Prayer & Fasting

Learn how to Fast with Pastor Dawn

2023 Prayer & FAsting Guide

the complete guide

21 Days of Prayer & Fasting

What is fasting?

  • Fasting is designed to intensify our dependence on God by weakening our dependence on food and other things. 
  • Fasting is to voluntarily abstain from eating/drinking for an extended period of time. “Eating” and “drinking” can represent anything that is holding you back.
  • Fasting expresses and deepens our hunger for God.
  • Fasting reveals and heals our dependence on food (and other things). To fill the discomfort caused by low self-esteem, unfulfilling work, unloving relationships, uncontrollable circumstances, etc. It removes the false peace derived from the pleasure of eating. 

“Fasting reminds us that we are sustained “by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God:” (Matt. 4:4). Food does not sustain us; God sustains us. In Christ, “All things hold together” (Colossians 1:17). 

“More than any other discipline, fasting reveals the things that control us. This is a wonderful benefit to the true disciple who longs to be transformed into the image of Jesus Christ. We cover up what is inside us with food and other good things, but in fasting these things surface. If pride controls us, it will be revealed almost immediately. David writes, “I humbled my soul with fasting” (Psalm 69:10). Anger, bitterness, jealousy, strife, fear—if they are within us, they will surface during fasting.” 

Questions to ask yourself:

  •         What do you “consume” in terms of social food, intellectual food, spiritual food, and emotional food?
  •         Are these things distracting you from your relationship with God?
  •         Are you relying on things that have nothing to do with God to get you through your day?

You may not even realize you have an addiction. For example, if you “have to have” coffee every day, and you are not willing to give it up, you are addicted. Maybe your fast needs to just be about coffee. Ask God and He will show you.

*Everyone doing a physical fast should consult a physician first. If you have medical issues, consider fasting TV or me-dia. The point is that there is something God wants you to separate yourself from for three weeks so that you can see Him more clearly. Don’t cheat yourself by removing yourself from the fast entirely.

  1. Does fasting have anything to do with me going to heaven or my salvation?

No. Whether or not you fast, that doesn’t determine your destiny in eternity. What it does do is draw you closer to Jesus today which in turn draws you closer to your destiny and purpose here on earth.


Choosing your fasting plan is a very personal decision. 

We are all at different places in our walk with God and our spirituality should never be a cause for comparison or competition. There is nothing more “inherently spiritual” about one type of fast as opposed to another. Your personal fast should present a level of challenge to it, but know your body, know your options, and most importantly, seek God in prayer about this and follow what the Holy Spirit leads you to do. It’s also important to not let what you eat or do not eat become the focus of your fast. This is a time to disconnect enough with your regular patterns and habits in order to connect more closely to God. 



Step 1: Clarify the purpose of your fast: Why are you fasting? Ask the Holy Spirit to clarify His leading and objectives for your prayer fast. This will enable you to pray more specifically and strategically. Fasting is God-led and God-initiated. That means that He fuels a desire to fast and pray. He loves it when we fast. 

Step 2: Specify the kind of fast you will do: Pray about the kind of fast you should undertake. Jesus implied that all of His followers should fast. (Matthew 6:16-18; 9:14,15) For Him it was a matter of when believers would fast, not if they would do it. Before you fast, decide the following upfront:

  •         How long you will fast – one meal, one day, one week, several weeks, certain days (beginners should start slowly, building up to longer fasts)?
  •         The type of fast God wants you to undertake – discussed in the Types of Fasts section below.
  •         What physical or social activities you will restrict
  •         How much time each day you will devote to prayer and God’s Word 

*Making these commitments ahead of time will help you sustain your fast when physical temptations and life’s pressures tempt you to stop or quit.

Step 3: Prepare your heart, mind, and body for fasting 

Prepare your heart:

In 2 Chronicles 7:14, God appears to Solomon and explains that if His people are going through a hard time, they should seek Him and follow His ways. Then, He will hear their prayers and heal them. Be willing to hear what God says needs to change and be willing to change. Don’t continue to sin. What are the paths He wants you to walk? How much does He want you to pray and read His Word? Tell God that you surrender your life to Him and that you want more of Him and His way.

Prepare your motives:

Ephesians 1:3 says that there are spiritual blessings assigned to us. We can never exhaust them! Who knows what God wants to give you or show you? Maybe He wants to bestow gifts such as wisdom, anointing, prayer power, healing power, teaching power, joy, or encouragement. When you eliminate things that are keeping you from focusing on God, He is able to show you things about your life that you never knew.

Prepare your body:

If you decide to eat only fruits and vegetables for your fast, it will result in cleansing of your physical body. You may feel sick as your body detoxes, but you’ll make it! This isn’t a mind game to see if you can survive eating less or not watching ESPN, but about experiencing God. Some people ask, “What does not eating have to do with my relationship with God?” We encourage you to “Stop eating and find out.”

