I realise even mentioning the word Fasting gives many people reading this withdrawal symptoms just thinking about it. I was exactly the same several years prior, after a friend had recommended fasting after being baptized. Looking back, I wish I took the advice to heart as I have now found physical, mental, emotional and spiritual benefits of fasting.
You may wonder, what exactly are the benefits of depriving yourself from the basic need of food?
For starters, it gives your stomach a break and allows other organs to be given undivided attention. Secondly, it gives room for emotional, mental and spiritual healing to take place if incorporated with prayer. lastly it teaches us the art of sacrificing and removes the focus from our self-centered nature. How does this happen?
When we fast we deny our humanly desires and total depend on God and are able to see who God is to us. If this is really the case, why are not many Christians fasting?
1) It takes so much energy both physically, mentally and emotionally
2) some individuals have health conditions that requires them not to fast
3) some people are more motivated by health benefits (losing weight, clearer mind) more than spiritual benefits.
What does the bible say about fasting?
With the likes of Moses (verse), Daniel (verse), Esther (verse), Elijah (verse), the Israelites (verse) and Jesus (verse) all taking part in fasting, it seems like a biblical principle.
In modern times, some of the most inspiring leaders Martin Luther King and Gandhi and Dalai Lama have spent a considerable amount of time in prayer and fasting illustrating the power of God through this practice. So what’s the catch? It is difficult and challenging, it is a time of self denial and the enemy will bring all kinds of distractions (verse), but God is faithful and is with us in those difficult times.(verse)….
It gives you an opportunity to reconnect with God, if you are in need of a spiritual breakthrough. Does this mean that God hears prayers more when we fast? Not necessarily, but during fasting we deny ourselves (verse on deny self) and our weakness and seek to enter his rest (verse).
What happens during the fast? It will be noticeable you will lose weight and suffer symptoms such as feeling faint, headaches, temptation, wanting to sleep, feeling down. These are signs telling your body that it is going into detox mode and if you have accustom your body to some foods and things it is normal to have withdrawal for first time.
How to incorporate fasting into your spiritual life?
Firstly ask God to guide you to the kind of fast that he would like you to do. For instance, fasting from TV, Junk food, meat or 40 day fast, Daniel fast (21days) or 10 days or Esther 3 day fast. Once established, prepare yourself through reading about the do’s and don’ts, studying God’s word and keeping a journal throughout the journey.
What happens during the fast?
Your prayer life should increase substantially and studying the bible, evangelizing through feeding the homeless, giving bible verse to people, volunteering; taking part in church service (everyone has their own way to do it, just use your gifts to express God’s love).
Fellowship with other Christians really strengthens us. Listening to sermons and Christian music, can replace ungodly music and TV. Fellowship with other Christians really strengthens us.It can be also encouraging to have a friend or group fast with you (verse on two being better than one) as it helps to have others pray for you. After the fast, you will realize there is more to life than food and it is really aligning our lives to Gods will for us.
I will be starting a new fast by the grace of God on the 1st of March 2014 for a period of 21 days (better known as Daniel Fast- thankfully in Ethiopia they have fasting food in many places). If you would like to join me, let me know firstname.lastname@example.org and I also blog my fast via YouTube.
Check out my fasting videos on YouTube
God bless you and keep you