Fasting is a spiritual practice that goes back thousands of years. In the Scriptures, people fasted for all sorts of reasons (repentance, crisis, get closer to God). It is a way to humble yourself before the Lord, and as we know, when we humble ourselves, He will lift us up (James 4:10). When we fast, we are saying, “Jesus, we love you more than we love food or media or sweets (or whatever you are fasting).
The goal of fasting is to abstain from something in order to focus on His Word, intensify prayer and increase its effectiveness. As we fast, we draw close to God, and He, in turn, draws close to us (James 4:8). During fasting, we eliminate distractions for a spiritual purpose. We allow God to press the reset button for our soul, and He renews us from the inside out! Fasting enables us to celebrate the goodness and mercy of God and prepares our hearts for all of the good things God desires to bring into our lives. Remember, your personal fast should present a level of challenge, but it is very important to know your own body, your options, and, most importantly, to seek God in prayer and follow what the Holy Spirit leads you to do.
But He gives more grace. Therefore He says: “God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble.” 7 Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. 8 Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. 9 Lament and mourn and weep! Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. 10 Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up. (James 4:6-10 NKJV)
Week of Prayer 2022
To kick off the New Year, we will begin with a week of prayer and fasting for ourselves, our church, our city, and our nations.
Why fast? Fasting releases spiritual power. It is also a way to humble ourselves before the Lord, and when we do that, He will lift us up. We are encouraging our community to pray about what they will fast during this time.
Extravagant prayer is one of the hallmarks of every significant move of God throughout history, and vibrant united prayer is a key to walking in the power of the Holy Spirit and seeing God move personally, as a community, and in our city. We are encouraging the entire Journey community to join us!
Other Scriptures On Fasting
- Matthew 6:16-18
- Matthew 9:14-15
- Luke 18:9-14
- Acts 27:33-37
- Nehemiah 9:1-3
- Pastor Kent’s Message on Why We Fast
- Fasting for Beginners by Desiring God
- Church of the Highlands website
- Personal Guide to Fasting and Prayer by Campus Crusade
- Releasing God’s Power Through Fasting by Bill Bright
- Guide to Fasting and Prayer by Jesus Fast
Types of Fasting
- The Wesley Fast
- The 40 Day Fast by Bill Bright
- Sugar and Processed Foods
- Liquid Fast (and other ideas)
- 21 Day Fast (meal plan)
Types of Fasting (Descriptions)
The Original Jesus Fast: Water-Only
According to Luke 4:2, Jesus was driven into the wilderness by the Spirit and ate nothing for 40 days. He drank only water. A 40-day fast on water is the most physically difficult fast and should be undertaken with complete rest and under medical supervision because of the extreme danger of over-toxification, breakdown of vital body tissues, and loss of electrolytes. We encourage you to be led by the Spirit into a water-only fast.
A juice fast is a fast where you drink only juice and water (primarily water) and do not eat any food. This type of fast will provide you with more energy than a water-only fast. This is an excellent type of fast, because you will lose all hunger cravings while still maintaining a certain level of energy that allows you to function. On a juice fast, we recommend drinking only fresh-pressed juices, which you can make at home with a juicer, or (if you don’t have a juicer) cold-pressed juices which you can buy at a store. You want to avoid juices with high acidic content, added sugars, and pulp. Drinking juices with pulp causes your metabolism to start back up, bringing back all of those difficult-to-deal-with hunger pangs.
For a great resource on fasting, one of our fasting heroes, the late, great Bill Bright, compiled an entire fasting guide found here.
Smoothie Fast (Liquids-Only)
A smoothie fast allows you to still get all the necessary nutrients you need to function, just in liquid form. You still deprive yourself the pleasure of chewing and eating solid foods. Smoothie fasts allow you to still get lots of servings of fruits, vegetables, protein powders, and whatever else you choose to include in your fast.
The Daniel Fast is the most well-known type of fast and is done according to the pattern revealed in Daniel 1:12 and Daniel 10:2-3. On this type of fast you will be able to still fulfill all of your life’s requirements, while denying yourself some of your typical diet’s pleasures. This type of fast is very healthy for your body as well. A Daniel Fast is essentially a vegan eating plan with more restrictions. It is a plant-based diet where the only beverage is water. You can read more about the Daniel Fast here.
If you are unable (or do not feel led by the Lord) to do any of the food-related fasts, consider doing a social media, video game, or movie (Netflix or other streaming services) fast. In 2018, the average American spent 1 hour and 57 minutes on social media every day. It takes only about 71 hours to read the entire Bible at an out-loud reading rate. If the average American replaced their time spent on social media with reading the Bible, they would be able to read the entire Bible in 37 days!
Other Types of Fasts
For 40 days, you could fast a certain favorite food, coffee, or one thing that you usually spend time doing. You can be creative. Ask the Lord what He would want you to fast during these upcoming 40 days.
*Excerpts taken from Jesusfast.global