To listen to the blog post “Spiritual Fasting 101. Everything You Need To Know” over reading it just click the play button below.
Welcome to spiritual fasting 101 where I explain to you exactly what spiritual fasting is. I am going to explain the who, what, where, when, and why of spiritual fasting. And break it down so much that it will now and forever be ingrained in your mind on exactly what spiritual fasting is and how you should be doing it.
Because I am an everyday human being I am going to explain spiritual fasting to you in very plain English. You will not be getting some Old King James explanation of spiritual fasting and walking away even more so confused than you already were. Trust me, that is not my style. Now that we have gotten introductions out of the way, let’s get into it, shall we?
But before we get started. Check out my comprehensive guide that will teach you EVERYTHING you need to know on how to start your own spiritual fast. It’s only 99 cents. Click here to learn more about it.
First, What is spiritual fasting and why on Earth do you do it?
Spiritual fasting confuses some people because they do not understand why on Earth someone would want to go without food or whatever else they choose to fast from. Therefore, the first thing you need to understand about spiritual fasting is the purpose of spiritual fasting and why does anyone want to do it anyway?
Reason #1 To control your flesh
As a Christian having control over your flesh is important. I HIGHLY encourage you to read my blog on works of the flesh so that you can understand what I mean by your flesh. I do not just mean the skin but the works of the flesh which is different as explained here. But in short, your flesh is what consumes most people in this world to do impulsive and sometimes inappropriate things. Most people choose to feed their fleshy desires over their spiritual ones.
It is the desire of the flesh that teaches us to sleep with a man too soon, the flesh that teaches us to steal money because we want more, it is the flesh that leads us to cheat on our spouses, and it is the flesh that tells us to eat two whole bags of Oreo’s when we know we are supposed to be on a diet. If you notice something about all of these examples that is that they are controlled by impulse and not always the RIGHT thing to do.
And this is where fasting comes into play. Because, if you do not have control over your flesh, then your flesh will control you and lead you into making bad decisions. The temptation of the world is never going to go away, but we can control whether we feed into the temptations or not by learning mind over matter and allowing the Holy Spirit to guide us and not the things of the world.
By fasting, we learn not to listen to our bodies, such as your stomach growling and telling you you’re hungry. Hunger is a VERY REAL thing. But if you are able to deny your flesh and the feeling of hunger and only focus on God, then that is a way to conquer your flesh.
Because you are choosing NOT to pay attention to the physical pain that you feel from being hungry but rather getting full off of the spiritual awakening that is happening while you are fasting. As you pray, read the Bible, and whatever other spiritual things you choose to pursue to bring you closer to God. As your stomach feels hungry and is telling you to eat, your mind focuses more on prayer so that you do not feed into what your stomach (AKA your flesh) is telling you to do. Which is eat.
- “Once you master the flesh you master your temptation.”
Reason #2 To Petition God for something
There are many times in the Bible where you see people fasting when they want to get an answer to their prayers. For example Esther you see her fasting in the following verse.
“Go, gather together all the Jews who are in Susa, and fast for me. Do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my attendants will fast as you do. When this is done, I will go to the king, even though it is against the law. And if I perish, I perish.” Esther 4:16
Esther fasted before she went before the king uninvited to ask for the salvation of her people. The prayer that she wanted to be answered was
- Not to get her head chopped off because she knew that if she went to the king uninvited then losing her head was a very real possibility.
- To save the Jewish people since they were about to be killed by Haman. You can check out my full post on Esther and what we can learn from her by clicking here.
Even though it was just 3 days, can you imagine how hungry and dehydrated she must have felt? Not only did she not eat but she did not drink. This is yet another lesson you NEED to understand about the purpose of spiritual fasting. If you really want to petition God for something and you want God to answer your prayer, then know that the harder you fast, the more willing God is to hear your petition for your prayer.
That is because you are not getting distracted by food and water, which is the basic need for keeping yourself alive. Instead, you are saying God I do not need food at this time, all I need is you. It is like your flesh (which we talked about above) is screaming out to get God’s attention. Because in the case of Esther she was denying the very thing that was keeping her alive FOOD & WATER. And what she was asking was a favor from the Lord.
