Principles of Fasting

Fasting is one of the most feared and misunderstood of all the spiritual disciplines. Here are some principles to help  you on your fast.


Before you start your fast you will want to pray and seek the Lord. This is a time that you will consecrate your self to God and you need to pray and talk to Him so that you can set your goals for your time of prayer and fasting.

Clarify Your Goals

What do you want to accomplish with the fast and accompanying prayer time? Are you seeking greater intimacy with the Lord, wisdom for a decision, guidance, or discipline? Perhaps you want to break an addiction. Reminding yourself of these goals throughout the fast will help you persevere in times of temptation.

You will also want to identify what you will be praying for during the fast. Paul’s admonition to Timothy gives us a  model for what we should pray for : “I urge . . . that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone—for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness” (1 Tim. 2:1–2). This would be a great time to pray for our city, our nation and its leaders to turn to God “Your kingdom come Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven”

Specify the Fast

You will want to clearly outline what you are fasting from. (What is acceptable and what is not) In this case we are following the guidelines for the Daniel fast; it is based on what Daniel requested to eat to avoid being defiled. The Kings food was not compliant with Gods dietary laws that He established with the Israelites. (Daniel 1:8-12) Not everyone can do water only fast or go on an extended fast due to work or other obligations. Doing the Daniel’s Fast as a congregation will help in this area.

I believe that God will meet you as you set your motives to seek Him and put food aside for a short period of time.

For additional help and information you can visit Susan Gregory at or Kristen Feola at Both sites will help you structure your fast so you can spend less time thinking about what you will eat and more time focusing on the Lord, also there are terrific devotionals for each day of your fast.

I recommend that you also purchase their books so you have this great information at your finger tips.

Start Small

If you haven’t fasted in this manner before, you might consider beginning with a 24-36 hour period of fasting. This will build your confidence for a longer fast. You will prove to yourself you can abstain successfully and see that the Lord will give you supernatural strength as you seek him.

Plan Alternatives

It will be much more difficult to abstain from an activity or certain foods if you don’t plan ahead. What if you have a family outing or some other special event that was preplanned during your time of participating in the Daniel fast?  What about lunch time at work? Plan ahead and prepare to pack your lunch or other meals that you might need while you are out or have a list of restaurants and food items that are acceptable on the fast. Pre-planning will take the stress out of your day. It will take a little more time but it will help you to be successful in your fasting and prayer time.

Seek Accountability

We all like to think that when we make a commitment, we will carry it out. But our powers of rationalization are amazing. You might be tempted to rationalize why eating something not allowed on the Daniel fast would be okay, or not taking time to pray and seek the Lord can be put off until tomorrow.

You can share some of the details of why you are fasting with an accountability/ prayer partner, they can pray for your faithfulness and spiritual strength during the fast and you can do likewise. We will meet every Tuesday at the church 6:00-7:00 p.m. Wednesday at 6:45 p.m. and Thursday from 11:00 a.m. -1:00 p.m. at the LDI for prayer and for a time of encouraging one another in the faith.


In an article in Christian Counseling Today, Wayne Schmidt states that accountability “reinforces our willpower to make tough choices and gives us someone to celebrate with when we’ve done what is right.” It is Proverbs 27:17 in action: “As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.”

Take Time for Self-evaluation

In Scripture when we read about others fasting we also see prayer, confession and repentance (1 Samuel 7:6; Joel 2:12). A time of prayer and fasting allows us to reflect on our attitudes, habits, and actions. It is a good opportunity to pray, “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting” (Psalm 139:23–24). After a time of self evaluation the Holy Spirit may begin to show you things in your life that you may need to repent of. Confession and repentance preceded Daniels time of intercessory prayer (Daniel 9)


Keep a journal during your fasting. Many times the Lord will speak to your heart and give you insight or direction. Some people find it helpful to use a calendar to monitor their progress through the fast.

Marking off each day’s success builds motivation for the next day’s discipline.

In your journal, record your thoughts, insights, prayers, and scriptures that stand out to you during your prayer times. You may discover something you are supposed to do. Isaiah 58 describes a very proactive fast: loosing chains of injustice, sharing food with the hungry, providing for the poor, clothing the naked.

You will also want to keep a list of the people, situations, and ministries that you will be praying for during your fast. As God answers those prayers from this list in the months following your fast, it will serve as a reminder of His faithfulness.


After the fast, look over the notes you made during the fast. Reflect upon the goals you recorded at the beginning. Evaluate the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual aspects of your fast.

Remember “our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms” (Ephes. 6:12).

Take note that the disciplines you have exercised through prayer and fasting will spill over naturally into other areas of you life. (Commitment to daily bible reading, daily exercise may be easier to maintain; eating sweets in moderation.) Dick Eastman described this relationship between fasting and our appetites in his book Change the World School of Prayer. “Fasting mysteriously deals with the stubborn self will of the inner man as it conquers outward fleshly desires.”

The fast will also help to develop spiritual sensitivity as you relate to other people. Your perspective on the difficulties in life may change as well. More and more you may began to see problems as prayer opportunities.

Give Thanks to God

After you evaluate your fast it is time to enter into a time of praise and thanksgiving. “Offer up the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name.” Thank Him for what He has already done and is yet to do.

As your time of fasting and prayer comes to an end we rejoice with you, you have completed your commitment to the Lord! With expectation we wait to hear of the wonders of our Mighty God. I pray you have gained a renewed understanding of Gods purpose and plan for your life, and received a spiritual cleansing as well as a physical cleansing, and that you will continue the spiritual discipline of fasting and prayer.

May God pour out His richest blessing upon you!

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