Many may have never intentionally fasted before in their life. However, every night the body fasts from food and liquid for 7-10 hours. The name “breakfast” comes from the notion of “breaking the nightly fast.” So, the body is accustomed to going without food for a longer period of time than a few hours. You are just unconscious during that time! So the conscious mind is not accustomed to extended time without food and liquids.
The goal of fasting is simply to humble oneself before the Lord in childlike dependence to seek His face. When we fast with the right heart, we express that we love God and his plans more than we love food. Our stomachs are not our god. We are willing to subjugate our desire for food in efforts to seek Him.
As Rob mentioned in his recent post, there are no “rules” for fasting, but the suggestions below are given for those who are new to this discipline.
- Remember that you’ve been hungry before and survived!
- Generally, total abstinence from food and liquid is NOT recommended since people are not accustomed to that practice.
- Try fasting from food but consume water and clear juices frequently (Note: orange juice and tomato juice are more acidic and are harder for the body as the sole liquid intake).
- Thoughts of food should prompt thoughts about God.
- Rather than distracting us, the hunger pains should serve as a reminder to pray and focus on our purpose.
- You can usually offset hunger pains by drinking a large glass of water or juice; the activated stretch receptors in the stomach help tell your brain that you’re full.
- For those who cannot food fast due to health issues or young or old age, you can still purpose to spend more time with the Lord on a given day and forgo other things that occupy your time.
- The goal is not self denial for self denial sake, but rather dedicated focus on the Lord.
May the Lord bless you, and keep you;
May the Lord make His face shine on you, and be gracious to you;
May the Lord lift up His countenance on you, and give you peace. (Numbers 6:24-27)
[This is the final post in the Day of Prayer and Fasting series, leading up to a church-wide event on March 6, 2011.]