Fasting is the spiritual practice of intentionally doing without something that is normal for us to have in order to purify our connections from body, mind, and spirit with God. Through fasting we learn to be more simply in God’s presence. While feeling the ache of absence from what is normal and using that absence to prompt us in thinking about God, we can then better allow the insights and messages of God to penetrate us.
Fasting from food is the most common application mentioned in the Bible. Though, at times, Jesus chose to fast from being with the crowds (Mark 1:35-37)... In the 21st century we can find it occasionally helpful to fast from our regular activities: shopping, non-work related online activity, and television.
The following Five Be’s are practical how-to’s:
1) Be clear that you are not fasting to lose weight (though you will) and that you are not fasting to impress God or people, but that you are fasting to regain or maintain the balance of leadership your spirit is to have over your body and mind.
2) Begin simply and progress—begin preparing for a 7 day fast with a preceding 3-day fast that is to be preceded by a 36-hour fast that is to be preceded by a 24-hour fast which is to be preceded by a 12-hour fast, and preceding each of these with several days of eating smaller than usual meals– especially eating fruits and vegetables.
3) Be prepared for the side effects of fasting by knowing that hunger pains are not starvation pains, and that headaches are temporary nuisances necessary in the withdrawal process.
4) Be set by knowing your spiritual focus so that you can know more clearly how to use the extra time and energy, and so that you can receive maximum results. God will be faithful to bless your preparations, and you will be surprised with insights that you’ve never known before.
5) Be ready to stop the fast with the new empowerment given you to apply that which you’ve learned from the fast.
Fasts are meaningful and life-shaping when we pursue them from our dsire to know God more clearly. Try the fast and see what God will do.