10 Fasting Tips: A Christian Guide

by David Peach · Print Print · Email Email

Fasting is a common practice in Christianity. When Jesus was talking with His disciples He taught them about fasting. It was expected that His disciples would fast (Matthew 6:16-18). Here are some tips for fasting.

Plan Your Fast

The Bible has examples of one-day, three-day, seven-day and forty-day fasts (Judges 20:26, Esther 4:16, 1 Samuel 31:13 and Matthew 4 respectively). You should enter your fast with prayer and aPrayer is the language specific plan for how long you will fast.

There are various types of fasts as well. Some people fast with only water for short periods, while others maintain multi-week fasts with juice and broth maintaining a strict liquid diet. Both are valid. You simply need to decide what is right for your body and your purposes.

Part of planning your fast should be to educate yourself on different types of fasts and reasons to fast. It is also important to know how to break your fast properly. This becomes more critical the longer your fast lasts.

Consider Your Schedule

While a fast, by nature, is inconvenient, it should be an inconvenience to you—not to those around you. You should not obligate your family to skip Christmas dinner because of your fast. This takes away the personal nature of fasting.

Tell Only the People You Must

Your spouse will need to know you are fasting. Beyond that, you would be better off not telling many people that you are fasting. Most won’t understand. Fasting can also become a source of pride and boasting as you spread the news to more and more people.

Telling your pastor can be a help both to you and to him. It will be an encouragement for him to pray more specifically for you during this time. And you will know that someone is praying for your spiritual and physical well being.

Wean Yourself Off Caffeine

Several days before your fast begins, you should start weaning yourself off caffeine. Some people experience unbearable headaches 2 to 3 days after ceasing to drink caffeinated products. During your fast you will already be acutely aware of your stomach. There is no need to add a second discomfort if it can be avoided.

Avoid Media

Disconnecting from TV, radio, newspapers and the Internet can help you stay focused on your purpose for fasting. You will be less tempted by the constant bombardment of advertising as you become physically and emotionally challenged. Avoiding media will give you more time to focus on the Lord and His Word.

Disconnect from people

Fasting is not necessarily a vacation, though dedicating time off and away from people during your fast can help you get the most benefit out of this precious time. Leave your email and cellphone behind. If possible, find someone who can cover your responsibilities at work and ministry. Many people fast and still carry on their normal daily activities. But if you can get away, it will give you more time in quietness and stillness with the lord.

Beware of Your Emotions

Some people experience vast mood swings during a fast. One moment they are totally focused on God and the next they are wallowing in pity. Knowing that this is likely to happen will help you react properly. Learning to refocus on God and His goodness during this tough emotional time will help when your fast is over and you experience similar emotions.

Rest

Laziness is a problem that the Bible speaks against, but most of us today suffer from being too busy and not getting the rest we need. If you disconnect from the media and other people you will have extra time allowing you to get a full night’s sleep. During your fast you will be forced to slow down since you won’t be needing long meal breaks. A fast will reveal to you that you have too many activities and busyness in your day-to-day routine.

Stay Physically Active

You should take time to rest but this does not mean you should do nothing. Enjoy a walk in God’s creation. Outside of His Word, His creation is one of the best ways that God has revealed Himself to us.

Be Still and Focus on God

Fasting  is a time to study God’s Word, meditate and pray. To help with this, plan a specific Bible passage or topic you want to study during your fast. Look for verses you want to memorize and meditate upon. Fasting by Jesus and the disciples was always accompanied by prayer. Spend time talking to God and allowing Him to reveal Himself to you in His Word.

Have you been on a fast before? Share your fasting tips or experiences in the comments!



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{ 430 comments… read them below or add one }

Michael February 27, 2015 at 2:09 am

I am 38 married to a wonderful woman with 3 kids but I fornicate, this has been part of me to the extent that I always wish to make love to any lady of my choice anywhere. Im addicted to sex and I have discovered that this is greatly affecting my life and that of my family. Pls I need your prayers and solution to this problem

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Jack Wellman February 27, 2015 at 8:47 am

Thank you Michael for your question. I will pray for you sir. I would speak with your pastor about this as well sir who can counsel you in person and face to face. You are having an adulterous affair right now? This is a very serious sin in God’s eyes my friend. You need to perhaps fast (if you have no medical conditions that would put you at risk) and ask for others in the church you’re at to pray for you as an unspoken need. We have an article on how to overcome this and also one about how to overcome sin. Please read these two articles at: http://www.whatchristianswanttoknow.com/how-to-overcome-an-addiction-to-pornography-help-for-struggling-christians/ and http://www.whatchristianswanttoknow.com/how-can-i-overcome-addiction-and-sin-in-my-life/ Reading 1 John chapter 3 shows that no one who keeps on sinning has any guarantee that they are actually saved. Have you ever repented and put your trust in Christ? If not, you have no help from God’s Spirit to help you conquer sin.

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Anonymous February 27, 2015 at 8:38 am

I would like to get unsubscribed from getting notifications when people comment on this article.

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Pamela Rose Williams February 27, 2015 at 10:10 am

Hello Anonymous, you may “unclick” on the “Notify me of followup comments via e-mail” box that is located at the bottom of the article right above the “Submit” bottom to stop getting these notifications.

Thanks you,
Pamela Rose Williams, WCWTK editor

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Jack Wellman February 27, 2015 at 10:13 am

Thank you Pam for help in this area. I had not responded to anonymous yet and I appreciate your help in this area, as I do in soooo many other areas. I truly thank God for you Pam.

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Anonymous February 28, 2015 at 10:35 am

It appears to already be “unclicked”.

