How to Fast


When God commanded His people to fast, the fast would always start at sundown and end at sundown the next day, since God counts each day beginning at sundown: “Evening and morning, the first day.” (Genesis 1:5) The evening begins the day. They had food in their stomachs before sundown. So they did not have to go to bed with absolutely nothing in their stomachs. The next day they were released at sundown, so they could eat before going to bed. It was just the daytime when they had to go without food and seek the Lord with ALL their hearts and humble themselves before God and confess their sins (Leviticus 16:29-31; II Chronicles 7:14).

I started with a juice fast because I was scared of clonking my head by falling down. If you are diabetic or anemic, you might not be able to do a fast with water only. Regardless of the fast you choose, you must give up food. I drink coffee to not get a headache on the day I have set aside to fast and pray. So now I do water and coffee. You can do a minimum of juice, if you feel like you’re about to faint. Even with juices, your stomach will hurt really badly, and this will be what causes you to be emptied and stripped of all else before the Lord.

You can also do a half-day fast. In the morning, you would not eat breakfast. Most of the days I’ve done a half-day fast, it has been when I have a prayer meeting at noon. If all the people in the prayer meeting fast, they will be emptied and ready to cry out to the Lord together for one purpose. It is usually a very specific request, like the salvation of my friend’s husband, that God would bless our women’s retreat, or that a convicting sermon would cause a change in the lives of a worldly congregation. We were able to pray fervently as a result.

When you begin the day, cry out to the Lord in humility. Rest in God’s presence. Don’t watch any TV. Don’t do any entertainment or reading, unless it’s Scripture or a Christian book that is dealing with the issue you are fasting about. Many times words from Scripture have popped off the page during a fast, and it was God answering me. Also, I take more seriously what I’m reading, because I’m in pain.

I sometimes go outside and take a walk while praying. This clears my mind and enables me to continue if I feel like I can’t make it through the day. If your energy dips in the afternoon like mine does, I call a friend who is aware of the specific prayer request I have laid before the Lord, and we pray together over the phone. I always feel refreshed for the final stretch of the fast after I have prayed over the phone with a friend.

It’s even more joyful if you are able to pray in person with another believer during the fast. If you are asking for wisdom about a decision, or wisdom to find the root cause of a problem in your marriage, the other believer can lay hands and pray over you on the day you fast, that God would reveal it to you. Sometimes there is a demonic component that will be cast off at the laying on of hands, and the demonic blindness would remain otherwise.

I’ve cast off a demon from my own body without anyone around. It was when I was 15 years old. I asked God to be set free from my oppression in the name of Jesus, and this huge weight lifted off my chest and I was free. I did not know it was demonic until after the fact. But I was set free, and another believer was not in the room. So don’t lose hope if you are alone and don’t know any true believers who can lay hands to pray for you in this way. God honors your personal walk with Him, and He will hear you.

Hopefully this has given you a general feel for how to fast. Don’t eat food. It’s that simple. Dedicate the day to God to pray and try to do nothing else. You can do laundry while you are praying, or take care of small children. Do whatever God requires of you, but be focused on prayer throughout the entire day.

For more details on how to fast, here is a free audio (to download, right click, choose Desktop, and save):

Have you missed one of our posts about fasting? Follow our “Hunger for God” Fasting Series. (One will be posted each Friday):

To keep up with my prayer posts, follow my Prayer Page, where you will find exclusive prayer videos to help you hunger for God and establish a true prayer life!

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16 Responses to “How to Fast”

  1. I’ve had amazing results with fasting in prayer and the Lord moving. It’s as though all hindrance is removed or something. I’ve never thought of fasting from sundown to sundown though. Thank you for this!

  2. Melissa says:

    Thank you for the practical logistics of fasting. I understood the ‘no food’ part but I appreciate the timing as accustomed in the bible.

    • Susan says:

      Glad the article was helpful to you, to understand these logistics. I tried to give several examples of fasts so that people can go before the Lord and decide which one is right for them, given their circumstance.

  3. Julie says:

    Thank you for thoroughly covering this. It makes it easier to understand, how to do it and what to expect!

  4. Alice Mills says:

    I am hypoglycemic so I will go on liquid fast and have protein shakes. It seems to be what the Lord asks of me. Some great guidelines!

  5. Dana says:

    Very good practical tips! I haven’t studied this that much so this is very interesting to me.

  6. Kristi says:

    What are your favorite books on fasting? Of course, Scripture. I’m looking into all the passages. But is there on or two that you’ve really appreciated while fasting?

    • Susan says:

      I don’t have any recommendations of books on fasting, but there is a sermon by James MacDonald on YouTube that was helpful. If I were you, I would do a google search of Scriptures with “fast” in them, and then print them out and see what the Bible actually says. This is the best way to understand fasting.

  7. I really like the fasting instructions. I have never fasted and this has helped me to see exactly what to do. Thank you!

  8. Jackie says:

    Great tips you have given there. I have been researching about fasting recently.

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