by Shelle Frelo
Some people take even the most pure of religious exercises and twist it to their own ends. Fasting is one of those religious acts which people have often misunderstood and misused. So let’s be sure that we are clear on what Biblical fasting is not:
It’s Not Physical or Psychological Discipline — God never tells people to fast as a purely physical discipline, i.e. dieting for the purpose of making the body beautiful or for some other physical benefit.
It’s Not A Manipulative Tool — Sometimes fasting is viewed as an attempt to twist God’s arm or to win His approval. But God doesn’t respond to pressure.
It’s Not A Hypocritical Religious Exercise — If you look closely into Jewish history the Pharisees would put on old clothes and cover themselves with dirt; they would cover their faces with white chalk in order to look pale; and they would dump ashes over their head as a sign of their humility!! Fasting had become a “look-at-how-spiritual-I-am” exercise.
Biblical Fasting Is:
Biblical fasting is a time for the Christian to fine tune their listening abilities. It is a time to praise God, worship God, and hear from God. As you study the “Why 40 days” section of this booklet you will see that thru fasting and prayer God was able to transform the lives of those who were earnestly seeking Him.
Types Of Fasting:
The Normal Fast:
There is only one fast command in the Bible and that was the fast on the Day of Atonement. This fast was from sunset of one day to sunset of the next day. Although many people choose this way of fasting since every other time mentioned in the bible are people who voluntarily fasted not by command from God.
The Partial Fast:
This type of fast, the emphasis is placed on restriction of diet, rather than abstaining
completely from eating.
(Daniel 1:15), (Daniel 10:3)
The Radical Fast:
This type of fast is done when the person refrains from both food and water OR food (but not water) for an extended period of time. This fast is very serious and must be done very cautiously.
Examples of these extreme fasts are:
Moses (Deuteronomy 9:9-18 and Exodus 34:28); Elijah (1 Kings 19:8); and Jesus (Matthew 4:1-11).