If there is one element of the Christian faith that scares people and carries with it a higher level of concern than necessary, it is fasting. Between the Old and New Testament, fasting is mention nearly 80 times, yet in the modern church we have forgotten about it and allowed it to grow into something it is not.
A biblical fast is a Christian’s voluntary abstinence from chow for the purpose of spiritual purpose.
Others have extended the definition of fasting to include the denial of a normal and legitimate thing for spiritual purposes. However, the biblical fast is from food, not something else like the internet, phone, or television.
Types of Fasts
- Normal: abstaining from all food, but not water.
- Partial: limitation of diet, but not the complete abstaining of all food. Think of Daniel 1: 12 and the consumption of vegetables and water.
- Absolute: complete avoidance of water and food.
- Private: This is the individual fasting without doing it for glory from others.
- Congregational: The church comes together to fast for a definite purpose. Be it greater commitment, guidance, strengthening, or something similar.
- National: Israel had these and in the history of America, congress called for three national fasts and two presidents have called for single fasts in John Adams and James Madison and Abraham Lincoln called for three different fasts during the War of Northern Aggression. I do not see this happening again on a national political scale, but Christians most definitely can still band together to fast regionally, geographically, or even nationally.
- Occasional: Occur on special occasions or as the need arises.
Most Christians will experience Normal, Private, Occasional fasts they will do on their own and congregational fasts on occasion. If you have not fasted before, please do more than consider it.
When a decision must be made, please fast for guidance. Don’t go it alone anymore, go with God in all things.