Now that you’ve heard about the grace of fasting, these simple guidelines can help you start.

Tips for Fasting

by Adam Wittenberg
7/2/15 Christian Living

This is part 2 of a 3-part series on the foundations of fasting. Read Part 1.

Now that you’ve heard about the grace of fasting—how it works for us, strengthens us in God, and fills us with more of Him—you may want to give it a try (or try it again). These following simple guidelines can help you start.

1. Fast Quietly
Jesus told His followers to look “normal” when fasting, so that they would attract the attention of God, not men (Matthew 6:16–18). Part of fasting is to spend less time with food and more time with Him, so it can help to skip meal times and social gatherings, especially if you are new to fasting. Take a prayer walk or read your Bible during lunch—whatever keeps your mind on God and off food. When temptations come, or people invite you to eat, graciously decline and keep talking to the Father—the source of grace and strength to fast!

Fasting isn’t to make us miserable, but to help us delight in God, who loves to give good gifts to His children (Matthew 7:11).

2. Fast Regularly
Plan to fast regularly, one day per week if you can. Pick a day that fits your schedule, a day that won’t interfere with office parties or family gatherings, such as Sunday dinner. (If you’re called to a longer fast and need to miss an important social meal, talk it over with your family in advance; if the relational cost is too high, God may give you grace to eat lightly at the meal and then continue fasting once it’s done).

Some fast an entire day each week, such as Tuesdays; others do twenty-four hours, from dinner one day until dinner the next. Whichever way you choose, be sure to keep at it! Regular fasting builds devotion and will impact your heart over time, bringing a good harvest (see Galatians 6:7–9).

A note on breaking your fast: Even one-day fasts should be broken gently, by eating a small meal and stopping at the first sign of feeling full. Fasting is best done as a lifestyle, not something that’s one-and-done. Eating less sugar and processed foods during the week can lessen hunger pangs and cravings during your fast. Healthy eating habits are especially important if you want to fast more than one day per week or do longer fasts.

3. Feast on God and His Word (Matthew 4:4)
If we fast without taking in more of God, it’s little more than dieting! Fasting is a divine exchange, where we give up the pleasures of food for the superior pleasures of knowing and loving God more. Only He can satisfy our deepest longings, and He alone is our greatest need (John 4:14; Luke 10:42).

Fasting does make us look different—we eat less and spend more time in prayer, worship, and study—but we are strengthening our inner man, our spirit, while weakening our flesh (2 Corinthians 4:16–18). Setting a vision for your fast—spiritual breakthrough, a renewed heart, or simply more of God—can help keep your focus on the Lord.

If possible, fast with a friend, so you can study and pray together and encourage one another. Use the time (and money, if you are led) that you would normally spend on food to give to God and His purposes (Isaiah 58:6–12, for example).

Sometimes intercession, evangelism, and prophetic words flow more easily during a fast because our spirits are more alert and our flesh is weakened.

Two more tips: Ask God which type of fast to do (The Rewards of Fasting describes five types of fasting on pages 77–78; see the free ebook link below), and don’t give in to fear because “the fear of fasting is far worse than the fasting itself,” as Mike Bickle says.

Up Next: How to Overcome Challenges in Fasting (Part 3 of 3)

Disclaimer: This is not intended as medical advice; please check with your doctor before fasting if you have any health issues or concerns. Minors are discouraged from fasting food, but should only fast with their parents’ approval and supervision.

For additional resources, you can read Mike Bickle’s book The Rewards of Fasting (free download) and IHOPKC’s Fasting Guidelines as well as listen to teachings about fasting on The Mike Bickle Library.

Adam Wittenberg


    A Detroit native who was raised in Vermont and Connecticut, Adam worked as a newspaper journalist until 2012, when he moved to Kansas City to complete the Intro to IHOPKC internship. Afterwards, he earned a four-year certificate in House of Prayer Leadership from IHOPU and is now on full-time staff in the Marketing department at IHOPKC. He also serves in the NightWatch (overnight prayer hours) and is active in evangelism. He, and his wife Stephany, have a vision to reach people everywhere with the good news of Jesus Christ.

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