Have you ever fasted before? Maybe your church does something like 21 days of prayer and fasting every year. A common question tho is “why do we fast” and also how do you fast? Because lets be honest, I get hangry if I just miss one meal.
Well, we see fasting throughout Scripture as a really good thing for us to do. It’s never commanded, but it’s pretty clear that there are a lot of benefits to actually fasting, especially before really important decisions because it allows you to clear your mind and focus solely on Jesus and hearing the voice of God. Which is what Christian fasting really is. It isn’t necessarily to starve ourselves from food, the main focus is to shift our focus completely 100% on God instead of fulfilling our personal fleshly desires. It’s about becoming more like Jesus and more dependent on the Holy Spirit. So if you’re fasting from food, the time that you would normally eat breakfast, lunch or dinner, should be spent with Him, through prayer, worship, or reading the Bible.
Now there are a few different types of fasting. The first one is a food fast for a certain amount of time where you only drink liquids. If you want to do this I would suggest talking to your doctor first to make sure that you’re ok to go an extended amount of time without food. Another type of fast that I suggest is a Daniel Fast. Which comes from the book of Daniel in the Old Testament where he only ate vegetables for 3 weeks straight. This type of fast is limited to vegetables, fruits, and grains. The third type of fast that I see a lot is a fast from TV or social media. And instead of spending time scrolling through IG, you’re spending time scrolling through Scripture.
So, to recap those three: Complete food fast, Daniel Fast, or media fast.
Now if you’re going to do a food fast, I have some tips. That also apply to the others as well.
Start slow. If you’ve never fasted before, begin with just one meal.
Continue to drink water to stay hydrated. While some individuals in the Bible fasted from both food and water, this choice can be dangerous if you’re not experienced with fasting or haven’t consulted a medical professional.
If you’re accustomed to drinking caffeine, don’t stop suddenly. Decrease your intake for a few days before you fast or you may suffer headaches.
Don’t overeat before or after your fast. Eat smaller, healthier meals, including raw foods before and after.
Only tell people if you have to, we aren’t supposed to make a scene out of it. Matthew 6:16-18 says, “When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show men they are fasting. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that it will not be obvious to men that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you."
Make a firm and prayerful commitment before you begin that you can remember while you’re fasting. Your commitment to fast is between you and God, so be sure to make a sincere and wholehearted commitment.
Consciously reflect on scripture and your experience. Your physical response will often reveal spiritual truths.
So those are my top 7 tips on fasting. By focusing your attention of Christ instead of the world, you are bound to become more like him and have clarity on whatever change or decision you are fasting over. I pray that this has helped and you better understand how and why we fast as Christians.