What is fasting?
Wikipedia says: "Fasting is primarily the act of willingly abstaining from some or all food, drink, or both, for a period of time. An absolute fast is normally defined as abstinence from all food and liquid for a defined period, usually a single day (24 hours), or several days. Other fasts may be only partially restrictive, limiting particular foods or substance."
In the Bible: It's a voluntary abstaining from food for spiritual purposes. It's not only from food, but also from water.
Later, I will explain a little more about other kinds of fasting.
Why should we fast?
Jesus fasted – Matthew 4:2 says: "And after He had fasted forty days and forty nights, He became hungry. Jesus didn't not abstain from drinking water, as the Bible says that He became hungry, not thirsty.
After fasting, Jesus started His ministry, full of the Holy Spirit. Luke 4:14
Let's see some reasons for fasting: We receive spiritual cleansing and our spiritual eyes are opened, and we also obtain victory over the devil. When Jesus encountered Satan, He was able to overcome Him because His fasting had given Him spiritual strength
1) Self-humbling – as God requires us to be humble. (James 4:10, 1 Peter 5:6)
I humble myself with fasting… Psalm 35:13
It's our responsibility to humble ourselves – we cannot ask God to make us humble…that's why the
Scriptures are telling us, humble yourself. It's yours and my decision to do it. Read also Ezra 8:81-23,
Natural: Fasting as didn't know what to do. → Supernatural: God's knows and will intervene.
2) To set up a ministry – Acts 13:1-4
3) Pray and appoint elders. Acts 14:23
4) There is a reward for the one who fast in the right way. Matthew 6:17-18.
5) II Chronicles 20:2-4 – It's doing something natural for getting something supernatural.
We are in a constant fight between our flesh (desires) and our spirit - Galatians 5; 16 -17. To overcome our flesh, we have to feed the spirit… To feed the spirit is necessary to subject the I want, I think and the I feel to the Spirit of God.
We make our flesh weak by fasting.
Fasting has no benefit if we continue doing the wrong things. Jonah 3:5-6, 7 and 8.
The result in the Ninevites' lives can be seen in Jonah 3:9-10
When we are facing difficult situations and would like to call God's attention, we should do it with fasting as Esther did. Esther 4:15 – 17.
Esther's fasting changed the history of the Israelites. Esther 5:1 -3.
There is a call for prayer and Fasting so that situations can be changed: Joel 1:13 – 14 Joel 2:16 – 17, 2
What about Daniel's fasting
There are two references to fasting in the biblical book of Daniel from which the "Daniel Fast" is drawn. Daniel, chapter 1, describes how Daniel and his 3 friends ate only vegetables and drank only water.
(Daniel 1) At the end of a 10-day trial period, Daniel and his friends appeared healthier than their peers who ate the rich foods from the royal table. In Daniel, chapter 10, Daniel fasts again, abstaining from "pleasant food," meat, and wine. (Daniel 10)
We have a record of this in Daniel 10:2-3, "In those days I, Daniel was mourning three full weeks. I ate no pleasant bread, neither came flesh nor wine in my mouth, neither did I anoint myself at all, till three whole weeks were fulfilled". Daniel went on a three-week partial fast, restricting his diet of all pleasant food, meat and wine. It was during this time that he had a visitation from an angel. Fasting always suppresses the flesh and heightens our spiritual sensitivity. Generally speaking, we hear the Lord's voice more easily while fasting.
Step 1: Be Specific
Daniel was not vague in his objection to the Babylonian diet. He defined the problem immediately.
1. The king's food was against dietary laws.
2. Daniel and his friends had vowed against wine.
3. The king's food had been offered up to idols/demons.
Step 2: Fast as a Spiritual Commitment
The Daniel Fast involves a spiritual commitment to God. "Daniel proposed in his heart that he would not defile himself" (Daniel 1:8).
Step 3: Fast as a Statement of Faith to Others
Daniel was making a statement of faith when he asked for only vegetables to eat and water to drink, then dared the overseer to compare the appearance of the four sons of Israel with the young men who ate the king's food.
When going on a Daniel fast, or any type of fast, if you have questions outside of what Scripture says, prayerfully seek the Lord and be led by the Spirit for the specifics for your personal fast.