This is the time of year that people want a fresh start.

Every January we tend to celebrate a time of new beginnings. We make promises to ourselves, and call them New Year's Resolutions. This feeling of new beginnings is even carried over into some of the churches. Several are into a 21 day fast this month, which is a great way to spiritually start the year.

The Bible talks about fasting in both the Old and New Testaments.  The Prophets fasted often. The Pharisees fasted twice a week (Luke 18:12). Jesus referred to fasting in that He said "WHEN you fast..." (Matt. 6:16). Paul, as an Apostle of the new Testament Church to the Gentiles, said he was in fastings often, (2Cor. 11:27). It is therefore understood that fasting should be a part of every church's and individual's service to the Lord. Many churches have regular fasting days... ours fasted one day a week. In the early days, the churches fasted even two days a week... it was expected that all members that could, would comply, and they did.

I think that is why they had more power in those days. Many of the big soul winners came to fame in those early days in America, when there was "less world in the church and more church in the world." Evangelism was the most important outreach of the church, and missionaries traveled over the United States, and even overseas. Local churches were concerned about reaching their neighborhoods for Christ. A lot of door-to-door witnessing was going on then, as the disciples of old, people went out together knocking on doors.

We need to get back to our roots, and update our methods, where necessary, to reach the lost for Christ... but yet stick to the basics in our own personal lives, such as fasting, praying, reading the Word, and attending church on a regular basis. This is the Biblical basics of a successful Christian life as individuals, as well as collectively as a church body.

When I was in Church-Bible School in the late 1960's, it was the custom to fast from Thursday night after supper to Friday night at supper-time... (the beginning of the Jewish Sabbath day). This was a good discipline to teach new students. This is one of the few churches where the congregation actually lived the total Christian life, that I have ever personally witnessed. I think regular fasting had a lot to do with it.

When we want to understand fasting, we see there are three kinds of fasts listed in the Bible:

  1. The CALLED fast: When the priest or church leader calls the congregation to fast for a particular thing... like revival, or to turn hearts toward God, or for guidance for the church. You can read about the called fasts in many Old Testament books (1Kings 21, 2Chron. 20, Ezra 8, Jer. 36, Joel 1, to name a few).
  2. The LED fast: Led by the Holy Spirit for a specific objective, as when Jesus was baptized and God spoke to acknowledge He was His Son. The Holy Spirit led Jesus up into the wilderness to fast for 40 days and to be tested by the devil. He drank water... or Satan would have tempted Him with water. Instead, those round brown stones steaming in the sun looked like bread... not water. He would have thirsted first before feeling hunger. This is also a power fast... demons come out screaming when a person on a long fast enters their presence (Mark 9:29*).
  3. The CHOSEN fast: This is an individual choosing... usually for a consecration of ourselves to God. It can be also for breaking of bondages in ourselves or others (Matt. 17:21*).  Fasting brings atomic power to our prayers. It acts like a laser beam guiding our prayers to God, rather than a flashlight. Habitual fasting comes under this heading. It is to keep the body under and to discipline ourselves. It is healthy for the body and mind, and makes us sensitive to the voice of God. (Mark 2, Luke 5).

(*Note: Many modern translations have omitted the word fasting).

People are always asking about HOW to fast. The Bible has those answers too.

First of all, it is a learned process. Jesus, as a faithful Jew, had practiced fasting His whole life, as did the prophets before Him. It was a way of life long before He went through the 40-day water fast in the wilderness.

Paul, having been a Pharisee, had practiced fasting two days a week. As we have already stated, Paul said he was in fastings often.

If you have never fasted before, start with fasting one meal, (whichever is the easiest meal to skip) on the most convenient day of the week. Keep in mind that the main purpose of fasting is taking that meal time to go off by yourself and pray. It is a good idea to make a prayer list ahead of time, to get you started.

Eventually you may want to work up to a half-day fast. Many people do this a couple days a week until 3 pm. Again, the purpose is to get away to pray and seek the Lord and read the Word, as much as you can during that time.

Finally, you can work up to a 24-hour fast. The most practical way for busy people is begin after the supper meal one evening and fast until the supper meal the next day.

Lastly, we want to look at the different types of fasts in the Bible.

There are all types of fasts. It is up to the individual as to how you feel led and your physical condition. Pregnant women have to have nutrition and must adjust their fast. Diabetics must have some sustenance, and the elderly or growing young people like teens, cannot go on a protracted fast.

There is Daniel's fast, Ezekiel's fast, Jesus' fast, and Paul's fast. They are different lengths, and different styles, and for different reasons. Anything we do to afflict our souls before the Lord on a chosen fast, is an acceptable fast in God's eyes.

  1. We have already mentioned Jesus' fast where He, at least one time, went on a 40 day water fast. Christ was beginning His earthly ministry and had to defeat the devil who would have stopped Him if he could. It was like the shoot-out at the OK Corral! This is an extreme fast, but some have done it at least once. (Moses did 80 days, but he was in the presence of God on Mt. Sinai!).
  2. Many go on a Daniel fast. In Daniel 9, he says he was in "mourning" for 3 weeks (21 day fast). He didn't eat any meat, pleasant bread, or wine. One of today's Church leaders said she went on a fast where she ate no meat, bread, or sweets. Some people give up habits and call this a Daniel's fast. It is really all up to you, as to how you feel led to apply it.
  3. There is an Ezekiel's fast. In chapter 4, God gives Ezekiel a recipe for a bread, how to bake it and how much to eat of it a day (God called it his "meat"), plus drinking water, and he was to live this for over a year. Ezekiel bread, according to this same recipe, can now be purchased in Health Food stores and even some grocery stores. This is a good way to fast, for beginners. God told Ezekiel to eat it from time to time everyday, which meant whenever he got hungry. When we were kids, our grandmother gave us toast and tea when we were ill and couldn't eat. Green tea is full of antioxidants, and is good for you even when mixed with regular tea. You can fast with this for any meal or even 3 days or 3 weeks.
  4. Some people go on a liquid fast. Many years ago, Slim-fast diet drink was the big weight loss craze. Here again, many people have health issues where they take medication and must ingest something. You can make your own milkshakes, smooth soups, thick juices, or anything you can put into a blender. The idea is to deprive yourself of the pleasure of chewing, which is "afflicting the soul (mind) with fasting". (Of course, I don't recommend putting a burger and fries in a blender, lol)!  The liquid fast is a type of Daniel's pleasant bread.

Experienced fasters say there are breakthroughs at different intervals during a fast, such as: days 3, 7, 14, and 21; (we see that Daniel's breakthrough came on the 21st day). If you go beyond those to the 40 day fast, the spiritual aspects seem to have no limits.

Finally, Isaiah 58 is the true fasting chapter. It goes beyond missing some meals.

In closing, remember: God sees the heart. He is pleased with and will honor any type of fast you undertake, in order to draw closer to Him.

God Bless You All In Your Endeavors For Him In This Brand New Year!

Pastor Moser
January, 2007

W. O. W.

As a result of Christ's prayer in John 17, we have been supernaturally anointed to live ordinary lives in a supernatural way... Amen!