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Give up February 28, 2015 at 2:46 pm

Fasted and prayed for God to show me my purpose on earth but nothing. Am almost convinced that God made a mistake creating me since my birth was even unplanned and unwanted.
I will be doing a three day fast after which I will commit suicide and end this misery I call LIFE. Please help me in prayers. God bless you.

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Jack Wellman February 28, 2015 at 7:24 pm

My friend, I am so sorry you are going to end your life. If you do this, it could be the worst mistake you’ll ever make for all time because if you are not saved and 100% certain about your being saved, you know where that will put you. I beg you not to do this. I will pray for you and so please don’t give up…please reply to this.

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Hope March 4, 2015 at 6:31 pm

I don’t know if this is to obvious but have u never thought of trying to start a charity or small talks aimed at people who are like you and feel worthless? This way u can show people the word of God all over the world. We are all gods prised possessions and he will always have a plan. Some take longer than others… That’s all.

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Nathalie March 7, 2015 at 1:37 pm

You WERE planned which is why your birth happened, a delight and a muracle exactly because you happened!

I completely understand that you would want to injure life but really if I understand correctly you don’t want to really end your life but you just want to end the pain that never seems to completely go away.

We all went freedom from pain. I went freedom from pain too. I know life can seem overwhelming and I know sometimes it might seem like you’re in alone and I know you don’t know me… but you’re out there somewhere and I’m thinking about you now. I am praying for you now to God’s mercy. I ask Christ for a miracle for you and clarity of thought and peace in your heart and joy.

It helps me sometimes to purposely say a positive version of any negative thoughts I’m thinking. For example instead of saying or thinking I am sick I say I am well and energetic. Literally say it out loud. The very fact that you ask for prayer means that God loves you and wanted someone else to remind you how much he loves you. I am reminding you now how very much God loves you otherwise he wouldn’t have stopped me from crying and told me how much you loves you. I know in the depths of my heart that He. Loves. You!

Pray for faith. Faith brings hope. Hope brings relief. Relief leads to joy. Counteract every negative thought with a positive statement out loud and repeated defiantly! You are a fighter are you wouldn’t have reached out! Fight! I’ll be praying for you.

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Nathalie March 7, 2015 at 1:40 pm

Please excuse my typo errors… I sent this on my phone. I hope it makes sense.

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Give up March 7, 2015 at 3:14 pm

Thank you soo much Natalie for your message and prayer. Please don’t apologise for your typos. Your message really touched my heart and am just soo grateful. God bless you.

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Michelle March 10, 2015 at 9:47 pm

I don’t know if your still here but I’m praying to God that you are.
You are my brother /sister in Christ an I love you and so does everyone who’s responded to your thread.
You don’t know your purpose in life but you’ve just shown countless amounts of people that they are not alone and that there are others who know what they are going through. You have no idea how brave you were in writing what you did and without even knowing it it’s very possible that you saved a life. Please be strong and stay with us and know that God does have a plan for your life regardless of whether you can see it yet or not, I will be praying for you tonight and for the rest of my life and I’m hoping that you are still here to receive your blessing when it’s time for it to come.
And please, please always remember that you do have a family in Christ and that you are loved

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Jack Wellman March 11, 2015 at 8:12 am

Michelle…you are such a blessing. Thank you for your tender heart in response to “Give up.” What a precious, loving thing to do. No wonder there are over 100 “one anothers” mentioned in the New Testament church.

Give up March 11, 2015 at 4:50 pm

Am still here Natalie, I couldn’t commit suicide. My circumstances haven’t changed but I wanna give God and myself another chance. I know He has a purpose for me so He keeps me alive. I just hope I find that purpose and start living it.
Thank you all for your comments and prayers. God richly bless you.

Give up February 28, 2015 at 11:59 pm

Thank you Jack. But I am saved. I have been saved for over seven years, and yet my life is no better. There’s nothing to live for in this life. My family is messed up, no job no money, the church is the worst, they do nothing to help the individual, am soo tired of living like this that death seems to be my only way out I pray God forgives me and accept me into His arms, but am done here. In the next four days, only a miracle can save me from doing this.

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Anon March 1, 2015 at 10:04 am

Friend, I am truly sorry that life’s circumstances are weighing so heavily on you. One destructive false doctrine that some American churches propagate is that God will make your life better when you add Him to you life. Study the men of the Bible (Joseph, Nehemiah, Job, etc) during your fast and take note of what circumstances of life they experienced because they followed God.

God purpose for your life is to conform you to Christ — to make you look like Jesus. It is our choice whether we trust the One who sees all things and knows all things to accomplish His will however He sees fit, or if we will believe Satan’s lie that we know better how our life should be than God does.

Trust Him to accomplish His will in His time. I will be praying for you, brother. I can’t tell you things will get better, but I can tell you that God has not brought you to a trial that He cannot lead you through (I Corinthians 10:13)

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Vera March 19, 2015 at 10:26 pm

I am completing a 4 day fast in a day and a half. Clear liquids during the day and milk twice a day with my arthritis medicine. I just started a new job Monday that I was all excited about, really need the money, and found out that it is way above my skill level. Come to find out they had slots to fill by a deadline, and I think that’s why they hired me. Only my husband and son know I am not eating, and I take my “lunch” breaks alone so no one at work knows. My supervisor is understanding and willing to work with me, but wants a decision by the end of tomorrow as to wether I quit or stay. I feel so stupid, even with 2 college degrees. I am fasting for clarity of mind to be in better tune to what the Holy Spirit wants me to do. I am a Christian. My family really needs the money. Please pray. I would rather quit than be fired for incompetence.

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Lyndah March 23, 2015 at 5:57 am

He is a faithful God, He will show you what to do.

During the time the Israelites were slaves in Egypt, they did not have the adequate tools, but their work was still above par because they had God on their side even though they didn’t know it.

You will succeed at whatever it is you have been set out to do as long as you keep God with you.

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