7 Basic Steps to Fasting and Prayer by Bill Bright of Campus Crusade for Christ
I believe the power of fasting as it relates to prayer is the spiritual atomic bomb that our Lord has
given us to destroy the strongholds of evil and usher in a great revival and spiritual harvest
around the world.
Increasingly I have been gripped with a growing sense of urgency to call upon God to send
revival to our beloved country. In the spring and summer of 1994, I had a growing conviction that
God wanted me to fast and pray for forty days for revival in America and for the fulfillment of the
Great Commission in obedience to our Lord's command.
At first I questioned, "Is this truly God's call for me?" Forty days was a long time to go without
solid food. But with each passing day, His call grew stronger and more clear. Finally, I was
convinced. God was calling me to fast, and He would not make such a call without a specific
reason or purpose. With this conviction, I entered my fast with excitement and expectancy
mounting in my heart, praying, "Lord, what do you want me to do?"
I believe such a long fast was a sovereign call of God because of the magnitude of the sins of
America and of the Church. The Lord impressed that upon my heart, as well as the urgent need
to help accelerate the fulfillment of the Great Commission in this generation.
As I began my fast, I was not sure I could continue for forty days. But my confidence was in the
Lord to help me. Each day His presence encouraged me to continue. The longer I fasted, the
more I sensed the presence of the Lord. The Holy Spirit refreshed my soul and spirit, and I
experienced the joy of the Lord as seldom before. Biblical truths leaped at me from the pages of
God's Word. My faith soared as I humbled myself and cried out to God and rejoiced in His
This proved to be the most important forty days of my life. As I waited upon the Lord, the Holy
Spirit gave me the assurance that America and much of the world will, before the end of the year
2000, experience a great spiritual awakening. This divine visit from heaven will kindle the greatest
spiritual harvest in the history of the Church. But before God comes in revival power, the Holy
Spirit will call millions of God's people to repent, fast, and pray in the spirit of 2 Chronicles 7:14:
If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face
and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will
heal their land.
The scope of this revival depends on how believers in America and the rest of the world respond
to this call. I have spent fifty years studying God's Word and listening to His voice, and His
message could not have been more clear.
This handy reference guide, Seven Basic Steps to Successful Fasting and Prayer, will help make
your time with the Lord more spiritually rewarding. I encourage you to keep it with you during your
fast and refer to it often because it gives easy-to-follow suggestions on how to begin your fast,
what to do while you fast, and how to end your fast properly.
During my forty-day fast, God impressed me to pray that two million Christians in North America
will fast for forty days by the end of the year 2000, and pray for national and worldwide revival
and for the fulfillment of the Great Commission. Prayerfully consider this challenge.
How you begin and conduct your fast will largely determine your success. By following these
seven basic steps to fasting, you will make your time with the Lord more meaningful and
STEP 1: Set Your Objective
Why are you fasting? Is it for spiritual renewal, for guidance, for healing, for the resolution of
problems, for special grace to handle a difficult situation? Ask the Holy Spirit to clarify His leading
and objectives for your prayer fast. This will enable you to pray more specifically and strategically.
Through fasting and prayer we humble ourselves before God so the Holy Spirit will stir our souls,
awaken our churches, and heal our land according to 2 Chronicles 7:14. Make this a priority in
STEP 2: Make Your Commitment
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 up front:* How long you will fast - one meal, one
day, a week, several weeks, forty days (Beginners should start slowly, building up to longer
* The type of fast God wants you to undertake (such as water only, or water and juices;
what kinds of juices you will drink and how often)
* 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 abandon it.
STEP 3: Prepare Yourself Spiritually
The very foundation of fasting and prayer is repentance. Unconfessed sin will hinder your
prayers. Here are several things you can do to prepare your heart:
* Ask God to help you make a comprehensive list of your sins.
* Confess every sin that the Holy Spirit calls to your remembrance and accept God's
forgiveness (1 John 1:9).
* Seek forgiveness from all whom you have offended, and forgive all who have hurt you
(Mark 11:25; Luke 11:4; 17:3,4).
* Make restitution as the Holy Spirit leads you.
* Ask God to fill you with His Holy Spirit according to His command in Ephesians 5:18
and His promise in 1 John 5:14,15.
* Surrender your life fully to Jesus Christ as your Lord and Master; refuse to obey your
worldly nature (Romans 12:1,2).
* Meditate on the attributes of God, His love, sovereignty, power, wisdom, faithfulness,
grace, compassion, and others (Psalm 48:9,10; 103:1-8. 11-13).
* Begin your time of fasting and prayer with an expectant heart (Hebrews 11:6).
* Do not underestimate spiritual opposition. Satan sometimes intensifies the natural battle
between body and spirit (Galatians 5:16,17).
STEP 4: Prepare Yourself Physically
Fasting requires reasonable precautions. Consult your physician first, especially if you take
prescription medication or have a chronic ailment. Some persons should never fast without
Physical preparation makes the drastic change in your eating routine a little easier so that you
can turn your full attention to the Lord in prayer.
