We are about to embark on our second church-wide fast! That is really exciting! Our last fast at the beginning of the year was awesome. So many of you fasted for the first time ever! Many of us need some practicals on how to fast so below is a brief post on fasting and how to practically go through it successfully, gleaning from the Lord throughout the fast. If you have questions, please ask your Community Group leader or contact Preston Todd at firstname.lastname@example.org. Let's believe God for great grace to be poured out in our midst in the coming days (Acts 4).
What is fasting? To go without food; to abstain from food. Why are we fasting? We fast to cultivate a hunger for God and to crucify our desires for other (good) things.
Kinds of Fasts:
1. Absolute Fast: no food, no water (Moses and Esther)
Not recommended unless God really speaks to do this and with high accountability.
2. Complete Fast: no food, but take liquid
a. Water only
b. Juice and water
c. Broth, juice, and water
3. Daniel Fast: partial fast
a. Abstain from certain specific items (I won’t eat sweets for 2 weeks)
b. Eat only specified items (I'll only eat breads and fruit for 2 weeks)
1. Start where you are and grow
It would be unadvisable to have your first fast be a 14-day water fast! Be faithful with the little and watch grow this discipline!
2. If you have physical infirmity, ask your doctor
Just because this is a spiritual discipline, it does not mean we are unwise.
3. Drink a lot of water
Drink at least 64 ounces of water a day. (Stop at water fountain.) If you are doing a juice fast this is highly recommended. Set an amount of juice you can drink and have juice for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and a bedtime snack. (This keeps you from drowning your hunger with gallons of juice! Drink water between “meals.”)
4. Set beginning and ending times and stick to them.
The enemy will try to defeat you in the middle of the fast by tempting you to fast with pride: “I am getting holier by the day; I think I’ll just go longer.”
**Anorexia and Bulimia. If you struggle with one of these issues, it is best to ask your Community Group leader or Pastor how to proceed. Also fasting from other times (social media, television, etc.) could be a great place to start. Furthermore, this is why accountability is so important, especially if you have struggled with eating disorder.
5. Have prayer targets.
If not given a list to pray for, make a list and keep it close by for reference. (e.g. Mom’s salvation, victory in area of comparison, vision for yourself, family and community)
6. Keep a journal.
Process with Jesus by writing! Some of the sweetest moments with Jesus are the revelation that comes with a fast. Often times we will not see breakthrough or vision until looking back at what God spoke.
7. Communicate with leadership.
Accountability is important. Tell your Community Group leader or Pastor if you are fasting more than 3 days or if you are doing more than one fast in a month.
8. Be accountable.
Talk to your Community Group leader or someone who is spiritually mature enough to ask the right questions appropriate to your particular case.
9. Replace meal and social times with prayer and the word.
Have a plan for prayer. (e.g. “I will pray 15 minutes during meal times.”)
Have a plan for the Bible. (e.g. “I will read Philippians once a day during this fast.”)
10. Walk by faith, not feelings.
First, there will be times where you will feel like this is worthless and nothing is happening.Focus on the fact that you are obeying God and have a heart to know Him.
Second, there will be times when you will feel physically bad. (headaches, nausea) Determine ahead of time that you will let these times lead you to desperation for God.
11. Get more rest. (Depends on the person, and on the type of fast.)
Discern between rest and slothfulness. Don’t be slothful! Generally, much of the battle will be mental. Let this make you desperate and cry out to God.
12. Use wisdom when breaking the fast.
Soup or broth, juice and crackers, light bread, baked potato, fruit.
13. Worship, sing, pray throughout the day.
Revel in God. Abide in Christ. John 15.
14. Plan ahead.
With God, schedule extended fasts in the future. Make fasting a discipline in your life.
15. Go into fast with resolve that it is going to have an effect.
FAITH! This is a huge component of what makes fasting a fruitful discipline. Remember, without faith it is impossible to please God. We aren't going on a hunger strike in hopes of bringing unity to our church or breakthough in the lives of our friends and family. We are positioning ourselves before the Lord to intentionally seek Him, His will, and His grace.