There are different types of fasts mentioned in the bible and different ways in which you can fast which we will examine in this article.
Fasting means voluntarily refraining from eating and drinking for a certain time, with the aim of drawing closer to God and invoking his blessings. When you fast from time to time it is very healthy for the body and helps your mind to be more active.
What is fasting?
Fasting is a temporary deprivation of food, and/or drink, as well as “carnal inclinations”, in order to spend time in the presence of God by devoting oneself to prayer and meditation on the Bible. The first mention of voluntary fasting is in the book of Samuel and relates to King David who refused to eat until God saved the son of Uriah’s wife.
The Savior Jesus Christ taught that fasting with purpose is something deeper than just refraining from eating and drinking, fasting is also concentrating on spiritual purposes.
When we take the time to fast, we should also pray, for prayer is an indispensable part of a true fast. In the Bible, fasting and prayer are repeatedly mentioned together. Therefore, if you want to better understand God’s will and develop greater spiritual strength, your fast must be accompanied by sincere prayer, which is why it is necessary that you begin and end your fast with a prayer.
For fasting to have a deeper and more spiritual meaning, it must be done with a specific purpose, or it can also have several purposes. Through fasting, accompanied by sincere prayer, we can overcome weaknesses, and dominate our body and mind, it helps us to have the strength of character, and we learn to control our appetites and our passions or find the solution to a problem. On some occasions, you can fast to ask for help or guidance for other people, for example, for a family member, friend, or acquaintance who is sick or afflicted by some situation and needs prayer.
Fasting can also help us comfort ourselves in times of sorrow and pain, it helps us to be humble, develop more faith, and with that faith, you can have greater spiritual power and feel closer to God.
3 Different Types of fasts in the Bible
According to the scriptures, there are different ways in which you can fast, which we will examine below. It is important that you can be honest with yourself about your physical health before starting a fast, it is recommended that you consult a doctor so that your health is not affected later.
1. Partial Fast
As the word partial indicates, this type of fast consists of refraining from eating only some foods, in order to eat simply in a way that avoids excesses, avoiding eating in large quantities only for physical pleasure, and taking care of our body from harmful or addictive substances that cause harm to our body and spirit.
In the bible, we can find the prophet Daniel, who made the decision not to take any type of meat, wine, or very elaborate delicacies. Thanks to this decision made by Daniel, he was visited by the Angel Gabriel, who gave him comfort and strength in addition to revealing prophecies for the end times.
With this type of fast, God teaches us that we must take care of our body from things that can harm both the body and the spirit, it is also an option for those who cannot do a complete fast and can then refrain from consuming certain foods.
And I turned my face to the Lord God, seeking him in prayer and supplication, in fasting, and sackcloth and ashes…. (Daniel 9:3)
In those days I, Daniel, mourned for three weeks.
I did not eat fine bread, nor did meat or wine enter my mouth, nor did I anoint myself with ointment, until the three weeks were completed. ( Daniel 10:2-3).
You may have noticed that this type of fast can be done for a longer time or even a lifetime since it does not wear out or endanger your physical health, but rather it will strengthen you in all aspects, both spiritual and temporal.
2. Absolute/Dry fast
This type of fast is what the majority of the disciples of Jesus Christ who do not have any physical impediments do. Because it is a total fast where no food is consumed or drunk, it is done for less time, usually for a period of 24 hours, but it can also be done in periods of 6 or 8 hours depending on the spiritual level and physical of the person. It should not be done for longer than indicated as it can be dangerous to health.
In the Bible, we can see that on one occasion the people of Judah fasted for three days.
Go and assemble all the Jews who are in Susa, and fast for me and do not eat or drink for three days, night or day… (Esther 4:16).
When fasting for several days, keep in mind that it is important to drink water. This type of fast is well known in the Christian world because you do not eat any food but you can drink water. For this reason, people can extend the fast longer.
Although it is not mentioned in the scriptures, some think that this type of fast was the one that Jesus Christ performed for 40 days and 40 nights. Notice that in Matthew 4:1-2 the following is mentioned:
Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil. And after fasting 40 days and 40 nights, he was hungry.
Since it is not mentioned that he was thirsty, it is thought that he drank water during this period of time.
We can also see that in the book of Mark 1:13 it says that the Angels in the desert served him (some suppose among other things that they served him with water).
2 Other types of fasting
Other types of fasting are recorded in the Holy Scriptures which do not refer to food or drink. These are aimed at putting aside, either for a time or for the rest of life, things or activities that have nothing to do with food.
For example, stop having sex for a certain time in the marriage to dedicate yourself to prayer, it is important that this type of decision is made in mutual agreement with the couple.
Another example in these times can be a fast from social networks, from television, or from any other activity, where you could at that time get closer to your creator, understand his will and acquire the strength to follow him and be in communion with him.
As you have seen, there are different types of fasts and several ways in which you can fast, the most important thing is that when you give yourself the time to do it, prepare yourself physically and be able to focus your mind and body on the will of God. In this way, you can be spiritually strengthened and understand what He expects and desires for you.