# 3. THIRD THINGS

Fasting is a common practice in Christianity.
When Jesus was talking with His disciples He taught them about fasting.
It was expected that His disciples would fast  … (Matthew 6:16-18).

Prayer is the language

Some of what you read here is repetitive , however I think is necessary , so please bear with me.

There are various types of fasts .
Some people fast with only water for short periods,
while others maintain multi-week fasts with juice and broth maintaining a strict liquid diet.
Both are valid.
You simply need to decide what is right for your body and your purposes.

Part of planning your fast should be to educate yourself on different types of fasts and reasons to fast.
It is also important to know how to break your fast properly.
This becomes more critical the longer your fast lasts.

Consider Your Schedule

While a fast, by nature, is inconvenient, it should be an inconvenience to YOU
not to those around you.
You should not obligate your family to skip Christmas dinner because of your fast.
This takes away the personal nature of fasting.

Tell Only the People You Must

Your spouse will need to know you are fasting.
Beyond that, you would be better off not telling many people that you are fasting.
Most won’t understand.
Fasting can also become a source of pride and boasting as you spread the news to more and more people.

Telling your pastor can be a help both to you and to him. It will be an encouragement for him to pray more specifically for you during this time. And you will know that someone is praying for your spiritual and physical well being.

Wean Yourself Off Caffeine

Several days before your fast begins, you should … start weaning yourself off caffeine.
Some people experience unbearable headaches 2 to 3 days after ceasing to drink caffeinated products.
During your fast you will already be acutely aware of your stomach.
There is no need to add a second discomfort if it can be avoided.

Avoid Media

MINIMIZING  TV, radio, newspapers and the Internet can help you stay focused on your purpose for fasting.
You will be less tempted by the constant bombardment of food advertising  , gossip ,and other negatives
as you become physically and emotionally challenged.
Avoiding media will give you more time to focus on the Lord and …  His Word.

Disconnect from people

Fasting is not necessarily a vacation, though dedicating time off and away from people during your fast can help you get the most benefit out of this precious time.
Leave your email and cellphone behind.
If possible, find someone who can cover your responsibilities at work and ministry.
Many people fast and still carry on their normal daily activities.
But if you can get away, it will give you more time in quietness and stillness with the lord.

Beware of Your Emotions

Some people experience vast mood swings during a fast. One moment they are totally focused on God and the next they are wallowing in pity. Knowing that this is likely to happen will help you react properly. Learning to refocus on God and His goodness during this tough emotional time will help when your fast is over and you experience similar emotions.

Rest

Laziness is a problem that the Bible speaks against, but most of us today suffer from being too busy and not getting the rest we need. If you disconnect from the media and other people you will have extra time allowing you to get a full night’s sleep.
During your fast you will be forced to slow down since you won’t be needing long meal breaks.
A fast can reveal to you that you have too many activities and busyness in your day-to-day routine.

Stay Physically Active

You should take time to rest but this does not mean you should do nothing. Enjoy a walk in God’s creation. Outside of His Word, His creation is one of the best ways that God has revealed Himself to us.

Be Still and Focus on God

Fasting  is a time to study God’s Word, meditate and pray.
To help with this, plan a specific Bible passage or topic you want to study during your fast.
Look for verses you want to memorize and meditate upon.

Fasting by Jesus and the disciples was always accompanied by prayer.
Spend time talking to God and allowing Him to reveal Himself to you in His Word.

Have you been on a fast before? Share your fasting tips or experiences in the comments!

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 Why You Should Fast

By Dr. Bill Bright

If you do not already know of the power and importance of fasting, here are some very important facts:

  • Fasting was an expected discipline in both the Old and New Testament eras. For example, Moses fasted at least two recorded forty-day periods. Jesus fasted 40 days and reminded His followers to fast, “when you fast,” not if you fast.
  • Fasting and prayer can restore the loss of the “first love” for your Lord and result in a more intimate relationship with Christ.
  • Fasting is a biblical way to truly humble yourself in the sight of God (Psalm 35:13; Ezra 8:21). King David said, “I humble myself through fasting.”
  • Fasting enables the Holy Spirit to reveal your true spiritual condition, resulting in brokenness, repentance, and a transformed life.
  • The Holy Spirit will quicken the Word of God in your heart and His truth will become more meaningful to you!
  • Fasting can transform your prayer life into a richer and more personal experience.
  • Fasting can result in a dynamic personal revival in your own life-and make you a channel of revival to others.
  • Fasting and prayer are the only disciplines that fulfill the requirements of II Chronicles 7:14:

“If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”

If you fast, you will find yourself being humbled as I did. You will discover more time to pray and seek God’s face. And as He leads you to recognize and repent of unconfessed sin, you will experience special blessings from God.

