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Christian Fasting

QUESTION: Christian Fasting - How long should I fast?


There is not a set length that makes Christian fasting acceptable." However, there are some general tips that may help you decide on a duration that will work well for you.

In Bible times, fasts were generally one day in length. Judges 20:26 says, "Then all the sons of Israel and all the people went up and came to Bethel and wept; thus they remained there before the LORD and fasted that day until evening. And they offered burnt offerings and peace offerings before the LORD."

Occasionally, fasts in Bible times were three days (Esther 4:16) or even seven days (1 Samuel 31:13). And on three occasions, fasts lasted 40 days: Moses receiving the 10 Commandments (Exodus 34:28), Elijah encountering God (1 Kings 19:8), and Jesus being tempted in the wilderness (Matthew 4). Since these were unusual circumstances, it is normally not recommended for a person to fast for 40 days without medical supervision.

Christian Fasting - Tips to Consider
When deciding the length of your fast, take into consideration the following ideas:
  • What type of fast are you planning? If you are planning to limit your liquid intake to water, it is important not to fast for more than 1 or 2 days without medical supervision. If you will be drinking juice and water, a longer duration may be considered.

  • Have you fasted before? It is wise to start with a shorter period of time and work up to fasting for longer durations.

  • Consider your schedule and obligations. If you are planning an extended fast, it is better to fast on days when you don't have high-energy obligations, like speaking to a large crowd or participating in an exercise class.

  • Plan fasts for times when other people will not be inconvenienced by your dietary restrictions. For example, it is not wise to fast on Thanksgiving Day when the family has traveled long distances to fellowship together!

  • Plan fasts on days where you can spend quality time praying and being with your Savior.
Learn More about Prayer and Fasting!

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