Purpose of this Session
Several different kinds of fast are revealed in Scripture. They can be broken down into a few categories, each with its own form and principle.
Firstly the Bible has examples of:
Personal and Private fasting
This is the kind of fast Jesus refers to in Matthew 6:16-18; 9:14-15 Cornelius is an example of man who fasted as part of his devotional life. Acts 10:30
1 Samuel 7:5-6 2 Chronicles 20:3-4 Ezra 8:21-23 Nehemiah 9:1-3 Joel 2:15-16 Jonah 3:5-10 Acts 27:33-37
|No food or drink for the duration of the fast||No solid food for duration of the fast. Drink only liquids.|| Cut out certain types of desirable food. Eat no meat, sweets or bread. Eat only fruits and vegetables and drink only water.||Abstain from a chosen type of food or drink, or other comfort of the flesh, for the duration of the fast.|
Moses (Exodus 34:28; Deut 9:9) Esther (Esther 4:16)
| Examples: Most Biblical fasts were of this kind, where water would be taken but no solid food.||Examples: Daniel (Daniel 10:3)||Examples:|
A supernatural fast. Water should only be abstained from in obedience to God’s direction. Not drinking during a fast is very dangerous for the body, although God can supernaturally sustain a person as in the example of Moses who fasted 40 days without food or drink.
|Comments: The most common form of fasting. Can lead to physical discomfort in the first few days as the body removes toxins from the system. Plenty of fluid should be taken.||Comments: A useful fast if a full fast is difficult or impossible.||Comments: In 1Cor 9:27 Paul says he disciplined his body, bringing it into subjection to his spirit. To deny the flesh gratification, whether sugar, caffeine, comfort, entertainment etc, can be considered a kind of fast before God, if done for spiritual purposes.|
A fast may comprise of a mix of these, possibly beginning with a full fast for 1-3 days followed by a number of days on a Daniel or a partial fast. Be led by the Spirit as to what will work effectively for you.
I have heard of some who fast seven meals a week. This may be completed in a couple of days of full fasting, or simply by missing one meal each day.
Others choose to eat only one meal each day for a prolonged fast, curtailing what is eaten during in that one meal. Still others have fasted every second day for a period of time.
Follow the leading of the Holy Spirit as you decide to engage in fasting, and see what He directs.