Her fasting was like the silent prayer to God. And the fact that she got herself AND her attendants to do it. It was like all of them were crying out to God to ask on her behalf and so we know the story of Esther, her prayer was indeed heard.
What you can take away from Esther:
- The harder the fast the more God hears you.
- Fasting in a group can intensify your prayer. For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them. (Matthew 18:20)
David fasted before his child died. Take the following verse:
David pleaded with God for the child. He fasted and spent the nights lying in sackcloth on the ground. 2 Samuel 12:16
David knew that God was going to take his child (because the child came from an adulterous affair with Bathsheba), but he fasted as a way to change God’s mind. David was petitioning God for something.
He was asking for his child to live and not die, even though God had told him that the child would die. In the end, David’s fasting did not work and the child dies.
Then David got up from the ground. After he had washed, put on lotions, and changed his clothes, he went into the house of the Lord and worshiped. Then he went to his own house, and at his request, they served him food, and he ate. His attendants asked him, Why are you acting this way? While the child was alive, you fasted and wept, but now that the child is dead, you get up and eat! He answered, While the child was still alive, I fasted and wept. I thought, ˜Who knows? The Lord may be gracious to me and let the child live. But now that he is dead, why should I go on fasting? Can I bring him back again? I will go to him, but he will not return to me. 2 Samuel 12:20-23
What you can take away from David
- Although fasting can get you an answer from God or have God move on your prayer request. If God’s answer is no, then no amount of fasting is going to change that.
- Just because you feel that God has said no or his answer is to wait, do not get discouraged. Like David, you can still fast and petition God for something. Remember fasting is like your flesh calling out to God asking God to listen to you.
- It is possible that God’s answer still may be no. But your fasting may change his mind to yes. I know in the above tip that I said if God’s answer is no then it is no. But you can never really know for sure if His answer is no unless you try as David did. And besides people have been able to change God’s mind before (read Jeremiah 26:19 and Amos 7:3)
For other benefits of fasting then be sure to check out my blog The Most Important Spiritual Benefits of Fasting as well. And don’t forget to check out my video on how to get the spirit of David.
What is spiritual fasting and what should I be fasting from?
Now that you understand why people engage in spiritual fasting, you can learn how to fast. There are many ways to fast. I believe that you can choose whatever way that you want. The main point is that you are denying your flesh. Therefore, if you are already a vegetarian then it would not be wise for you to give up meat. Because in reality you are not really giving up anything and that is not fast. You are just going about your everyday life without eating meat like you always do. There is nothing special about that.
Now if you are a true meat lover and you decide to give up meat then that is a true fast. Even though you are not giving up food entirely, you are denying your flesh and giving up something that is hard for you to give up. And that is what God appreciates. The harder the fast, the more God will pay attention to your petition. Remember the story of Esther. You can also check out my blog on the Daniel fast to understand the various types of fasting.
What is spiritual fasting and how long should I do It?
The length of the fast depends on you. But the whole point is that the fast must be hard. If you make it too easy, then you are not really doing anything at all. God knows your heart and when you are faking the funk. He will respect someone who fasts for 3 days and it was hard for them over someone who fasted for a week and it was easy.
Therefore only you can decide. Be fair to yourself, be fair to God, & do not try to take your lunch break an hour late and call that a fast. A fast must be intentional, what you are giving up needs to be intentional, and the length of time needs to be intentional. This is not a situation where you just forgot to eat and so now you are fasting. NO. Because aside from NOT eating there are actual things that you are doing during a fast to get closer to God. Also, check out my video for more on spiritual fasting, and don’t forget to subscribe to my channel.
What is spiritual fasting and What to do when you fast?
The whole point of spiritual fasting is to spend time with God. Fasting is not a chance to just sit there ignore God and talk about how hungry you are. That is just called starving yourself. Spiritual fasting is about including the spiritual aspect and fasting.
