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A Bit of How To (When you Fast – Part 10)

Jesus said:

But you, when you fast, anoint your head, and wash your face so that you may not be seen fasting by men, but by your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will repay you. (Matthew 6:17-18 NASB)

Today I am going to detail seven types of fasting. Yes, I know I could have milked this for another couple weeks, but these descriptions won’t take that long, and besides, if I keep talking about fasting, I might feel compelled to give up a meal – sheesh – that would be over doing it.

1) The “Darius Fast,” a.k.a. the “Royal Fast.” The name come from when Daniel was in the lion’s den, and King Darius was upset.

Then the king went off to his palace and spent the night fasting, and no entertainment was brought before him; and his sleep fled from him. (Daniel 6:18 NASB)

Kris Vallotton of Bethel Church in Redding, CA, a favorite preacher of mine, jokingly talks about this fast often. He will tell you he has been doing a “Royal Fast,” where he fasted all night and then “broke fast” in the morning.

It is pretty funny, but there is some validity here. How many times have you tossed and turned in worry all night long because something big was happening in the morning? What if rather than toss and turn sleeplessly, you got up and spent the night in earnest prayer over that issue. Turn your fear into faith directed activity, until faith rises and sleep comes.

2) The “Water Fast.” This is what most people think of when they think fasting. Your basic zero calorie fast. When I do this, I often will have coffee or tea, and plenty of water. If you stay hydrated you can do this for a reasonable period of time.

There are many Christians who practice this one or the next one on a weekly basis. They will pick one day a week, and abstain from food. It would be good to plan your day in order that the temptations of food are less likely, and perhaps it would be a day when you were already scheduled for prayer – like a Church prayer meeting day, or a home group prayer day or something like that.

3) The “Liquid Fast.” Similar to above, only you would add in juices and broths. As I will reiterate when we get to the “rules” of fasting tomorrow, you set your own standard, so you can take this to any extent you want.

I remember we called a fast once, and a number in the group had never tried it before, and when we said liquids only, they spent the day drinking milk shakes. You know what. The fast still had a as great an impact on them, as it did on the ones who went on water only, and it was a great starting place.

This type of fast can be maintained for long periods of time. I know people who have done 40 days on a water fast. That is hard core, and if you plan to try long water fasts, you will need to modify your activities because you will run out of resources. A liquid fast is much more doable.

4) The “Daniel Fast.” Remember in the beginning of the Book of Daniel when he and the rest of the best of the Jews were taken into captivity and press into service of the Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon. They were required to eat the kings meets which they knew might have been sacrificed to idols. Daniel threw down a challenge to the manager in charge to withhold from them the kings meet and his dainties (teehee – sorry that just strikes me funny.)

So the Daniel fast is the giving up of meets, breads and desserts. This one can also be done for long periods of time, since you body is getting nourishment, and you can continue to be active.

5) The “Benedictine Fast.” This is a traditional fast that has been used by various religious groups across the ages. It originated with the Benedictine order (bet you didn’t guess that) and put simply it is one meal per day. It is very similar to the fast that Muslims observe during Ramadan as I understand it, though I am not expert on either Muslim or Catholic traditions. But this is a valid fast, and after a good period of time will be just as fruitful.

6) The “Total Fast.” No food, no water – nothing! This can and should only be done for a very short period of time. Any more than a day or two is dangerous.

7) Finally what I would call the “Material Fast.” This would be the giving up of some thing or activity for a period of time to devote more of your time and resources to the Lord. Many Catholics practice this during lent. When I was a kid, I would hear about my classmates giving up Chocolate or TV during lent.

For years I did not think this was valid as a form of fasting, but for those who due to age or health restrictions can not do dietary fasting, I have found it to have the same effects in those with an honest heart and godly mind set.

Tomorrow I will finish this series with a few more details and precautions.

Thanks much for sticking with this for so many days.

See you tomorrow.


0 thoughts on “A Bit of How To (When you Fast – Part 10)


    I never really want to fast but usually am ecstatic with the results. A funny thing happened the last time: while I was fasting, I wasn't tired or grumpy (as usually happens). But then after it was over, the next day when I was eating, then I got tired. ???

    1. Ben Nelson

      Yeah - What often happens to me, if i am going longer than 1 day, i am not hungry till the last day - then i am like this beast - LOL

      Mike Bickle talks about a grace for fasting, and sometimes i think i force my way through even though i have no grace for it

      Grace for it does not mean you are not hungry, but you just have a stronger will and intention, i think

      Thanks for the comments - we are all helped as we share experience.


  2. Debbie

    This is a blessing, Ben, as I guess I thought it HAD to be just one way, or else I had failed. Thanks! Also, I had heard once that a way to think of fasting is to consider fasting from our own will and doing His. 🙂 God bless you!

  3. Caddo Veil

    Hi Ben! I've printed this out so I can pour over it, with a glass of diet Pepsi (not sure whether that would constitute a fast, or whether fasting from it, would be the ticket). Seriously, though--I'm much more encouraged than when we started this series. As I've said before, you're a wonderful teacher--you're nice and clear (and you're "nice", too) and you don't shun humor, which helps when a subject might be difficult. Thanks for working so hard on our behalf--and of course, I'll be here for the wrap up--and whatever you have up your sleeve, next series! God bless you and the fam--love, sis Caddo

    1. Ben Nelson

      Thanks for the encouragement, and i am glad you stuck it out - this batch got off to a slow start, i know, but there are times when you need a little infrastructure, as we are learning in the East

        1. Ben Nelson

          well - my son takes the train to school in Hoboken, and that line is down "indefinitely" there are 3 train lines up and running - one south, one north and one to the west from NYC into Jersey.

          I do know some folks who still don't have power, and just learned of a good friend whose small business took a huge hit, and he is not sure what is next for him.

          it's nothing like the devastation of Katrina for most of us, but some lost everything, and for them it might as well be.

          Have a great weekend girl.



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