Ideas for 40 Days of Fasting

Throughout biblical history we see 40 days of testing, waiting and drawing closer to God. Ash Wednesday and Lent typically mark a spiritual quest for Christians, though it’s often recognized as a Catholic tradition. It’s a time of prayer, service, sacrifice and self-examination.  Look beyond the face of religion and into the heart …and see if God is calling you for the next 40 days. Does He want your attention and your heart focused on Him?

Forty-day spiritual journeys are well known in the Bible.  In Genesis 7 Noah spent 40 days and nights on a boat while God destroyed everything he had created. In Exodus 34 Moses was on the mountain with God 40 days without eating bread or drinking water, while God wrote on the tablets the words of the covenant—the Ten Commandments. In Exodus 16:35 the Israelites ate manna 40 days until they arrived in the promised land. They then suffered 40 years in the wilderness for disobeying God. In Deut 2:7  we’re reminded “The LORD your God has blessed you in all the work of your hands. He has watched over your journey through this vast wilderness. These forty years the LORD your God has been with you, and you have not lacked anything. ”

Jesus was called by God and immediately a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.” At once the Spirit sent him out into the wilderness, and he was in the wilderness forty days, being tempted by Satan. He was with the wild animals, and angels attended him. Mark 1:11-13 NIV

Below are some ideas about spending 40 days with God.

Fasting 40 Days

Financial Fast- One year my husband and I decided to give up (fast from)  all luxury expenses. Since we use budgeting software, we were able to look at 12 months of luxury expenses (pizza, movies, coffee drinks, dining out, etc) and estimate the daily cost. We multiplied the cost by 40 days and then gave up these luxuries with a promise to God to give the money saved to charity. In the final two weeks my husband lost his job and we were tempted to keep the money. By faith, we donated the money and trusted God with our finances. By blessing others we were blessed by God. We learned how to live on less and continued to give up luxuries until he found new employment.  It was truly amazing!

Food- Another year, we practiced traditional fasting by giving up specific foods or eating at specific times of the day. You can learn more about this in the popular book Fasting by Jentezen Franklin. The concept is refraining from food for a spiritual purpose. One word of caution when fasting: watch your blood sugar! I ended up hospitalized after 40 days of liquids until 5pm and light meals in the evening. Know your threshold and guard your health.

Events- My children are making decisions about their own level of participation. They might fast from television, texting, Facebook or specific foods such as sweets, pizza or fast food. I’ve been fasting from technology each week, filling my day with scripture, fellowship and prayer. Unplug from Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and other social sites… and plug in to Jesus. Finish a Bible study you never completed. Devote some time to Him…and be richly blessed.

40 Days of Prayer

Devotionals- Now is a good time to start reading a devotional and praying each day. One of the popular devotionals is Jesus Calling by Sarah Young, where each day you read a sample of what Jesus might write to you.  The Life Application Study Bible Devotional is more scripture based and focuses on Jesus’ life as seen through scripture. My Utmost for His Highest is a classic devotional with powerful words. I enjoy reading the Henry Blackaby devotional Experiencing God Day-by-Day and the Christine Caine devotional Living Life Undaunted.

Psalms- Pick up your bible and pray through the Psalms each day or read the book Psalms for Praying: An Invitation to Wholeness by Nan C Merrill. As you read the verses, focus your mind on how you can apply the verses to your life today. Select a few favorites and memorize them.

Prayer Walk- Each day when you exercise (or just driving the car to work and carpool) go on a “prayer walk.” Notice your surroundings and pray for those people around you. Pray for your neighbors as you walk past their homes, pray for the person parked at the stoplight beside you, pray for those people in your path. Read the book PrayerWalk: Becoming a Woman of Prayer, Strength, and Discipline by Janet Holm McHenry.

Body Prayer- During the next 40 days, pray through your body. Start at your feet and toes and pray something similar to this “Lord, examine my toes and feet. Search for anything that is not pleasing to you, find anything that is toxic and does not honor you. Wash over my feet and toes with the blood of Jesus and allow my feet and toes to honor Him.” Repeat for each body part, from toes to head as you lie in bed and prepare to fall asleep.

Read-The Purpose Driven Life: What on Earth Am I Here For? by Rick Warren. The book has 40 chapters and is designed to be read one chapter, one day at a time for 40 days.

Memorize Scripture- Get some index cards and write out scripture verses to memorize. I use a spiral notebook, small enough for my handbag so I can carry it with me. There are also apps for your smartphone or computer which help memorize scripture. Make sure the verse is visible so you can read it often during the week. To help you better understand scripture, read Rick Warren’s 40 Days in the Word

Pray For a Child- If you are a parent or grandparent, pray for your children each day for the next 40 days. Pray for your nieces and nephews. If you sponsor a child through Compassion International, Gospel of Asia or World Vision then spend the next 40 days praying for your child. Pray for children who are waiting to be adopted. For the next 40 days, find children you can pray for.

