“After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry.” – Matthew 4:2
Before Jesus preached one sermon or launched His public ministry, He fasted. Through fasting, Jesus prepared His heart for the spiritual journey ahead and showed us how to rely on the Heavenly Father for all our needs (Matthew 4:4). In following the example of Jesus, we too can and should practice the spiritual discipline of fasting.
“Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke?” – Isaiah 58:6
The practice of Biblical Fasting can:
- Refocus your mind on God and growing His Kingdom
- See friends and loved ones receive the gift of salvation
- Lead to increased faith and spiritual breakthroughs
- Strengthen your relationship with God
- Help you learn God’s will for your life
Scripture References for Fasting:
Relation to Prayer and Reading of the Word:
How to Begin
Be specific and set a clear goal. Ask yourself, why are you fasting? Some common goals are:
- Direction for life
- Physical, mental or spiritual healing
- Restoration in a relationship (i.e., marriage, parenting, friends)
- Deliverance from spiritual bondage
- Financial increase
When deciding on a goal, ask the Holy Spirit to guide you in the right direction (Romans 8:26). You should also pray and read the Bible daily.
In preparing yourself for a fast, confess your sins to God, asking the Holy Spirit not only to reveal areas of weakness but also hidden sins and any areas of offense in your life (Mark 11:25; Luke 11:4; 17:3-4). Surrender your life fully to Jesus Christ and reject the worldly desires that try to hinder you (Romans 12:1-2).
How Long Should I Fast?
The type of fast and length of fast you choose is up to you. As in all things, you should use wisdom and prayer to make any decision. If fasting is new for you, start off slow. Talk to your volunteer or small group leader for more guidance as needed.
Throughout Your Fast
Don’t forget to replace whatever your fasting, with time in prayer, worship and Bible study. Avoiding things that can distract you, filling your time with prayer will help ensure that you finish your fast strong.
Fasting can make your body feel uncomfortable, especially if you’re withdrawing from sugars or caffeine. It’s also normal to feel hungry. Be sure to rest and use wisdom in your activities and exercise. As you fast, be encouraged that fasting can lead to miracles.