There are different types of fasts in the Bible. Three basic types are described below:
- Absolute – This involves abstaining from food and water, as was done by the Apostle Paul, Mordecai and other Jews. Normally this fast should not last more than 3 days. Examples: “For three days Paul was blind, and did not eat or drink anything” (Acts 9:8, 9), Moses (Deuteronomy 9:9), Israel (Ezra 10:6), Israel (Esther 4:16).
- Normal – This involves abstaining from food, solid or liquid, but not water. Example: Jesus “ate nothing during those days, and at the end of them was hungry” (Luke 4:2).
- Partial – A partial fast is a restriction of diet of certain foods or a meal a day and filling that space up with prayer. It can be from 6:00 am to 3:00 pm or from sun up to sundown (6:00am to 6:00pm). Examples: Daniel “so the guard took away their choice food and the wine they were to drink and gave them vegetables instead” (Daniel 1:16; Daniel 10:3). This is also called the ‘Daniel Fast.’ Like Daniel did, you can decide to eat only vegetables and fruits; drink water and juice; but no other food.
FASTING AND YOUR HEALTH
We recommend that you always consult your physician prior to beginning any type of fast. If you have concerns about your physical ability to fast or have poor health, we especially urge you to consult a physician before beginning your fast. There are different types of fasts recommended and explained in this page. Your doctor can provide advice on how you can fast in a way that is healthy for you. Biblical fasting should never be done to impress anyone. True fasting is between you and God.