Pray For a Relationship- Pray for your spouse, friend, boyfriend or a relationship. Focus each day on the same person and spend 40 days covering this person with your prayers.

Pray for Your Coworkers- Print a copy of the company directory or write a few names down on paper and pray for these people during the next 40 days. Pray for them to know Jesus, for peace and hope  in their lives and for God to reveal Himself to them. Pray with expectation for goodness, peace, joy and hope in their lives.

Pray the Names of God- In the Experiencing God workbook, there is a long list of the names of God in scripture. Print this list and pray daily on His name and character. Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal Him through His name. You can also find a book on this by Ann Springer called Praying the Names of God: A Daily Guide

40 Days of Praise

Worship Music  Change the radio station in your car or on your computer to Christian music and listen exclusively for the next 40 days.  Scan YouTube for Christian songs and save your favorites in your profile. Listen to on your computer or in the car. When I’m carpooling my kids will say “Just to warn you, my Mom likes to listen to this stuff!” Often their friends reply “Don’t worry, my Mom does it too!”  We also play Christian music on our television when we’re at home… you can find it on satellite or cable if you search around the channels.

Journal- Get a fresh notebook and journal your gratitude to God. Read the popular book One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp and make a decision to start noticing the gifts God has bestowed upon you. This is especially wise if you are under a cloud of unemployment, financial worries, health problems or relationship troubles. Count your blessings for the next 40 days. You can find a FREE app for your smartphone or iPad and record your gratitude via Ann Voscamp. Create a Spiritual Journal by listing prayer requests and Bible study notes during the next 40 days.  I’m using the Markings by C.R. Gibson Brown Ruled Paper Bonded Leather Journal and I put tabs at the top to divide it into Daily Study, Weekly Study, Small Group and Prayer. I carry this to my church group and use at home for my Bible study.

Beauty Treatments- When is the last time you used your body as praise to God? Created in His image…when you look in the mirror do you see the child He loves or something less beautiful in your own eyes? Explore opportunities to honor your body and treat yourself as a son or daughter of the King. What would you eat as His child? How would you dress? What would you do to maintain the body He created for you? Put this thought into your heart, pray over it and see if you need “40 days of beauty treatments” in the name of the Lord.  Start praying on Psalm 139 each day and make a commitment to be fearfully and wonderfully made. Exercise, eat right and take care of the body God designed for you.

40 Days of Giving

Giving Letters- In our modern day it’s rare to receive a letter or even a Christmas letter. Most people use the speed of text messages, email and Facebook posts. Why not break tradition and mail a handwritten letter, once a day, for 40 days. Mail to a prison ministry, a senior home, the teachers at your child’s school, or a network of friends.

Giving Joy- Read the book Spreading Joy Daily by Marie Wikle and find ways to share the love of Christ with others. The book is filled with simple ways to make a difference.

Cooking- If you are making a family meal, double the batch of spaghetti, soup, stew or lasagna. Package this with a loaf of bread and deliver it to your neighbors, family member or a coworker. Use the element of surprise and make their day special when you bring an unexpected meal. Make a batch of cookies, brownies or cupcakes and each day during the week find someone you can share them with.

Giving Your Time- Spend 40 days giving your time and attention to your friend, spouse, children or family members. Pull yourself away from Facebook and social media, from the distractions of the television or internet…and center your time on someone else. Make a list with the number 1-40 and each day write a name of someone you are going to give time to. You can make a phone call, send an email, mail a card, or visit in person. Take the focus off yourself and your needs and give time to someone else.

These are just a few ideas to start you thinking about your own 40-day spiritual journey. The decision to spend 40 days focused on God is yours alone. Pray over this and see if you are led to do something or possibly wait for another time. Know that during your 40 days with God you will attract the attention of the enemy and he will throw flaming arrows your way. Stand firm with the shield of faith and keep your eyes and heart on God.

We’d like to hear your ideas. Post a comment below and share your ideas for a 40 day journey.

