Fasting is a spiritual discipline that we hear about in scripture often, but in general not is not practiced by Christians today. We have put together this short guide to help understand fasting and give you some tips.
This fast calls for drinking only liquids, typically water with light juices as an option. When hunger pangs hit, remember to pray. We suggest fasting a maximum of 24 hours, especially if it is your first time to try fasting.
This type of fast involves removing certain elements from your diet, such as meats, sweets, or bread while still consuming water and juice for fluids and fruits and vegetables for food. When your body craves that particular food, that is your trigger to pray.
This fast is common for those who do not have much experience fasting food, who have health issues that prevent them from fasting food, or who wish to refocus certain areas of their life that are out of balance. For instance, someone might select to abstain from using social media or watching television for the duration of the fast, and then choose to carefully bring that element back into their life in an orderly fashion at the conclusion of the fast.
GUIDELINES FOR FASTING
Fasting should only be for God for the purpose of assisting in prayer
- The purpose of the fast is to learn to rely on God through scripture and prayer when your body wants other things. It’s not a New Year’s weight loss plan or a time to simply get your family active. Make sure you are fasting for the right reasons.
Keep it private
- This is personal between you, your spouse, and the Lord. It’s not to brag about how spiritual you are. In fact, the less other people know about it, the better. (Matthew 6:16)
Keep your prayer circle list with you
- In the moments that get difficult and you are searching for something to pray about, remember the five things in your prayer circle. Consider praying about a specific one each time you feel tempted or weak.
Plan time to pray and read scripture in advance
- Think about the times you might be tempted the most. If you are doing a food fast, this might be during lunch breaks. If you are doing a media fast, this might be in the regular down-times during your work day, or before you go to bed. Go ahead and plan on reading scripture and praying during those times.
Headaches, dizziness, tiredness, touchiness, etc. are all part of fasting too!
- One writer said he never knew the strength of the ‘desires of the flesh and lust of the eyes’ to be so strong as when he fasted.
Be prepared for opposition.
- This will come from the enemy as he doesn’t want you to fast. It will also come from your own body, which is used to having three meals a day! You may also find that well-meaning friends, family, neighbors, work colleagues etc. will actively encourage you to stop.
This is not a comprehensive list of guidelines but some helpful hints:
Fast with your spouse if you are doing this challenge together.
There is strength in numbers!
Consider your schedule before you plan on fasting. Especially during a food fast.
Look at your upcoming week. Plan your fasting days on days that you will be less active.
Make a commitment and set a duration.
However, be willing to review the duration if health or circumstances change.
If drinking juice, drink low or non-acidic diluted juices.
Watch your intake; schedule it so you are self-controlled.
Schedule in regular rest breaks as you grow weary and exercise only lightly.
Remember we are under grace, not law.
If at any point you feel you need to break the fast, be released to do so. Fasting is to meet with God, not to damage our bodies or create condemnation.
**If underweight or ill, consult your doctor before doing a food fast. These tips were not prepared by a medical professional, and any advice given here is not meant to take the place of medical advice. Tabernacle is not responsible for any sickness or injury that may result from fasting.