INFORMATION REGARDING FASTING
What is Biblical Fasting? Biblical fasting can be defined as abstaining from food for spiritual purposes. Simply going without food because it is not available or because of medical reasons is not biblical fasting. There must be a spiritual motivation to qualify a fast as Scriptural.
Some Biblical Examples & Purposes of Fasting
- Jesus fasted to acknowledge His dependence and to gain spiritual strength through reliance on the Holy Spirit and God’s Word. He did this before He began His public ministry (Luke 4:1,2). – Nehemiah fasted for confession, repentance, and favor in the sight of the king to get permission to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem (Nehemiah 1:4).
- David humbled himself for God to intervene because of injustice (Psalm 35:13). In 2 Samuel 12:17,23, he fasted for healing and miraculous intervention.
- Mordecai and the Jews fasted upon hearing news of Haman’s wicked plot for their extermination (Esther 4:3).
- The Early Church fasted while worshiping and committing their ministry to the Lord. They also sought the Lord through fasting for guidance, confirmation and the appointment of elders (Acts 13:2; 14:23).
- Jesus expected His disciples to fast, but He did not command it (Matthew 6:16).
Wrong Motivations in Fasting
- To be seen by others (Matthew 6:18). “The critical issue is not whether people know you are fasting but whether you want them to know so that you can bask in their admiration.”
- To be justified by God (Luke 18:12-14). There once were two men. One said, “I fast twice a week.” The other said, “God be merciful to me a sinner.” Only one went down to his house justified.
- To be commended to God (1 Corinthians 8:8). Food will not commend us to God; we are neither the worse if we do not eat, nor the better if we do eat. Fasting does not cause us to “earn” something from God, but it helps us to be more receptive to what He wants to do in and through us. 4.
Right Motivations for Fasting
- Spiritual strength against an enemy attack.
- To break demonic bondage. “This kind does not come out except by prayer and fasting” (Matthew 17:21, Holman Christian Standard Bible).
- To awaken a spiritual hunger for God that may be dulled because of a “desire for other things.”
- To test and see what desires control us.
- To forfeit good things for the better and best.
- To express our ache for His return. Jesus said, “I have food to eat that you know nothing about” (John 4:32, New International Version).
- To demonstrate our love and desire for God above all things (even His gifts).
- To divide our bread with the poor. “To house the homeless poor, to loosen bonds of wickedness, to let the oppressed go free” (Isaiah 58:6,7).
Daniel Fast Overview:
Foods To Include:
These can be fresh, frozen, dried, juiced or canned. Fruits include but are not limited to apples, apricots, bananas, blackberries, blueberries, boysenberries, cantaloupe, cherries, cranberries, figs, grapefruit, grapes, guava, honeydew melon, kiwi, lemons, limes, mangoes, nectarines, oranges, papayas, peaches, pears, pineapples, plums, prunes, raisins, raspberries, strawberries, tangelos, tangerines, watermelon
These can be fresh, frozen, dried, juiced or canned. Vegetables include but are not limited to artichokes, asparagus, beets, broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, celery, chili peppers, collard greens, corn, cucumbers, eggplant, garlic, ginger root, kale, leeks, lettuce, mushrooms, mustard greens, okra, onions, parsley, potatoes, radishes, rutabagas, scallions, spinach, sprouts, squashes, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, turnips, watercress, yams, zucchini, veggie burgers (an option if you are not allergic to soy).
All nuts and seeds, including, but not limited to:
sunflower seeds, cashews, peanuts, sesame. Also, nut butters, e.g. peanut butter and almond butter. All legumes. These can be canned or dried. Legumes include but are not limited to dried beans, pinto beans, split peas, lentils, black eyed peas, kidney beans, black beans, cannellini beans, white beans.
All quality oils Including, but not limited to:
olive, canola, grape seed, peanut, and sesame.
Spring water, distilled water, or other pure waters.
Tofu, soy products, vinegar, seasonings, salt, herbs, and spices.
Optional to include:
All whole grains. Including, but not limited to, whole wheat, brown rice, millet, quinoa, oats, barley, grits, whole wheat pasta, whole wheat tortillas, rice cakes, and popcorn.
Foods To Avoid:
All meat and animal products. Including, but not limited to:
beef, lamb, pork, poultry, and fish.
All dairy products. Including, but not limited to:
milk, cheese, cream, butter, and eggs. All sweeteners. Including, but not limited to, sugar, raw sugar, honey, syrups, molasses, and cane juice.
All leavened bread:
Including Ezekiel Bread (it contains yeast and honey) and baked goods.
All refined and processed food products. Including, but not limited to:
artificial flavorings, food additives, chemicals, white rice, white flour, and foods that contain artificial preservatives.
All deep fried foods. Including, but not limited to:
potato chips, french fries, corn chips.
All solid fats:
Including shortening, margarine, lard, and foods high in fat.
Including, but not limited to, coffee, tea, herbal teas, carbonated beverages, energy drinks, and alcohol.
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