Some Practical Thoughts on Fasting

This past weekend at Christ Community, we looked together at 2 Chronicles 20 where Jehoshaphat, in the midst of overwhelming circumstances, calls the people to fast. Fasting is a very effective form of seeking God that adds import to our praying. If you are needing a spiritual breakthrough in some area, I would encourage you to consider fasting.

So how do we go about fasting? What are some practical ways to experience this? In this post, I’d like to describe a simple fast that is a great place to begin and also can be a way to regularly incorporate fasting into your spiritual routine.

It’s called a 24 hour fast and involves fasting from dinner to dinner. You begin this fast immediately after dinner and then break the fast eating dinner the next day. So in essence, you skip two meals: breakfast and lunch.

Now what makes fasting so spiritually powerful is the combination of going without food AND seeking God. What I like to do is to pray during those times I would be eating. Instead of just skipping breakfast and working through lunch, go to a quiet place during those meals and spend time with the Lord.

It is critically important that you drink lots of water during your fast so that you remain hydrated. Sometimes you may get headaches during a fast. What I have found helpful in that case is to drink juices instead of just water. That seems to help relieve some of the hunger or headache pains.

Once you have experienced a 24 hour fast, you can begin lengthening the time, if you sense the Lord calling you to do that. While food is the predominant fasting vehicle in the New Testament, there are other things we can fast from in order to seek God more earnestly.

A number of years ago, some friends of mine who lived in another area were at a place of spiritual dryness and a critical career decision. They decided to fast from watching TV at night. Instead of their usual 9:00pm routine of Law and Order, they chose to read a Christian book together and pray. They also called on some of their friends and asked us to pray with them.

After a few weeks of this fasting, we all gathered together for a time listening prayer regarding their situation. It was an amazing experience. As we together listened to God and sought God on their behalf, He made His will for them clearly known. I believe fasting was a critical aspect of God bringing clarity to them in the midst of a period of spiritual dryness.

One disclaimer: In terms of fasting from food, if you have potential health concerns, please ask your doctor before doing this. Interestingly, many health professionals believe that fasting can be of physical benefit to us for several reasons. But it is important to check with your doctor if you have specific concerns.

So if you are facing a situation in which you need to hear from God or are needing a spiritual breakthrough, why not consider a 24 hour fast?

I’d love to hear how it goes…

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