Fasting is abstaining from food (or from other things) for spiritual purposes. Fasting reminds us that we are sustained by “every word that comes from the mouth of God.” (Matthew 4:4) In fasting, we’re not so much abstaining from food as we are feasting on God’s word.
Fasting must always be centered on God. Seeking spiritual insights, physical benefits or successful prayer can’t ever replace God at the center of our fast. And then, when God is fixed in the center, fasting allows us to see what really controls us. In fasting, that which we cover up with food and other good things rises to the surface and is revealed. Fasting also helps us find balance in our lives. In fasting, the nonessentials fall away and we are left with only that which truly matters.
If you’re new to fasting, it’s good to start small.
- Start with a 24-hour fast, lunch to lunch (not eating dinner and breakfast). Drink some fresh fruit juice to tide you over. Try this once a week for a few weeks.
- After a few weeks, stop drinking fruit juice, and drink only water.
- Then move onto longer fasts, like a 36-hour fast. From here you can ask the Lord if he’s leading you to enter into a longer fast.
Remember, this fast is centered on God. Don’t enter into a longer fast if it’s not where God is calling you. And remember that what goes on spiritually during a fast is more important than what goes on physically.