Why You Need a Financial Fast

Why you Need a Financial FastThe Bible talks about fasting in both the New and Old Testaments.

We read about Nehemiah fasting and praying for the children of Israel because they were in a time of trouble.

Daniel fasted and prayed for three weeks drawing nearer to God.

David fasted and prayed in a time of personal repentance.

Paul and Barnabas fasted and prayed before presenting leaders in the church.

There’s a close relationship between fasting and praying because fasting is a time for you to draw nearer to God.  Spending time with God in prayer allows us to hear from him and discern things that may be troubling us.

Jesus spent 40 days in the desert fasting and praying before going into ministry because he knew that it was important.

How much more should we follow his example and fast the things that demand so much of our attention?

What’s a Financial Fast?

The Bible doesn’t limit fasting only to food and drinks. Anything that can be given up temporarily so that we can focus our full attention on God can be viewed as a fast.

Paul references how a husband and wife might abstain from being together for a time (yes, sexually) so they can devote themselves to prayer. So while the Bible doesn’t have a section devoted to a ‘Financial Fast,’ I think the principles can be applied to our finances.

There isn’t a lot of specific material to guide Christians in a financial fast, which is why I wanted to cover it here. Financial fasting isn’t meant to be easy or unintentional – it involves denying yourself so that you can refocus your reliance on Christ.

How to Fast with Your Finances

In holding to the principles of fasting that we see in the Bible, I think we can fast financially by practicing the following:

1. Identify necessities and luxuries.

If you already have a budget, this may be a little easier for you to do. Take some time to really focus your expenses on the things that you have to pay for – items like your house payment, term life insurance, food, etc. If you can go without it (be honest with yourself – eating out, iTunes music, going to the movies, etc) list it as a luxury and do your best to go without purchasing it during your financial fast.

The financial fast is not meant to keep you from enjoying the things you already own. It’s a practice in contentment and reliance on God to be our provider.

2. Resist the temptation to purchase luxuries.

This is the difficult part of the financial fast. It’s so easy to justify small (and sometimes large) purchases for convenience sake or because we feel that we deserve it. Yes, I’m talking about the afternoon trip to the vending machine, the morning Starbucks, and the $1 Redbox movie. The point of a financial fast is to help us to use our money with purpose and to avoid irrational purchases that only inflate our standard of living. It’s challenging and you will notice the sacrifices – which is the point of the financial fast.

3. Focus on contentment, thankfulness, and giving.

While you’re making these financial sacrifices, take a moment to reflect on all that God has blessed you with and learn to be content with what you have. Don’t be tempted to complain about what you can’t buy during the financial fast. Instead, be thankful for all the things you do have.

You may start to see a few extra dollars because of the drop in your spending habits. This is a great thing and should be used as a way to cultivate a spirit of giving. Use the extra funds to bless a ministry in your church, help a friend in need, provide for a family that needs support, or any way that you feel God leading you to give.

4. Grow in prayer.

Throughout your financial fast, prayer should be at the cornerstone of all your decisions. Yes, as Christians we should engage with God as much as possible – but fasting should involve a focused time of prayer to seek God’s will and His direction in your life.

If there was one verse to guide your financial fast, I think it would be this:

Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” So we say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?” Hebrews 13:5-6 NIV

A financial fast is your declaration of freedom from money and acknowledgment of your dependence on God. Whether you practice a financial fast for three days or three weeks, I think it can help you grow spiritually and further your desire to give freely.

Have you ever considered a financial fast? Do you think it would be beneficial? Leave a comment!

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  1. Christie Wilson

    Never really understood fasting until I read this. I am going to do a 30 day financial fast to help me get closer to God through prayer but also to allow God to free me of my fear and anxiety of always living paycheck to paycheck and never having enough.

    • clara brand

      Tell me how it went respond back and help ME….I too am in the same boat…doing terribly…Tell me what you accomplished and what you did…Email me!!

  2. Chinweaku

    Wow! This is wonderful! I have never heard anything like this and I can’t wait to start my financial fast!!!

  3. Cherie

    A great parallel Tim!

    I’ve seen people go on 30-day spending fasts – and purchasing only the household essentials. A workshop member developed a No Money Monday with her family to help recognize all the little spending they do without even thinking about it.

    Lots of ways to use a Financial Fast in our lives.

  4. Marvin Olvera

    I really this will help a person grow spiritually because when I have fasted before my mind is so much clearer and I do hear the lord more better and louder,

  5. Krista

    I think financial fasts are healthy for multiple reasons. Much like when you stop watching TV for a month or two and you realize you don’t NEED to watch your favorite shows like you thought you did, the same is true of a break from spending money. You’ll realize you DO have money to save for things you always felt like you’d never be able to afford and you CAN give more to causes you’ve felt unable to support in the past.

