Scripture References: Isaiah 58; Joel 1: 14-20, 2: 15-19
Definition of Fasting: It is a form of personal denial for spiritual purposes. (Fasting without a God-Centered purpose is dieting, starvation or a hunger strike).
The real God-Centered Fast is the sacrifice of the personal will which means the “afflicting of the soul”.
Biblical Meaning of Fasting
Cover the Mouth -the word fast comes from the Hebrew word for TSUWM, which means to cover the mouth (i.e., to fast) or abstain from food as a religious observance.
Purpose for Fasting
To enter into a new dimension of God’s anointing in your life and be restored into the state of dominion over sin and evil. Pray, Pray, Pray!
Study Assignment: Isaiah 58; Joel 1: 14-20, 2: 15-19
Matthew 6: 1-18; Matthew 4: 1-11; Matthew 17: 14-21; Romans 11: 33-34; Hebrews 12: 1-17
Psalms 42: 1-17; I Corinthians 7:5; Joel 2:12
Type of Fast
Partial Fast – Eat only one balanced meal per day. Do not over eat or for a continuous period of time. Your meal should start at 6:00 pm and end at no later than 8:00 pm. Do not eat after 8:00 pm in the evening. Refrain from intimate relations with your spouse. (I Corinthians 7:5)
Beginning the Fast
Approximately three (3) days before your fast begins, cut down on the amount of food you consume. Ease into the fast; do not eat anything after 12:00 midnight the day before the fast begins. This will help prepare your body. Try to eat foods in its purest and natural form (before basic nutrients have been processed out). Drinking pure water during a fast is wise. Begin to eliminate sweeteners.
Preparing to Eat
Break the fast with prayer, praise and thanksgiving. Eat lightly for the first few days and gradually introduce foods back into your diet. Some foods you should never add back into your diet or add them in a limited amount.
Regulations during the Fast
- Have the mind of God and be sure your motive for fasting is pure (i.e., not for losing weight)
- If possible, cleanse your system with a gentle laxative.
- Drink plenty of water. Try drinking eight glasses or more of water per day. Lemon flavored water is very good for the first three days to clean out your liver (squeeze fresh lemons into your water).
- You can drink fruit juices.
- With a God-centered fast, you probably will not be extremely hungry. But if in the first days of the fast you are hungry, drink plenty of water.
- After the fast is over, eat light (i.e., light broths, soups, fruit and vegetables)
- Some may be able to go on a daily “denial fast”. This means that you deny yourself something that you really like to eat that are not essential to your diet.
- Do moderate exercise and get plenty of fresh air. Conserve your strength spending as much time in prayer as possible.
- If you accidentally break the fast or eat something without thinking, just resume the fast the moment you remember. DON’T BE DEFEATED! You are seeking God and not in a competition.
- Leadership – pray for the Pastors and the ministers of “New Covenant Life Ministry”
- Ministry – pray that the God ordained vision is fulfilled and that He will prosper and bless “NCLM”.
- Edifice – pray that God will bless us with the building we need to grow and prosper.
- Membership – pray that God will send faithful, dedicated and skillful members that will be a spiritual enhancement to the Kingdom.
- Finances – pray that each member of “New Covenant Life Ministry” will be a tither and sower. Pray that all financial goals will be met in our personal lives and in ministry.
A Study On Fasting
II Chronicles 7:14
- Allows us to humble ourselves
- Strengthens us spiritually
- Helps us focus on God
- Enables us to conquer the flesh and the selfish desires
- Enables us to walk in the Spirit
- Makes us sensitive to hear God’s voice and His direction for our lives
- Gives us the power and the anointing to do God’s work
- Sharpens our expectations to receive answers from God
- Prepares us for life challenges
- Enables us to adopt a more healthy lifestyle
- Renews our minds
- Helps us grow in the knowledge of God’s Word
- Helps our confidence in holding onto the truth of God’s Word
- Relieves heavy burdens
- Helps us receive wisdom from God
- Brings revival and transformation
- Brings protection
- Ushers us into success in a new project or a new ministry
- Helps us obtain a new desire for God, His Word and the things of the Spirit
- Changes how we observe things
KINDS OF FAST:
Normal Fast – to go without food for a definite period where you intake only water and/or juice. This type of fast can go as long as 40 days (ex: Jesus)
Absolute Fast – to go without food or water. This type of fast should be for a short period of time. (Ex: Moses)
Rotational Fast – to omit certain families of food for designated periods.
Partial Fast – to omit certain foods or be on a schedule that permits limited eating. This type of fast may consist of eating one meal a day, eating only fresh fruits, vegetables and lean meats. (Ex: Elijah, John the Baptist)
Daniel Fast – a biblically based partial fast. It is a method of fasting that men, women and young people all over the world are using as they enter into the spiritual discipline of prayer and fasting. (Ex: Daniel)
There are two anchoring scriptures for the Daniel Fast. In Daniel 1 the Prophet ate only vegetables (that would have included fruits) and drank only water. So from these scriptures we get two of the guidelines for the fast:
1. Only fruits and vegetables
2. Only water for a beverage
Then in Daniel 10 we read that the Prophet ate no meat nor any precious breads or foods and he drank no wine for 21 days. So from this scripture, we get a third guideline:
3. No sweeteners and no breads (e.g., cakes, pies, donuts, candy, sugar or artificial sweeteners…etc.)
Another important guideline is drawn from Jewish fasting principles, where no leaven is used during the fast. So that’s why yeast, baking powder and the like are not allowed on the Daniel Fast.