Prepare your schedule:

Decide where you will meet with God, what and when you will eat, and how you will spend your time differently. Remember, the fast is about communing with God, so don’t fill your time with distractions that will keep you from feeling hungry. Create a plan and commit to spending more time with the Lord.

Fasting Guidelines:

  • Explain to your family in advance what you are doing. (some mention the scripture about not telling people that you are fasting- this is all about context. The context of this scripture is about the condition of your heart… the Pharisees went around telling people because that is why they were doing it, for show. We are telling others in order to bring them in on the miracle and let them know how they can support.)
  • Never complain or brag about your fast.
  • Stay away from negative people.
  • Spend as much time as possible reading your Bible and in prayer.
  • Acknowledge that your flesh cannot be trained but must be crucified.
  • Journal as you pray and meet with the Lord. Write down the miracles God does in your life!






“He must increase and [we] must decrease.” John 3:30


For the Scriptures say, “You must be holy because I am holy.” 1 Peter 1:16

You may experience many benefits from fasting (cleansing your body, breaking addictions, etc.), but the goal of fasting is to experience God. Right now, your life may be all about you, what you want, and when you want it. Imagine if you separate yourself from your perceived needs (such as food) you may see that life is all about Him.

Other examples of biblical fasting

Special revelation – Exodus 34:27-28

In times of war – Judges 20:26

Courage and wisdom – Esther 4:3,16

In times of grief – Nehemiah 1:4, 2 Samuel 1:12, Samuel 31:13, 1 Chronicles 10:12

Spiritual recuperation – 1 Kings 19:1-9

Mourning – Daniel 10:1-3

Repentance – Jonah 3:5, Daniel 6:18

Ministry preparation – Matthew 4:2

Spiritual power – Mark 9:29

Ministry commissioning – Acts 14:23

Set aside self for holiness – 1 Corinthians 7:5

Spiritual discipline – 1 Corinthians 11:24-28 (Paul “fasted often”)







Legalism and Comparison: you can get into the mode of asking what others are doing. This can cause a heart of legalism and comparison to the point that this is all you focus on.


Having your thoughts be overrun by your menu, ingredients, and what you are and aren’t allowed to eat/drink/watch, etc. defeats the purpose of fasting. Our thoughts and lives are to be overrun by the Word of God, what He is saying, and prayer in this season.




Abstaining from certain types of foods (meat, sweets, etc.) – Daniel 10:3

This type is a good one for beginners to fasting or those with health needs and special or restrictive diets.

  •         Choose to abstain from something like breads, sweets, sodas, coffee, or even red meat. Perhaps spend some time reading through Daniel’s fast in Daniel chapter 1 and chapter 10. Stick to only fruits and vegetables like he did or something similar. 
  •         Determine the timing and duration of your fast and begin. You may choose to go without this special type of food on only certain days like Fridays, or you may go without during the weekdays only or perhaps every day. Finally, choose the duration of your fast. This fast is 21 days (January 2 – January 22) but that does not mean you must go without for all of the 21 days. Determine the timing and duration ahead of time and stick to it. Rather, pray through it. 


Breakfast – Fruit smoothie with protein powder

Mid-morning Snack – Fresh fruit or fresh vegetables

Lunch – Raw vegetable salad with light dressing and vegetable broth soup

Mid-afternoon Snack – Fresh fruit or fresh vegetables

Dinner – Fresh salad with light dressing and steamed grilled vegetables


Breakfast – 1 – 2 servings whole grains with fresh fruit juice

Mid-morning Snack – Fresh fruit or fresh chopped vegetables

Lunch – 1 – 2 servings whole grains; fresh salad with legumes and light dressing

Mid-afternoon Snack – Fresh fruit juice or fruit smoothie with protein

Dinner – 1 – 2 whole grains; fresh salad with legumes and light dressing

Abstaining from all food – Esther 4:16; Acts 9:9

This kind of fast is more difficult but can be broken up by timing and duration. This seems to be the most prevalent of the fasts we see in the Bible. It is also the most intimidating, but refuse to let it scare you. Fasting from all food is not scary if you determine beforehand when you will do so and for how long. Here are some ideas.

  •         Start slowly. Begin with fasting for only a part of a day (lunch, or lunch and dinner). Do this for one day a week, or perhaps three days a week. You determine the timing and duration. Take a step of faith. Fasting is risky and involves our faith.
  •         Next, try fasting from food but not beverages. This means that according to your timing and duration, you would not eat any solid foods but only water, juices, smoothies, or perhaps simple soup broths. 
  •         Do this for the rest one or two weeks. Devote the time that you normally would eat to Scripture reading and prayer. Focus on Jesus’ statements about food. 
  •         Next, try a 24-hour fast. This means that you get up and eat a good breakfast and drink only water or juice until the following breakfast the next day. Set aside special time, during normal meal times if possible, to pray and seek God. 
  •         Finally, you may progress to a two or three-day fast. For some, progression may lead to a multi-day, even multi-week fast. But remember the purpose of your fast. 


