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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. 

64 Comments Post a comment
  1. 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
  2. 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
  3. laskesha jones #

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

    February 22, 2013
  4. kondwani Kambewa #

    This teaching is real. Praise God.

    February 26, 2013
  5. Senamile #

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

    March 12, 2013
  6. 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
  7. 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
  8. Sandra #

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

    July 9, 2013
  9. 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
  10. 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
  11. @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
  12. 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
  13. 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
  14. 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
  15. I like both types of fasting .

    November 2, 2013
  16. lshaya Matinja Anyok #

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

    December 16, 2013
  17. Timothy ishaya #

    I need more reference on the three types of fasting

    February 10, 2014
  18. 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
  19. 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
  20. tariro #

    l like this teaching its so powerful

    November 15, 2014
  21. norah shopi #

    inspiring

    March 14, 2015
  22. Evelyn #

    Thank you very much about this info and may the Lord continue to lead us and teach us more. M well informed. Evelyn

    October 1, 2015
  23. Lisa Hewitt #

    What about the kind of fast that’s spoken about in Isaiah 58: 6-12. Instead of giving up food, it talks about giving up things by serving others. The benefits from this kind of fast affect our physical, spiritual and emotional well being even more than a standard fast. Please read Isaiah 58: 8-12 so you see what I’m talking about. God bless!

    December 26, 2015
  24. It’s all good and right! Isaiah 58 is how we, as children of the Most High God, are called to live every day of our lives.

    This site is about the Daniel Fast, which is a partial fast where food is restricted for spiritual purposes. Both are good.

    Be blessed.

    December 30, 2015

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