For myself, whenever I fast I can hear from God so much more clear, I can feel Him even more, and I am closer to God more so than ever before. It is such a hard thing to explain but it goes into that, you have nothing else in your body but the Holy Spirit so you can’t help but just feel the Holy Spirit. Also, check out my post The Secret To Understanding The Power of Prayer And Fasting for more tips.
Therefore, when fasting you should:
- Pray often
- Read Your Bible
- Keep a journal about what you feel God is telling you in this time or what he wants you to do.
Case in Point: Me, how I fasted, & how I was healed.
There was a time where my friend said that I had the Jezebel spirit. I did have it, I am not even going to lie. I was addicted to men. I did not realize that this was an infliction until I noticed that it started to get worse and worse. I always thought about sex, I always thought about men, I always wanted to date men, and before I was celibate I also wanted to have sex A LOT.
During my fast from the Jezebel spirit, I stayed away from everything that was secular. I stayed away from secular music and only listened to gospel, I stayed away from regular TV and only kept it on TBN or some other Christian network, I only listened to or read the Bible. I did not curse, gossip, or do anything unholy during that time.
That was the hardest fast that I had ever done so it required me to really be one with God. It was harder but it also enhanced me spiritually. I am so convinced that this is why I was healed from that infliction in only three days and it has not come back to this day. Because during the entire fast I was FULLY committed to God and refused to let anything else in my brain. (I actually tell this full story on my resist the devil blog). And you can watch my video about the Jezebel spirit down below.
My point is that my fast was successful because I was not just fasting, but I was praying, listening to the gospel, listening to sermons, reading my Bible, and reframing from negative things. As I said before, fasting is just ONE part of it. The bigger part is the spiritual journey that you take. When fasting you should be getting closer to God. That is always the man point of spiritual fasting. Not so that you can shed a few pounds so you can go to South Beach.
What is spiritual fasting And Why No one should know your fasting
This is SO IMPORTANT. Because when you are fasting you are fasting for God. You are not fasting for people so that you can brag so that people can see how holy you are, so you can show people that you are on a higher spiritual level than they are. Spiritual fasting is about God. Not about you. Take the following Bible verse:
When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show others they are fasting. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that it will not be obvious to others that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. Matthew 6:16-18
I think this verse speaks for itself. You should not be fasting so that other people can see how holy you are. You are fasting for God, and therefore you should be happy when you fast. Do not tell people that you are starving or how hungry you are, do not make yourself look sick, and do not randomly go to the ER because you feel that you are starving to death and have only been fasting for three hours.
All of those things put the focus back on you and not on God where it should be. And whatever you are fasting for will be unheard of by God because He is not the reason why you are doing what you are doing.
Now I really hope that you understand what is the purpose of spiritual fasting. I feel like I have answered every question that I can about the subject of fasting. If you have more questions then you can always leave a comment and I will try to answer them as soon as I can. Also, share this information with other people if you know someone that wants to know what spiritual fasting is AND how to do it.
If you want to know more about spiritual fasting then get this complete comprehensive guide on spiritual fasting that will teach you EVERYTHING you need to know to start and finish a successful fast FOR ONLY .99 cents. Just click here or the picture below.
I love the examples that God leaves for us in his word. Fasting is one of those things that can be done right or wrong. I am reminded of a wise saying I once heard my pastor say; “If you are fasting to change someone other than yourself, you might as well eat”. Thanks for this amazing blog post.
Great points! I haven’t really done a religious fast over 24 hours, but I do understand the point behind them! I love how you mentioned everyone is different and it’s the effort that matters to God and not the length exactly. You need to challenge yourself.
I’m not sure if my first comment worked!
I really enjoyed this blog! I love learning about different religious perspectives and rituals. I have never done a religious fast over 24 hours, but I was interested in your discussion. 🙂 I do understand that it’s the effort and challenge that matters not the length of time. It’s not a competition.
We read as a famil every morning and on our own at night
I love this! I tend to start a fast and then my mind shifts to a diet. I may need to focus on fasting from tv, social media or something else huh?
