Tips on Biblical Fasting



Fasting is not a hunger strike against God as if you are trying to manipulate God to do something for you by not eating until He accommodates your wishes. Rather, fasting is denying yourselves some pleasure, necessity, or benefit, for a period of time, to focus that time connecting with God, listening to Him, and expressing your dependence on Him to act as only the Sovereign God of the universe has the power to do. It can also be a time of serving others by meeting some physical or emotional needs or bringing them before the Father for spiritual care or release from some hardship or trial.
The prophet Isaiah tells us something appropriate for those who consider fasting today…
4 What good is fasting when you keep on fighting and quarreling?
This kind of fasting will never get you anywhere with me.
5 You humble yourselves by going through the motions of penance,
bowing your heads like reeds bending in the wind.
You dress in burlap and cover yourselves with ashes.
Is this what you call fasting? Do you really think this will please the Lord?
6 “No, this is the kind of fasting I want: Free those who are wrongly
imprisoned; lighten the burden of those who work for you.
Let the oppressed go free, and remove the chains that bind people.
7 Share your food with the hungry, and give shelter to the homeless.
Give clothes to those who need them, and do not hide from relatives who need
your help. Isaiah 58:4-7 (NLT)
There are many types of fasts, including Partial Fasting (not eating a meal or two), Daniel Fasting (eating only fruits, nuts, vegetables, and water), Full Fasting (eating no food, but still consuming water), or Soul Fasting (refraining from some other activity, usually entertainment or electronic, that consumes your time, and impacts your soul, dulling your spiritual appetite.) Yes, soul fasting could mean eliminating your cell phone, Facebook, Instagram or Pinterest for a period! Always do what is healthiest for your spirit, body and soul. There is also a Corporate Fast where many people join together in a fast with the intention to seek God as a group. There are many examples in the Bible. Esther 4 and 5 are a great example.
One suggestion would be instead of regular meals, spend time alone reading and meditating on the following Scriptures, praying and listening for direction:
  • Isaiah 58, Psalm 91, Matthew 5
  • Psalm 34, Ephesians 1, Matthew 6
  • Psalm 84, Philippians 4, Matthew 7
As you spend time in God’s Word, have a teachable heart, eagerly expecting God to reveal new or deep truths to apply to your life. Relax in His presence aware that you are coming to your Father who is also all-powerful, kind, wise and faithful. Pray for people who particularly need God’s grace in their life or situation. When we seek God, He delights to answer.
John Piper in his book, A Hunger for God says,
“…fasting is peculiarly suited to glorify God …It is fundamentally an offering of emptiness to God in hope. It is a sacrifice…It says by its very nature, ‘Father, I am empty, but You are full. I am hungry, but You are the Bread of Heaven. I am thirsty, but You are the fountain of life. I am weak, but You are strong. I am poor, but You are rich. I am foolish, but You are wise. I am broken, but You are whole. I am dying, but Your steadfast love is better than life. (Ps 63:3)’
When God sees this confession of need and this expression of trust, He acts, because the glory of His all-sufficient grace is at stake. The final answer is that God rewards fasting because fasting expresses the cry of the heart that nothing on earth can satisfy our souls besides God. God must reward this cry because God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him.”
May you find deeper satisfaction in God as you draw nearer to Him!

A Hunger for God: Desiring God Through Fasting and Prayer by John Piper, Copyright 1997
Interface Graduate Lesson 3 and 4 by M. L. Walenta 1993 (rv0614)