Types of Fasting

In today's message I spoke on fasting. Throughout the Bible there are many different types of fasts mentioned. I said I would share some scripture that talk about these different types of fasts. Here are those passages.

Food/water fasts

Daytime fasting: This was a fast that lasted from sunup to sundown. 

  • Judges 20:26
  • 1 Samual 1:12

3 day fast: This can be doing without food for 3 days, or even without food AND drink.

  • Esther 4:16

7 day fast: Like the 3 day fast, this could mean to do without food, or without food and drink.

  • 1 Samual 31:13

40 day fast: In these examples the person did without food or water for 40 days. If you feel led by God to do this, by all means do it. Otherwise, I would caution you that this long without food or water can be very dangerous.

  • Exodus 34:28
  • Matthew 4:1-2

3 week fast: In the case of Daniel, this was a complete fast with no food nor water. For you it could mean doing with food, or both.

  • Daniel 9:3, 10:3

"Daniel fast": For Daniel and his friends this was a 10 day period of eating only vegetables and drinking only water. This has become a popular fast for spiritual or health reasons. In either case this could be done for 10 days, as with Daniel, or longer if you choose.

  • Daniel 1:8-16

Other fasts

Media fast: A few years ago I felt led to go a 40 day media fast. For 40 days I avoided email, social media, basically anything on the internet, as well as television. I used the time I'd normally spend in those activities reading and studying the Bible, and praying.

Coffee, sweets, soda fast: For some fasting may simply be about avoiding a specific thing that you enjoy. I really like coffee and drink it pretty much every day. I don't need it to get going in the morning, I pretty much jump out of bed with the alarm goes off. But, I enjoy it. So, a coffee fast could be an option for me.

Ultimately fasting is about denying yourself. It's about saying, for a period of time, that you're going to give up something to enjoy, or even something you need, in order to seek a closer relationship with Jesus. For this reason, the specific form or time period of your fast doesn't matter as much as your motivation for doing it. There is power that can come from fasting, but your motivation needs to be simply to grow closer to Jesus.

So, what will YOUR fast look like?