Fasting may be the most neglected of all the spiritual disciplines today. It’s easy to dismiss it as an old and quaint practice. But we miss an important and meaningful opportunity for spiritual growth when we don’t fast and pray, and it’s not just for the “hardcore believers” or the “elite super Christians.” In fact, fasting and prayer should be for all practicing Christians…
From the Office
- “Some of my most amazing spurts of spiritual growth and breakthroughs have happened while fasting, so I make an effort to fast regularly,” says Rachel in Marketing. “Other times, God brings me peace over problems even when solutions don’t arise. It is really special to me when God shows me he hears me, and that means more than the solution itself.”
- “[Food fasts are] very challenging,” said Carol, one of our graphic designers. “MY desires become more distant and my spirit becomes more sensitive and aligned to God’s voice and will over my life. It’s truly powerful and I will most definitely be fasting again.”
- “When I went on my 40-day juice-only fast, I was looking for direction for our family’s future – where we should live. The answer didn’t come during the 40 days, but a month or so afterwards my wife had a dream of the area we live in now, which we had never seen or heard of before,” shared Rob in eMarketing.
- Gretchen turned fasting into a regular practice: “At one point, I fasted from all food every Monday just to concentrate in prayer on a family problem that took many years to resolve…” Then she made a great note about the reason why we fast: “Fasting isn’t a magic formula to manipulate God to give us what we want. It’s a way of refocusing on God and reorganizing all other priorities into their rightful places.
7 Tips For a Great Fast:
Whether you’re fasting for the first or fiftieth time, here are some good tips to follow:
- Need to get off Facebook with a social media fast? Have a trusted friend change your password for you and then keep it written down somewhere safe until the end of your fast.
- Fasting from email? Set up an automatic responder so that important contacts will know you will not be checking email until a certain date. Be sure to include an alternative way they can contact you in case of emergencies.
- If you are doing a dietary fast, DO consult with a doctor, and make sure to stay hydrated and consider refraining from strenuous activity. Physical discomforts may arise from your body going through a detoxification process. Soreness, especially in the lower back is a sign of dehydration. Consult with your doctor before doing a dietary fast.
- Start slowly when fasting food. If you’re fasting from food completely (and just drinking liquids), start by skipping one meal a day and build from there.
- Be patient with yourself: if you lapse from your fast, don’t be hard on yourself. Commit to be more mindful from then on, ask the Lord for His help and seek the help of trusted family and friends, and keep going.
- Your body–in addition to your soul and spirit–will go through changes as you’re fasting from food. With stricter fasts, always consult a physician. “Breaking the fast is a discipline in itself,” says Ben, one of our writers, “…resisting the temptation of over-eating at first is very difficult, just as resisting temptation in general.” On the day after your fast ends, don’t go to a buffet or eat an entire chocolate cake or huge steak! Your body will have gotten used to going without food or going without meat and the proper enzymes that used to break certain food products down will be either out of your system or very low in supply. It’s always safest to consult with your doctor when changing your diet.
- Start with small snacks and meals made of basic ingredients that won’t irritate your stomach, and gradually build your normal diet back up.
- Some foods to go easy on or avoid for the first few days after your fast ends may be: red meat, acidic foods (tomato, orange juice, vinaigrette dressings, etc…), processed sugars, dairy, and so on.
- The BRAT (bananas, rice, applesauce, and toast) diet can be helpful if your stomach is especially sensitive.
- Fasting is a subtraction from your life, making room for the Lord to move and speak: “I find that the secret to fasting is to eat spiritually by praying and meditating on the word at those times I would have been eating,” says Rob in eMarketing. Replace the time, energy, and even money you’d spend on food/cooking by choosing to spend time in prayer and the Bible for a set amount of time each day. Build up this spiritual muscle for an increase of growth and knowledge of the Lord!
What other tips on fasting would you recommend to others?