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Types of Fasting

The Daniel Fast is just one type of fasting that’s modeled after accounts in the Bible. Biblical fasting is the restriction of food for spiritual reasons. And we find followers fasting throughout the Old and New Testaments.

The Scripture speaks of three types of fasting:

  1. Partial Fasting – Daniel engaged in a partial fast as recorded in Daniel 10:2, 3, “In those days I, Daniel, was mourning three full weeks. I ate no pleasant food, no meat or wine came into my mouth, nor did I anoint myself at all, till three whole weeks were fulfilled.” We don’t know for sure why Daniel didn’t totally abstain from food, because it appears that he did so in the fast recorded in Chapter 9. However, for some reason, Daniel engaged in a partial fast to seek the Lord’s wisdom.
  2. Normal Fast – This is the fast that Jesus did when he went into the wilderness. He ate no food and appears to have had only water. The reason scholars conclude that he drank water while on this fast was because the Scripture says he was hungry, but did not say he was thirsty. The devil tempted Jesus with bread, but not with water. So we assume this was a water only fast.
  3. Absolute Fast – This is when no food and no liquids are consumed. It’s the rare fast and only mentioned a few times in the Bible. Paul, during his Damascus Road experience “was three days without sight, and neither ate nor drank.” We can’t tell for sure if this was because he was so shocked by what was happening with him or if it was for spiritual purposes.

In Ezra 10 we find the prophet so distraught over the actions of the people that he went into great mourning and praying before the Lord. At this time he neither ate nor drank for at least one night and perhaps longer.

There are a few examples of 40-day absolute fasts where the men must have been sustained supernaturally. Moses,  on two separate occasions when he was before God, neither ate nor drank. Elijah seems to have traveled across the desert for 40 days while eating no food nor drinking any water. He was ministered to by an angel who gave him water and cakes.

These are just some accounts of the fasting recorded in the Bible. There are many more, and not necessarily a standard. Daniel fasted for 21 days, Jesus for 40, Ezra for one night, Cornelius for 4 days, Paul for 3. It seems that all these people were seeking God through their fasting and perhaps the Lord led them in the “design” of their fast.

In January, thousands of men and women will come together in unity for a 21-day fast. Most will use the Daniel Fast as their form of fasting. I have heard several pastors say they will engage in a normal fast for 21 days and some for 30 days. I’ve read of men and women of God who have fasted from all food for 40 days — usually just a few times in their lives.

I think the important point of fasting not have a specific pattern or legalistic form is that it be Spirit-led. Before you decide the form of fasting you will use, seek the Lord. Ask Him to direct you, then trust that He will show you how to fast as you enter into this spiritual discipline to draw closer to Him. 

60 Comments Post a comment
  1. Nathan Mutwiri #

    May you feed us with His word more n more…Personnally…i need you, Jesus….I want to know you more….i need you right now more dan yesterday Father……..!”!!

    April 10, 2014
  2. Timothy ishaya #

    I need more reference on the three types of fasting

    February 10, 2014
    • Daniel Fast Team #

      I encourage you to “cruise” this site as there is a lot of information in the posts. Also, you might want to purchase the Daniel Fast book as I am able to go into much greater detail in them. You can find them at http://www.Daniel-Fast.com
      Be Blessed on your journey!

      February 13, 2014
  3. lshaya Matinja Anyok #

    It is very a good material for me and I such like materials for my spiritual grow.

    December 16, 2013
  4. I like both types of fasting .

    November 2, 2013
  5. Chisomo Kaya #

    After reading the types of fasting, I will continue with what I started arleady for it realy helps alot on how to grow spiritualy and to have good healthy. God bless you so much.

    September 22, 2013
  6. @MARK 1 v 12,it say after Jesus Babtism by John ,the Spirit made him go into the desert 13.where he stayed forty days ,so my question is how come we say Jesus was only drinking water ,because @desert theres no water

    September 20, 2013
    • Daniel Fast Team #

      Hi Andile,
      This is somewhat off topic, but here goes: Since the life of Jesus was anointed by the Spirit of God, I can only surmise that he was a) led to a stream/watering hole in the desert (and there is underground water in the desert that surfaces in the form of watering holes), or b) water was provided for him supernaturally. I hope this helps.

