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Fasting: How to Get Started

February 26th, 2018

John Chandler

This Sunday, we talked about Fasting as a habit for living like Jesus.

Here are the steps we considered, with a few more guidelines below for extra measure:

1) Decide in advance when you will fast
A simple start would be to eat breakfast, and then fast through dinner, but most common is to fast from dinner one day to dinner the next. Choose a time where you don’t have other things going on during meal times.

2) Replace prep and eating time with prayer and reflection
We spend a lot of time eating, especially if we eat well. One of the main benefits of fasting is that we can redirect that time for intentional prayer and reflection. Use your normal prep and eating time during your fast to journal or go on a prayer walk.

3) Use your hunger to focus on your and soul rather than your belly
The time between your normal meals can be a difficult part of fasting as your body let’s you know it’s feeling neglected. Allow the needs your body is communicating to direct you to think about what needs your heart and soul have. Pay attention to the emotions you have as you experience the stress of hunger.

A few extra guidelines:
1) Continue to drink water during your fast.

2) If fasting might not be healthy for you, please don’t! If you are pregnant, have some other medical condition, or a history of unhealthy eating patterns, then consider other ways you could “fast” from something other than food this week.

One final word from Richard Foster in Celebration of Discipline:

Although the physical aspects of fasting intrigue us, we must never forget that the major work of scriptural fasting is the realm of the spirit. What goes on spiritually is much more important than what is happening bodily. You will be engaging in spiritual warfare that will necessitate using all the weapons of Ephesians 6. One of the most critical periods spiritually is at the end of the fast when we have a natural tendency to relax. But I do not want to leave the impression that all fasting is a heavy personal struggle — I have not found it so. It is also “…righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit” (Rom. 14:17).