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Some Final Notes and Caveats (When you Fast – Part 11)

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)


Mike Bickle talks about the grace to fast. I have found this very helpful. Before you begin to fast, ask the Lord for grace for the fast. This will not necessarily take away the hunger pangs, but it will help you to keep focused on the end you have in mind.

Why fast:

Sometimes you may fast toward some end. Many have been fasting leading up to the recent election, adding to their fast prayer for our nation.

How long:

But for much of Christian History, a weekly day of fasting was part of the Christian life. I knew a couple when I was a young Christian who fasted every Tuesday and used it to pray together for their family. Now they did not take the day off and shut everything down. They just went about their business, but the moments when a desire for food popped up, they would stop and pray for their kids. Then in the evening they would take time together and pray through the life of their family.

Mike Bickle (sorry to keep going back to Mike, but he is one of the few teachers talking about this these days) asks (does not demand) that anyone on staff with IHOP fast once a week, and has recently upped this to two days per week.

There are times when a leader may call for an extended fast. Daniel tells of a 21 day fast, and there are numerous 40 day fasts in the Biblical record.


There is a little fine print that goes along with fasting and I would be remiss not to include it here.

First, PLEASE HEAR THIS – do not fall into condemnation! This is really important. This may also be the hardest part about fasting. If you are not in a solid habit of fasting, (and probably even if you are) you will blow it from time to time – maybe even every time. You will start out with the idea – I am going to fast for the day [this is what happened to me the other day] and someone will walk by with a box of donut holes, stick it in your face, and say, “wanna donut?”

Before your brain kicks in and says to your hand “we’re fasting today – politely decline – you are on your 2nd one.

Then you are like – I am an idiot!

Ok – get over it. At this point you can do 1 of 2 things.

1 – try again tomorrow

2 – go ahead and fast anyway

Next, understand that no where in the New Testament is fasting required. It is always voluntary. So lighten up. I only spent 2 weeks on it here because I don’t hear much teaching on it, and I thought it might help those who want to use this particular discipline.

With a couple of possible Old Testament stories, children are never required engage in a food related fast. Certainly there is room for the giving up of material things – entertainment, video games, or some part to their diet like desserts etc.

People with health issues (you know who you are) should only fast under the guidance of a doctor, and should feel no pressure to fast, if there are not physically able.

While Jesus tells us to keep our fasting to ourselves, there are times in the Word where Corporate fasts are called. Like praying, there is a segment of our walk with the Lord that belongs to the closet, and other parts that we can share.

If your leadership calls a fast, you are free to join, and walk in it. Most often, they will not require you to “sign up,” so you can still keep your participation between you and the Lord.

Well – I really did not expect that to take over 2 weeks. Please forgive me for camping here so long. I think I have officially gotten it out of my system now. I hope this helps!

Thanks so much for reading.

See you tomorrow.


Donut hole photo credit: calilily via photopin cc

0 thoughts on “Some Final Notes and Caveats (When you Fast – Part 11)

  1. Desiray

    It is so very refreshing to hear someone talk about fasting, normally you only hear it when the church is doing it and they want the congregation to join in. We as saints should fast much more than we do. I know when the year 2012 came in the Lord has me fasting for days when it was over I went on another fast...people don't fast much because they view it as missing a meal we have to kill the flesh and learn to press in to the Lord. We aren't going to press into the throne room if we are concerned about our bellies making noise because we don't eat or miss a meal. When you see these children and men, women in other countries who have gone weeks, months with nothing to eat and some of them are still here how can we who live in a Country have everything we can eat and yet get upset and won't give God a week of fasting because we are afraid we will miss our meal time...Our hearts needs to be changed and until we understand that many will not listen to the voice of God. Jesus fasted Daniel fasted and many others and we should as well. AMEN

  2. rev12v11

    Absolutely LOVE your reference to the donuts! 😉 That happens so often, and you just put it into real terms. I'm learning that our God's mercies never cease! And Ben, thank you for this teaching - it was well worth it! I've learnt much, and I pray that the word will reach the souls who need to hear this message. Bless you...

  3. Caddo Veil

    You wrapped this up wonderfully, Ben! I feel much better, as in less intimidated, than when we started--because I was sure in the beginning you pointed out the "WHEN", not "IF" you fast, and it was all I could do not to unplug my computer, heave it over the balcony and run for the hills. I should have remembered your very gentle heart. So I'm going to print this finale out, and just keep on keeping on with the Lord--asking Him if this is His next step for me, and for wisdom to work around health issues. Thanks a million for great teaching, and your kind, encouraging manner (you're at least as good as my Physics prof!!). God bless you and the fam--love, sis Caddo (always sitting toward the front of the class)

    1. Ben Nelson

      I told you to stick it out - I know it started out a bit heavy handed, but i feel like anyone can plug into this at some level, and be blessed.

      thanks fo much for your kind words, and Your computer says thank you too!

  4. Debbie

    God bless you Ben, for this great teaching time on fasting. You have done a good job of taking the "I can't do this" out of it, to seeing how yes, we can. Thank you!


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