives). They believe juice is not prohibited in the Bible, and grape juice or milk may likely have been taken during a fast. Others drink only vegetable juice, like V8, from a can. Some drink something like Ensure.

When I fast, I abstain from anything that is an indulgence (whether for health reasons I am having to eat solid food or whether I am able to embark on a full fast). Fasting for me is a way to put my flesh in submission and deny its appetites. I believe my food choices should reflect the fasters in the Old Testament who “afflicted themselves and fasted” (Is. 58:3).

What is an indulgence can only be determined by the Holy Spirit. It’s something you will sense in your spirit. When I have to eat solid foods while fasting, I avoid anything that I normally enjoy – sweets, breads, fruit, coffee, etc. For health reasons, now when I go on a lengthy full fast, I have to have some kind of nutrition. But my favorite way to fast is to drink only water. I love not even thinking about food or juice or broth – totally concentrating on Jesus!  However, having only water is very hard on my health. In years past, I was able to fast longer stretches with water only. However, this last year, my health was less able to tolerate the strain. So during my last long fast, I had to spread out my days of drinking only water. I felt led to fast 3 days this way, out of 21. I fasted with water one day a week, each week for 3 weeks. It was less fun for me, but that was what God wanted. To do otherwise would have put my health (and thus His ministry through me) in jeopardy for years to come. It was a matter of hearing from the Holy Spirit what His plan was…and obeying.

I don’t think I have ever fasted the same way twice. Whether on 1-day, 3-day, 8-day, 21 or 40-day fasts, God has always led me differently on each one.

We fast to please God – not others…and not even ourselves. I will be praying that God will give you clear direction in this. There is no hard and fast rule. Your choice about broth or no broth can only be made between you and God.

I love what Elmer Towns wrote in The Beginner’s Guide to Fasting:

Ask God to lead you in what to drink, and fast with a good conscience toward God. Make sure you are comfortable with your fast in the presence of God, and eliminate anything that convicts your conscience: “But he who doubts is condemned if he eats, because he does not eat from faith” (Romans 14:23). Drink only the liquid that glorifies God: “Whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God” (1 Cor. 10:31).[i]

Personally, I do not view your broth as an indulgence. However, I also realize that when we have serious problems, we are called to a serious fast. The degree of the fast should often match the degree of the problem.

Only God can tell you if your broth is an indulgence to be avoided. If He has only called you to fast with water till 5:00 p.m. with broth to follow, then drink the broth to His glory! If He has called you to have water only, or the diluted juice, He will enable you to fulfill this commitment.

I know for myself, there have been times in the past when I became a tad bit in the flesh with my fasting. I was so focused on what I was drinking or not drinking that I was basically putting my confidence in the fast itself, not in God. I was so preoccupied with the menu that I missed the most important part – prayer!

Just make sure that food consumption, or lack thereof, is not taking precedence over fellowship with God.

However, this definitely does not seem to be the case based upon your report of what God has done on your fast as you paused to talk to Him in prayer and praise.

I will be praying that God gives you clear direction regarding the broth. Praying also that He will speak to you deeply through His word, touch you with His Spirit, “untie the cords of the yoke, set the oppressed free and break every yoke (Isaiah 58:6)!

May He fulfill Isaiah 58:9 in your life: “Then you will call, and the LORD will answer; you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I.” May He answer every one of your causes for fasting – saying, “Here am I.”

Yes, Lord! So be it, in Jesus’ mighty, powerful name!

In His Grace,



[i] Elmer Towns, The Beginner’s Guide to Fasting (Ventura, CA: Regal Books, 2001 ), 39


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