    Great post!

  6. jerrylewis

    A few years back, I have indulge myself in fasting. Fasting in my own little way to spend sometime with him and this was done through a group recollection. It has help a lot in renewing my vows to him. I set aside all the material things and forget the present world that I was used to living.

  7. Anita Vaughn

    Thank you so much for your blog. I tithe but I have still struggled. I have always struggled with money. I know if I am obedient that I can ask God and He will give me the desires of my heart. I have asked him for wisdom in finances and to give me a spirit of “discipline” so I can better manage my money. I have also asked Him to help me make more money so I can save. I also need a newer vehicle-or at least airconditioning in my vehicle. I plan on reading all of your articles. Thank you!

    • BEULAH


  8. Simon

    While I have fasted before in prayer and repentance, the concept of financial fasting is still foreign to me. I do identify with the points you raise, especially #3 about contentment, thankfulness and giving. I think sometimes we are so wrapped up with earning more and buying even more stuff that we forget the joys of being grateful for what we already have and sharing. Financial fasting is something I’ll definitely give a try!

  9. Financial fasting sounds like a terrific idea to me. We are all living in the world of materialistic wantings, but what happened to the concept of living a simpler and happier life? In the world where we don’t have to work as hard to buy everything and anything and spend more quality time with our children?

  10. Mildred

    I have never consider a financial fast. I am going to try this fast to help me make better spending decisions and also for guidance in a new business venture that my son and I are about to start. Thank you for your valuable information.

    Mildred Curry

  11. Tracy

    I needed this article at this exact moment!! Without too much boring detail, I have recently been put in a serious financial crunch. I have been so worried. I love the idea of a financial fast!! But more than that I love the reminder that no matter what with God it WILL be ok!! Thank you so much for the verse reminder. I think I will read it every day while I fast!

  12. charles baffour-awuah

    i believe in fasting, but never had any type of financial fast. your msg really aligns with God’s Word. it’s about time i started a financial fast in the name of Jesus’ Christ of Nazareth, amen. thank you

  13. Jeff Boutin

    What a wonderful idea!

    My wife and I have been going through this process for some time now. My awareness to this life change began when I gave my financial planning practice to God and aligned myself with Kingdom Advisors.

    Without question and folks like Randy Alcorn and Larry Burkett will attest, this will strengthen your faith and bring you into a more intimate relationship with Jesus Christ.

    Wonderful article – I love Christian PF!!

  14. rochelle glover

    The article was awesome. I will be going on a financial fast. Great idea.. I would like to share your article (giving you..credit of course) God bless ya..

  15. Tracey

    This is right on time. I decided in December to do a financial fast for.the entire year of 2016 barring any luxuries and purchasing only necessities. Saving and being content as well as mindful of the material blessings that I already have. Most importantly, drawing nearer in my relationship to Christ.

  16. Tiffaney

    Ive never really heard of the term “financial fast.” This sounds like a great concept. I a, definitely going to try this and share this with the MissCFO community. I have been building my relationship with God over the last couple of months and this will be great for me to do. Thanks for sharing!

  17. Gordycat

    Great article. Michelle Singletary washington post columnist has a book speaking of something similar to this. I will also follow this plan using the scripture you suggested and introduce it to my ladies group. Blessings.

  18. Sue

    Thank you for this great idea! i have heard of this in the past. I did something similar last year
    during a bible study I attended.
    I need a break from all the spending and I also need to know what God wants us to do in
    terms of our spending habits.
    Seriously thinking about applying these ideas so my spending will be in line with the Lord’s
    plans for me.

  19. ESI

    We do this from time to time in various areas of spending. For instance, I am currently on a “clothing fast” — not purchasing any new clothes for the next three months.

    We’ve done it with different categories at different times. Other ones I can remember are “entertainment” and “eating out”.

  20. Jonny Pean

    I am presently on strict abstinence. Did I buy luxury items recently? No. Did I get my house painted a year back? Yes.. because that was necessary– we almost had a few chunks falling off from here and there and that’s when we decided to get them repaired and repainted. Oh yes! My entertainment costs are less than half of what they used to be in 2013.. Am I on a Financial Fast too? I wonder!

  21. Emily

    Watch out if you go on a financial fast – you might get hooked and end up retiring early or being able to move into a smaller home b/c you wake up and find you don’t need as much storage space. !