Are you interested in doing a spiritual fast but not sure how to do it or which one to do? This series on fasts has covered six of nine types of Biblical fasts. Let’s look at the last three types of fasts.
Previously, we covered these six fasts:
- The Disciples’ Fast
- The Ezra Fast
- The Samuel Fast
- The Elijah Fast
- The Widow’s Fast
- The St. Paul’s Fast
Today we will learn about:
- The Daniel Fast
- The John the Baptist Fast
- The Esther Fast
Before we go any further, let’s recap the ‘purpose of fasting.’ A lot of people fast to lose weight and that’s fine, if that is your purpose. But if you want to connect with God, to have God move on your behalf from heaven to earth, then a spiritual fast is the way to do it. What does that mean? Fasting is more than ‘not eating’, a spiritual fast includes prayer.
From 3 Types of Biblical Fasts: Part 1:
In Isaiah 57, God acknowledges the Hebrew children’s repentant heart and in chapter 58, He repeats their question as they asked why He didn’t notice their fasting and His reply is that when they fasted, they were fulfilling their own pleasure and oppressing their workers. Not only that, they were quarreling and fighting among themselves and hitting each other! Of course, God would not acknowledge their fasts.
God responded in Isaiah 58:5-8 stating that the fast that He chooses is to do war in the heavenlies. That is, to loose the bands of wickedness, undo heavy burdens, let the oppressed go free and break the heavy yoke. It is so much more than ‘just another day’. God’s fast is a day of interceding on behalf of others, even yourself! It is to see the downtrodden lifted up, the addicted set free from bondage, those who are sick and diseased to be healed, and for the light of the Word of God to shine in dark places. God wants His children set free from the chains that enslave them.
Last Three Biblical Fasts
Remember, these fasts are models stemming from Isaiah 58:5-8. They are not exclusive but rather, they are a great beginning to fasting with prayer for specific purposes.
The information for this series is taken from a book by Mr Elmer Towns, Fasting for Spiritual Breakthrough. If you haven’t read this book yet, you should put it on your list as it is a great resource of information on the various Biblical fasts.
In fact, as I continue to read this, there are fasts that I could have done for certain situations in my life. I’ll be keeping this book on my end table, not tucked away on my bookshelf.
Amazon link: Fasting for Spiritual Breakthrough (This is not an affiliate link.)
The Daniel Fast
This fast is amazing! There is so much here concerning this fast that you need to get the book as I can’t copy it all out!
The Daniel Fast is for health and healing, either we are in need of healing or we want preventative measures to keep us from getting sick or contracting a disease.
Good health begins with a proper diet and the Bible gives us principles of healthy eating. When Daniel and his friends fasted they ate only the necessities to
- cleanse the digestive system,
- rest the body and
- renew the system.
The foundation of the Daniel Fast is
- prayer and
There are eight steps in conducting this type of fast plus five principles to remember when on this fast. For example, this fast will lead to spiritual insight. Daniel and his friends had received knowledge and understanding as God gave them wisdom during the duration of their fast.
The Daniel Fast is longer than one day and could be up to ten days. Poor health didn’t happen overnight so it may take a few days to see a renewed state of health. You may even have to do this fast more than once. Remember, too, that this fast is a partial fast and consists of fruit and vegetables along with nuts and seeds. No meat or dairy products or junk food as this is a return to basic nutrition.
The John the Baptist Fast
What do you remember about John the Baptist? That he was beheaded? Do you remember why? John had told Herod that it was not lawful for thee to have her (Herodias, his brother Phillip’s wife), Matthew 14:3-4. This angered Herodias and when Herod had a birthday party for himself, his niece pleased him with her dancing so he offered her anything she wanted. After she consulted with her mother, she asked for the head of John the Baptist.
This Fast is for the conviction of those who wrong us and for us to be influential for God.
1 Peter 3:16 Having a good conscience; that, whereas they speak evil of you, as of evildoers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ.
Isaiah 58:6, 8 Is not this the fast that I have chosen? to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke? 8 Then shall thy light break forth as the morning, and thine health shall spring forth speedily: and thy righteousness shall go before thee; the glory of the Lord shall be thy reward.
Our prayer is that God will reach those who are against us, against our stand in Christ. We can do this through prayer and fasting asking God to work out the details of the injustice and turn it to justice. Criticism is also an aspect of this. When others criticize us for our stand, we can take it to God who will deal with it for us.
It is important that believers desire to establish an effective testimony. The scripture in 1 Peter, above, commends us for having a good testimony. John the Baptist had a great testimony as there is no recorded sin against him. Jesus said, in Matthew 11:11, that there is no one greater than John the Baptist (my paraphrase).
As I am reading the specifics of this type of fast, I see great value in it for believers. The heart of any fasting is sacrifice and deep prayer. We may not always see the results of our fasting right away and may have to fast more than once but God will answer.
The prescription for the John the Baptist Fast contains eight steps and one of them is a Christ-centered testimony. This Fast is amazing and is one that I will be considering for the purpose of being influential for God.
The Esther Fast
How to explain the Esther Fast in a brief paragraph or two? The story begins with Queen Vashti and how she dishonoured her husband, King Ahasuerus and all the princes who met with him. They made two decisions (1) to send a memo to all the households that the wives were to honour their husbands and (2) to replace Queen Vashti with another young woman. Enter Esther into the picture, however, to make a long story short, the King loved Esther (Esther 2:7) and he made her queen instead of Vashti.
To shorten the story, Esther’s heritage was not known for at least two years and when Haman was ignored by Esther’s uncle Mordecai, he sought to destroy all the Jews by a decree of the King. When Mordecai heard of this, he appeared before the Lord in fasting and prayer (my paraphrase of Esther 4:1-3). Thus the Esther Fast was born out of persecution against the Queen and her people.
Persecution is also known as Satanic attacks which hurt the work of God in several ways. The Esther Fast may be used as a protective weapon against the demonic. When Christians are harmed physically, mentally or emotionally, they need protection which is one purpose of the Esther Fast (page 159 in Fasting for Spiritual Breakthrough).
This Fast is for obtaining protection of epic proportion, not for daily temptations or dangers.
If you are wanting daily protection, Jesus said to pray for it in Matthew 6:13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil:.
Whose side are we on? And who is on our side? We need to know this beyond a shadow of a doubt if we want to emerge the victor. Performing The Esther Fast is a statement of whose side we are on and who we place our faith and trust in.
The prescription for the Esther Fast contains nine steps as well as four practical principles to remember. All details can be found in Mr Towns’ book, Fasting for Spiritual Breakthrough.
Wrapping it Up
As we bring this series to a close, I want to remind you that fasting is advantageous for Christians. Not only will it help our mental health giving us clarity of mind, it will also help our gastrointestinal health as unhealthy toxins are purged from our system. Healthy food, naturally grown, is what our body craves and when utilizing a partial fast, we are able to balance our intestinal system with whole food.
But more than the food aspect, the prayer aspect is crucial in our development as well. Our time with God will grow deeper as we seek Him through prayer for the answers we need. God has the solutions He desires to give us if we would only make the sacrifice through prayer and fasting.
Once again, I encourage you buy the book, Fasting for Spiritual Breakthrough by Elmer Towns. You won’t be disappointed!
Amazon link: Fasting for Spiritual Breakthrough (This is not an affiliate link.)
As always, I invite your comments. What do you think about a spiritual fast? Have you fasted in the past and seen the results you were looking for? Are you considering fasting again and now, with a more specific focus? Leave me a comment as I would love to hear from you.