Video courtesy of THE BEAT by Allen Parr

Fasting has been an important spiritual practice in Christianity for centuries. However, it is often misunderstood.

Fasting isn’t just about abstaining from food. There are different types of fasting, each with its unique benefits.

From the traditional water fast to the more modern intermittent fast, understanding the different types of fasting can help you add this practice to your life in a way that suits your lifestyle.

In this article, I’ll explore what the Bible says about fasting, the different types of fasting, and how you can practically apply fasting to your life for spiritual growth.

So, if you’re ready to deepen your spiritual connection and enhance your physical and mental well-being, read on to discover the different types of Bible fasting.

The Spiritual Benefits of Bible Fasting

Fasting In The Bible

Fasting has numerous spiritual benefits, including drawing closer to God, seeking divine direction, and spiritual renewal.

In Matthew 6:16-18 (NIV), Jesus teaches about the importance of fasting and says it should be done in secret, without seeking attention or recognition from others.

16 “When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show others they are fasting. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. 17 But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, 18 so that it will not be obvious to others that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.

Fasting is a personal and private act that should be done with a pure heart and sincere motives.

When you fast, you should humble yourself before God and acknowledge your dependence on Him.

Fasting will also help you break free from addictions, overcome spiritual blockages, and make you more sensitive to the Holy Spirit.

The Different Types of Bible Fasting – Absolute, Partial, and Intermittent

Fasted And Prayed

There are three types of fasting mentioned in the Bible: absolute fasting, partial fasting, and intermittent fasting.

  • Absolute fasting is the complete abstinence from food and water for a specific period.
  • Partial fasting is abstaining from certain types of food or drinks for a set amount of time.
  • Intermittent fasting is a modern approach to fasting that involves alternating periods of fasting and eating.

1. Absolute Fasting – What It Is and How to Do It

This type of fasting is most commonly associated with the biblical account of Esther, who called for a three-day absolute fast before approaching the king on behalf of her people.

“Go, gather together all the Jews who are in Susa, and fast for me. Do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my attendants will fast as you do. When this is done, I will go to the king, even though it is against the law. And if I perish, I perish.”

Esther 4:16 (NIV)

Absolute fasting requires careful preparation. It is recommended to start with shorter periods of absolute fasting and gradually increase the duration.

Consult your doctor if you are on any kind of medication before you attempt this fast.

2. Partial Fasting – What It Is and How to Do It

Partial fasting involves abstaining from certain types of food or drinks for a set amount of time. This type of fasting can be tailored to fit individual preferences and needs.

Some examples of partial fasting include:

  • The Daniel fast: you abstain from meat, sweets, and wine for 21 days.
  • The wet fast: you abstain from solid food and drink only water for a specific period: 1 day, 3 days, 5 days, 7 days, or more.
  • The bread and water fast: you only consume bread and water for a specific period.

Partial fasting will help you to develop:

3. Intermittent Fasting – What It Is and How to Do It

Intermittent fasting is a modern approach to fasting that involves alternating periods of fasting and eating.

There are different methods of doing intermittent fasting:

  • The 16/8 method: you fast for 16 hours and eat during an 8-hour window.
  • The 5:2 method: you eat normally for five days and restrict calorie intake to 500-600 calories on two non-consecutive days.

Intermittent fasting has numerous health benefits, including:

  • Weight loss
  • Improved metabolic health
  • Longevity

How to Prepare for Prayer And Fasting

Kind Of Fast

Before starting a fast, it is essential to prepare both physically and spiritually.

  • Physically: gradually reduce food intake and avoid processed foods, caffeine, and alcohol several days before the fast begins. It is also recommended to drink plenty of water to stay hydrated.
  • Spiritually: pray and seek God‘s guidance before embarking on a fast. It is also helpful to set specific goals and intentions for the fast.

How to Break a Fast

Breaking a fast is just as important as the fast itself.

  • You should always break your fast gradually. Start with small amounts of easily digestible foods such as soups, fruits, or vegetables.
  • Avoid overeating or consuming heavy foods immediately after a fast.

