How to Begin Your Fast
Sanctify ye a fast, call a solemn assembly, gather the elders and all the inhabitants of the land into the house of your Elohim, and cry unto YWHW . Joel 1:14
Moreover when ye fast, be not, as the hypocrites, of a sad countenance: for they disfigure their faces, that they may appear unto men to fast. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.17. But thou, when thou fastest, anoint thine head, and wash thy face;18. That thou appear not unto men to fast, but unto thy Father which is in secret: and thy Father, which seeth in secret, shall reward thee openly. Matthew:6:16-18
How you begin and conduct your fast will largely determine your success. By following these seven basic steps to fasting, you will make your time with Yahweh through Yahshua more meaningful and spiritually rewarding.
STEP 1: Set Your Objective
Why are you fasting? Is it for spiritual renewal, for guidance, or healing, for the resolution of problems, for special grace to handle a difficult situation? Ask the Ruach Ha Kodesh to clarify His leading and objectives for your prayer fast. This will enable you to pray more specifically and strategically.
Through fasting and prayer we humble ourselves before Yahweh so the Holy Spirit will stir our souls, awaken our churches, and heal our land according to 2 Chronicles 7:14. Make this a priority in your fasting.
STEP 2: Make Your Commitment
Pray about the kind of fast you should undertake. Yahshua implied that all of His followers should fast (Matthew 6:16-18; 9:14,15) For Him it was a matter of when believers would fast, not if they would do it. Before you fast, decide the following up front:
- How long you will fast - one meal, one day, a week, several weeks, forty days (Beginners should start slowly, building up to longer fasts.)
- The type of fast Yahweh wants you to undertake (such as water only, or water and juices; what kinds of juices you will drink and how often)
- What physical or social activities you will restrict
- How much time each day you will devote to prayer and Yahweh's Scriptures
- Making these commitments ahead of time will help you sustain your fast when physical temptations and life's pressures tempt you to abandon it.
Prepare Yourself Spiritually
The very foundation of fasting and prayer is repentance. Un-confessed sin will hinder your prayers. Here are several things you can do to prepare your heart:
- Ask Yahweh to help you make a comprehensive list of your sins.
- Confess every sin that the Ruach Ha Kodesh calls to your remembrance and accept Yahweh's forgiveness (1 John 1:9).
- Seek forgiveness from all whom you have offended, and forgive all who have hurt you (Mark 11:25; Luke 11:4; 17:3,4)Make restitution as the Holy Spirit leads you.
- Ask Yahweh to fill you with His Ruach Ha Kodesh according to His command in (Ephesians 5:18 and His promise in 1 John 5:14,15).
- Surrender your life fully to Yahshua Ha'Mashiach as your Master and Savior; refuse to obey your worldly nature (Romans 12:1,2).
- Meditate on the attributes of Yahweh, His love, sovereignty, power, wisdom, faithfulness, grace, compassion, and others (Psalm 48:9,10; 103:1-8, 11-13).
- Begin your time of fasting and prayer with an expectant heart (Hebrews 11:6).
- Do not underestimate spiritual opposition. Satan sometimes intensifies the natural battle between body and spirit (Galatians 5:16,17).
STEP 4: Prepare Yourself Physically
Fasting requires reasonable precautions. Consult your physician first, especially if you take prescription medication or have a chronic ailment. Some persons should never fast without professional supervision. Physical preparation makes the drastic change in your eating routine a little easier so that you can turn your full attention to Yahweh in prayer.
- Do not rush into your fast.
- Prepare your body. Eat smaller meals before starting a fast. Avoid high-fat and sugary foods.
- Eat raw fruit and vegetables for two days before starting a fast.
While You Fast
Your time of fasting and prayer has come. You are abstaining from all solid foods and have begun to seek Yahweh through Yahshua. Here are some helpful suggestions to consider:
- Avoid drugs, even natural herbal drugs and homeopathic remedies. Medication should be withdrawn only with your physician's supervision.
- Limit your activity, Exercise only moderately
- Walk one to three miles each day if convenient and comfortable.
- Rest as much as your schedule will permit.
- Prepare yourself for temporary mental discomforts, such as impatience, crankiness, and anxiety.
- Expect some physical discomforts, especially on the second day. You may have fleeting hunger pains, dizziness, or the "blahs." Withdrawal from Caffeine and sugar may cause headaches.
- Physical annoyances may also include weakness, tiredness, or sleeplessness.
- The first two or three days are usually the hardest. As you continue to fast, you will likely experience a sense of well-being both physically and spiritually. However, should you feel hunger pains, increase your liquid intake.
