“Help Me Understand Fasting”

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The spiritual discipline of fasting is new to me and I have several questions about it.

1. When I felt the Spirit move me to fast I was unsure of the direction. I often hear that still small voice and try my best to follow it immediately. Do I need a specific direction in order to fast?

2. I usually fast for 24 hours but I had a pastor suggest we fast for our government officials for half a day. Other than divine direction is there a specific duration that is acceptable?

3. If I fast for a specific desire, not a worldly type but a family type desire, will God honor it if I unconsciously slip and eat then repent and continue fasting?

4. Are there wrong reasons to fast, other than selfish reasons of course?

1. When I felt the Spirit move me to fast I was unsure of the direction. I often hear that still small voice and try my best to follow it immediately. Do I need a specific direction in order to fast?

No. But it might be good to be still before Him, in listening prayer, asking, “What more do You want to tell me about fasting, Lord?” Then listen until He gives further word.

2. I usually fast for 24 hours but I had a pastor suggest we fast for our government officials for half a day. Other than divine direction is there a specific duration that is acceptable?

We operate under grace. The Lord is pleased with whatever you give Him, as long as it’s His idea and His power and not something you do in your own flesh (in your own power without relying on Him). There is no prescribed length of time for a biblical fast; divine direction is the ONLY way to go! When someone makes a suggestion, go to the Lord and ask Him, “Is this what You want me to do?” The answer will either be a green light, yes, go ahead, or a red light, a check in your spirit, and He has a different answer for you.

3. If I fast for a specific desire, not a worldly type but a family type desire, will God honor it if I unconsciously slip and eat then repent and continue fasting?

I believe so. He judges our hearts and knows our intentions. He wants us to succeed more than we do! There is NO condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus (Rom 8:1), so just pick yourself up again and keep on going.

4. Are there wrong reasons to fast, other than selfish reasons of course?

Other than self-centered reasons? Only disobedience. For instance, a person might have good and godly intentions to fast, but the Lord says don’t. He knows that he has a blood sugar imbalance but the person doesn’t, and fasting would be dangerous.

Hope this helps!

Sue Bohlin
Probe Ministries

Sue Bohlin

Sue Bohlin is an associate speaker/writer and webmistress for Probe Ministries. She attended the University of Illinois, and has been a Bible teacher and conference speaker for over 40 years. She is a frequent speaker for MOPS (Mothers of Pre-Schoolers) and Stonecroft Ministries (Christian Women's Connections), and serves on the board of Living Hope Ministries, a Christ-centered outreach to those dealing with unwanted homosexuality. Sue is on the Bible.org Women's Leadership Team and is a regular contributor to Bible.org's Engage Blog. In addition to being a professional calligrapher, she is the wife of Probe's Dr. Ray Bohlin and the mother of their two grown sons. Her personal website is suebohlin.com.

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Probe Ministries is a non-profit ministry whose mission is to assist the church in renewing the minds of believers with a Christian worldview and to equip the church to engage the world for Christ. Probe fulfills this mission through our Mind Games conferences for youth and adults, our 3-minute daily radio program, and our extensive Web site at www.probe.org.

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