      September 26, 2013
  7. gladys #

    thank u 4 dis information on fasting,when 1 is fasting u shud be in a sacred space,like be in a quiet not noisy loud musical enviroment right?so i work in a retail store,n loud music iz played,i find myself singing along wud i be still fasting wen i do dat,when shud i engage myself in prayer when im @ wek ,esp in a busy store

    September 15, 2013
    • Daniel Fast Team #

      Hi Gladys,
      While fasting, make sure you have time with the Lord in the word and prayer before work and after work. While at work, do your job as if you are working for the Lord. With a servants heart full of joy and yes even singing, talk to the Lord (in your thoughts) throughout your work day, rejoice, praise Him and ask Him for direction as you bring Him into every detail of your day (even a busy store with loud worldly music, remember He’s not offended by it). You are there to serve others, so don’t worry that you cannot lock yourself away from the world during your time of fasting, very, very few have that option. Most are like yourself, you have to incorporate your fasting time into your everyday life. The effort is worth it though, and God is honored! Be Blessed on your Fast!

      September 25, 2013
  8. Sandra #

    What time does a absolute fast starts and end. 12 am-6 pm is what type of fast.

    July 9, 2013
    • Daniel Fast Team #

      Hi Sandra,
      There is no specific time of day to eat or not eat for the Daniel Fast. Some people add variations of this element to their fast, eating only after sunset and before dawn for example, but is not a requirement for the Daniel Fast. The Daniel Fast is 24/7 for 21 days, with three moderate meals and two small snacks, unless modified. I hope this helps!

      July 11, 2013
  9. Rahila #

    I tnk d Almigty God 4 given me d ability & d grace 2 b in dis web site. I tnk Him, 4 i believe He has a special plan 4 me. Pls my question here is dat, can i b taken fruits & juice only while fasting? I wil b vry grateful if i see ur reply in my email. Tnx & remain blessed

    April 9, 2013
    • Daniel Fast Team #

      Hi Rahila,
      Here is a general list of the Daniel Fast allowed foods: All fruits, All vegetables, All whole grains, All whole grain flours (and pastas), All Nuts and seeds, All legumes (beans), All quality oils. Beverages: Water only – spring water, distilled water or other pure waters, and yes, tap water is good, if that is all you have available. MISC Items: tofu, soy products, vinegar, seasonings, salt, herbs and spices (remember, All foods must be free of chemical additives and sweeteners). For a complete list you can order a copy of the Daniel Fast Guidelines (which includes the meal planning guide) by going to http://www.daniel-fast.com and enter your email address, they will be emailed back to you. I hope this helps!

      April 10, 2013
  10. kondwani Kambewa #

    This teaching is real. Praise God.

    February 26, 2013
  11. laskesha jones #

    Thank you so much, been struggling with the fast and now I know why… have to be spirit lead.

    February 22, 2013
  12. Vuyi #

    My wife & I are on the 5th day of Daniel Fasting. It’s so powerful, God has started doing wonders, we pray over 7 times a day and our faith is getting stronger everyday. We’ve also experienced how wonderful it is to pray for others and just forget about your own challenges and focus on other people’s break-throughs.

    January 10, 2013
    • Daniel Fast Team #

      God is so good! “He says give and it will be given to you, good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap…” As you continue to focus on others, coming alongside them for their breakthroughs and victories, you are putting this principle into motion. Keep up the good work, run the race set before you…And watch how faithful the Lord is to bring His promises to pass in your life. Be Blessed on your Journey!

      January 11, 2013
      • Senamile #

        Amen to that and yep his God of promises!!!

        March 12, 2013
  13. Olubayi Evelyn. #

    Good info been blessed, blessings.

    January 10, 2013
  14. sue #

    Thank you for all the insights/info. I will start the fast tomorrow and aim to finish 21 days and with God blessing and permission if everything goes well, I will continue to 40 days. God bless you all with your fast!

    January 7, 2013
  15. olajoju temitope joseph #

    i am a Nigerian, living in Nigeria. I appreciate the work which God is doing through you. God almighty will continue streghtening you in Jesus’ Name. Amen.

    December 28, 2012
  16. lashanda #

    I’m very interested in fasting because I really won’t to get close to God..I need him to remove obstacles in my life that are hindering me..I need to learn how to forgive whole heartily. I just need him.

    December 5, 2012
    • Daniel Fast Team #

      Hi Lashanda,
      When you seek God through fasting and prayer you are posturing yourself for breakthrough… to hear and receive from the throne of God All He has for you! Standing firm in agreement on His word with you… in the Name of Jesus! According to Eph. 1:18, Jer 29:11, Deut 28:1-14 Be BLESSED!

      December 5, 2012
  17. Vuyi #

    I enngaged in Daniel fasting in January 2011 and 2012 and it helped a lot. Many people got break-throughs, miracles happened and January is a good time to do it for the Lord to take care of the rest of the year.

    November 28, 2012
  18. Is orgaNic sweetener allowed in the fast?