Breakfast – Fruit smoothie with protein

Mid-morning Snack – Herbal tea or vegetable broth soup

Lunch – Raw juiced vegetables

Mid-afternoon Snack – Fresh fruit juice or fruit smoothie with protein

Dinner – Vegetable juice or vegetable broth soup

Abstaining from entertainment – Daniel 6:18

The king’s voluntary “fasting” from entertainment in the time of Daniel helps us further understand yet another type of fast. Fasting from entertainment can be particularly helpful and accessible to kids and teens.  

Think of abstaining from television, social media, iPad, video games, all reading except the Bible, music, texting, etc. for the duration of your fast. This can be a very powerful decision even as a supplement to food fasts. 

Fighting Doubt and Fighting The Good Fight

During your fast, one of your biggest enemies will be your mind and your memory. Your mind and emotions will constantly work together to bring order to your world, order according to what you have been taught order to be. Eating at certain times each day has been part of your life training. Fasting will make no sense to your mind.

In Matthew 14:22-32, when Peter was walking on the water, he found himself in the middle of a miracle, something that did not make sense to his mind. When Peter’s mind revealed to him the supernatural nature of what he was doing, it convinced him that it was impossible, based on what his mind knew to be normal.

Consequently, Peter sank, believing logically what his mind told him, rather than what the Spirit convince him to believe by faith.

There will be times that your mind will realize how far out on a limb your faith has taken you and you will be faced with a decision: Do you give up or keep moving forward? Galatians 5:24 tells us that the flesh is at war against the Spirit. It cannot be trained or negotiated with. The flesh must die. It must be crucified. Always remember, faith goes all the way. God has not given you the Spirit of fear but one of Son-ship, by which we call Abba Father (Romans 8:15).

When you feel as though you want to give up, you must ask yourself a few questions. Is the pain you are experiencing worth the prize you are pursuing?


Social Tensions

A frequently asked question about fasting is: “Should you tell people that you are fasting?” There will be those who find out that you are fasting, but you can turn this situation into an encouraging one. There is a balance between drawing attention to yourself and giving glory to God. You have to decide when and how to discuss it, because your testimony can be used to encourage others to fast. You should “…be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear” (1 Peter 3:15) Also, remember the context in which Jesus is talking about not telling people about your fast. He is referring to the motives and the condition of our hearts. Are you sharing to bring glory to God and help others or are you sharing to boast about yourself and in turn bring confusion about the very purpose of fasting? Matthew 6:16 NLT, “And when you fast, don’t make it obvious, as the hypocrites do, for they try to look miserable and disheveled so people will admire them for their fasting. I tell you the truth, that is the only reward they will ever get…”


A lot of people choose to do the Daniel fast during the 21 days. What is the Daniel fast?


Foods to Include

  • All fruits. These can be fresh, frozen, dried, juiced or canned. Fruits include but are not limited to apples, apricots, bananas, blackberries, blueberries, boysenberries, cantaloupe, cherries, cranberries, figs, grapefruit, grapes, guava, honeydew melon, kiwi, lemons, limes, mangoes, nectarines, oranges, papayas, peaches, pears, pineapples, plums, prunes, raisins, raspberries, strawberries, tangelos, tangerines, watermelon.
  • All vegetables. These can be fresh, frozen, dried, juiced or canned. Vegetables include but are not limited to artichokes, asparagus, beets, broccoli, brussel-sprouts, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, celery, chili peppers, collard greens, corn, cucumbers, eggplant, garlic, ginger root, kale, leeks, lettuce, mushrooms, mustard greens, okra, onions, parsley, potatoes, radishes, rutabagas, scallions, spinach, sprouts, squashes, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, turnips, watercress, yams, zucchini, veggie burgers (an option if you are not allergic to soy).
  • All whole grains. Including, but not limited to, whole wheat, brown rice, millet, quinoa, oats, barley, grits, whole wheat pasta, whole wheat tortillas, rice cakes, and popcorn. All nuts and seeds, including, but not limited to, sunflower seeds, cashews, peanuts, sesame.
  • Also, nut butters, e.g. peanut butter and almond butter.
  • All legumes. These can be canned or dried. Legumes include but are not limited to dried beans, pinto beans, split peas, lentils, black eyed peas, kidney beans, black beans, cannellini beans, white beans.
  • All quality oils. Including, but not limited to, olive, canola, grape seed, peanut, and sesame.
  • Beverages: Spring water, distilled water, or other pure waters.
  • Other: Tofu, soy products, vinegar, seasonings, salt, herbs, and spices

Foods To Avoid

All meat and animal products. Including, but not limited to, beef, lamb, pork, poultry, and fish.

