Your time for fasting and prayer has come. You are abstaining from
all solid foods and have begun to seek the Lord. Oddly enough, this
is the very moment when some sense a little letdown-an uneasy feeling
that says, “Well, here I am. Now what do I do?”
Permit me to share some helpful suggestions to consider while you
First, restrict your activity. Rigorous exercise such as
cycling, fast walking, and jogging come highly recommended with
programs that offer special diets for health and weight loss-but
not for fasting. If you engage in strenuous labor, you may want
to fast only one day during the week, limiting yourself to partial
Second, expect to visit the “facilities” often.
Drinking plenty of fluids will necessitate this. Once you stop eating,
your bowels cease normal functions. And, once you start eating again,
the digestive tract resumes its normal movements.
Third, be prepared for mental discomforts. You will experience
some inner conflict when you deny yourself the pleasure of eating
delicious food. During a three-day fast, this struggle can intensify
toward the end of the second day. You can also expect the enemy
to oppose you-whispering thoughts that test your resolve. When this
happens to you, invite the Lord to cleanse your mind with His blood
and empower you with His Holy Spirit.
Fourth, expect physical discomforts. You may experience
a case of the physical “blahs” during the first few
days. If so, sip water and juices frequently, rest while seeking
strength in prayer, worship and God's Word.
No two fasts will be exactly alike. You may experience some struggles
during one fast that do not appear the next time. The degree of
difficulty you may experience seems to depend on your spiritual
and physical condition at the time.
How Long Should I Fast?
The New Testament offers no detailed guidance on how long to go
without food for spiritual purposes. If you have never fasted, I
encourage you to start slowly.
May I Tell Others About My Fast?
Jesus gave His instructions for prayer and fasting in Matthew 6.
Some interpret this passage to mean that it is wrong to let others
know we are fasting. But Jesus was dealing with the hypocrisy of
the Pharisees who made prayer and fasting a point of ritual and
boasting to demonstrate their piety.
In this passage, Jesus is not forbidding us to tell others of our
fasting. Rather, He is saying, “Avoid boasting and acting
superior to others. Fasting is not an occasion to demonstrate your
spirituality or to gain glory for yourself.”
If we limited our prayers to the “closet,” we would
have no church prayer meetings. I want to encourage believers to
fast and pray together in large numbers in their churches so they
will be an inspiration to others.
Break Your Fast
When your designated time of fasting is finished, you will begin
to eat again. But how you break your fast is extremely important-both
for your physical and spiritual well-being.
If you end your fast gradually, as you should, the beneficial physical
and spiritual effects will linger for days. But if you rush into
eating solid foods-and the prospect of food can cause you to do
that-you may experience diarrhea, sickness, fainting and even death
due to shock. This is especially true of an extended fast.
Every fast has its struggles, discomforts, spiritual victories and
failures. In the morning you may feel like you are on top of the
world, but by evening you may be wrestling with the flesh-sorely
tempted to raid the refrigerator and counting how much longer you
have to go. Especially if you are new at fasting. This is the time
to step outside for some fresh air and a moderate walk of a mile
If you fail to make it through your first fast, do not be discouraged.
Quitting a fast may only mean that you may have tried to fast too
long the first time out, or that you need to strengthen your understanding
and resolve. As soon as possible, undertake another fast until you
Expect a Change in You
Most people experience a measure of revival as a result of fasting.
But just as we need fresh infillings of the Holy Spirit daily, we
also need new times of fasting before God. A single fast is not
a spiritual cure-all. John and Charles Wesley advocated fasting
two days a week to “keep the flesh under” and to maintain
the closeness with God that fasting brings.
I encourage you to join me in fasting and prayer again and again
and again until we truly experience revival in our homes, our churches,
our beloved nation and in the world.
[Excerpt from Chapter 10, The Coming Revival by Bill Bright]
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