Why should I fast?Fasting does not change God or make you more righteous before God, but fasting does help you to:
- Humble your soul. ‘I humbled my soul with fasting …’ – Psalm 35:13
- Discipline your body. ‘I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.’ – 1 Corinthians 9:27
- Focus your attention. ‘“Even now”, declares the Lord, “return to me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning.”’ – Joel 2:12
- Heighten your sensitivity. ‘While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.”’ Acts 13:2
- Intensify your intercession. ‘When I heard these things, I sat down and wept. For some days I mourned and fasted and prayed before the God of heaven.’ – Nehemiah 1:4
- Overcome your enemies. ‘Some people came and told Jehoshaphat, “A vast army is coming against you from Edom …”. Alarmed, Jehoshaphat resolved to inquire of the Lord, and he proclaimed a fast for all Judah.’ – 2 Chronicles 20:2-3
- Increase your anointing. ‘Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit … was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, where for forty days he was tempted by the devil. He ate nothing during those days … Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit …’ – Luke 4:1-2,14a
- Enjoy your blessing
How should I fast?Guidelines for fasting
- We encourage everyone to fast at least one meal or activity during the week.
- The emphasis on fasting is not primarily to give up things, but rather to focus ourselves fully on God
‘Fasting is a feast. Fasting is all about eating! It is about ingesting the Word of God, the beauty of God, the presence of God, the blessings of God. Fasting is all about spiritual gluttony! It is not giving up food for its own sake. It is about a giving up of food for Christ’s sake.’Sam Storms
Fasting can take place by abstaining from:
- Watching your favourite TV programme or playing your favourite sport.
- One meal every day or one meal during the week.
- All meals on one day from dawn to dusk, or all meals during the week.
- You may consider a partial fast where you eliminate certain foods.
- You may decide not to eat luxury items such as chocolate, sweets, or cakes
- Ensure that you continue to drink water. In addition, you may want to drink fruit juices or smoothies. Never refrain from drinking fluids for longer than three days.
- Minor unpleasant feelings (dizziness, mild headaches, slight stomach or hunger pains, etc.) may affect you in the early days. If they become severe, rather break your fast and contact a doctor if necessary. If you are on medication, refrain from fasting.
- Take extra time to be alone with the Lord. Try to use the time you would have spent on meal preparation, eating and activities to wait on the Lord and pray. Do not draw attention to your fast and break your fast gradually.
What are the benefits of fasting?Take a few minutes to read Isaiah 58. The following benefits of fasting have their roots in this wonderful chapter:
- Breakthrough. ‘Then your light will break forth like the dawn … then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday.’ (Verses 8a and 10b)
- Healing. ‘… and your healing will quickly appear …’ (Verse 8)
- Protection. ‘… then your righteousness will go before you, and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard.’ (Verse 8)
- Help. ‘Then you will call, and the Lord will answer; you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I.’ (Verse 9).
- Guidance. ‘The Lord will guide you always …’ (Verse 11a)
- Provision. ‘He will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land …’ (Verse 11a)
- Strength. ‘… and will strengthen your frame.’ (Verse 11a)
- Refreshing. ‘You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail.’ (Verse 11b)
- Restoration. ‘Your people will rebuild the ancient ruins and raise up the age-old foundations; you will be called Repairer of Broken Walls, Restorer of Streets with Dwellings.’ (Verse 12)
- Joy. ‘… then you will find your joy in the Lord …’ (Verse 14)
- Victory. ‘… and I will cause you to ride on the heights of the land …’ (Verse 14)
- Inheritance. ‘… and to feast on the inheritance of your father Jacob.’ (Verse 14)