Spiritual Disciplines – Fasting
TIPS ON FASTING
by Pastor Jim Renke
Caution: If you have underlying health conditions such as pregnancy, anemia, behavioral disorders or other chronic health problems, you should never fast without consulting a physician first.
Preparation before the Fast:
- What are the limits you’ll place on yourself? Some cannot do a complete food fast for a variety of reasons and will instead decide to modify their diet for the day. That’s okay.
- Choose your schedule. The Jewish fast typically went from sundown ‘til sundown. For a Friday fast, you could eat a small meal on Thursday before sundown and break the fast after sundown on Friday. Or you could follow the midnight-to-midnight schedule.
- Modify your diet/drinking before the fast. You can prepare by cutting down on food intake. Reduce caffein and sugar intake. Drink plenty of water.
- Pray. Bathe the decisions and plans in prayer. This is a time to seek God’s presence and trust in his strength.
Plan your day.
- Gather your Bible, a pen and journal.
- Set aside times for prayer, worship, Scripture reading, reflection, and spiritual discussion.
- Plan plenty of rest.
- Manage your expectations.
- This is primarily an act of humility.
- It’s an act of self-discipline to train our minds and bodies to make spiritual concerns more important.
- It’s a physical reminder of God’s sustenance.
- It’s an opportunity to focus on a spiritual need and invite the Spirit into that space.
During the Fast.
1. Drink plenty of water. If you’re used to caffein you may need something for headaches, so they don’t become a distraction.
2. Pray, read and journal as you planned.
3. Take prayer walks, or a prayer drive (don’t close your eyes).
4. Do something during your regular mealtimes, so you don’t just sit and think about the meal you’re not having.
5. When you feel hunger, use it as a reminder and motivation to pray for the needs of others.
6. Juice can sometimes be a help if the discomfort is too much to ignore.
After the Fast.
1. Eat a small meal to break your fast.
2. Continue to drink plenty of water.
3. Give thanks to God for meeting you in this way.
4. Journal any thoughts, impressions, convictions, or thanksgivings that come to mind.