Memory Verse: And I set my face unto the Lord God to seek by prayer and supplications, with fasting, and sackcloth and ashes”-Daniel 9:3.
Bible Passage: Daniel 10:2-3.
Fasting, in the bible, is total abstinence from pleasure-giving activities for a set time, to devote oneself to seeking God. While there are many ways believers could fast, too often, the focus is on abstinence from food. In this lesson, we shall examine different types of biblical fast, basic cautions and reasons for fasting.
- TYPES OF FAST IN THE BIBLE.
2. REASONS AND BASIC CAUTIONS.
TYPES OF FAST IN THE BIBLE
- Food fast: This is abstinence from food /drinks. It may take the form of:
a. Regular fast: this is done by abstaining from all foods, both solid and liquid (2 Chro. 20:3). The fast is usually broken daily or periodically (Jer. 36:6).
b. Partial Fast: This is inspired by Prophet Daniel. All meat and animal products are disallowed. The Daniel Fast includes vegetables, legumes, whole grains, seeds, and water. These guidelines are based on Daniel’s request of “nothing but vegetables to eat and water to drink” (Daniel 1:8-14).
c. Absolute or Full Fast: Where no food or water is consumed (Esther 4:16; Acts 27:33). For instance, Moses, Elijah, and the Lord Jesus Christ did a forty days absolute fast (Deuteronomy 9:9; 1 Kings 19:7-8; Luke 4:2).
2. Sex fast: The Bible also refers to ‘sexual fast’ (Ex. 19:15). A married couple can mutually agree to abstain from sex for a short period to devote themselves to prayers (1 Cor. 7:5).
3. Pleasure Fast: Another way is to confine or isolate oneself from people and pleasurable things to a place as a means of worship, studying the bible and praying to God for a purpose (Luke 2:36-37;5:16). Time alone with God requires discipline.
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REASONS AND BASIC CAUTIONS
Fasting is far more about focusing on God than abstinence from food and other things that gives pleasure (Zech. 7:5). Also, people fast for various reason. Some for spiritual strenght (Is. 40:30-31), supernatural revelation, wisdom and understanding (Ezra 8:21, Daniel 9:22), supernatural breakthrough (Zech. 8:19), repentance from sinful ways (Joel 2:12-13; Daniel 9:3-5), spiritual hunger and demonstration of love for God’s people and burden for souls (2 Cor. 11:27-28; Matt. 5:6) and sharing with the poor and destruction of wicked works among others (Is. 58:6-7).
Believers should exercise some cautions while fasting. For instance, fasting should be limited to a set time and a clear purpose (1 Cor. 7:5; Esther 4:16). It is neither intended to punish the body nor a dieting method (Is. 58:5) but to redirect attention to God. It is a period to give up self-indulging activities for a deeper fellowship with God (Matt. 4:1-2). Anyone can fast , but some may not be able to fast from food (Diabetes for example). However, everyone can temporarily give up something to draw closer to God (Ex. 19:10). Biblical fast is to be done in a spirit of humility and joyfulness (Matt. 6:16-18). It should not be to manipulate or do evil (Is. 58:4a; Acts 23:21). In breaking ‘absolute and long fast’, warm liquids, (not carbonated drinks) are advised and should be taken in bits.
CONCLUSION: Ask God for wisdom (James 1:5) as regards how and for how long and what purpose he wants you to fast.
- Mention the types of fast in the Bible.
- Mention three reasons believers fasted in the Bible.
ASSIGNMENT: Mention five (5) benefits that can be derived from fasting (2×5=10 Marks).
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