There is no better way to start a New Year than by seeking God through a time of prayer and fasting. Prayer and fasting allows us to draw nearer to God and increase our intimacy with him –

“Draw near to God and He will draw near to you” (James 4:8)

What is fasting?

Biblical fasting always has to do with eliminating distractions for a spiritual purpose, be it to deepen our relationship with God, to seek guidance and direction, to deepen our prayer life or simply to take a special “time out” from the business of life and be at peace with God.

It enables us to celebrate the mercy and goodness of God and helps prepare our hearts for all the good things God desires to bring into our lives. By fasting, we are setting aside distractions for a time, even necessities such as food, in order to stir up a stronger hunger for the Lord.

Types of fasting

Complete Fast

In this type of fast, you only drink liquids, typically water with light juices as an option.

Selective Fast

This type of fast involves removing certain elements from your diet. One example of a selective fast is the ‘Daniel Fast’, during which you would remove sweet stuffs, meat, bread, ‘luxuries’ from your diet and consume water and juice for fluids and fruits and vegetables for food.

Partial Fast

This involves abstaining from eating any type of food over a particular time period. This can either correlate to specific times of the day, such as from 6am to 3pm or from sunrise to sunset.

Lengths of Fast

Biblically we see various lengths of fasts for different reasons.  There are 1, 3, 7, 10, 14 and 21 day fasts mentioned. There are even 3 mentions of a 40 day fast.

Fasting therefore may be a combination of the above biblical examples.

Whilst biblical fasting is primarily related to food, we can also choose to ‘fast’ other distractions in our lives such as abstaining from TV, social media or whatever else holds a place in your heart. These things can be set aside for a designated amount of time with the focus then to intentionally re-invest that time spiritually.

Medical Advice

It is important to consult with your doctor if you are on any current medication before fasting. If your situation does not allow you to fast food, determine an alternative that will work for you.

Also be aware that there will be physical symptoms associated with fasting which may vary depending upon the extent of the fast you undertake. This may range from simple hunger pangs to feelings of weakness, tiredness, headaches and lack of energy.

Likewise, when coming off a fast, especially a more extended or complete fast, gradually increase your food intake to normal levels again. Do not binge eat as soon as it is finished! End your fast gradually, eating small meals, allowing your body to adapt back your normal intake levels again.

Scripture references

Matthew 6:16-18, Matthew 9:14-15, Luke 18: 9-14, Acts 27:33-37, Nehemiah 9:1-3, Daniel 1:12, Daniel 10:3, 1 Samuel 31:13, Esther 4:16, Judges 20:26, Luke 9:28

Fasting Resources

‘Awakening’ by Stovall Weems

‘The Fasting Edge’ by Jentezen Franklin