    November 1, 2012
    • Daniel Fast Team #

      Hi Rose Marie,
      There are no sweeteners of any kind (natural OR artificial) allowed on the fast, so organic sweetener would also not be allowed. I hope this helps, Be Blessed on your Fast!

      November 5, 2012
  19. Passmore Masiiwa #

    I’m engaging in the Daniel fast and prayer for 21 days…it is going well but not easy, i know i will give testimonies in the mighty name of Jesus.

    October 17, 2012
  20. Samuel #

    What time should a fast begin. 12:00am or 6:00am

    July 10, 2012
    • Daniel Fast Team #

      There is no specific time of day to eat or not eat for the Daniel Fast. Some people add this element to their fast, eating only after sunset and before dawn but is is not a requirement for the Daniel Fast. The Daniel Fast is 24/7 for 21 days, unless modified. However, eating “normal foods” after hours would not be allowed. I hope this helps!

      July 19, 2012
  21. maggy #

    truly thankful fo the enlightment…am on a journey to seek god ‘s forgiveness fo i did certain things am not proud of..wil certainly follow the daniel and and the absolute fast..f yu hv an info yu want to share please will be grateful.

    July 8, 2012
  22. interesting thing about these different types of fast in fact i am going to try one by the grace of god

    July 6, 2012
  23. I like this

    June 24, 2012
  24. Thandi Skosana #

    God bless u man of God I have learn alot about different types of fasting it clear to me now.

    June 13, 2012
  25. Solomon Ajayi #

    I have found a good material resource

    March 13, 2012
  26. Moses Alogo #

    Tnx 4 your explanation

    February 28, 2012
  27. Chris Bartley #

    Your explanation of the types of fasting has been very beneficial as I seek His face for this next phase of my life that’s, presently, unclear. Thank you!

    November 7, 2011
  28. nice…

    June 23, 2011
  29. Mrs Morobe #

    Types of fasting and how to start fasting

    April 4, 2011
    • Daniel Fast Team #

      Hi Mrs Morobe,
      The Daniel Fast is a type of fast based on the Daniel 1:12 and Daniel 10:3 fasting experiences of the prophet along with typical Jewish fasting principles. We are not trying to reenact the prophet’s fast, but rather use the experiences to serve as guidelines for a partial fast that can be experienced by people today. You can find lots of information about the Daniel Fast on this blog and at my website: http://www.Daniel-Fast.com. If you don’t have one already you can order a copy of the Daniel Fast Guidelines by going to http://www.daniel-fast.com and enter your email address, they will be emailed back to you, this is a great resource to have on hand while on your fast. I hope this helps!

      April 12, 2011
  30. Matikho josephat #

    May the ALMIGHTY GOD to great things to you coz your work has really helped me alot.You have given us an earthly encouragement which has a real manifestation in heaven.I have seen you inspiration in you and may GOD continue to bless and add you hands abunduntly

    March 23, 2011
    • Daniel Fast Team #

      Hi Matikho,
      Thank you for your kind, encouraging words. God is good!

      March 23, 2011
  31. johan heyns #

    i’m a 26 year old man from south africa. we are on a fast at the moment and when times come that you get hungry or dismaid i go to this website. THANK YOU FOR EACH INCOURAGEMENT AND TESTIMONY. IT MAKES IT EASIER IF YOU SEE WHAT GOD DID FOR PEOPLE AFTER A FAST.

    March 22, 2011
  32. lydia #

    thankyou

    February 8, 2011
  33. ruth makoni #

    im doing a 21DAY Daniels Fast & i feel soo close to God, talking to Him often. Just today i prayed & He answered! Amen

    January 11, 2011
  34. IS this a all day fast or times as of 6am to2pm

    January 8, 2011
    • Daniel Fast Team #

      Hi Linda,
      This is a 24/7 for 21 days fast.

      January 8, 2011
  35. Ahshaky #

    I can testify of how great and benificial fasting can be. I’ve attempted the normal fast by drinking water only, initially the body craves for food but as I continued and remained steadfast with it, it all just subsided and as I said you feel great. Just stay focused on the Lord and not on your appetite and believe me you will reap the benifit in which you were looking. I personally believe prior to fasting one should seek the Lord in pray and there is this inner feeling that gives you the go ahead to begin your fast.

    May God richly bless you Susan and anyone who is interested in fasting.