Yes that is an awesome idea
dephne Madyara on youtube just posted about fasting and then I saw this. God is definitely showing me to bring back this spiritual practice. Thanks for sharing.
Great post – I actually just started a fast today. So great to read.
I am struggling with my spirtual life right know an was thinking bout a fast….thanks
Thanks for sharing, i will tried to work on my walk with God, today I learn something new
I am about to turn 69 very soon. I often have thought about fasting, but have never followed through with it. I am going to get a journal tomorrow and begin with giving up TV in the evening and read my bible more often. I will give this an earnest try. Thanks all for the thoughts. Right now we all need more Godly focuses.
I have been feeling called to fast lately as well! I’ve been feeling this call for a while but I keep telling ppl hiping it will.motivate me but constantly feeling self sabotaged.Thanks for the encouragement. Blessings!!!
I have the desire to fast and to teach myself how to have control over my flesh. Food is one of my biggest idols but I am hypoglycemic. I have looked for good resources on how to fast with hypoglycemia but have been unsuccessful. Do you know of any? Thank you & blessings.
Fasting does not always mean that you have to fast from ALL food. It can mean a fast from junk food, sweets, or even soda; but still drink things such as juice. What is the main area that you struggle with when it comes to food? You can take a fast from those items. Or go on an all veggie or plant based fast, but of course still make sure you get the sugars you need. You can always talk to your doctor about wanting to try some form of a fast and allow your primary care doctor help you determine how you can get through a fast successfully without harming your health.
Thank you Sophia! My main struggles are 1) eating for fear of having a hypoglycemic episode, 2) succumbing to junk food cravings and 3) letting my emotions or lack of self-control dictate the kind and amount of food that I eat. Your suggestions are good ones. I feel that in order to get in control, I need to have suffering for which I rely on God. In order to experience that suffering, I will need to do more than just cut out this or that. The veggie/plant-based fast sounds like suffering to me (har-har) but will keep me from injuring myself. Again, thank you!!!
Very interesting talk on fasting… I do fast but am more concerned about where you mention it’s should be done in secret… I’ve never really fast alone there are times I fast with a groups or church members at church but I think it’s better when you by yourself… you find more time to get closer to God and put in the effort and say what’s on your mind .
Thanks for the article! not sure how I got to your blog…. probably something on Pinterest, but I feel like it was meant for me to read.
Thank you for the message.
You are welcome
My spiritual life has been pathetic for luck of a better word.But of recent, ive had this urge to do something about it…You may not believe it, but if i was asked to pray,i wouldnt know what to say, i think ive even forgotten the common “our Father ” prayer. The guilt has been eating me up,considering God has been so wonderful to me. Came to pinterest and was looking for something on prayers and i bumped into your article…THANK YOU! is all i can say as i start this journey. I got to be grateful for the BIG MAN up there.
So happy for you. Just know that when you praye just be real with God. He is your father and he knows you more and better than anyone else. Don’t feel pressured to go before Him and like you have to remember a prayer. Just come before Him and talk like you talk to anyone else. That is where the real relationship begins. Perhaps you can check out my blog https://sophie-sticatedmom.com/2016/03/24/confessions-of-a-self-absorbed-christian/ for tips on talking to God.
What kind of fasting and prayers can I do against spirit of disappointment and dreams of grandmothers some death and others alive decaying part of my body ,iexperience gastric pain
I suggest you check out my ebook on fasting, its only 99 cents https://sophie-sticatedmom.com/product/fix-it-jesus-everything-you-need-to-know-about-spiritual-fasting-from-beginning-to-end/ Fasting is a collaborative effort with God and so with that being said what you are seeking you have to work with God on how to fast and what to do when you fast, in order to address your issue. My ebook will explain all of that and it made it as affordable as possible.
How do you get your mind off of things of the flesh?
You can watch my video here, I think this is the best way that I explained it in great detail https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HiR9e4hF568
thanks a lot very inspiring and detailed
Glad you liked it.