How to Begin Your Fast: Steps 1-4

Dr. Bill Bright

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 the Lord more meaningful and spiritually rewarding.

Step 1: Set an Objective for Your Fast

Why are you fasting? Is it for spiritual renewal? For guidance? For healing? For the resolution of problems? For special grace to handle a difficult situation? Ask the Holy Spirit to clarify what He wants you to take away from this time. This will enable you to pray more specifically and strategically.

Through fasting and prayer, we humble ourselves before God 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: Commit to Your Fast

Pray about the kind of fast you should undertake. Jesus implied that all of His followers should fast (Matthew 6:16-18; 9:14-15). For Him, it was a matter of when, not if, believers would fast. Before you fast, decide the following:

  • How long you will fast — one meal, one day, a week, several weeks, forty days? (Start slowly and build up to longer fasts.)
  • The type of fast God wants you to undertake, such as water only or water and juices, as well as 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 God’s Word.

Making these commitments ahead of time, write them down and share them with someone you trust. This helps you sustain your fast when physical temptations and life’s pressures tempt you to abandon it.

Step 3: Prepare Yourself Spiritually

The foundation of fasting and prayer is repentance. Unconfessed sin will hinder your prayers. Here are several things you can do to prepare your heart:

  • Ask God to help you make a comprehensive list of your sins.
  • Confess every sin that the Holy Spirit reminds you of and accept God’s forgiveness (1 John 1:9).
  • Seek forgiveness from anyone you have offended and forgive anyone who has hurt you (Mark 11:25; Luke 11:4; 17:3-4).
  • Make amends with people as the Holy Spirit leads you.
  • Ask God to fill you with His Holy Spirit according to His command in Ephesians 5:18 and His promise in 1 John 5:14-15.
  • Surrender your life fully to Jesus Christ as your Lord and Master and refuse to obey your worldly nature (Romans 12:1-2).
  • Meditate on the attributes of God — His love, sovereignty, power, wisdom, faithfulness, grace, compassion and other qualities (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 people should never fast without professional supervision.

Physical preparation makes the drastic change in your eating routine a little easier so you can turn your full attention to the Lord in prayer. Remember the following:

  • Do not rush into your fast.
  • Prepare your body. Eat smaller meals before starting a fast. Avoid high-fat and sugary foods.
  • Eat raw fruits and vegetables for two days before starting a fast.

Next: While You Fast

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