This past week, We heard a great message from Adam King about the importance of fasting and how we should fast. Unfortunately, fasting is not super common in today’s culture. There are many ways you can fast but, the one clearly defined by scripture is fasting from food. While some of these apply to all kinds of fasting, some of these are directed solely toward a food fast. So, for the people may have never fasted before, here are some quick and easy tips on how to fast well.
1. Do it in a Healthy Way
While fasting can often be uncomfortable, it’s important that you do it in a way that won’t hurt you or cause any long term damage. For most healthy people, fasting for a day shouldn’t be a problem. But, if you go for longer periods of time, fasting can become more dangerous. A smart way to start is just by skipping a meal and working up to a full day. If you are concerned about fasting for longer periods of time, do some more research or talk to a medical professional. Also, if you suffer from an eating disorder, a food fast may not the right kind of fast for you. Seek guidance from spiritual leaders or medical professionals in your life. There are many ways to fast. The important aspect is that you are giving up something to seek after God.
2. Drink Water
While you are fasting, it is important that you drink a lot of water. You can run into a lot of health problems when you are dehydrated. Remember that, you get some water from the food that you eat. So, you will need to drink more water than you would on a normal day to stay hydrated.
3. Plan Out Your Fast
It is important that you are intentional about your fasting. Choose a day and choose some things to focus your prayer on while you are fasting. It could be a big decision, an area of sin in your life, your family, or a need within the church. It’s a time to seek relationship with God. Appreciate that time and be intentional about how you use it.
4. Replace Meal Times With Prayer
As you fast you are giving up something in order to focus on God. If you are fasting from food, instead of using meal times to eating you can replace it with prayer. It is an easy way to schedule prayer into your day if you are working. If you have 30 minutes to an hour for lunch, you now have that time to meet with God.
5. Do it in Secret
In the passage Adam preached this past Sunday it says, “But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, that your fasting may not be seen by other but by your Father who is in secret.” (Matthew 6:17-18). The goal of our fasting isn’t to gain recognition. It is to seek God. So as you are fasting, do your best not to tell anyone or groan about how hungry you are. It is surprisingly easy for people to not find out that you are fasting. Unless you are living with them, most people won’t pay attention to your eating habits.
6. Start Your Fast at Dinner
If you are trying to fast for an entire day, the prevailing advice is to start your fast at dinner time. It allows you to go to sleep full and end your day with a nice meal. Especially if you are just beginning to fast, this is the easiest way to do it for an entire 24 hours.
7. Eat a Smaller Healthy Meal After Your Fast
It can be very tempting to eat a huge meal after you are done with your fast. It’s equally as tempting to eat a bunch of unhealthy food. But, there are two things you need to remember:
- Because you haven’t eaten in 24 hours, your stomach has shrunk
- You’ve just deprived your body of nutrients for the past 24 hours
So while you want to eat a huge meal, it’s probably not a good idea. You want to slowly introduce food back to your body and make sure you body is receiving nutrients. It’ll feel good in the moment, but it may not feel as great the next morning. A meal would be a salad or something with a lot of vegetables.
Hopefully, these tips help you as you start fasting or as you continue to fast. The goal is to seek God and a relationship with him. If you want to fast for longer than a day, please do your research or talk to a medical professional. As you fast, your health and safety is very important.