Kinds of Fasts
There are a number of fasts that have been inspired by scripture. Review these choices and ask God to lead you to the fast that will best meet his purposes in your life.
One fast is called the normal fastand that is going without food for a definite period, ingesting only liquids (water and/or juices). You may do this for 1 day, 3 days, 1 week, a month or 40 days. Extreme care should be taken with longer fasts and only after the consent of your doctor.
Another fast is the absolute fastwhich allows no food or water at all and this should be short. Moses fasted this way for 40 days but this would kill anyone without supernatural intervention and should not be done today. Be sure to test the spirit that tries to talk you into this length of fast even if it includes liquids.
A third option and most frequented fast is the partial fast. This fast omits certain types of foods or is on a schedule of limited eating. It may be omitting one meal a day. Eating only fresh vegetables for several days is also a good partial fast. It could also be a fast from coffee, tea or soft drinks. (John Wesley ate only who grain bread and water form may days. Elijah did partial fasts at least twice. John the Baptist and Daniel were good examples of this type of fast. People who have medical conditions like hypoglycemia might consider fasting in this fashion.)
The fourth fast might be a rotational fast which consists of eating or omitting certain food groups for a designated period. Various foods may be rotated, like grains every fourth day, so that all food groups are covered over a week’s time.
You may decide to fast from an activity. There are many things that we do at home that help us ‘unwind’ or zone out like watching television or playing video games. This is a fast of habits or routines and this might prove to be very difficult for some as we are a society that inadvertently turns on the television or radio as soon as we walk inside the door of our home. Think about how you watch TV and the hours spent watching favorite shows or catching up on the news. Fasting from TV of a week might be even harder to do than feeling the hunger of not eating. But this fast is a way for all to participate, even those with medical difficulties.
What you want to identify is the time you spend doing these activities and replacing them with the pursuit of God. Pure and simple. And so, as was said earlier, there are ways of praying.
The author, Elmer Towns has devised a list of fasts according to subject matter in his book Fasting for Spiritual Break Through: A Guide to Nine Biblical Fasts. And the following is quoted from that resource.
The Disciple’s Fast– because more than ever before, believers are in bondage to demonic powers and need strength to stand against sin. This includes things like forgiveness and how sometimes the strongholds of forgiving someone keep us from moving forward.
The Ezra Fast– because believers need solutions to many complex problems and threatening situations they are facing.
The Samuel Fast– because the church is in desperate need of revival, and every tribe and tongue and nation is in desperate need of evangelism.
The Elijah Fast– because people are crying out for people of integrity and character – people who have found in Christ the emotional healing and strength to overcome sinful and destructive habits.
The Widow’s Fast– because the abundance of food has insulated North American believers from the realities of starvation and malnutrition in the world at large.
The St. Paul Fast– because the media has so captured the national attention that even believers are operating according to principles completely alien to God’s will for their lives – we need to hear from God clearly and not through the filter of a post modern spin.
The Daniel Fast– because even the abundance of food and medical technology in North America, people are not necessarily healthier.
The John the Baptist Fast– because a great many believers have become so entangled in economic and social pursuits that they need to be set free to establish their testimonies and to influence others for Christ.
The Esther Fast– because of the growing influence of demonic forces and the wanting influence of biblical Christianity in North America, and the fact that believers need protection from the evil one.
These fasts target areas of the believer’s life for which he or she is called to pray. Some are individual fasts and some are designed for a group that agrees to fast together for a specific problem or challenge.
Remember, your primary source for fasting will be God’s Holy Word.
written by Jude Gotrich