Author Christine Abraham

Founder and Ministry Director of the Womens Bible Cafe™ since 2009, Christine has led 60+ online Bible Studies for women. She completed a Graduate of Biblical Studies from Liberty University. She’s an inspired writer, Amazon Top Reviewer and Blogger Follow on Facebook

More posts by Christine Abraham

Join the discussion 32 Comments

  • ilisapeci Raivukivuki says:

    My name is ilisapeci.I have been planned to do forty forty days fast.After gone through your website it’s confirmed me what LORD laid in my spirit about forty days fasting

  • Roshini Prasad says:

    I have been thinking of doing this 40 days of fasting and now after reading your article I am very much convinced to start this 40 days of prayer and fasting. I need to give up, TV series I am watching daily, FB daily, coffee, meat, snacking in between. I will use this time to pray and listen to God. I am going to be on a vegetable diet, exercise daily and pray for my children and husband, my work, church and other families and friends. I also want to write a journal daily during this time of prayer and fasting. Please pray for me that I can be successful in this journey of 40 days of fasting and praying.

  • Janet says:

    I really enjoyed reading this post on the 40 day of fasting. I am starting a 40 day fast on Feb 18, 2015 from any social media. I am actually excited about the fasting, I will also each week incorporate an additional thing. Maybe a week without sweets, TV, etc.. My complete 40 days will be no social media. I want to hear God very clearly. There are things he speaks to me now & I just be in total awe. I will be turning 40 in Aug, God willing. I want to be fully obedient to the calling of Gods word.

  • Julianna Day says:

    With the new year approaching we are entering with the Grace of God 40 Day fast starting Jan. 5, 2015. I love your website it have give me hope and with the will of God to press on through my spiritual Journey.


  • grace says:

    I am on medication and how can I fast giving up food for fourth days

  • Jennifer Kerby says:

    I have been doing well so far with my 40 days of no FB. I am facing chanllenges especially with my work friends who are constantly posting things then bringing it up at work making me feel like I am missing out on stuff. Then I remember I can do this God is with me and HE is more important then a post. Sometimes I still check my phone like I’m going to see a update just out of habit. I started a journal also but I’m not doing as well at writing everyday although I do enjoy writing to God when I do.

  • Becky Ewing says:

    I have decided to take a 40 day spiritual journey. I am going to fast FB. I started fasting Fb for just this week and WOW…I have felt GOD so very close to me all day each day I have not been on FB. I am just amazing how much time I have and how liberated I feel. Don’t know how I am going to do 40 days since that is how I connect with clients and many childhood friends. But I know that GOD is asking me to make the sacrifice and I will obey. Thank you so much for this article and Thank you for turning me to 1,000 gifts ~ I have also started doing that. I am so thankful for this Website. May GOD bless you !

  • Becky Ewing says:

    This article has helped me so much. For the first time ever , I will start a 40 day journey. Started Fasting Facebook this week. I will choose something different every week to fast for the next 40 days. My reason for doing something different every week, is because I have lots of things in my life that would be hard for me to fast. And I want to get to them all in the 40 day period. Looking forward to getting plugged in more to Jesus and less to technology, Shopping etc….

  • L. Brinson says:

    Thanks for this comprehensive yet practical list. I had started praying about what to sacrifice for lent about 3 weeks ago and nothing seemed like the right choice. Today God reminded me to appreciate the small blessings and then reading this blog, I read about the 1000 gifts. I am believing that God is leading me into 40 days of praise.

  • Jennifer K says:

    Well I am going to check Facebook one more time today then I will give it up for 40days. This is going to be hard for me. I also think I might get a new journal and start a gratitude/memory verse journal for 40 days.
    Excited to test myself.

  • Yvonne says:

    Please advise on the lent and ash Wednesday starting today 13.02.2013 acroos the globe- this this for all Christians as i am born again and would like to know.

    many thanks and God bless

  • Patti Fausset says:

    My sweet deceased Mother taught me to give up something you love. We got to see her more during lent because she gave up bingo!

  • Mary Beth Floyd says:

    Thank you so much for the inspiration! I would have never thought of honoring God in so many of these ways!

  • Lora L. Reed says:

    this is truly alot of awesome ideas. I intend to do several of these. As I am already trying to improve my walk with our LORD, any and all ideas are greatly appreciated. God bless, and thank you for your inspiration Christine. You are truly a blessing to me and I’m sure many others.

  • Carolyn Wall says:

    Thanks, Christine, you gave alot of greattttt ideas, I appreciate all your hard work, Carolyn

  • Shawntae says:

    I plan to begin a 40 days fast and end on Easter. Thank you for the creative ideas that will keep me motivated through the journey. Is there a location where after the 40 days the ladies can leave a testimony, breakthrough. or words of encouragement?

    • Yes, keep posting comments and updates on your 40 day journey right here. Know that you will encounter spiritual warfare as Jesus did… so arm yourself with scripture and claim victory when it happens.

  • Marynell says:

    This was very inspiring! Lots of reasons and ideas to spend these 40 days with God.

  • sunnygirl says:

    How Inspiring!

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