21 day fast: GUIDELINES
UNITED IN CHRIST. CAPTIVATED BY LOVE.
FASTING IS BIBLICAL
The practice of regular fasting as normal Christian behavior was taught by Jesus (Mt. 6:16–17, 9:15), exercised by the early church (Acts 13:2), and has been the regular discipline of believers throughout church history. The practice of fasting in Scripture usually includes, but is not limited to abstinence from food (Dan. 10:3) and may be engaged in for varying durations—typically for no more than a few days at a time. Abstaining from all food for extended periods of time is biblical, but was rare and unusual in Scripture (Ex. 34:28; 1 Kgs. 19:5-8; Lk. 4:2), and thus should never be undertaken without counsel and appropriate supervision. The same standard applies to an absolute fast (Esther fast—no food or water for three days) of any duration (Est. 4:16). The maximum length of an adult fast that is biblically supported is forty days without food for a male adult in good health, and three days without water. The Bible does not speak of children engaging in fasting food.
TYPES OF FASTING
(Note the captivate fast is a Daniel type fast)
DANIEL FAST: no meats, no sweets and limited portions. (Dan. 10:3)
WATER ONLY: Jesus was 40 days in the wilderness with nothing to eat. Undoubtedly, He had a water source, but still, He did not eat for 40 days. (Luke 4:1-3)
ESTHER FAST: no food and no water (limited to three days). (Est. 4:16)
HELPFUL TIPS BEFORE FASTING:
PERMISSION: Seek advice and permission before the fast. Seek medical advice before the fast, especially if you have any existing medical concerns or conditions. If you are under 18 years of age, discuss your desire to fast with your parents. Spiritual covering, submission, and unity are important factors when fasting. Discuss your plans with your church leaders. Remember, fasting is an attitude of the heart! Ask them if they would consider fasting with you.
HUMILITY: Fast and pray in order to humble yourself and purify your worship. In fasting we are not trying to get something from God, but seeking to realign our hearts’ affections with His. In fasting we can more readily say, “We love you, Lord, more than anything in the world.” Lust of any kind is perverted worship, but fasting enables us to cleanse the sanctuary of our hearts from every other rival.
DON’T ASK & DON’T TELL: Don’t boast about your fast. Let people know you won’t be eating only if necessary (Mt. 6:16–18).
BREAK YOUR FAST GRADUALLY: Break your fast gradually. At this point you will need to exercise watchful self-control. Break your fast on a meal that is light and easy to digest (i.e., a pound of grapes, a shredded apple, watermelon, or steamed vegetables).
CAREFUL: People who have struggled with eating disorders in the past should undertake any fasting with wisdom and caution. Fasting should not be used as a motive for weight-loss; it is important to enter back into “normal” healthy eating after a long fast (as described in the previous section).