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Practical Advice about Fasting

In yesterday’s meditation, we talked about fasting and prayer as it relates to increasing the presence and power of God upon us for ministry. We also need to fast for personal and national revival, so today, I would like to share some practical advice on fasting and personal testimony on the topic.

1) Don't plan to fast for more than a day if you have never done it before. Building on success is wise. Start by fasting for breakfast and lunch and plan to eat in the evening. Lengthen the amount of time as God leads you.

2) I would encourage you to drink only water during fasting. Water helps in the cleansing of toxins from our bodies during fasting. If you usually drink tea or coffee, plan to kick the caffeine a day early so that you are not dealing with a headache and no food in your stomach on the first day of a fast. In one or two places in the Scriptures, a person fasted without water, but going longer than three days without water is dangerous. Moses was on a supernatural fast with the Lord, fasting from food and water. A person can die by going longer than three days without water.

3) Keep a record of what you are experiencing and the kinds of prayers you are bringing before God. Later on, when you look back over your time of fasting, you will be much encouraged by the way God has answered prayer during your fast.

4) If you are on medicine, check with your doctor and tell him what you are doing.

5) Get hold of some books on fasting to encourage you. One of the best books I have read on fasting is God’s Chosen Fast by Arthur Wallis. I also recommend Mahesh Chavda's book, The Hidden Power of Prayer and Fasting, and Derek Prince's book Shaping History Through Prayer and Fasting.

6) Set aside regular meal times by going to your room and praying. Being around when food is cooking is challenging to overcome, especially during a fast's first three days.

7) Beware of the TV. One becomes aware of how many commercials on food there are on TV.

8) In the first three or four days of a fast, the body burns many toxins due to the foods we consume in most Western countries. You will feel weakness from the end of the first day until around the fourth day. This burning of toxins is very healthy for you. During this time, your urine becomes yellow, your breath smells horrible, and your body can get cold quickly if it is winter. If fasting for over four days, your strength will return once the toxins are removed. Fasting becomes easier at that point.

9) You will experience greater clarity of mind during fasting. Read the Scriptures often and draw near to God during your fast.

10) Fasting is not damaging to your health—fasting is normal to the animal kingdom. The hunger pangs one experiences toward the end of the first day are just the body's way of telling you that it is time for food. The cravings will die down.

11) Read chapter 58 of the Book of Isaiah, the section on fasting, and be watchful over your motives.

12) Fasting breaks the bondage of sin and loosens the hold of bad habits and their rulership over your life.

13) During your fast, be sensitive to God's voice to show you anything displeasing to Him, and pray for a release of the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Fasting opens one's life to new spiritual gifts due to our spirit being humbled and broken before the Lord, depending on how long we are fasting.

14) Fasting helps in the loss of weight. Be careful that you don't overeat when you return to eating. Your stomach will shrink during the fast, and overindulging after fasting could be dangerous. Anytime longer than a six-day fast should be broken with broth or easily digested food.

15) There are different kinds of fasts. Daniel and his three friends went on a vegetable and water fast (Daniel 1:12). Later, he fasted for three weeks on no tasty food, with no meat or wine (Daniel 10:2-3). Decide for yourself how you are going to fast. Ask the Lord to show you what kind of fast you will undertake.

16) Try to avoid heavy exercise or taking long walks. It is easy to get tired and want to break your fast early.

An average healthy person can fast for up to 40 days. Around the fortieth day, a person's hunger pangs will return, and at that point, a person starts to starve, and our bodies begin to consume living cells rather than fat. Jesus fasted for forty days, and at that point, the Bible tells us that He was hungry. When the hunger pangs return, it is time to break your fast. Satan's temptation of Jesus likely began at the forty-day mark when the hunger pangs started, tempting Him with bread (Matthew 4:2-3). In the Scriptures, all three temptations of Jesus possibly came on one day, the last day of His fast.

My Personal Experience of Fasting

Several years ago, the Lord led my wife and me to fast on water and pray for ten days for a person close to us. This person was under attack by the enemy to separate her, not only from us but also from her newfound faith in Christ. After ten days of prayer and fasting for this individual, she arrived at our door in tearful brokenness. We prayed and talked. We did not contact her before her knock on the door, preferring to leave the whole situation in the Lord's hands. The Lord prompted her to come to our home in answer to prayer. Although this individual still had some difficult years ahead, she returned to her faith in Christ and now has her own stories of answered prayer.

Fasting will help to loosen the enemy's bonds on a person's life, enabling them to respond freely to the promptings of the Holy Spirit. Maybe you have a loved one you have been praying for and desperately want to see a breakthrough. Is God asking you to fast and pray for them? There are stubborn situations in all our lives that refuse to change until we enter the wrestling arena with prayer and fasting. Fasting, along with fervent prayer, is a powerful combination. Keith Thomas

This short meditation is from a series on Spiritual Warfare; if you’d like to read the whole study, it is 10. Only By Prayer and Fasting.


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