All dairy products. Including, but not limited to, milk, cheese, cream, butter, and eggs.

All sweeteners. Including, but not limited to, sugar, raw sugar, honey, syrups, molasses, and cane juice.

All leavened bread, Including Ezekiel Bread (it contains yeast and honey) and baked goods.

All refined and processed food products. Including, but not limited to, artificial flavorings, food additives, chemicals, white rice, white flour, and foods that contain artificial preservatives.

All deep fried foods. Including, but not limited to, potato chips, french fries, corn chips.

All solid fats. Including shortening, margarine, lard, and foods high in fat. Beverages. Including, but not limited to, coffee, tea, herbal teas, carbonated beverages, energy drinks, and alcohol.


Your Devotion Time:

Each day you will have a scripture to read. Read the scripture and apply the S.O.A.P method to each day. 

  1. SCRIPTURE: Chose one Bible verse that stands out to me and copy it word for word.
  2. OBSERVATION: What does this verse teach me about my relationship with God?
  3. APPLICATION: How will I be different because of what I’ve read today?
  4. PRAYER: Write out a prayer asking God to help me live out what I’ve just learned.

When you are done fill in the date and create a title for your journal entry.


Here’s an example…

January 5 Who Am I Pleasing?

SCRIPTURE: Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God? (Galatians 1:10)

OBSERVATION: How much of my life is trying to be liked, accepted, or celebrated by people around me? How many times do I make life decisions based upon the opinions of others? 

APPLICATION: Today I want to run every decision I make through the filter of pleasing God. I choose to believe that if I please God with my decisions and life, it will not only be the best for me, but it will honor God and others.

PRAYER: Heavenly Father give me the strength today to make hard decisions. Help me to be so confident in my identity as your son/daughter that I don’t place others’ opinions and direction above yours. Give me the courage to act on this today. In Jesus name, Amen




Ending your fast properly is just as important as beginning your fast properly. Just as you prepared yourself to begin a fast, you must prepare yourself to stop or break your fast.

Here are a few questions you can ask yourself as you end your fast:

  • What are the key lessons learned?
  • What new habits or disciplines do you want to keep?
  • What new dietary rules will you follow?
  • What foods will you begin eating and not eat anymore?
  • What dreams and visions have you seen pertaining to your personal journey with the Lord or your ministry?



Get In The “Fast Lane”

Before you end your fast and establish a regular eating schedule, it will be important to set aside time to get in the “Fast Lane” on a regular basis. This is vital if you are going to apply and live out the lessons learned during your fast.

1 Corinthians 11:24-28 says that Paul “fasted often.” But why? You must view fasting as a new way of life, not just a vacation from the old way. According to 2 Corinthians 5:17, “The old is gone and the new has come.” Fasting regularly will help you maintain a level of discipline and spirituality that is necessary to hold the ground surrendered by Satan.

Regular fasts will keep the flesh in submission and serve as a reminder as to who is in charge of your life. Choose a regular fasting schedule to follow. There are those who have chosen to fast one, twenty-four-hour period per week. Others fast sun up to sundown, one day per week. Some fast a meal or social media throughout the week. Pray and design a format that you feel God wants for you.





Controlling your eating habits when you end your fast will be important. After you fast, you will feel good about yourself, that you deserve “a break today,” tomorrow, and the next day. Remember, the abuse of food, not food itself, was the root of many evils. If you allow food to take its place back on the throne of your heart, you are allowing bad habits to take root and push God farther from the center of your heart than He was before you began your fast. Once you begin to eat again, if you are not careful, you will feel uncomfortable. Your stomach will feel bloated and full. Introduce solid food slowly. There is a very good chance you will experience stomachaches and diarrhea from the shock on the digestive system. Seek medical attention if the symptoms get worse or are for a long period of time. You know your body and should listen to it.



Satan will be working to take back the ground you surrendered over to the Lord and he will use your emotional vulnerability to accomplish his goals. It could be an intense time of discouragement leading to depression. Remember to be mindful of this and to eat wisely once you break your fast. In 1 Kings 18-19, when Elijah is challenged by the 450 prophets of Baal who all followed Jezebel in a most vile and immoral religion. God confronts and defeats them through one man, Elijah. But after this great spiritual victory, Elijah finds himself running for his life from one woman, Jezebel. She had threatened his life and he felt all alone. He became incredibly discouraged and asked God to end his life. Elijah experienced a supernatural and spiritual high, followed by an emotional low. You very well could experience this same type of roller coaster ride. Surround yourself with people who can journey with you and who will speak the truth of God over your life in the midst of this season.

No matter what kind of fast you choose (or if you do not choose to fast) please join us in seeking God in prayer!

Thank you for joining in this 21-Day of Prayer & Fasting!


For our devotionals, please visit our YouTube channel!