For starters, right motives for fasting are important. Fasting is not about doing something to get God’s attention or favor so you can get what you want. A safeguard against impure motives is to understand the purposes of fasting. Fasting has at least three purposes that I have discovered over the years.
One primary purpose of fasting is for clarity of mind. If you are fasting and you lose clarity of mind then your fasting needs to be adjusted. This could be length of time or types of food.
Secondly, fasting creates a humble and teachable spirit. Because you are not eating your energy levels are down. You notice this quickly so your attitude changes. You receive correction from the Lord in your studies with a different heart and mind. This is one part of fasting that I enjoy the most.
Thirdly, fasting creates time. If you are not eating then you should have some extra time since you are not preparing food or cleaning it up. In the end, fasting is pointless unless you take that time to spend in spiritual pursuits like reading, studying, praying, listening to sermons, etc.
So what can make for a more enjoyable and easier experience? Your routine.
I sometimes fast for five days with only a full fast for one day. I got this idea from an article by a Jewish Rabbi and a physician friend. The idea is to ease into and out of the fast.
The first day I do what is called a B.R.A.T. diet. I eat Bananas, Rice, Applesauce, and Toast twice a day. This is a form of fasting in itself. The second day I drink clear juices like grape, apple, or cranberry juice. I don’t drink a lot of them. I use these juices as meal replacements, so I only drink them twice. If I start to feel weak though, I will drink some more juice. The third day is only water. The fourth day is clear juices again. The fifth day is a repeat of B.R.A.T. Then I return back to normal.
If this is too much for you, then I have another method to suggest. The principle is the same. I only eat two meals a day, so this is easier for me already. The plan is that I eat my last meal between 1-3 pm. Then I can use the evening as a special time with God. The next morning, I abstain from food again and use that time to extend my devotions. Then I eat at lunch again the next day.
This makes for a twenty four hour fast where I slept for eight hours of it.
As another note from personal experience, the older I got, for some reason when I would straight fast with nothing but water, my mind was foggy and all I thought about was food. Talk about miserable. I hated fasting and started to have a negative connotation with it. Fasting does not have to be bad. I hope that you will look for ways to incorporate fasting into your spiritual experience.
If you have any suggestions or questions about fasting, please comment below so we can all benefit!
I'm a full-time ministry minded farmer and anytime writer.
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