How to Fast Safely

By Dr. Bill Bright

As you begin your fast, you may hear from concerned loved ones and friends who urge you to protect your health. And they are right. You should protect your health. But I assure you, if done properly, fasting will not only prove to be a spiritual blessing, but physical blessing as well.

By all means, consult your doctor before you begin your fast. But, be aware that many doctors have not been trained in this area and so their understanding is limited. Even so, it would be wise to ask your doctor for a physical exam to make sure you are in good health. You may have a physical problem that would make fasting unwise or dangerous. Also, if you are under any type of medication, make sure you talk to your doctor before changing your regime. Prudence and caution are in order.

When you are assured that you are in good health, you are ready to begin your fast.

In spite of the absolute safety and benefits of fasting, there are certain persons who should NEVER fast without professional supervision. For example:

  • Persons who are physically too thin or emaciated.
  • Persons who are prone to anorexia, bulimia, or other behavioral disorders.
  • Those who suffer weakness or anemia.
  • Persons who have tumors, bleeding ulcers, cancer, blood diseases, or who have heart disease.
  • Those who suffer chronic problems with kidneys, liver, lungs, heart, or other important organs.
  • Individuals who take insulin for diabetes, or suffer any other blood sugar problem such as hyperglycemia.
  • Women who are pregnant or nursing.

How Long and What Type of Fast Is Right for You

If you have never fasted before, I applaud your present interest!
Fasting has been a major emphasis in the lives of many of the great spiritual leaders throughout history.
John Wesley, the founder of the Methodist denomination, fasted every Wednesday and Friday and required all of his clergy to do the same.
Effective ministers of God from the apostle Paul to Martin Luther to John Calvin
made it a continual part of their walks with God.

None of those men had a “formula fast” that was the only “right” way. Fasting is about the condition of the heart, not the number of days. Each time that I have fasted for forty days, it was because I felt impressed by God to do so.

So, start slowly. Fast for one meal a day, or one day a week, or one week a month. Build up your spiritual muscles so that you will be prepared in a period of several months to fast for an extended 40 day period.

The Bible Recounts Primarily Two Types of Fasts

A partial fast is described in the book of Daniel. Although the water fast seemed to be the custom of the prophet, there was a three-week period in which he only abstained from “delicacies,” meat, and wine (Daniel 10:3).

The two primary types mentioned in the Bible are the “absolute” and “supernatural absolute” fasts. These are total fasts-no food (solid or liquid) and no water. Paul went on an absolute fast for three days following his encounter with Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:9). Moses and Elijah engaged in what must be considered a supernatural absolute fast of forty days (Deuteronomy 9:9; I Kings 19:8).

So, I strongly advice you to drink plenty of liquids. Obviously, if God leads you to undertake an absolute fast, you should obey. If so, be certain, without doubt, that God is leading you.

Water-only fasts that last for more than several days need to 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.

I personally recommend and practice water and juice fasting, especially if you are going to fast for an extended period of time. This type of fast will provide you with more energy than absolute or water-only fasts and still lead you into the humbling experience of denying your desire for solid food that you can chew.

When it comes to making your final decision about what type of fast is right for you, the best advise I can give you is to follow the leading of the Holy Spirit. He will guide your heart and mind as to what is best for you. Remember, the most important consideration in fasting is your motive. Why are you fasting? To seek something personally from God’s hand or to seek His face in worship, praise and thanksgiving?

 Prepare Yourself Spiritually and Physically

Spiritual Preparation

In preparation for this special time with God, I strongly urge you to examine your heart, and detect any unconfessed sin. Scripture records that God always requires His people to repent of their sins before He will hear their prayers. King David said:

Come and hear, all of you who reverence the Lord, and I will tell you what he did for me: For I cried to him for help, with praises ready on my tongue. He would not have listened if I had not confessed my sins. But he listened! He heard my prayer! He paid attention to it!

Blessed be God who didn’t turn away when I was praying, and didn’t refuse me his kindness and love. (Psalm 66:16-20)

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