* Do not rush into your fast.
* Prepare your body. Eat smaller meals before starting a fast. Avoid high-fat and sugary
* Eat raw fruit and vegetables for two days before starting a fast.
While You Fast
Your time of fasting and prayer has come. You are abstaining from all solid foods and have
begun to seek the Lord. Here are some helpful suggestions to consider:
* Avoid drugs, even natural herbal drugs and homeopathic remedies. Medication should
be withdrawn only with your physician's supervision.
* Limit your activity.
* Exercise only moderately. Walk one to three miles each day if convenient and
* Rest as much as your schedule will permit.
* Prepare yourself for temporary mental discomforts, such as impatience, crankiness, and
* Expect some physical discomforts, especially on the second day. You may have fleeting
hunger pains, dizziness, or the "blahs." Withdrawal from caffeine and sugar may cause
headaches. Physical annoyances may also include weakness, tiredness, or
The first two or three days are usually the hardest. As you continue to fast, you will likely
experience a sense of well-being both physically and spiritually. However, should you feel hunger
pains, increase your liquid intake.
STEP 5: Put Yourself on a Schedule
For maximum spiritual benefit, set aside ample time to be alone with the Lord. Listen for His
leading. The more time you spend with Him, the more meaningful your fast will be.
! Begin your day in praise and worship.
* Read and meditate on God's Word, preferably on your knees.
* Invite the Holy Spirit to work in you to will and to so His good pleasure according to
* Invite God to use you. Ask Him to show you how to influence your world, your family,
your church, your community, your country, and beyond.
* Pray for His vision for your life and empowerment to do His will.
* Return to prayer and God's Word.
* Take a short prayer walk.
* Spend time in intercessory prayer for your community's and nation's leaders, for the
world's unreached millions, for your family or special needs.
* Get alone for an unhurried time of "seeking His face."
* If others are fasting with you, meet together for prayer.
* Avoid television or any other distraction that may dampen your spiritual focus.
When possible, begin and end each day on your knees with your spouse for a brief time of praise
and thanksgiving to God. Longer periods of time with our Lord in prayer and study of His Word
are often better spent alone.
A dietary routine is vital as well. Dr. Julio C. Ruibal - a nutritionist, pastor, and specialist in fasting
and prayer - suggests a daily schedule and list of juices you may find useful and satisfying.
Modify this schedule and the drinks you take to suit your circumstances and tastes.
5 a.m. - 8 a.m.
Fruit juices, preferably freshly squeezed or blended and diluted in 50 percent distilled
water if the fruit is acid. Apple, pear, grapefruit, papaya, watermelon, or other fruit juices
are generally preferred. If you cannot do you own juicing, buy juices without sugar or
10:30 a.m. – noon
Fresh vegetable juice made from lettuce, celery, and carrots in three equal parts.
2:30 p.m. - 4 p.m.
Herb tea with a drop of honey. Avoid black tea or any tea with caffeine.
6 p.m. - 8:30 p.m.
Broth made from boiling potatoes, celery, and carrots with no salt. After boiling about half
an hour, pour the water into a container and drink it.
Tips on Juice Fasting
* Drinking fruit juice will decrease your hunger pains and give your some natural sugar
energy. The taste and lift will motivate and strengthen you to continue.
* The best juices are made from fresh watermelon, lemons, grapes, apples, cabbage,
beets, carrots, celery, or leafy green vegetables. In cold weather, you may enjoy a warm
* Mix acidic juices (orange and tomato) with water for your stomach's
* Avoid caffeinated drinks. And avoid chewing gum or mints, even if your
breath is bad. They stimulate digestive action in your stomach.
Breaking Your Fast
When your designated time for fasting is finished, you will begin to eat again. But how you break
your fast is extremely important for your physical and spiritual well-being.
STEP 6: End Your Fast Gradually
Begin eating gradually. Do not eat solid foods immediately after your fast. Suddenly reintroducing
solid food to your stomach and digestive tract will likely have negative, even dangerous,
consequences. Try several smaller meals or snacks each day. If you end your fast gradually, the
beneficial physical and spiritual effects will result in continued good health.
Here are some suggestions to help you end your fast properly:
* Break an extended water fast with fruit such as watermelon.
* While continuing to drink fruit or vegetable juices, add the following:
-First day: Add a raw salad.
-Second day: Add baked or boiled potato, no butter or seasoning.
-Third day: Add a steamed vegetable. Thereafter: Begin to reintroduce your normal diet.
* Gradually return to regular eating with several small snacks during the first few days.
Start with a little soup and fresh fruit is such as watermelon and cantaloupe. Advance to a
few tablespoons of solid foods such as raw fruits and vegetables or a raw salad and
A Final Word
STEP 7: Expect Results
If you sincerely humble yourself before the Lord, repent, pray, and seek God's face; if you
consistently meditate on His Word, you will experience a heightened awareness of His presence
(John 14:21). The Lord will give you fresh, new spiritual insights. Your confidence and faith in
God will be strengthened. You will feel mentally, spiritually, and physically refreshed. You will see answers to
A single fast, however, is not a spiritual cure-all. Just as we need fresh infillings of the Holy Spirit
daily, we also need new times of fasting before God. A 24-hour fast each week has been greatly
rewarding to many Christians.