Finally, with all the above puzzle pieces, we conclude that neither artificial or processed foods nor any chemicals are allowed on the Daniel Fast.
Daniel 10:2, 3 – “In those days I, Daniel was mourning three full weeks. I ate no pleasant foods, no meats or wine came into my mouth, nor did I anoint myself at all, till three full weeks were fulfilled”.
When asked about the eating plan on the Daniel Fast, it is often said it is a “vegan diet with even more restrictions.” Be sure to read the ingredients on labels of prepared foods to make sure they only include Daniel Fast friendly ingredients.
It is best during this type of Fast to bake your meats and avoid starches. NO FRIED FOODS!
The Daniel Fast for the body, soul and spirit:
The Bible teaches us that we are a spirit, we have a soul and we live in a body. The Daniel Fast affects all three parts of us as we enter into a period of time for focused prayer and fasting.
The Body – Certainly our bodies are affected as our diet is changed, for some in very dramatic ways. During the Daniel Fast, many men and women experience detoxing from caffeine, chemicals and sugar. The symptoms are most often headaches, leg cramps, fatigue and depression.
Most people lose weight during the Daniel Fast. Many people report healings from diabetes, allergies, arthritis and cancer.
The Soul – Frequently referred to as “the flesh” in the Bible, the soul is also greatly impacted during the Daniel Fast. The soul is the seat of our emotions, intellect, personality and will. It is in the “souls’ realm” where we experience cravings, frustration, anger and even happiness.
During the Daniel Fast, your soul may very well rebel against the dramatic change in your diet. Experiencing and winning this battle over the flesh is often one of the most powerful lessons of the Daniel Fast.
The Spirit – Our spirit is that born-again part of us that surrenders to God and then abides with Him. Our spirit is filled with His presence when we yield to Him. During the Daniel Fast, we want to put our spirit in charge of the other two parts of us. When our flesh is acting out with a craving, we take control of it with our spirit (just as a parent takes control of a rebellious child).
Fasting is always coupled with a spiritual goal. So during this time of fasting, you will want to focus on prayer, study and meditation.
An important question to ask yourself . . .
During your Daniel Fast you will have many times when you might want to “stretch the rules” a little bit. For example, even though the guidelines say we are to drink only water . . . you conclude that herbal teas are vegetables and water is water and therefore you will go ahead and drink herbal teas during the Daniel Fast.
But we encourage you to learn a powerful spiritual lesson by asking yourself (examining your heart) the question, “Why do you want the herbal teas?”
Our guess is that the answer will be, “Well I just want them. I can’t drink only water. I have to have something else.”
The Daniel Fast teaches us to deny “ourselves” and put our spirit in control over our flesh. As you plan your meals and eat your food, keep in mind that the definition of a fast is to deny food for a spiritual purpose.
What if you have health issues?
Fasting should never bring harm to the body. If you have concerns, be sure to consult your health professional before going on the Daniel Fast or making any major dietary change.
The Daniel Fast is a very healthy way to eat! So health professionals will support this eating plan, but might suggest a few modifications if you have health issues that need special attention.
- Pregnant and nursing mothers might get instructions to add fish, chicken and cheese into the Daniel Fast, but otherwise stay on course.
- Diabetics may need to add more carbohydrates or include chicken and fish.
- Also, those who are especially active either through sports, bodybuilding or vocation may need to slightly alter the eating plan.
We encourage you to check with your doctor . . . and by the way, being addicted to Snickers and Coke doesn’t count as a special need!
REASONS FOR FASTING:
Isaiah 58 6-8
58:6 – “To loose the bands of wickedness” – freeing yourselves and others from addiction to sin. Example: Disciples Fast – Matthew 17:21
58:6 – “To undo the heavy burdens” – to solve problems, inviting the Holy Ghost’s aid in lifting loads and overcoming barriers that keep you and our loved ones from walking with the Lord. Example: Ezra’s Fast – Ezra 8:23
58:6 – “To let the oppressed (physically & spiritually) go free” – for revival and soul winning, to identify with people everywhere enslaved literally by sin. Praying to be used by God. Example: Samuel’s Fast – I Samuel 7:6
58:6 -“To break every yoke” – conquering the mental and emotional problems that would control our lives, returning the control to the Lord. Example: Elijah’s Fast – I Kings 19: 4-8
58:7 – “To share our bread with the hungry” – to care for the poor and meet the humanitarian needs of others. Example: Widow’s Fast – I Kings 17:16
58:8 –“To allow God’s light to break forth like the morning” – bringing clearer perspective and insight as we make critical decisions. Example: Paul’s Fast – Acts 9:9
58:8 – “So thine health shall spring forth” – to gain a healthier life or for healing. Example: Daniel’s Fast – Daniel 1:8
58:8 –“That your righteousness shall go before you” – so our testimonies and influence for Jesus will be enhanced before others. Example: John the Baptist – Luke 1:15
58:8 – “That the glory of the Lord” – will protect you from the evil one. Example: Esther’s Fast – Esther 4:16, 5:2
New Testament References:
- Matthew 9:14-15 – Jesus questioned the reason for fasting
- Matthew 6:16-18 – Fasting to impress God rather than others
- Matthew 4:1-2 – Jesus began his public ministry with a fast
- Mark 2:20 – Account of Jesus responding to questions on fasting
- Acts 1:9 – Jesus ascended into heaven and assumed that after he ascended his followers would fast
- Acts 13:1-3; I Cor. 7:5; II Cor. 6:5 – Fasting was practiced in the New Testament Church