Effective Fasting–Part II

by Rebecca Olmstead on January 11, 2013

in Fasting

Blessings Friends,

Continuing with our look into fasting, how do you know what type of fast to do or for how long to do it?

I would tell you that it depends on what you are trying to achieve. Seek God’s guidance in this. He will lead you.

I greatly encourage all Christians to offer the firstfruits of the year to The Lord with a fast.

Leviticus 2:12:

“As for the offering of the firstfruits, you shall offer them to the LORD.”

In his book, Fasting, Jentezen Franklin talks about his church and others who do a corporate fast for the first 21 days of the year. Personally, I am practicing this, as well as fasting the first day of each month.

Types of Fasts

The Bible mentions several kinds of fasts:

The Absolute Fast: No food or drink. It is advised that you seek a doctor’s supervision before fasting like this, and limit the time period. Esther called her people to an absolute fast for three days and nights, and God saved them from extermination.

The Normal Fast: Taking only water is what Jesus did in the wilderness before beginning His ministry. It is also what Moses did when he received the Ten Commandments, and again when he interceded for Israel. These were all forty-day fasts.

Absolute and normal fasts are the ultimate submission to God, and are often connected in The Word with the people’s desperation for God’s intervention. You may also want to include clear juices or broth on an extended normal fast for strength. We live a much more demanding life now than they did in Bible times.

Absolute and normal fasting can also be done for a specific time each day, say from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., or sunup to sundown (not counting the time you are asleep), or a specific meal each day.

Know that you don’t have to do an absolute fast to receive God’s blessing.

The partial fast: Abstaining from certain foods. The most well-known partial fast in The Bible is Daniel’s fast, which is eating only fruits and vegetables. Clearly, God honored Daniel for giving up the luxuries of meats, breads, sweets, wine, and such. The first time was for 10 days with his friends to prove they would be just as healthy as the men in the court who ate the “choice” foods. The next was for 21 days, when he was distraught over a prophecy. Though God heard him on the first day of his prayer, a demon fought the messenger angel, preventing him from bringing Daniel an answerfor 21 days. (Read Daniel 10 for the whole story.)

Patricius, or St. Patrick is another example of God honoring a partial fast. As a slave in Ireland, Patricius had little to eat. Still he offered a portion of every meal to God as he sought a deeper relationship with Him. God used him mightily for His kingdom.


Duration of Fasts

Numbers are very significant to God. They are another form of communication and a hallmark of His omnipotence.  Though God will honor an earnest fast of any duration, if you are seeking specific things, you may want to keep these numbers in mind.

ONE: Signifies unity (The Trinity, Three-In-One) and commencement. On the first day, God said, “Let there be light.” It symbolizes an awakening, if you will. Jesus was God’s one and only Son, the firstfruits of those who have died. This is a good place to start if you are new to fasting.

THREE: Signifies Devine perfection and completeness. Again, The Trinity. On the third day, God completed the fundamentals of His creation. The dry earth rose up out of the deep, and the fruits rose up from the earth. Likewise, Christ rose from the dead on the third day. And don’t forget Ecclesiastes 4:12:

“A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.”

SEVEN: Signifies Spiritual Perfection. Every work that is connected to The Holy Spirit bears the number seven. It is His watermark. God ended His creation work on the seventh day and blessed it. It is the number of jubilee. The flood came seven days after the Ark was loaded. It is a number common in prophecy and sacrifice. The seven loaves and seven baskets of leftovers. And the Book of Revelation is filled with sevens!

TWENTY-ONE: This of course is the combination of THREE and SEVEN. A good duration for a Daniel fast.

FORTY: The number of Divine order (10) applied to earthly things (4); this is the number of probation. During the Flood, it rained for forty days and forty nights, Israel was forced to wander in the wilderness for forty years, Moses fasted for forty days and nights when he received the Ten Commandments, and Jesus fasted forty days and nights in the wilderness before He began His ministry. In my first post on Effective Fasting, I talked about the significance of the number forty in fasting. It is a very powerful number.

Whichever fast and duration you choose, remember to offer it up to God and ask for The Holy Spirit’s help and guidance. If you are determined to do an extended fast, you may want to start with a normal fast for one to three days and then go to the Daniel fast for the rest.

The important thing is your focus. Spend as much time as you can in prayer and praise, focusing on God. James 4:8 says,

“Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded.”

Let that be your focus, and you will be amazed by how you grow more sensitive to Him, and what He reveals to and about you. I never thought I’d say this about anything, but it is truly better than chocolate!

I hope you choose to make fasting a part of your Christian walk. And I hope you will share with me what God is doing in your life as a result.


God’s grace and peace be yours,


{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

Adesola Shodeinde January 31, 2012 at 6:15 PM

Now i understand better ways to go in my fasting.


Ige David November 27, 2013 at 2:58 AM

Thank you, i found this very helpful


Rebecca Olmstead November 27, 2013 at 12:56 PM

You’re very welcome.

I hope you will share what The Lord does in your life as you seek Him in the way.



edward jetta hart January 5, 2014 at 12:27 PM

I found this article very helpful, and I want to thank you for sharing this with others


paul April 3, 2014 at 8:27 AM

this will be my first time fasting for jesus,how many days will be safer for me and how often should i do this ? thanks please drop me an e mail .


Kisha February 18, 2016 at 12:45 AM

Thank you for posting some great teaching on fasting. It is very much needed in the body of Christ. My husband & I will be completing our 1st 40 day Daniel fast on Friday & God has done so many supernatural things in our lives! I’m almost sad to get off because during fasting & consecration I feel the closest to God & don’t want to lose the connection. So I will continue to live a consecrated life more than ever so that I never feel that I’m not as close as when I’m fasting. God bless!


Rebecca Olmstead February 18, 2016 at 11:16 AM

I’m so excited for you! This is just the beginning of a wonderful journey. I encourage you to take full advantage of the door you are opening by spending time alone with The Lord each day in the spirit and in His Word. “Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you.” James 4:8. Keep me posted about what The Lord is doing in your lives. We’ll be praying for you. God bless you both!



feba grace July 9, 2016 at 2:05 AM

this article was very helpful in our fasting and prayer life…thank u so much…please pray for my church….


Rebecca Olmstead July 9, 2016 at 3:14 PM

It would be an honor to pray for your church. May God bless you greatly as you pursue Him and draw close to Him! Please, let me know what God is doing in your life and church as you press in to Him!



sindi September 27, 2016 at 7:29 AM

Your teaching has realy helped me,you gave me the clear understanding of fasting.
Thank you


michael khasatsili October 7, 2016 at 12:40 AM

thanks for rich spiritual resource


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