What Should I Fast?
Pastor Bob Willis
In the Bible there are primarily 2 kinds of fasts mentioned:
- The absolute fast – during this fast you consume no food and no water for the duration of your fast. Moses and Jesus undertook absolute fasts. I do not recommend you try this! (It could kill you!) Both Moses and Jesus were called to this kind of fast and it requires special/miraculous intervention from God to even survive this kind of fast.
- The partial fast – giving up certain foods and/or drinks for a period of time in order to focus more intently upon God. An example of this is Daniel, who fasted for 21 days, abstaining from all meat, sweets, wine and choice foods (foods that he enjoyed and/or were delicacies).
In the Bible ALL fasts included food items. I believe that there are many other things that we can and should fast, but I firmly believe that all fasts ought to include some kind of dietary restriction; even/especially if it is something we really enjoy.
Let me remind us that the time doing the things we are fasting should be used instead in prayer, worship, Bible study and listening for God’s still small voice. So let’s say for instance that you are fasting lunch every day; spend that entire lunch hour in prayer.
So what should I fast?
Below is a partial list, but one that Northparkers have undertaken and benefited from:
- ONE MEAL: Lunch (or breakfast or dinner) every day (for 21 days)
- FOODS YOU LIKE OR ENJOY: Chocolate, meat, bread, sodas, coffee, wine/alcohol, sweets/deserts, etc… You may want to even go so far as going on a strict Daniel diet (basically vegetarian).
- SOLID FOOD: One year I only drank fresh fruit and vegetable juices and soups.
- ADDICTIONS: Things that you are, or could possibly become, addicted to (i.e. drugs, alcohol, tobacco, caffeine, sugar, internet, etc.) As our Youth Director Curtis Rogers shared, “Some of the things we fast from may very well be the things we need to repent of.”
- TIME CONSUMING ACTIVITIES: Internet, video games, TV, music, working out, reading things other than the Bible, sports – watching and/or doing, social media, shopping… this list could go on and on; use your imagination.
Just remember that a fast is meant to be both a discipline and a sacrifice. Don’t take it lightly!
The greater the sacrifice and discipline, the greater the benefit.