STEP 5: Put Yourself on a Schedule
For maximum spiritual benefit, set aside ample time to be alone with Yahweh. Listen for His leading. The more time you spend with Him, the more meaningful your fast will be.
- Begin your day in praise and worship.
- Read and meditate on Yahweh's Word, preferably on your knees.
- Invite the Ruach Ha Kodesh to work in you to will and to do His good pleasure according to (Philippians 2:13).
- Invite Yahweh to use you. Ask Him to show you how to influence your world, your family, your set apart assembly, your community, your country, and beyond.
- Pray for His vision for your life and empowerment to do His will.
- Return to prayer and Yahweh's Word.
- Take a short prayer walk.
- Spend time in intercessory prayer for your community's and nation's leaders as well as your spiritual leaders, for the world's un-reached millions, for your family or special needs.
- Get alone for an unhurried time of "seeking His face."
- If others are fasting with you, meet together for prayer.
- Avoid television or any other distraction that may dampen your spiritual focus.
- When possible, begin and end each day on your knees with your spouse for a brief time of praise and thanksgiving to Yahweh. Longer periods of time with Yahweh in prayer and study of His Word are often better spent alone.
5 a.m. - 8 a.m.
Fruit juices, preferably freshly squeezed or blended and diluted in 50 percent distilled water if the fruit is acid. Apple, pear, grapefruit, papaya, watermelon, or other fruit juices are generally preferred. If you cannot do your own juicing, buy juices without sugar or additives.
10:30 a.m. - noon
Fresh vegetable juice made from lettuce, celery, and carrots in three equal parts.
2:30 p.m. - 4 p.m.
Herb tea with a drop of honey. Avoid black tea or any tea with caffeine.
6 p.m. - 8:30 p.m.
Broth made from boiling potatoes, celery, and carrots with no salt. After boiling about half an hour, pour the water into a container and drink it. Tips on Juice Fasting Drinking fruit juice will decrease your hunger pains and give you some natural sugar energy. The taste and lift will motivate and strengthen you to continue.
he best juices are made from fresh watermelon, lemons, grapes, apples, cabbage, beets, carrots, celery, or leafy green vegetables. In cold weather, you may enjoy a warm vegetable broth.
Mix acidic juices (orange and tomato) with distilled water for your stomach's sake. Avoid caffeinated drinks. And avoid chewing gum or mints, even if your breath is bad. They stimulate digestive action in your stomach.
Breaking Your Fast
When your designated time for fasting is finished, you will begin to eat again. But how you break your fast is extremely important for your physical and spiritual well-being.
STEP 6: End Your Fast Gradually
Begin eating gradually. Do not eat solid foods immediately after your fast. Suddenly reintroducing solid food to your stomach and digestive tract will likely have negative, even dangerous, consequences. Try several smaller meals or snacks each day. If you end your fast gradually, the beneficial physical and spiritual effects will result in continued good health.
Here are some suggestions to help you end your fast properly:
- Break an extended water fast with fruit such as watermelon. While continuing to drink fruit or vegetable juices, add the following:
- First day: Add a raw salad.
- Second day: Add baked or boiled potato, no butter or seasoning.
- Third day: Add a steamed vegetable.
- Thereafter: Begin to reintroduce your normal diet.
Gradually return to regular eating with several small snacks during the first few days. Start with a little soup and fresh fruit such as watermelon and Cantaloupe. Advance to a few tablespoons of solid foods such as raw fruits and vegetables or a raw salad and baked potato.
A Final Word
STEP 7: Expect Results
If you sincerely humble yourself before Yahweh, make teshuvah/repent, pray, and seek Yahweh's face; if you consistently meditate on His Word, you will experience a heightened awareness of His presence (John 14:21). Yahweh will give you fresh, new spiritual insights. Your confidence and faith in Yahweh will be strengthened. You will feel mentally, spiritually, and physically refreshed. You will see answers to your prayers.
A single fast, however, is not a spiritual cure-all. Just as we need fresh infillings of the Holy Spirit daily, we also need new times of fasting before Yahweh. A 24-hour fast each week has been greatly rewarding to many believers.
It takes time to build your spiritual fasting muscles. If you fail to make it through your first fast, do not be discouraged. You may have tried to fast too long the first time out, or your may need to strengthen your understanding and resolve. As soon as possible, undertake another fast until you do succeed. Yahweh will honor you for your faithfulness.
I encourage you to join us in fasting and prayer again and again until we truly experience revival in our homes, our set apart assemblies, our beloved nation, and throughout the world.
The above fasting guidance is just one example or suggestion among many. Others are certainly possible. Shalom and may The Most High God Bless you as you endeavor during your fast.