The goal of fasting is not just to do without food; it is to draw nearer to God. The definition of a biblical fast is, “to restrict food for a spiritual purpose.” Biblical fasting always has to do with restricting food for a spiritual purpose. Fasting is not just an exercise for the super- spiritual, but it should be a periodic discipline in the life of every believer. The constant demands and pressures of daily life on your mind, will and emotions can weigh you down and cause you to lose focus and feel spiritually sluggish and desensitized. Fasting hits the reset button of your soul and renews you from the inside out. Fasting is a way for you to celebrate the goodness and mercy of God and prepare your soul to expand and contain the fresh, new purposes and work God desires to bring into your life (Matthew 9:14-17). Remember, your personal fast should present a level of challenge, but it is very important to know your own body, know your options and most importantly, seek God in prayer and follow what the Holy Spirit leads you to do.
An absolute fast is what Moses did when he was on Mount Sinai for forty days when “he neither ate bread nor drank water.” (Exodus 34:28) Rarely is an absolute fast practiced for a long period of time. Some will abstain from all food and all water for a short period, but longer periods are not recommended since physical complications could result.
A normal fast is when only water is consumed. This would be the type practiced by Elijah (see 1 Kings 19:8) and Jesus (see Matthew 4). They abstained from food for 40 days.
A partial fast is when some foods are restricted. Two of the most common partial fasts are:
A juice fast: Consuming vegetable and fruit juices and water instead of solid food. Some include whey protein in their liquid plan as well. This is a popular and effective fast. Substituting liquids for one or two meals is an alternative.
A Daniel fast: Based on the fasting principles of the prophet in Daniel 1 and 10. Daniel 1 states that he ate only vegetables and water, and Daniel 10 states that he ate no rich (or choice) foods, as well as no meat or wine. The foundation of the Daniel fast is fruits and vegetables. The website www.daniel-fast.com is a good source of information about this fast. Remember, the power of fasting has less to do with food than with setting yourself apart for a specific period of time to focus more on the Lord, prayer, and worship.