Fasting is like hitting a reset button, both physically and spiritually. As we go about our daily lives, there are things that can build up over time and we can start to lose our spiritual focus. Fasting is like a deep cleaning both spiritually and physically that helps us take our minds off the things of this world and instead gives us a fresh spiritual focus. It’s all about drawing closer to God.
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There is not a specific food, drink, or activity that you have to fast. Fasting is about one thing – it is about seeking God and asking the Holy Spirit to show you how you can set things aside so that you can position yourself to honor, seek, and hear from God. Fasting is not a time to give up things so that God will in turn grant our wishes; it is a time to deny ourselves of the things we enjoy so that we can free up our focus to be solely on him. It is a time of spiritual refreshing, or soul detoxing. Before you begin your fast spend some time in prayer and ask God to show you what he would like you to fast. His answers might be different for each and every person. The point is to listen and obey him. He is a gracious and loving God and he will show you the way.
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You should fast as many days as you feel God is asking you to fast. You could give up certain things like bread and dessert throughout the week, and then eat only fruits and vegetables on the weekends, just an example. Ask God to show you how many days to participate and during the 21 days be sure to set aside time each day to pray and read your Bible.
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There are a variety of fasts that you can participate in. Many people participate in the Daniel Fast. There is also the option to fast television, social media, etc either by themselves or in addition to a food fast. The goal is to fast from the leisurely things that you regularly give attention to so you have more time to give to God.
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It’s important to choose ahead of time what type of fast you will participate in. Not only will this help you prepare, but when you commit to your plan ahead of time, you’ll set yourself up to finish strong. Choosing your fasting plan is a very personal decision. We are all at different places in our relationship with God and we shouldn’t compare our fasting plans to other people. Pray and ask God to show you what He wants you to do, and then commit to your plan.
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Do more of the activities that draw you closer to God. Pray. Read your Bible. Worship. Get alone with God.
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Some people feel led to cut caffeine out of their diets entirely during the fast. Nothing says you “have to”. But the great thing is, when you fast, your body automatically craves less caffeine. If you are wanting to cut it out of your diet completely, ease yourself off and make it your goal to be completely caffeine free by about two-thirds of the way into your fast.
[/vc_toggle][vc_toggle title="What about eating disorders? " open="false"]Remember, fasting is a tool used to get closer to God, and it actually should keep us from being preoccupied with food. If your method of fasting is going to cause you to obsess about what you eat in any way, you will need to either change your approach or mind-set. Either way, remember this situation is primarily a battle of the mind you can win through Christ. (Phil 4:13)
If giving up food is a stumbling block to you, then consider fasting from television, reading (other than the Bible, of course), social media, or shopping. There are too many distractions and ways that we use to stay in control that we could eliminate from our daily routine. We do these things to distract ourselves from the real issues hurting us. If you can identify other things, maybe you can give those up instead of food.[/vc_toggle][vc_toggle title="What if I stumble? " open="false"]If you “mess up” during your fast, don’t get discouraged. Just get right back on track and keep going. God’s mercies are new every morning (Lamentations 3:22-23). He wants you to finish, and He will give you the grace and strength to do it.
Here are two additional great tips that can also help to keep you on track:
1.) Keep your fridge and pantry stocked with the items you need. Being unprepared to fast sets you up to give into temptation.
2.) Make it a priority to attend church each week during your 21 day fast. Being around other believers will encourage you to keep on going when fasting gets difficult.
For additional information on the Daniel Fast and recipes, click here: http://www.daniel-fast.com/
- Recommended Fasting Resources:
Awakening: 21 Days to Revolutionize Your Relationship with God
By: Pastor Stovall Weems
The God-First Life: Uncomplicated Your Life God’s Way
By: Pastor Stovall Weems
Living the God-First Life 40-Day Devotional
By: Pastor Stovall Weems
Rhythms of Grace
By: Pastor Kerri Weems
A prayer to help you get started:
I want to set aside the next 21-days so that I may honor you with my life, my time, and my resources. Lord, please show me what you should have me fast. Please be my guide and help me to hear the voice of the Holy Spirit. During these 21 days please help me to keep you the focus of everything I do. Search me Oh God, and help every area of my life to reflect that of Jesus Christ. Thank you for your faithfulness and for leading me during this time of prayer and fasting. This time is for you Lord, may you be honored in all that I do. I love you God.
In your precious name, amen.
Important Note: Fasting requires reasonable precautions. If you have any health concerns, please consult your physician prior to beginning your fast, especially if you are taking medications, have a chronic condition, or are pregnant or nursing a baby.[/vc_toggle]