The idea of fasting can be intimidating.


Start Small • Focus on God • Pair Fasting with Other Practices • Keep it Between You and God • Be Patient

What is Fasting?

In the Old and New Testaments, fasting is choosing not to eat for a set period of time as a way of humbling yourself before God. It’s a physical, emotional, and spiritual reminder that God is our master, not our appetites. That probably sounds a little intimidating. But don’t worry. The purpose of fasting isn’t to dial up your suffering. It’s to grow your trust in God, and strengthen your relational connection to him.

Unless you do a long fast (and we don’t recommend you start there), your hunger pangs will be minimal. The point isn’t to suffer greatly. It’s to use your desire for food as a prompt to focus on your need for God.

Fasting isn’t about the permanent removal of harmful things in your life. It’s not a program for dealing with serious addiction. It’s the temporary removal of things that are often positive (and even necessary for life) in order to ensure we aren’t using those good things selfishly, indulgently, or as a replacement for God.

Ready to fast?

If you think you’re ready to try fasting, download this guide. It will give you a little more background on the practice, as well as some questions you can discuss in a group or reflect on by yourself, and some tips for beginning a regular practice of fasting.

Fasting and Other spiritual practices

Fasting on its own, without the benefits of other practices, is just a healthy activity or a dieting strategy.

When coupled with practices like praying and reading the Bible, fasting can accelerate your growth. In fact, if you’re looking for a fresh approach to prayer or Bible study, fasting can give you an entirely new focus—one that is centered on growing your trust in God in tangible ways.

Fasting is like fuel for the other practices. It adds energy and power to your pursuit of spiritual growth by including a physical component to your daily practices.

Medical considerations

Fasting is safe for most people—especially if you’re getting your feet wet with short fasts. But for some people, going without food can be dangerous. You should avoid fasting (or at least get clearance to fast from your doctor) if you:

  • Are pregnant.

  • Are a child

  • Have Type-1 diabetes.

  • Have a history of eating disorders.

  • Are anemic

  • Have a serious underlying medical condition, such as cancer or HIV/AIDS.

If you have any doubt whatsoever about how fasting may affect your health, ask your doctor if fasting is wise for you.

If a food fast is not advisable for you, consider fasting from some other appetite in your life. Check out the downloadable Fasting Guide for ideas.