While preparing for your fast, it is important to choose ahead of time what type of fast you will participate in. Not only will this help with making the necessary preparations to implement your plan, but as you commit to a specific fast ahead of time, and know how you’re going to do it, you will position yourself to finish strong.
Choosing your fasting plan is a very personal decision. We are all at different places in our walk with God and our spirituality should never be a cause for comparison or competition. There is nothing more “inherently spiritual” about one type of fast as opposed to another. Your personal fast should present a level of challenge to it, but know your body, know your options, and most importantly, seek God in prayer about this and follow what the Holy Spirit leads you to do. It’s also important to not let what you eat or do not eat become the focus of your fast. This is a time to disconnect enough with your regular patterns and habits in order to connect closer to God.
Listed below, are some options and variations of different types of fasts you can choose to engage in. As you read over the information provided here, please consider how it applies to your circumstances and convictions. Fasting does require reasonable precautions. If you have any health concerns, please consult your physician prior to beginning your fast – especially if you are taking medication, have a chronic condition, or if you are pregnant or nursing.
Specific Food or Activity Fast
This type of fast refers to omitting a specific item(s), activity or habit from your time of prayer and fasting. For example, you may choose to eliminate red meat, processed or fast food, or sweets. It could also involve fasting from an activity or habit, such as television watching, or social media.
Daniel FastThe Daniel fast is a great model to follow that proves to be extremely effective for spiritual focus, bodily discipline and purification in the body and soul. It is probably one of the most commonly referred to types of fasts, however within the term “Daniel Fast”, there is room for broad interpretation. In the book of Daniel, we find two different times where Daniel fasted, once in Daniel 1 and again in Daniel 10. Daniel 1 states that he ate vegetables and water, and in Daniel 10, while the passage does not give a specific list of foods that Daniel ate, it does state that Daniel ate no rich (or choice) foods as well as no meat or wine. So based on these two verses, we can see that either of these, or any variations in between constitutes a fast. Again, there is nothing “inherently spiritual” about one type of fast as opposed to another. It is important to seek God in prayer and follow what the Holy Spirit leads you to do.
A juice fast is when no solid food is consumed and instead involves the intake of vegetable juices, fruit juices and water.
A water fast is eating no foods and drinking no liquids except water for a period of time. Extreme precautions should be taken with a water fast and should be done under the direction supervision and monitoring of your physician.
A total fast is where nothing – neither liquid, solid food or even water is consumed for a period of time. We do not recommend total fasting as this can be very dangerous to your health. Attempting to go without water especially, for any period of time can be extremely harmful to the body.
Duration and Extent of Your Fast
The 21 day fasting period is intentionally designed to be flexible. As with choosing what type of fast you will be undertaking, it is important to also decide ahead of time how long you will be fasting and to what extent you will be fasting. Some people may choose to fast at one level all 21 days or culminate with a special 3 day fast at the end. Others choose to fast one week out of the 21 days, or even fast once or twice a week throughout the 21 day period. This is a personal decision and one that should be prayerfully considered.