Have you considered fasting but you don’t know where to start?
Today I’m sharing the low-down on how and why to fast, and steps to help you get started on your first fast.
Even as busy, 21st century women, we can use fasting as a spiritual habit that draws us closer to the Lord, even when we don’t have large chunks of time to study the Bible.
Of course, fasting is not meant to replace Bible reading, but it can be a powerful tool to use alongside those regular habits of reading Scripture, praying, and worshiping as we grow deeper with Jesus.
Who should fast?
Everyone who is a believer in Jesus and does not have a medical issue should consider fasting from food. There are different kinds of fasts. Even if you have diabetes or you’re pregnant or you’re nursing, you can fast from something that’s not food, basically from anything that has become an idol.
What is fasting?
Fasting means giving up a good gift from God that has taken the place of God in our life. In other words, anything that has become an idol. It can be food. It can be your stomachs, satisfying every craving and every whim. Or it can be social media. It can be TV shows; it can be online shopping.
Fasting can apply to anything that we run to for satisfaction other than God. Fasting can be powerful in that it reveals to us what controls us. By giving up whatever we turn to for satisfaction, we invite the Holy spirit to come into our lives and to break that stronghold, to break that habitual sin of running to something other than God. In doing that, we invite Him to stir up in us a hunger for more of Him.
When should you fast?
When you should fast is between you and the Lord. Take some time to pray about it and to ask God, “What do you want me to fast from? What is something that you want me to give up?”
You can fast one day a week or for a number of days together. If you’re planning an absolute fast from all eating, that would be something that you would want to do under a doctor’s supervision.
If you’re fasting from food, you can do an absolute fast where you fast from all food and you only drink water for something like a day, maybe from sunset one day all the way through sunset the next day. As long as you’re not pregnant or nursing, you could do that once a week for a number of weeks, as long as you have your doctor’s approval.
How do you fast?
For certain medical considerations, when you’re fasting from food, you can also fast from a certain food. For example, you could do a sugar fast. As far as I know, refined sugar is not a required nutrient in anyone’s diet, so you could fast from sugar for a more extended period, such as 40 days. Alternatively, you could fast from other things, such as a particular activity. Have this conversation with God, and ask Him what to fast from, when to start, and when to end.
Why should you fast?
Fasting reveals what controls your heart. It breaks the power of that stronghold and it helps stir up a hunger for the Lord. It’s a powerful way to experience God in the midst of your busy life.
Let’s journey through this together and experience what God wants to give us in our open hands as we surrender these things to Him.
Your Next Steps:
Prayerfully consider a period of fasting. Ask the Lord to lead and guide you in this area.
If you decide to try fasting, determine what you will fast from, in what way, and for how long. Continue to pray throughout your fast, surrendering yourself and your idols to the Lord, that He may fill you up.
Scriptures to Read:
Matthew 6:16-18; Matthew 9:15
Full: Food, Jesus, and the Battle for Satisfaction, by Asheritah Ciuciu
A Hunger for God: Desiring God through Fasting and Prayer, by John Piper
A Woman’s Guide to Fasting, by Lisa E. Nelson
The Good of Giving Up: Discovering the Freedom of Lent, by Aaron Damiani