Types of Fasts
For examples of each of the following fasts go to "Biblical Examples of Fasting".
Absolute Fast- No food or liquids, it is the most severe fast, used only in the most serious causes. It is not recommended for your first fast. It is designed for those who are deeply distressed or for those who are fasting to solve an extreme problem, such as a deliverance from an addiction or protection from a spiritual enemy.
Normal Fast- You eliminate solid food, but drink liquids. Used by most believers when fasting. Most of the references in the Bible are referring to this type of fast. The type of liquids can range from just water to any liquid, except alcohol.
Partial Fast- You eliminate selected items/ meals from diet, such as pleasant food, meat, and wine or that which is pleasurable or gives joy.
John Wesley Fast- You eat only whole-grain bread and water for 10 days in preparation for Christian Service. The background of this fast is that founder and leader of the great Methodist movement, Wesley brought all his parish preachers back to London for a conference, where he only ate natural whole grain bread and drank water for 10 days prior to each conference. Wesley fasted and prayed for spiritual power to influence his ministries in these conferences. All agree that those Methodist preachers left the conference to change the world. Those preachers built the largest Protestant denomination in the world, a reflection that God honored Wesley’s spiritual dedication of fasting and prayers.
Rotation Fast (Mayo Clinic Fast)- You eat only one of the six food groups each day for six days for medical purposes. Usually it starts with a one-day normal or absolute fast to cleanse the system. Then only one new food group is introduced each day for six days, rotating through each of the six food groups. This helps to determine by elimination and exclusion what food is the source of a person’s physical problem.
Group Fast- Consists of gathering fellow Christians to fast for a common purpose. Can be any special type. Richard Foster, in his book, "Celebration of Discipline", talks about how this type of fast can be a wonderful and powerful experience provided there are prepared people who are of one mind in these matters. Serious problems in churches or other groups can be dealt with and relationships healed through unified group prayer and fasting. When a sufficient number of people rightly understand what is involved prayer and fasting can have highly beneficial results.
Yom Kippur- this is perhaps the most celebrated holy day on the Jewish calendar. It means “Day of Atonement” is was established by God for Israel, in Leviticus 16:29-30.
“This shall be a statute forever for you: In the seventh month, on the tenth day of the month, you shall afflict your souls, and do no work at all, whether a native of your own country or a stranger who dwells among you. For on that day the priest shall make atonement for you, to cleanse you that you may be clean from all your sins before the Lord.”
Notice the word “afflict”, which means fasting. Even Jews who typically do not observe any other Jewish festival will often participate in Yom Kippur by fasting, attending synagogue, and refraining from work to atone for sins against God. Yom Kippur, or the Day of Atonement, is the final day of “appeal” to God for atonement, which is preceded by ten Days of Awe that are spent in reflection on one’s life and sins.