How do I prepare for a fast?
PREPARING TO FAST...
It is time to think about all the things you need to do for spiritual fasting. Some people look at fasts with dread, but we hope you will look at it with expectation. You are going on a journey with God, and He will reveal things along the way.
The following are some things to consider in order to be intentional with your fast:
1 -Examine your heart
There are wrong attitudes and reasons for fasting.
In Isaiah 58, God talks about the wrong heart for fasting. We don’t fast to manipulate God to do what we want. We fast to join God in what He wants. A great question to frame your fast comes from the book, Experiencing God, "Lord, where are you at work and how can I join you in what You are doing?"
We don’t fast to look religious, to please ourselves or to make ourselves look good. In fact, Jesus’ instructions about fasting (Matthew 6:16-18 and Luke 18:9-14) communicate that fasting should not be something we brag about or draw attention to.
A good fast is one in which you deprive yourself of something, all the while you looking up with open hands, saying, “Speak, Lord. I am listening.”
2 -Ask God what to fast from
Ask God to reveal to you the things you should give up for your fast.
When you ask Him, don’t be surprised if things to come to your mind immediately. He may want you to choose things that are other “gods” - things which distract you from your relationship with Him.
3 - Make a plan
Clarify why are you doing the fast. What is your goal? (You can refer back to our previous blog to see reasons people fasted in the Bible.)
Examples: To get to know God better? To find direction? To appeal to God regarding a need you have?
Determine what will you fast from. Give up something important to you for a period of time - i.e., food, sweets, caffeine, media, a meal a day, social media, exercise, sports, shopping, entertainment, etc. The following are some types of fasts that people do:
Occasional short fasts - deny food or pleasure for 6, 12, or 24 hours
Partial fast - deny some foods for a period of days/weeks - i.e., giving up coffee and sweets for a period of time; giving up meats, sweets, alcohol, caffeine for 21 days (the Daniel fast).
Full fast - only liquids - fruit/vegetable juice for a period of time. Please consult your doctor and research this fast fully before pursuing this fast for more than a couple of days.
Considerations: If you are planning to do a food fast, it is wise to consult your doctor first, especially if you have a health condition. Your doctor will be able to help you navigate what you should and should not do. In some cases, it may be best for you to fast from something other than food. If you are doing a food fast, do not binge before or after the fast. This is unhealthy for your body. Decide how you will ease yourself into your normal eating when the fast is over. It is wise to slowly reintroduce foods to see how your body reacts.
Set the time(s) for when you will fast. There is no wrong time period for fasting. Stretch yourself but be realistic. The important thing is following through with what you plan! Examples:
Fasting for 1 day / 3 days / 7 days/ 21 days / 1 day a week for a month / Etc…
Giving up social media for a month
Doing a "Daniel fast" for 21 days
Skipping breakfast each day for 7 days
Eating no food for 1 day
4 - Remove the temptation
Set yourself up for success by removing the obvious temptations based on the type of fast you choose. Examples:
If you are doing a food fast, prepare your refrigerator and food cabinets by getting the “abstaining” foods out of the house and replacing them with the foods you will be eating during the fast.
If you are fasting from social media, delete your apps while you are fasting.
If you are fasting from entertainment, unplug the TV and put a cloth over it.
There is a good reason why Jesus said, “The spirit is willing, but the body is weak!” (Matthew 26:41). It is wise to think about the temptations that may lie ahead.
5 -Get a journal
Record your prayers, thoughts, and how God speaks and moves throughout the fast in a journal.
If you don’t write it down, you will forget it! Your journal will be a great keepsake of the activity of God in your life. In the future when you go back and look at previous journal entries, you will be so glad you have a history of what God has done.
6 - Enjoy the journey
Spiritual fasting is difficult. It is hard to give up things we count on for comfort and enjoyment. But we are giving up these things in order to get something so much better. We are seeking to enjoy God on a deeper level. As you begin your fast, don't lose sight of the fact that God loves you and He wants you to experience Him in a very real way!