WHAT IS A FAST?
*Fasting is the spiritual discipline of giving something up to help us focus on God.
A “fast” is a time that an adult may set aside “to go without” food.
It may also be a time that is set aside to “go without” something that you like a lot, that is special to you or takes up a lot of your attention and time so that instead you can focus and give that attention to God.
Fasting is a willing abstinence from food for a period of time. It is one of the most abused, and less use of all practices of Jesus. Yet for millennia, it was a core practice of apprenticeship. We live in a culture, not only of food, but of excess, luxury, and addiction. For so many of us, the desires of our body have come to hold power over us. In the battle with our “flesh,” we have become a slave, not its master.
HOW LONG DO PEOPLE FAST?
A person may fast a day, a week or even a month. Some people have fasted longer than that.
HOW DOES A PERSON FAST?
There are many ways to fast. Some people go without eating food and just drink water during a fast. Some people may go without solid food only, meaning they will drink only water, juice and fruit or protein shakes. Some people may choose to fast only a certain meal every day.
Other people may fast certain types of foods, like meat, sweets and coffee.
WHO CAN FAST?
Anyone can choose to fast. A fast is a personal decision. That means that it is something between that person and God.
CAN FAST THINGS OTHER THAN FOOD?
Yes. Some people may fast (or “go without”) things other than food.
Other things that someone may fast might be time spent watching TV or doing something they really like.
WHAT DOES THE BIBLE SAY ABOUT FASTING?
There are a lot of Scriptures about fasting in the Bible. Jesus even fasted!
Matthew 6:16-18 actually says, “when you fast”, not “if you fast”.
Some other Verses that talk about fasting are:
What to eat on a Daniel Fast:
Vegetables and fruits (fresh/frozen are best. Potatoes, beans, and protein supplements assist with substance)
Pure fruit/vegetable juices (no sweetened drinks or juices)
It is good to take vitamins, herbs, and/or mineral supplements
Fresh juicing and natural smoothies (non dairy)
What not to eat on a Daniel Fast:
Meats, fish, poultry, dairy products, eggs
Sugar products (soft drinks, desserts, processed/sweetened foods)
Liquids including caffeine (coffee, tea, sodas, energy drinks or powdered drinks)
HYDRATION: 8 glasses of water daily are essential from beginning to end.
***There will be side effects at the beginning including headaches, nausea, and weakness. These are evidence your body is detoxing impurities. Taking pain relievers could be helpful here.
Eat a good evening meal at whatever time is convenient to you.
Abstain from all foods until mid-afternoon the next day.
Continue to drink liquids at all times.
Pray at your normal breakfast and lunch times.
CAN A KID FAST?
Kids should not fast (or “go without”) food because their bodies are growing and it’s important that they eat well and have good nourishment.
A kid should not fast a meal without their parents permission.
What kinds of things can a kid fast?
A kid can fast other things instead of meals, like candy and sweets. Also things like, soda, popcorn, chocolate, ice cream, or any of favorite foods.
Other things kids may want to fast can be watching TV, playing with certain toys & video games, technology (computers and cell phones) and/or social media.
What are some things I can do during the fast?
Set aside time to talk to God in prayer.
Not only talk to Him, but also be quiet, still and listen with your spirit.
Read the Bible, (this is another way God speaks to us).
Listen to praise and worship music or songs about God.
What are some “Do’s and Don’ts” of fasting for kids?
First, always ask God what YOU should or shouldn’t do.
DO spend time with Him in prayer, the Word and quiet time
DO listen to praise and worship music.
DO things that show God you love him like:
Feed the hungry (volunteer at Manna House)
Pray for other people.
Obey your parents.
Do your chores without complaining.
DO tell someone if you’re not feeling well.
DON’T fast meals or food without getting your parents permission.
DON’T eat certain foods or snacks you have decided not to eat.
DON’T show off to your friends that you are fasting. Remember this is a special personal time between you and God.
Some things to ask God during your prayer time:
What can I give up for a day or a week to show you that I love you?
What do You want me to do with the time I am setting aside for You?
Is there anyone special You want me to talk to about You or serve in a special way?
Is there anyone that is hungry or in pain I can help today?
Is there anything in my life that does not please you that I can get rid of?