This post was originally posted January 12, 2007 Definition: A Biblical Fast is to abstain from food for a period of time to devote oneself to prayer and consecration to God. How To Begin: Start with a clear goal- Direction, healing, restoration of marriage or family issues, financial answers. Pray daily, read the Bible, listen only to Christian music (preferably worship) and ask the Holy Spirit for direction. Preparing Spiritually: Confess your sins to God. Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal areas of weakness in your life. Forgive all who have offended you and ask forgiveness from those you may have offended. Surrender your life fully to Jesus and reject worldly desires that may hinder you. Romans 12:1 "...offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God-this is your spiritual act of worship." Fasting was an expected discipline in both the Old and New Testament eras. For example, Moses fasted at least two recorded forty-day periods. Jesus fasted 40 days and reminded His followers to fast, "when you fast," not if you fast. Fasting and prayer can restore the loss of the "first love" for your Lord and result in a more intimate relationship with Christ. Humility: Fasting is a biblical way to truly humble yourself in the sight of God (Psalm 35:13; Ezra 8:21). King David said, "I humble myself through fasting." Fasting enables the Holy Spirit to reveal your true spiritual condition, resulting in brokenness, repentance, and a transformed life. The Holy Spirit will quicken the Word of God in your heart and His truth will become more meaningful to you! Prayer : Fasting can transform your prayer life into a richer and more personal experience. Fasting can result in a dynamic personal revival in your own life-and make you a channel of revival to others. If you have never fasted before, I applaud your present interest! Fasting has been a major emphasis in the lives of many of the great spiritual leaders throughout history. John Wesley, the founder of the Methodist denomination, fasted every Wednesday and Friday and required all of his clergy to do the same. Effective ministers of God from the apostle Paul to Martin Luther to John Calvin made it a continual part of their walks with God. None of those men had a "formula fast" that was the only "right" way. Fasting is about the condition of the heart, not the number of days. So, start slowly. Fast for one meal a day, or one day a week, or one week a month. Build up your spiritual muscles so that you will be prepared in a period of several months to fast for an extended 40 day period. Biblical Types of fasts: The Bible recounts primarily two types of fasts. A partial fast is described in the book of Daniel. Although the water fast seemed to be the custom of the prophet, there was a three-week period in which he only abstained from "delicacies," meat, and wine (Daniel 10:3). I have listed the ingredients in a Daniel fast for you in this article. The two primary types mentioned in the Bible are the "absolute" and "supernatural absolute" fasts. These are total fasts-no food (solid or liquid) and no water. Paul went on an absolute fast for three days following his encounter with Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:9). Moses and Elijah engaged in what must be considered a supernatural absolute fast of forty days (Deuteronomy 9:9; I Kings 19:8). I personally advocate drinking an abundance of fluids during your fast, preferably water and juices. Fruit juice ( a cleanser) in the morning and vegetable juice ( a builder) in the afternoon or evening. GUIDELINES FOR DANIEL FAST (Foods We May Eat) Whole Grains: Brown Rice, Oats, Barley Legumes: Dried Beans, Pinto Beans, Split Peas, Lentils, Black Eyed Peas Fruits: Apples, Apricots, Bananas, Blackberries, Blueberries, Boysenberries, Cantaloupe, Cherries, Cranberries, Oats, Figs, Grapefruit, Grapes, Guava, Honeydew Melon, Kiwi, Lemons, Limes, Mangoes, Nectarines, Papayas, Peaches, Pears, Pineapples, Plums, Prunes, Raisins, Raspberries, Strawberries, Tangelos, Tangerines, Watermelon Vegetables: Artichokes, Asparagus, Beets, Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, Cabbage, Carrots, Cauliflower, Celery, Chili Peppers, Corn, Cucumbers, Eggplant, Garlic, Ginger root, Kale, Leeks, Lettuce, Mushrooms, Mustard Greens, Okra, Onions, Parsley, Potatoes, Radishes, Rutabagas, Scallions, Spinach, Sprouts, Squashes, Sweet Potatoes, Tomatoes, Turnips, Watercress, Yams, Zucchini Seeds, Nuts, Sprouts Liquids: Spring Water, Distilled Water, 100% All-Natural Fruit Juices, 100% All Natural Vegetable Juices (Foods to Avoid) Meat ,White Rice, Fried Foods, Caffeine, Carbonated Beverages, Foods Containing Preservatives or Additives, Refined Sugar, Sugar Substitutes, White Flour and All Products Using It, Margarine, Shortening, High Fat Products How To End: Most experts agree that breaking a fast with vegetables, either steamed or raw, is best. Your stomach is smaller now, so eat lightly. Stop before you feel full. Stay away from starches like pastas, potatoes, rice, or bread (except for "Melba toast") for at least a week. Also avoid meats, dairy products, and any fats or oils for a week or more. Introduce them very slowly and in small amounts. Extended fasts are not the only fasts which need to be ended with caution. Even a 3-day fast requires reasonable precautions. It is wise to start with a little soup - something thin and nourishing such as vegetable broth made from onion, celery, potatoes, and carrots - and fresh fruits such as watermelon and cantaloupe. In terms of resuming any sort of exercise routine, the advice is the same. Start out slowly, allowing time for your body to re-adjust to its usual regime. What to Expect: When you fast, your body detoxifies, eliminating toxins from your system. This can cause mild discomfort such as headaches and irritability during withdrawal from caffeine and sugars. Limit your activity. Exercise moderately. Take time to rest. Get away from normal distractions as much as possible, and keep your heart and mind set on seeking God's face. Read the Word and pray during meal times. For more information- www.billbright.com/howtofast One Last Word: Most healthy people can abstain from food for a number of days, however, please consult your doctor is you are pregnant, nursing a child, on prescription drugs or under a doctor's supervision. May the Lord reveal Himself to you as you practice this age-old spiritual discipline !