Skip to content

What Is Fasting And Why Should We Do It?

We don’t fast so we can get something from God, we fast so we can seek more of God.

“Fasting is abstaining from food for a time in order to gain mastery of the physical realm and open us up to the spiritual. Christians have practiced fasting consistently through the ages as a way to get closer to God. Jesus simply assumed that His followers would fast and gave instructions on how to do it (see Matt. 6:16). He did not say, “If you fast…” He said, “When you fast…”. (Keith Drury – Soul Shaper)

We don't fast so we can get something from God, we fast so we can seek more of God. Click To Tweet

On Sunday, I challenged everyone at Element Church to join me in some kind of fast this month. Fasting is abstaining from food for a set time in order to pursue Jesus in our soul. Fasting is one of the ways we can intentionally focus on our pursuit of Jesus as the one who completes us – pursuing Him as our source of joy.

I’ll be doing a full food fast starting today and I will break the fast on Monday, January 20th. A full food fast means only consuming liquids. You don’t need to do the same thing, but I’m challenging you to do some sort of fast during this time.

Fasting is abstaining from food for a set time in order to pursue Jesus in our soul. Click To Tweet

The following are some fasting tips if you’re interested in pursuing this discipline in your life. You can also download a digital version of this fasting guide HERE.

Fasting Tips

  • Prayer and Scripture – Fasting and pursuing God go hand in hand. The purpose for the fast is not to just deny yourself of food, but to fill that desire with your pursuit of God rather than food. Make a plan on when you will pray, what you will pray for and what you will read in Scripture. Take this time to elevate your current habits of prayer and Bible reading to a greater commitment.
  • Journaling – Keeping a journal during your fast is a great way to keep on track and keep a record of the answers to prayer you witnessed, as well as what God is teaching you through the Scripture.
  • Secrecy – Fasting is meant to be primarily between you and God. It doesn’t mean you can’t tell anyone, but the circle of people who know about your fast should be small. God doesn’t want for your fast to be on display for all to see.
  • Fasting, not Dieting – While fasting does have healthy benefits for our body, the focus shouldn’t be on meeting a particular health goal. Giving up a bad habit isn’t fasting, it’s wisdom.
  • Sacrifice – If you don’t normally eat breakfast, don’t choose to fast from breakfast. That’s not a fast. Fasting is meant to be the sacrifice of one thing in your life so you can more intentionally pursue the One who gives us life (God).
  • Stick to the plan – When we make a voluntary vow to the Lord, we should keep that commitment. Make a plan that is realistic for you, then stick to the plan instead of giving up before completing the fast.

Types of Food Fasts

  • Partial Fast – You may consider giving up sweets, caffeine, coffee, carbonated beverages, or something similar for the fast. When you sense the craving for whatever you’re giving up, stop and pray.
  • Fast one meal a day – Consider fasting over your lunch break for a certain number of days, spending time in prayer and Scripture reading during your lunch break rather than eating.
  • Daniel Fast – A Daniel Fast finds its roots in the book of Daniel from the Old Testament and is a commitment to a restricted diet similar to a vegan diet. Read more about the Daniel Fast here:
  • Major Fast – Some may consider a liquid only fast (fasting from all food) for a certain number of days. Most people considering a major fast like this will have fasted before. Major fasts like this may require consultation with a medical professional.