Tuesday, 31 August 2010

Why fast?

At TKC, we begin each term with a week of prayer - our next one starts on Sunday 12 September. These weeks are key in the life of this church as we seek God, worship him, pour out our requests and hear his heart. We recognise, however, that in recent times we have not practiced the biblical discipline of fasting.

We want to introduce fasting to our weeks of prayer and these guidelines have been written to give some biblical and practical guidelines. Please read the following and ask the Holy Spirit to guide you as to how, when and for how long He wants you to fast and pray.


The primary motivation behind fasting is to seek the Lord. Fasting is a biblical discipline which aids us in the seriousness of seeking God.

Jesus fasted and in Matthew 6 v 16-18, he teaches his disciples about fasting. He assumes that fasting is something they will do and encourages them to do it without a show, but with integrity before God.

Types of Fast

1. The Absolute Fast (Est. 4:16; Acts 9:9)
• Where people have no food or water for up to three days

2. The Partial Fast (Dan 10:2,3)

• A determined cutting back of food or certain drinks to say, vegetables/fruit only, or one meal a day, or no delicacies. This is a practical fast for those involved in heavy work or who have medical reasons for requiring regular food intake

3. The 40-day Fast (Matt 4:2)
• No food is eaten and drinking only water. Most people can fast for up to 40 days, though some changes to lifestyle would be required. This needs serious consideration and planning.

4. The Juice Fast (or soup/juice)
• Some prefer to have a liquid only fast which allow for more physical work. Many use this type of fast for their first long fast

5. Others: be creative!
• Fasting literally means “not eating”, but we can give up other things too
  - Facebook/Twitter/Internet
  - TV
  - Video games


Some people should NOT fast e.g. nursing and pregnant mums, diabetics, ME sufferers, growing children & teens (apart from the occasional meal).

Others should seek medical advice FIRST e.g. the elderly, those on medication, etc

Spiritual Guidelines

1. All fasting is about knowing God and choosing to act on our belief that he is more important to us than anything else. Receiving from God or seeing situations changed are secondary matters. Be sure your motives are appropriate as you enter into your fast. Desire to meet with God, to be more Christ like and for the holiness of God to be more evident in your life.

2. Schedule in time to pray and read the Bible. If you don’t, you may miss wonderful opportunities to hear from God.

3. Be prepared for opposition. We are in a spiritual battle and prayer and fasting are spiritual things. It will also come from your own body, which is used to three meals a day!!

4. Headaches, dizziness, tiredness, touchiness etc are all part of fasting too! Beware of intensified temptation - especially at your weakest point.

5. Be open to hear God in dreams, visions, and revelations and through the Bible in new and exciting ways. If it’s relevant to the church let us know through your Community Group Leaders or any of the Leadership Team.

Practical Guidelines

This is not a comprehensive list of guidelines, but only helpful hints. If you are considering a long fast, i.e. more than a few days, it is advisable to read Arthur Wallis’s book, God’s Chosen Fast.

1. Fast with someone else. There is strength in numbers, especially if going on an extended fast.

2. Make a commitment and set a duration. However, be willing to review the duration if health or circumstances change.

3. If drinking juice, drink low or non-acidic diluted juices. Watch your intake; schedule it so you are self-controlled. Juice fasts may hinder you on longer fasts as your hunger mechanism does not ‘shut off’, it may make a longer fast more difficult than a normal fast.

4. If underweight or ill, consult your doctor even for a few days fast.

5. If considering an extended fast, consult your doctor first so he can monitor you in the later stages of the fast. Also confide in a strong Christian friend who can support and monitor you too.

6. Don’t boast about your fast. It is to be done in secret, but don’t be legalistic about this. Tell those who need to know.

7. Prepare well for your fast. Cut out coffee, tea, coke, chocolate and any other caffeine foods/drinks ahead of time. If going on an extended fast, begin to reduce your food intake 3-5 days before starting and cut out rich, greasy and high cholesterol foods. The meals two days prior to the fast should consist of salads, fruits and fibre rich foods.

8. Schedule in regular rest breaks as you grow weary and exercise only lightly.

9. Break the fast gradually, especially prolonged fasts.

10. On a long fast, when your hunger returns, it is time to break the fast.

As we enter this week of prayer and fasting together it’s important that we remember that:
• we are expressing to God that His agenda is more important to us than our own
• we are under grace not law. If at any point you feel you need to break the fast, be released to do so. Fasting is to meet with God, not to damage our bodies and bring condemnation
• we do it in faith, believing that God will hear our cry to Him

If you want to talk to someone about fasting, please feel free to speak
to any of the Leadership Team of The King’s Church Mid Sussex

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