We love food. Therefore, fasting can be difficult for us, especially if we’re not used to it. However, it can also be very rewarding. I wanted to share 5 tips for successful fasting, that I have found to be helpful for me, whenever I decide to turn over the plate. If you struggle with fasting, or if you are a beginner, I pray that you will find any or all of these tips helpful.
1. Prepare yourself physically – Let’s think practically for a minute. If you stuff yourself full of burgers, pizza and tacos in the days right before your fast, what do you think will happen? You will most likely struggle and despise your time away from food. You may find yourself more focused on counting down the clock, than on God. Instead of large, fattening meals, try to eat healthier foods, and eat less each day in the days leading up to your fast. Gradually move your body away from those cravings that will seek to destroy your good efforts.
2. What is your motivation? Set your mind on what you will be fasting for, and focus on it- Make sure you know your purpose for fasting. Keep it always in the forefront of your mind, so that when your stomach starts to growl, you can remember why you’re giving your refrigerator the cold shoulder. Hunger has a way of reasoning with us, to make us give in to those chips if we can’t think of a good reason why we shouldn’t. I’ve found that many times I’ve failed or struggled during a fast, simply because I lacked motivation and purpose for my fasting.
3. Prepare yourself spiritually– Pray to the Lord for strength before the time comes. I can look back on some of my early fasts, and I can see a major difference in those, compared to the ones that I took time to ask God for help in completing. When I pray for help, I feel much more focused, strengthened, and empowered during my fasts, and I really get a chance to enjoy my time away from food, and growing closer to the Lord. It makes a difference. It makes giving up food for a few days, not feel like much of a sacrifice, but rather a delight. So, don’t be afraid to ask for help.
4. Have some spiritual activities planned. Plan out some things beforehand that will keep you busy during your downtime. I would suggest not to wait until you get into the fast to try and focus on activities to do, after your stomach is throwing punches at you from the inside. It can be hard to concentrate. Sign up to do some volunteer work, set aside some sermons to watch, scriptures to study, plan prayer walks in the park, etc. Do things that will keep you busy, and will keep your mind off of eating, but stayed on the Lord.
5. Focus on getting past day one. I think that with most people, the first day is the hardest, as your stomach and your body have to get used to missing the mounds of food that they’re so accustomed to. However, when you get past the first day, it usually gets easier. Many people even get to a point where they don’t feel real hunger anymore. So go ahead and focus on knocking out those first twenty-four.
These tips can be customized and applied to any type of fast. The main take-aways are to be focused, and to be prepared, so that you can enjoy your time drawing near to God. And remember, you are not merely giving up food or some other thing, but you are spending quality time with your wonderful Heavenly Father who loves you dearly. Make every moment count!