Getting Started

A Beginner’s Guide to Biblical Fasting

Biblical fasting is a spiritual discipline that has been practiced by believers throughout the ages. It’s more than just abstaining from food; it’s about drawing closer to God, seeking His guidance, and deepening your faith. Whether you’re new to fasting or looking to refresh your understanding, this guide will provide you with the foundational principles and practical tips to get started.

Understanding Biblical Fasting

1. What is Fasting? Fasting, in a biblical sense, involves voluntarily giving up food (and sometimes drink) for a set period. It’s an act of worship and dedication to God, aimed at spiritual growth, repentance, and seeking divine intervention.

2. Biblical Foundations The Bible offers numerous examples of fasting:

Moses fasted for 40 days and nights while receiving the Ten Commandments (Exodus 34:28).

Daniel fasted and prayed for understanding and revelation (Daniel 10:2-3).

Jesus fasted for 40 days in the wilderness, preparing for His ministry (Matthew 4:1-2).

Fasting is not commanded but is highly recommended as a way to humble oneself before God (Psalm 35:13), seek His face earnestly (Daniel 9:3), and draw closer to Him (James 4:8).

Types of Fasts

1. Absolute Fast This involves abstaining from all food and drink. It is the most stringent type of fast and is typically only done for short periods (e.g., Esther 4:16).

2. Normal Fast This is the most common type, where you abstain from all food but continue to drink water (Luke 4:2).

3. Partial Fast Also known as the Daniel Fast, this involves abstaining from certain types of food, such as meat, sweets, or rich foods, while still consuming vegetables and water (Daniel 10:3).

4. Intermittent Fast This is a modern approach where fasting occurs during specific hours of the day. For instance, you might fast for 16 hours and eat during an 8-hour window.

Preparing for a Fast

1. Pray for Guidance Before you begin, pray for clarity on the purpose of your fast. Ask God to reveal what He wants to achieve in your life through this spiritual discipline.

2. Set Clear Goals Determine why you are fasting. It might be for personal repentance, spiritual growth, seeking God’s direction, or interceding for others. Having a clear goal will help you stay focused and motivated.

3. Start Small If you’re new to fasting, consider starting with a partial fast or a short-duration fast (e.g., one meal, a single day). Gradually build up to longer fasts as you become more comfortable with the practice.

4. Prepare Physically Gradually reduce your food intake a few days before starting your fast to ease the transition. Stay hydrated and plan your fast during a period where you can minimize physical exertion and stress.

During the Fast

1. Focus on Prayer and Scripture The primary purpose of fasting is to draw closer to God. Dedicate the time you would spend eating to prayer, Bible study, and worship. Meditate on scriptures that speak to your purpose for fasting.

2. Stay Hydrated If you’re doing a normal or partial fast, drink plenty of water. Dehydration can lead to dizziness and fatigue, so it’s crucial to maintain your fluid intake.

3. Keep a Journal Document your experiences, prayers, and any insights or revelations you receive. This will help you reflect on your journey and see how God is working in your life.

4. Be Mindful of Temptations Fasting can bring physical and spiritual challenges. When you feel tempted to break your fast, remind yourself of your goals and seek God’s strength through prayer.

Breaking the Fast

1. Ease Back into Eating After a prolonged fast, reintroduce food gradually. Start with light meals such as soups, fruits, and vegetables to avoid overwhelming your digestive system.

2. Reflect and Give Thanks Spend time reflecting on what you’ve learned and how you’ve grown spiritually. Thank God for His guidance and any answers or insights you received during your fast.

3. Apply Your Insights Use the revelations and lessons from your fasting period to make positive changes in your life. Whether it’s a renewed sense of purpose, deeper faith, or a clearer direction, let the experience shape your walk with God.


Biblical fasting is a powerful spiritual discipline that can lead to profound personal and spiritual growth. By understanding its biblical foundation, preparing thoughtfully, and approaching it with a humble heart, you can deepen your relationship with God and experience His presence in new and meaningful ways. Remember, the journey of fasting is personal, and God’s grace will guide you every step of the way.