Fasting often involves not eating certain foods, but you can choose a variety of other options. The main purpose is to turn our attention away from things that normally distract us so that we can enter into God’s presence as we depend on Him.
Type 1: Food Fasts
Note: Take precaution if you have underlying health issues: If you take prescription medicine or have a serious medical condition, consult your doctor before a food fast. Before you start: you don’t want to cause harm to your body by going “cold turkey.” 1-2 days before you start the fast, try to avoid high fat, sugary foods, eat more raw fruits and vegetables, and eat smaller meals. Drink plenty of water before and during your fast. Doing this will help you be able to concentrate on the spiritual aspects of the fast (not so focused on the physical issues).
- Regular fast: we go without food, drinking only water or liquids that have no calories.
- Liquid fast: we go without solid foods and drink only light liquids, such as fruit juices. Some good options are fresh juice from watermelon, lemons, apples, beets, carrots, leafy green vegetables, etc.. In cold temperatures, try warm veggie broth. Most people do not include dairy products. Avoid caffeinated drinks, and if you drink highly acidic liquid like orange or tomato juice, water it down.
- Partial fast (aka the Daniel fast) from Daniel 10:2-3: we abstain from rich foods like “meats, sweets, and dairy,” and eat whole foods such as vegetables, nuts, seeds, fruit, whole grains, and water. Those with hypoglycemia or other medical conditions can engage in a partial fast by creatively choosing foods that are safe for you.
- Benedict Fast (from Saint Benedict of Nursia, Italy, 500s AD): we eat only one meal each day. Many monks in the monasteries of Europe lived this way for years and had strong bodies and even stronger spirits.
TYpe 2: media Fasts
When we choose to limit what content we read or watch, it creates more space to connect with the Lord. You can try different variations of these, or even do all 3!
- Entertainment fast: not watching screens (TV, phone, tablet, etc.) for entertainment, and using them only for work or necessary tasks.
- Social Media fast: turn off notifications from your Social Media, or even uninstall the apps.
- News fast: abstaining from reading articles/watching videos about the news. We turn off notifications or uninstall apps that distract us.
TYpe 3: Schedule Fast
Simplify your days! Go through your schedule, and see what you can cut out to make more time for Jesus. This can look like decreasing screen time, shopping, social outings, etc.
TYpe 4: SPENDING Fast
This fast is about mindfulness with spending. This can look like not making new purchases, and even donating things that you aren’t using and use it to tithe to a ministry or nonprofit.