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Types of Fasts

Pursuit 21 Prayer and Fasting

There are several types of fasts. The one you choose is between you and God. He will honor your best sacrifice.

What is a fast? Voluntarily abstaining from food for a spiritual purpose.

Types of fasting can include:

Full Fast – A fast abstaining from solid food but allowing for liquids (fruit or vegetable juice and/or broth). Some call this a “normal fast.” (You establish the number of days.) Drink water, and plenty of it (a good goal is a gallon a day).

Partial Fast – A limited fast consisting of abstaining from certain foods for a prolonged period of time or abstaining from all foods for a portion of the day (e.g., abstaining from eating before 3:00 P.M.). The Partial Fast is a good stepping stone to a Full Fast for those who have never fasted before. There are many types of partial fasts. A few are listed below.

  • Daniel Fast. This is the most frequently used example of a partial fast. Eat  no meat, no sweets and no bread. Eat fruits and vegetables and drink water. Learn More
  • Other types of partial fasts could include:
  • Giving up one food item, such as caffeine or sweets.
  • Giving up one meal & replacing that time with prayer. Vigilance is needed to ensure that the value of omitting the one meal is not offset by increasing the intake at others!
  • Fast for a specific number of days – one day, three days, you decide.
  • Fast from 6:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., or from sun-up to sundown. When doing this type of fast, consider your work and sleep schedule. The hours that you sleep should not be considered part of your fasting period.
  • Along with fasting food, you might go on a “TV fast,” going without television at specific times. You might also fast other forms of technology as well. When you do this, use that time in prayer and the Word.
  • If you have a health condition which prohibits you from a Full or Daniel fast, there are other options such as choosing something from your daily routine (i.e. specific foods, television, other technology, etc.) and fast in that manner. You could give up something else that might have control in your life or be preventing you from experiencing spiritual growth. Replace that time with prayer and study of God’s word.

Scripture References for Fasting:

Blessings of Fasting: Deuteronomy 28:13-14; Deuteronomy 28:2; 2 Chronicles 7:14; Isaiah 58:8

Daniel Fast: Daniel 10:2-3

Fasting Do’s: Matthew 6:16-18

Fasting Don’ts: Matthew 6:16-18; Luke 18:9-14

Preparing to Fast: Mark 11:25; Luke 11:4; Romans 12:1-2

When to Fast: Matthew 9:14-15

Why Fast: Romans 12:1; Matthew 6:33; Mark 9:29; Isaiah 58:6; 1 Samuel 7:3; Luke 4:1-13

Corporate Fasting: I Samuel 7:5-6; 2 Chronicles 20:3-4; Esther 4:15-17; Ezra 8:21-23; Nehemiah 9:1-3; Joel 2:15-16; Jonah 3:5-10; Acts 27:33-37

Additional References: I Samuel 1:6-8, 17-18; Nehemiah 1:4; Daniel 9:3, 20; Joel 2:12; Luke 2:37, Acts 10:30; Acts 13:2 Remember, the details are not as important as the spirit with which you participate. It is the attitude of a heart diligently seeking Him to which God responds with blessing (Isaiah 58, Jeremiah 14:12, I Corinthians 8:8). May God bless you as you fast!

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