Writer, Church leader, Eccentric Nut, Marketer

I'm Church Leader, Writer, Speaker, Marketer, Kindness Project Founder, Broadcaster and Superhero. But most important I'm a Husband, Father and a worshiper of Jesus.

7 March 2008

Top 10 Fasting Tips

Fasting used to freak me right out. Conceptually it's great (obviously since it's Biblical) but the practice of actually not eating is a tough. I did numerous "Media Fasts" and, while they too have their merit and purpose, it's not the same as fasting food.

Mark 9: 28-29
(After seeing Jesus casting a deaf and dumb spirit out of a boy)
"And when He had come into the house, His disciples asked Him privately, “Why could we not cast it out?”
So He said to them, “This kind can come out by nothing but prayer and fasting.”

Then there is THIS little nugget...

Luke 5: 33-35
They said to him, "John's disciples often fast and pray, and so do the disciples of the Pharisees, but yours go on eating and drinking. Jesus answered, "Can you make the guests of the bridegroom fast while he is with them? But the time will come when the bridegroom will be taken from them; in those days they will fast."

There is a tangible correlation between physical hunger and stopping us in our tracks and NEEDING God to be with us. It's more than just giving us more time to pray instead of watching LOST. It's the feeling of a constant reminder of why you're breathing that day.

I did a 1 year/40 day fast a couple of years ago. That was one year without meat, and it then slowly progressed into a full out 40 day fast. I'm also in the middle of an extended fast right now. A friend of mine emailed the other day asking for some extended fasting tips and "what to expect's". Thought I'd share a few. I'd love to hear some of yours too... as there is precious little written about this topic.

  1. By far the BEST online resource is from Bill Bright, called "How to Fast". It breaks down both the physical and spiritual aspects of extended fasting. It was my handbook... and includes some juice recipes that come in handy.
  2. Go slow. Before you fast... cut out extras, half your meals and and quit caffeine at least a week before you stop eating. As a coffee drinker, I found that caffeine withdrawal was almost worse than not eating. There's no good reason to experience both at the same time
  3. Know what you're being asked to fast. Obedience is success.
  4. If you're doing a juice fast, make sure you're drinking pure juice. Juice gives you energy, and actually helps your body continue to fire. Juicers are great as you know exactly what you're drinking... just make sure you're not digesting pulp though, as your system is now dormant and giving it "fuel" will make you feel hungry again
  5. You'll really only feel what you know as hunger for 3 days or so. Break that 3 day mark and you can ride it for a long while. After that... your hunger, self-will, prayer life etc... will go up and down and up and down and up and down and...
  6. You'll stink. Yep... your body is burning toxins (which is amazing for you) but you'll smell like it.
  7. You tongue gets white. It's as gross as it sounds. Just brush often... trust me.
  8. You'll find some funky crap in the toilet (literally). Nothing to worry about. I'll say no more... but when it happens... you'll know.
  9. You'll be dizzy when standing up or sitting down quickly. Moving slowly will be your friend.
  10. I have always been cold during fasts. Just prepare for it. If you like decaf herbal teas... they are terrific for extended fasting.

On the spiritual side... I found a few interesting things. I thought I'd just naturally pray more. That wasn't really the case with me. I still had to focus and make it intentional. I also thought that I'd get more "God Tinglys". Also not true for me at least. In fact I had less. What I did find was when I prayed... I could sense that my prayer was ACCOMPLISHMENT kinda prayer. It was "takin care of business" stuff. Which was very cool.

Fasting should always be about obedience to God. But the scripture about some things only happening with prayer and fasting has alway stuck with me. In Ghana... my "Prayer Missionary" friends made extending fasting a regular part of their faith. It was extremely effective! It's vital to the life of a Christian. Not as a legalistic thing so much as a free willingness to lay all of you down.

It's truly the most humbling part of the Christian faith that I've experienced thus far.

I'd love to hear about your fasting experiences. Shoot me a comment or email.

1 comment:

Matt Vaandering said...

i think another fasting tip would be to know exactly what you're fasting for. this way it won't feel useless, and when it comes to prayer stuff during that time, you'll know what to pray for. i've also found that complaining about hunger only makes things worse. talk about anything else in the world except the fact that you're willing to pay 50 dollars for a grilled cheese sandwich

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