Common Misconceptions about Bible Fasting

There are some misconceptions about Bible fasting:

  • It is a form of punishment.
  • It earns God’s approval.

Fasting should not be done to impress others. Instead, it is an act of sacrifice and humility that should be done with pure motives and a sincere heart.

Practicing Biblical Fasting in Your Daily Life

Fasting I Have Chosen

Bible fasting is a powerful tool for spiritual growth and physical health.

  • Start by setting specific goals and intentions for your fast and seek God’s guidance and direction.
  • Choose a type of fast that suits your lifestyle and preferences, and gradually work your way up to longer durations.
  • Remember to prepare both physically and spiritually and to break your fast gradually.

Over the past 25 years, I’ve tried all these types of fasting. The one I find most effective is the Esther Fast—three full days and nights with no food or water.

By doing this challenging fast a few times a year, God has healed me of diabetes and high blood pressure.

Today my blood sugar and BP are normal. Plus, I have way more energy and feel years younger.

My prayer life has improved and I now understand the Bible so much better.

The Esther Fast is my fave, but really all these fasting styles from the Bible have amazing health and spiritual benefits.


I hope this overview has equipped you to start reaping the incredible benefits of fasting.

With some preparation, wise precautions, and reliance on the Holy Spirit, adding occasional fasting can enhance your walk with God.

Determine any specific goals or breakthroughs you want to pursue through fasting.

As you humble yourself and devote extended time to seek God through heartfelt prayer and fasting, expect to encounter His presence and power in new ways.

Frequently Asked Questions About Fasting In The Bible

Q. What does the Bible say about fasting?

A. The Bible encourages fasting with passages like Matthew 6:16-18, Acts 13:2, and Joel 2:12. It is referenced over 70 times.

Q. Why should Christians fast?

A. To deepen devotion to God through dedicated prayer. To humble ourselves before God. To seek His guidance or breakthrough. For revival and spiritual renewal.

Q. What are the guidelines and best practices for fasting?

A. Pray and fast with specific spiritual goals in mind. Be discreet – don’t broadcast your fasting. Start small and build up. Stay hydrated. Break the fast gradually with healthy foods.

Q. Can fasting be harmful?

A. Fasting can be harmful if it’s done improperly without medical guidance. Those with medical conditions should never fast from food and water without consulting a medical doctor.

Q. What are some tips for successful fasting?

A. Start with shorter fasts. Create time in your schedule for extra prayer time. Journal your insights during the fast. Stay accountable to someone. Limit physical exertion. Get adequate rest.

Q. What is the significance of fasting in the Bible?

A. Fasting in the Bible is a spiritual practice that involves abstaining from food or certain types of food for some time as an act of devotion, repentance, or seeking God’s guidance.

Q. Are fasting and prayer always connected?

A. Yes, fasting and prayer go hand in hand in the Bible. Fasting is a way to intensify one’s prayers and seek a closer relationship with God.

Q. What does it mean to mourn during fasting?

A. Mourning during fasting refers to a state of deep sorrow or grief expressed through fasting. It can be a way to show remorse for sins or seek God’s comfort and guidance.

Q. How long did Jesus fast for?

A. Jesus fasted for forty days and forty nights in the wilderness before he began his public ministry. This period of fasting is often seen as a time of spiritual preparation and testing.

Q. How does fasting relate to worship?

A. Fasting can be seen as an act of worship when it is done with a sincere heart and motivation to seek God’s presence and will. It is a way to express devotion and humility before God.

Q. What does it mean to proclaim a fast?

A. To proclaim a fast means to publicly announce or declare a period of fasting for a specific purpose or intention. It is often done collectively by a group or community.

Q. Who were the Pharisees and how did they practice fasting?

A. The Pharisees were a group of religious leaders mentioned in the New Testament who were known for their strict adherence to religious laws, including fasting.

They often fasted publicly to be seen by others rather than focusing on the spiritual aspect of fasting.

Q. Does fasting only appear in the Old Testament?

A. No, fasting is mentioned in both the Old and New Testaments of the Bible. It is a spiritual practice that transcends time and is relevant to believers in various periods.

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