It takes time to build your spiritual fasting muscles. If you fail to make it through your first fast, do
not be discouraged. You may have tried to fast too long the first time out, or your may need to
strengthen your understanding and resolve. As soon as possible, undertake another fast until you
do succeed. God will honor you for your faithfulness.
I encourage you to join me in fasting and prayer again and again until we truly experience revival
in our homes, our churches, our beloved nation, and throughout the world.
How to Experience and Maintain Personal Revival
1. Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal any unconfessed sin in your life.
2. Seek forgiveness from all whom you have offended, and forgive all who have hurt you. Make
restitution where God leads.
3. Examine your motives in every word and deed. Ask the Lord to search and cleanse your heart
4. Ask the Holy Spirit to guard your walk against complacency and mediocrity.
5. Praise and give thanks to God continually in all ways on all days, regardless of your
6. Refuse to obey your carnal (worldly) nature (Galatians 5:16,17).
7. Surrender your life to Jesus Christ as your Savior and Lord. Develop utter dependence on Him
with total submission and humility.
8. Study the attributes of God.
9. Hunger and thirst after righteousness (Matthew 5:6).
10. Love God with all of your heart, soul, and mind (Matthew 22:37).
11. Appropriate the continual fullness and control of the Holy Spirit by faith on the basis of God's
command (Ephesians 5:18) and promise (1John 5:14,15).
12. Read, study, meditate on, and memorize God's holy, inspired, inerrant Word daily (Colossians
13. Pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:17).
14. Fast and pray one 24-hour period each week. Prayerfully consider becoming one of the two
million Christians who will fast for forty days before the end of the year 2000.
15. Seek to share Christ daily as a way of life.
16. Determine to live a holy, godly life of obedience and faith.
17. Start or join a home or church Bible study group that emphasizes revival and a holy life.
Six Vital Questions About Prayer
Q: What Is Prayer?
Simply put, prayer is communicating with God. Real prayer is expressing our devotion to our
heavenly Father, inviting Him to talk to us as we talk to Him.
Q: Who Can Pray?
Anyone can pray, but only those who walk in faith and obedience to Christ can expect to receive
answers to their prayers.
Contact with God begins when we receive Jesus into our lives as Savior and Lord (John 14:6).
Praying with a clean heart is also vital to successful prayer. We cannot expect God to answer our
prayers if there is any unconfessed sin in our life or if we are harboring an unforgiving spirit
(Psalm 66:18; Mark 11:25). For God to answer our prayers, we must have a believing heart and
ask according to His will (Matthew 9:29; 21:22; 1 John 5:14,15).
Q: Why Are We to Pray?
God's Word commands us to pray (Luke 18:1; Acts 6:4; Mark 14:38; Philippians 4:6; Colossians
4:2; 1 Timothy 2:1,2).
We pray to have fellowship with God, receive spiritual nurture and strength to live a victorious life,
and maintain boldness for a vital witness for Christ.
Prayer releases God's great power to change the course of nature, people, and nations.
Q: To Whom Do We Pray?
We pray to the Father in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ through the ministry of the Holy Spirit.
when we pray to the Father, our prayers are accepted by Jesus Christ and interpreted to God the
Father by the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:26, 27,34).
Q: When Should We Pray?
God's Word commands us to "Pray continually" (1 Thessalonians 5:17). We can be in prayer
throughout the day, expressing and demonstrating our devotion to God as we go about our daily
It is not always necessary to be on our knees, or even in a quiet room to pray. God wants us to
be in touch with Him constantly wherever we are. We can pray in the car, while washing the
dishes, or while walking down the street.
Q: What Should We Include in Our Prayers?
Although prayer cannot be reduced to a formula, certain basic elements should be included in our
communication with God: Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, Supplication (ACTS).
To adore God is to worship and praise Him, to honor and exalt Him in our heart and mind and
with our lips.
When our discipline of prayer begins with adoration, the Holy Spirit has opportunity to reveal any
sin in our life that needs to be confessed.
An attitude of thanksgiving to God, for who He is and for the benefits we enjoy because we
belong to Him, enables us to recognize that He controls all things - not just the blessings, but the
problems and adversities as well. As we approach God with a thankful heart, He becomes strong
on our behalf.
Supplication includes petition for our own needs and intercession for others. Pray that your inner
person may be renewed, always sensitive to and empowered by the Holy Spirit. Pray for others -
your spouse, your children, your parents, neighbors, and friends; our nation and those in authority
over us. Pray for the salvation of souls, for a daily opportunity to introduce others to Christ and to
the ministry of the Holy Spirit, and for the fulfillment of the Great Commission.