Download ArticleBring yourself closer to the Lord through fasting and worship
Co-authored by Ali Garbacz, B.A.
For Christians, fasting is a way to humble yourself in the presence of God and reaffirm your faith. While fasting isn’t a required part of Christianity, completing a fast can bring a great sense of accomplishment and leaves you feeling much more connected to God. We’re here to walk you through what fasting might look like for Christians and how you can do it properly and safely. Look forward to embarking on this new journey and connecting with God on a new level.
Things You Should Know
- Start fasting for just a couple of hours or a single day if you’ve never fasted before. There are no specific time limits.
- Refrain from eating during the fast and only consume water or juice.
- Pray and read scripture during your fast. Ask God for forgiveness and strength.
- Break your fast slowly by gradually introducing foods like fruit back into your diet.
Before the Fast
Ask yourself why you’re participating in this fast. Is it to renew your spirit? To heal? To prepare for a major life decision? Whatever it may be, commit your mind and spirit to your objective as you prepare to fast. If it’s unclear to you, call upon God to lead you in finding your purpose for fasting and ask for His guidance.
Pray before your fast and humble yourself before God. As you pray, take this time to confess every one of your sins, and invite the Holy Spirit to lead your life. Let Jesus know you wish to know Him personally. Acknowledge that He lived without sin, died on the cross for your sins, and rose 3 days later, freeing humanity from condemnation. Humble yourself and ask forgiveness from God and everyone you have hurt. Finally, forgive those who have hurt you.
Meditate on the Gospel and the Holy traits of the Lord. These may include the ability to forgive, His strength or wisdom, His peace, and His capacity to love unconditionally. Praise Him for these attributes. Surrender your life and thank Him for all He has done for you.
Fast for 1-2 meals if you're just starting out. Your fast might be just a couple hours or go on for a few days. How long you decide to fast is completely up to you and what you feel you need most. If you’re new to fasting, start off slowly with a fast that lasts just one meal. If you feel confident afterward, fast for 2 meals and work your way up.
- If you have medical conditions that make fasting for long periods of time difficult, talk to your doctor first to see if your condition will allow you to participate in the fast.
Choose between an absolute, partial, or juice fast. The most extreme form of fasting is an absolute fast, which means you don’t eat any food or drink water during the fasting period. Many people often go for a milder version where they don’t eat any food but still drink water or juice. This is considered to be a “normal” fast and is also sometimes called a “juice fast.” A partial fast just eliminates foods and beverages of certain categories, such as sweets or meat.
- Talk to your doctor about how to take any medications you’re on while fasting. Don’t fast if it will put your health at risk.
- If you’re unable to perform a fast that involves abstaining from food, give up other things like social media, your phone, coffee, soda, television, etc.
- Prepare your body for fasting by eating smaller meals during the days leading up to your fast. Going from eating full meals to nothing at all can be dangerous for your body, so work yourself up before starting.
- The concept of fasting appears many times in the Bible, and there are many kinds of fasts that people followed. Some of the most notable fasts and their passages in the Bible include:
- Daniel Fast (Daniel 1:8-17): partial fast for 10+ days
- Esther Fast (Esther 4:12-5:2): absolute fast for 3 days
- Paul’s Fast (Acts 9:1-19): absolute fast for 3 days
- Elijah Fast (1 Kings 19:1-8): normal fast for 40 days
Prepare scriptures and prayers to read during your fast. Decide how you’re going to spend your time during the fast. Fasting isn’t just about giving up food. It’s mostly about worshipping God and spending time reflecting on yourself and your relationship with Him through prayer. Come up with a basic schedule of when you’ll pray and spend some alone time with God. Also, prepare the prayers or scriptures you’d like to read during this time.
During the Fast
Stay properly hydrated throughout your fast. Your body can sustain itself for a relatively long time without food, but you won’t last long without water. Make sure you’re drinking enough water each day to stay healthy. If you develop any signs of dehydration, drink water immediately and seek medical care. A person can typically only go without water for 3 days. Some signs of dehydration include:
- Dark-colored urine
- Less frequent urination
Hold morning worship. Worship Him and praise Him for His attributes. Read God’s Word and pray for God's Will to be done and for the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Ask God to lead you in spreading His Glory into the world. A phrase to recite during this time may be something like, “I pray that God will lend me His Wisdom so that I can input His Word into my life and gain a fuller understanding of it.”
- Some verses from the Bible to draw inspiration from include:
- “Pray that you may not enter into temptation.” (Luke 22:40)
- “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God…” (Ephesians 6:10)
- “Nevertheless, not what I will, but what You will [be done].” (Mark 14:36)
- Some verses from the Bible to draw inspiration from include:
Go for a prayer walk. Walk outside, hand in hand with nature, while noticing God's wondrous creation. Thank Him for everything He has created as you walk. Ask Him to give you a spirit of thanksgiving and appreciation. Stroll through your neighborhood, near your school or place of work, and out in nature, praying as you go.
- Refrain from doing any intense exercise or activities. Your body isn’t getting as many nutrients as it normally would, so preserve your energy by cutting down activity levels. If you go for a walk, make it short and rest afterward.
Pray for the welfare of others. Take this time to pray not only for yourself, but also for your friends and family, church leaders, government leaders, and other countries. Pray for church leaders to preach His Word as God intended so that your friends and family members will grow closer to Him. Pray for government leaders to come to Him and ask Him for His Will.
Breaking the Fast
Start off with liquids and light snacks before introducing solid foods. Breaking your fast is a gradual process. Immediately going back to your normal diet can cause your insulin and blood sugar levels to spike and put your health at risk. Start out with just liquids, such as water and fruit and vegetable juices. Introduce a few small, healthy snacks, such as fruit.
- Soup is also a good starter food to try when you’re coming down from your fast.
Gradually add in various foods until you can return to your normal diet. On the first day, start out with a raw salad. This is just lettuce and a couple of raw vegetables, like carrots or broccoli. On the second day, eat a baked potato, but don’t add any salt or fatty and rich substances (such as meat or cheese). On the third day, add some steamed vegetables to the menu. After that, slowly reintroduce foods from your normal diet.
Continue to pray even after your fast is over. Your worship doesn’t stop just because you’ve finished your fast. Pray that your faith will be strengthened and deepened after your fast. Continue to express your thankfulness and well wishes for those around you. Let this passion carry you until your next fast.
- 4Ask for forgiveness if you accidentally break your fast early. Call upon the Lord for forgiveness and continue your fast if you’re able to. Remember, it’s not a competition. The most important thing is that you give your best effort and focus your energy on seeking God and connecting with Him. Mistakes happen, so don’t let it get you down if you don’t succeed the first time.
- If you’re doing a juice fast, raw fruit juices (apple, grape, pineapple, etc.) are great sources of natural sugars that will help stabilize your blood sugar levels and give you energy.
- Fast with another person. This way you’ll have someone to share your journey with and provide encouragement along the way.
- Don’t boast about your fast (Mathew 6:16–18). Only let others know about it when it’s absolutely necessary.
- Avoid overeating or even gorging when you come off your fast.
- Introduce solid foods back into your diet gradually over a period of a few days. Start with liquids and light snacks when you first break your fast and work your way up.
- Avoid fasting without a physician's supervision if you have anemia, tumors, cancer, bleeding ulcers or if you take insulin for diabetes, have a heart disease, are pregnant or nursing, or are prone to eating disorders such as bulimia or anorexia.
- If you’re taking any prescription drugs, talk with your physician before starting a fast.