A great place to start is to develop your convictions directly from studying what the Bible has to teach about fasting. Type in “fast” in the search engine at www.biblegateway.com as a first step. You can read about the three-day fast that Esther did. You can learn about that the fast on the Day of Atonement was from sunset of one day to sunset of the next (Leviticus 16:29; 23:32). What about Jesus fasting 40 days! As you seek to keep in step with the Spirit, here are some guidelines that may help you.
Beginning the Fast.
If you have never fasted before, feel free to skip a meal or two. Over time, you can build up to a day or more. Don’t start with a three-day fast! If it is your first time, don’t eat solid food, but continue to drink clear liquids (broth or fruit juice), particularly water. If you are building a habit of fasting, skip all liquids but water. All fasts should avoid soda and caffeine.
Six to eight glasses a day is not too much! You may experience some headaches and dizziness at the beginning. Water can help relieve headaches and hunger. But if the Holy Spirit (perhaps through your medical doctor!) suggests drinking clear liquids, that can still be a fast. See Daniel and others for whom fasting was abstaining from certain foods or drinking only certain liquids. (Daniel 1:15 and 10:3)
Replace your meal times with time with God through prayer and reading the Bible. Many start with a time of asking the Spirit to reveal sin in their lives and then asking for God’s forgiveness. Is there a list of areas of your life to talk to God about? People that need prayer? Use what would usually be meal times to focus on God.
Breaking the fast.
Often people end the fast with a small glass of fruit juice so their body’s digestive and elimination systems can gently restart. Then add in small amounts of food a body can easily digest (soup, yogurt, fresh fruit, cooked vegetables, a well baked yam or sweet potato).
Rev. Donald Bryan (in his "Fasting Digest) says:
Don't feel condemned about whatever degree of fasting you are able to pursue. Better a partial fast than no fast at all as long as you see the true purpose of the fast and seek to crucify the flesh and seek the spirit through prayer and re-dedication.... You are not fasting to prove you can "make it." You are fasting to give yourself time to pursue the Spirit. Do what you can do and let it be an experience you can build on. Anything you can do to increase the Spirit in your life is a step in the direction of victory.God longs for us to love and enjoy God! Not eating food is one way to focus your desire to seek God first. Remember, when you fast, "your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” (Matthew 6:18)
If you are under the care of a physician for any kind of disease, if you struggle with anorexia nervosa or bulimia, or if you are pregnant, do not begin a fast before you have the approval and supervision of your physician.
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