The ABC’s of Fasting
Biblical fasting is not just starvation or the involuntary absence of food; rather, it is abstaining from food for spiritual reasons. Fasting is not a hunger strike, and it is not a diet.
This discipline also helps you to find fulfillment in God’s calling on your life, as well as subdue your flesh. You can fast for different reasons, like overcoming problems and challenges or to restore your hunger and passion for God. Here are a few things to do as you begin.
How to Fast
1. Set a goal
No matter what type of fast you begin, you must have a reason and a goal! Be specific. Why are you fasting? Do you want to get closer to God and be more sensitive to the spiritual realm? Do you need direction in life’s decisions, healing, restoration of your marriage, help with family issues, or wisdom? Are you facing financial difficulties? Regardless of what it may be, ask the Holy Spirit for guidance. Decide what to fast for and present it constantly to God in prayer.
2. Decide on the type of fast
The type of fast you choose is between you and the Lord. You could go on a full fast in which you only drink liquids. You may desire to fast like Daniel, who abstained from sweets and meats, and the only liquid he drank was water. Pay attention to what the Holy Spirit leads you to do and do it.
3. Choose the length
Also, decide how long you will fast. Remember that you may fast as long as you like, as the Lord leads. Be courteous enough to inform those who prepare meals for you or share meals with you about your plans to fast. Most people can easily fast from 1 to 3 days, but you may feel God’s grace to go longer, even 21 to 40 days. Use wisdom and pray for guidance. Beginners are advised to start slowly.
4. Plan ahead
Choose days that fit your schedule. Take into consideration that you might feel extra tired. When you fast, your body eliminates toxins from your system. This can cause mild discomfort, such as headaches and irritability during withdrawal from caffeine and sugars. And naturally, you will have hunger pains. Hunger is a common side effect of any fast. Avoiding water can make you feel even hungrier, since water helps increase satiety. If you don’t eat food or drink water, your body begins to crave fuel. You may feel fatigued, dizzy, and weak (Psalm 109:24).
One of the other things we often feel during a fast is irritability. As the hunger builds up, you’re bound to feel cranky. Mood swings are pretty common. Also, when you’re tired and hungry, it can be difficult to concentrate at school or work. So limit your activity, use good common sense, and exercise moderately. Take time to rest.
5. Set aside time each day
Quiet yourself before the Lord, meditate on His Word, and write down what He says to you. Fasting brings about miraculous results. Spend time listening to praise and worship music and constantly read and meditate on the Word. Let the hunger pangs remind you to stop everything and pray—and pray as often as you can throughout the day. Get away from normal distractions as much as possible, and keep your heart and mind set on seeking the face of God.
6. End the fast slowly
Of course, how much time you need to resume your regular diet depends on what you fast from and for how long. If it was only a one-day fast, then usually there is no harm in resuming normal eating. However, if you go for more than three days, you must gradually begin eating solid food; eat small portions or snacks. When the time comes to end your fast, eating solid foods too soon and/or overeating can be extremely dangerous to your digestive system.
I pray this guide helped you understand fasting and inspired you to embark on your own fasting journey with the Lord.
Excerpt taken from Fast Forward: Accelerate Your Spiritual Life with Fasting
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