    November 17, 2010
  36. valerie #

    hi all thank all for what i have read iam on a forty days fast but i did it 10 days only one meal a day then next ten fruits and veggies the next ten only water now im on my last ten with no food or water it has been a blessing i need everyone to keep me in prayer for these last ten days which start today the lord led me to this site and i thank jesus for this and thank you for beliving in jesus christ

    November 9, 2010
  37. Zanele #

    Please share any easy and simple fast as I need to ask for forgiveness and seek guidance from GOD. I am new at this and would like to know what am I allowed to eat and drink at what times of the day.

    Regards,

    February 18, 2010
    • Hi Zanele,

      The blog and the site at http://Daniel-Fast.com is packed with information about the Daniel Fast. Also, you can join the mailing list at the site and the food list for the Daniel Fast will be sent to you immediately.

      God is so good and when we draw near to Him . . . He will draw near to us.

      Be blessed, dear one!

      February 19, 2010
  38. I believe when you are close to God every day in prayer you are almost fasting everyday. BY the time you finished your morning session in prayer with GOD your breakfast is skipped by itself, or when the presence of GOD takes you more deeper in prayer you are with GOD feasting while you are really fasting for the whole day, you have no rememberence of your food. so I believe there is intentional fastind also fasting which GOD takes when you are close to him.

    When you decide to fast, you also decide to eat, when to fast when to eat, but when God decides fasting for you, You no more hv chance to decide when to eat.

    Choose God given fastings.

    April 28, 2009
    • Hi Shirly Marie,

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts about “God given fastings.” It sounds like you live a devoted life in Christ and have discovered the power and beauty of walking in the spirit.

      Fasting is a spiritual discipline designed by our Father and used by many as recorded in the Bible. Daniel was a powerful man of God and fasted many times, three of which are recorded in the Book of Daniel. Of course many others in the Old Testament fasted – one of my favorite writers is Isaiah.

      Of course, the New Testament also recorded many times of fasting, including Jesus, Paul and the disciples.

      Entering into a period of prayer and fasting is a powerful spiritual discipline designed by God for His people. For me, this is another example of His great love for us. He is so good!

      May 2, 2009
  39. Jonathan #

    I am just curious to know that even though Jesus Christ did not eat anything for the entire 40 days it is consistently assumed that all he drank was water? Within the gospels it does not say, in fact it is silent about this particular assumption made by many people that Jesus drank water only.

    I challenge anyone to find hardcore evidence that Jesus drank water only! I am sure there were other liquids available to Him during this time of fasting. But yet again scripture is silent on it but historical, geographical and cultural settings are not silent about the availability of other liquids.

    January 17, 2009
  40. New Greater St James , has been on this fast for the second year. Our church go on this fast once a year. Some people go because they want to get spiritual strength from God. We are on our 4th day and when I started I had a bad headache for the first couple of days. But, now it is better and we are also on the Absolue Fast with the Danial Fast. We fast from 1-5-25-09 and it is from 6am-3pm Absolute, and Danial 3pm-6am. We are eating certain foods during Danial and no foods during Absolute Fasting.

    January 8, 2009
    • NELL WATSON #

      good morning. I read your blog, and I am really interested in the particulars of how you did the fasting. I have committed myself to a fast at the beginning of Sept, and I’m reading all I can get about it. I used to fast a lot many years ago, since then, I’m considerably older, and take medications, and when I have tried , I always fail, but, the combination may work for me.. Please e_me with with what ever you can tell me…
      Asister in Christ, Nell W.

      August 10, 2009
      • Good morning Nell,

        The Daniel Fast is a partial fast that consists of health-giving foods and lot of pure water. I receive many testimonies from men and women who find this way of eating so helpful to their bodies that they decide to make permanent changes to their diet after the fast.

        I do believe it’s important to keep the development of self-discipline as a goal during the Daniel Fast for those who struggle with staying on diets or fasts. Take the focus off the food and put it on developing this powerful fruit of the spirit and you will likely find greater success.

        I hope this helps!

        August 11, 2009
  41. Hi Philani,

    Won’t it be wonderful when we are with Christ and can ask Him all these details? There is so much we don’t know for sure in the Scripture. Thankfully, the most important message of the Word is clear! Christ became the sacrificial lamb and because He died, we live! Amen.

    I hope the very best for you on your fast.

    June 1, 2008
  42. philani #

    Assumptions are dangerous. You can not say that they are entirely correct. The scripture does not say Christ drank water during His fast, neither does it say He did not. It simple says He fasted for 40 days and 40 nights. The literal meaning of fasting is total abstinence from edibles. Therefore its improper to say because the verse says He was hungry it proves that he had been drinking water. By the way hunger means an uneasy sensation felt when one has not eaten for some time. It also means a strong desire for something, be it food, water etc

    May 26, 2008

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