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What is Fasting?


The Bible defines fasting as giving up food and/or drink for a certain amount of time for spiritual purposes. When I think of the word fasting, what comes to mind is giving up food and only drinking water for a few hours. This is what some would say is normal fasting. I participated in a normal fast for school. It was around the final exam week; my grandmother and I would turn down our plates and only drink liquids for twelve hours. We did it for about four days. When we finished fasting, I did well on my exams and passing the classes.

The Daniel fast (Daniel 1:5-21 NIV) lasted for ten days. Daniel and three other people were given nothing but vegetables to eat and water to drink. When the ten days were up, Daniel and friends looked healthier and better nourished. Verse 17 says that God gave them knowledge and understanding of all kinds of literature and learning, and Daniel could understand visions and dreams of all kinds. This way of fasting is called partial fast. Partial fasting is only eating certain food/drinks or abstaining from certain kinds of foods (e.g., no meat or sweets, fruits, and vegetables, etc.).

Another type of fast and the one you should cautious of is an absolute fast. An absolute fast is not taking in any food or water. You should only participate for about three days and if you have a clear command from the Lord while you are in good health.

Koinonia is participating in a corporate fast where the church has been called by God to fast together during a certain length of time. Packets have been prepared to provide guidelines for the fast and devotionals to guide our spiritual walk with God.

Before the fast:

  • Think about the purpose behind why you are fasting. There are plenty of reasons people fast: seeking God’s favor, repentance, spiritual strength, demonstration of our love for Jesus, etc.
  • Think about what food(s) and/or activities you are planning to give up and for how long.
  • Slowly start to cut down on the food(s) and/or activities you choose to give up. Be mindful that your body reacts when you remove particular foods from your diet.

During the fast:

  • Set aside time to worship and commune with God.
  • Keep a journal and write down any ideas, insights, instructions, or directions that He places on your mind and heart.
  • Remember to fellowship with God and listen.

I will be participating in my first corporate fast with Koinonia. I am uneasy because I do not know what to expect. However, I have made goals of the things I want clarification on and help with my direction after I graduate.

Contributor: T. Dozier-Grady


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