Guest post by Rev. Kenneth Copeland
Fasting is a willingness to separate yourself from the things of this world and put your focus solely on the Lord. It has been a powerful spiritual tool used by Christians and ministry leaders the world over and was modeled in biblical contexts throughout Scripture in times of trial, in seeking divine direction, and for deliverance from sin and evil.
The spiritual benefits and rewards of fasting are clear. But not only does it open the door to greater revelation through the Holy Spirit, our bodies are actually designed to live a fasted lifestyle. According to Dr. Don Colbert, fasting provides many health benefits, as well. Before you begin a fast, it is important to put yourself in a position to receive from God spiritually. You can do this by using this six-step checklist for fasting.
1. Decide the type of fast.
- If you’ve been desiring to embark on a spiritual fast but haven’t known when it is appropriate or where to start, the first thing you want to do is decide the type of fast you want to do and for how long. You can approach a spiritual fast several different ways: A fast doesn’t have to be long. It can be one meal, 24 hours, three days or longer, as the Lord leads.*
- You may participate in a corporate fast or an individual fast.
- A regular fastinvolves abstaining from all food and only drinking water.
- A juice fastincludes abstaining from all food, but allows for drinking fruit juices and herbal tea.
- A partial fastinvolves fasting particular items, such as coffee and desserts, or restricting your eating to vegetables only, for example.
*People who are pregnant or have health problems should consult their doctors before fasting from food. For more information, see Dr. Don Colbert’s advice on how to stay healthy while fasting.
Some people are concerned about the discomfort of going without food. Certainly, this is part of learning to subdue your flesh, resist temptation and hear God more clearly. But keep in mind, the more often you fast, the easier it will become. It is meant to be a lifestyle—something that is done regularly, and when you follow the leading of the Holy Spirit, God will give you the grace to overcome the flesh.
2. Decide the purpose of the fast.
No matter what you are seeking from the Lord, decide the purpose of the fast before you begin. Find God’s promises that cover your situation, and believe you receive before the fast begins. If you are seeking revelation, expect to receive it. If you need deliverance, determine to receive it during your time of fasting.
3. Proclaim your fast before the Lord.
To proclaim your fast before the Lord, simply open your fast in prayer—dedicating this time to Him and expressing a desire to fellowship with Him. Whether proclaimed or personal, it must be declared before God. Otherwise, you will be tempted to break it. This must be a decision of quality. Say, “Father, with You as my Helper, in the Name of Jesus, I have settled this today, and until this time tomorrow food will not pass my lips.” Once you have made that firm commitment, you will stick by it.
4. Believe you receive the reward of the fast.
The reward will probably be related to the first step. The purpose of the fast will have a great deal to do with the rewards involved. If you are fasting for revelation knowledge, the reward would be receiving the knowledge you desire. The key is to believe you receive the reward!
5. Minister to the Lord during your fast.
A biblical fast is a precious time for a believer to minister to the Lord. How? “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord” (Colossians 3:16, KJV).One of the best things you can do to learn how to minister to the Lord during your fast is to read and pray from the Psalms because the Psalms speak of God’s mighty works.
When you begin to praise and minister to Him, He will get involved with you! You need to fellowship with Him. He needs to hear praise and thanksgiving—and so does your spirit!
6. Minister to others after the fast.
As God leads, it’s always a good idea to minister to others afteryour fast. If you fast according to the Word of God, you will be spiritually built up, and now you can use the spiritual power within you to meet the needs of other people.
You may be tempted to think after your fast, Well, I’m never going to fast again. I didn’t receive a thing from God during the whole time I was on that fast.Yes, you did. Now, minister to other people, and you will find out that you did receive from God. As you minister, you will see that the power of God is great upon you!
When you use this six-step checklist for fasting according to God’s Word, you will see and reap the results of your spiritual fast for years to come. You will think that you must surely be the most blessed person in the world. Things will come to you for which you have not even prayed or asked God. And as with any biblical fast, your Father will reward you!