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10 Different Kinds of Fasting

fasting breaks chains sign

The Bible describes nine types of fasting; the Quran describes two. The Internet has an article about five kinds of “intermittent” fasting. Which is best?

This depends on lifestyle, and especially whether you work at home or away from home. It also depends on how you define a fast. Withholding from eating, drinking, desserts or activities are among the ways you could fast.

Systematic under-eating or complete abstinence from foods such as red meat or pork are other ways of withholding but not fasts per se.

The newest craze among “gym-rat” and dieting gurus is the intermittent fast, which basically means you only eat certain hours of the day, or every other day. These are basically for weight loss. This article describes some of these methods, based on different diet perspectives. My list begins with habit and behavior so fasting keeps your health above the line mind, body and spirit:

  1. TRADITIONAL MASTER CLEANSE is not thought of as a fast but it really is.  You eat no food and drink only  an infusion of citrus fruits spiked with honey and cayenne for seven, 14 or 21 days at a time. Water is allowed.
  2. JUICE FAST typically replaces all meals with juiced fruits and/or vegetables.
  3. BODY PRODUCTS FAST is a way to wean yourself periodically (if not absolutely) from personal care products that contain harmful chemicals, and only use homemade products.

I’m fasting for Ramadan–a period of study of how to get closer to my Creator. Here’s a rundown of fasting methods described in the two most popular scriptures.


From the Quran:

4. Fast for purification, Ramadan.   This is a 30-day period of no eating, drinking or sexual activity from dawn to sundown. After sunset, you can eat, drink and love. (HQ 2:183-187) Killing people to land in a heavenly bed of virgins is not fasting Ramadan, nor is it  Submission to God Alone (Arabic: Islam)!

5. Speech Fast.  This is a three-day fast of silence, based on the father of John the Baptist. (HQ 19:10; The Bible account differs as to why Zacharias could not speak.) I have undertaken this fast myself when anticipating a major transition. It worked to stop me from chattering and worrying.

From the Bible:

6. Fast for humility. (Matthew 6:16-18) “When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do… Truly … they have received their reward in full. But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that it will not be obvious to others … but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.”

7. Forty (40) days of Lent begins Ash Wednesday and ends Holy Thursday and is based on Jesus’s 40 day fast in the desert, drinking only water (Matthew 4:1-4). The water-only fast is one of the most common.


8. Three (3) Day for Spirituality. For a spiritual cleansing, Saul fasted after converting and ate and drank nothing at all.(Acts 9:9) Paul received the Holy Spirit and the return of his eyesight when Ananias laid hands on him (energy healing, i.e., Reiki) (Acts 9:17-18). This fast is also said to help break up addiction patterns.

9. Twenty-one (21) days for Mourning. From Daniel 10:2-3: “In those days I, Daniel was mourning three full weeks. I ate no pleasant bread, neither came flesh nor wine in my mouth…

10. No Ointments Fast. Daniel continues,neither did I anoint (oil) myself at all, till three whole weeks were fulfilled”. Daniel’s partial fast restricted his grooming with oils. During his fast an angel visited him, according to this site. This is different from #3 above, because the energy of oils in antiquity were a form of apparel and to not wear them meant one wasn’t fully dressed. This is a real shut down for the body.

This last example also says to release while mourning the transition of another. The three-week or 21-day fast is long but not arduously so. The body lets you know when the time is completed.

Twenty-one days is also a marker for release after attunement to Reiki. New Reiki 2 practitioners are expected to fast or give up something they typically indulge in for 21 days, in exchange for their new awareness of the universal life force /healing spiritual energy.


Since most of my readers are Christian, I thought we should take a look at this perspective. This article summarizes the different kinds of Christian fasts:

  1. Normal Fast – No food, water only.
  2. Absolute Fast – Absolutely no food or water (Caution!)
  3. Partial Fast – Abstinence from certain kinds of foods. See Daniel 10:3 above.
  4. Chain Fast – A church or group commit to fasting for a long period of time and each individual commits to fast for a day or longer …
  5. Jewish Fast – The most well known fast of Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement or Affliction) is a sun-up to sundown withholding from food and drink.
  6. Fasting Plus Prayer — Fasting should be combined with prayer. We are to fast and pray, not fast and preach, nor fast and work…

For the full list go here.

–Rev. Niamo Nancy Muid


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