We love food. This can make fasting difficult for us, especially if we’re not used to it. However, it’s worth the sacrifice because spending time in prayer and fasting can be very rewarding. There were many instances in the Bible when fasting brought about deliverance. During a period of prayer and abstaining from food (or another type of sacrifice), doors can be opened, healing can rain down from every corner of Heaven, and spiritual breakthroughs can come forth out of their hiding places. Here are 5 tips for successful fasting that can be helpful whenever you decide to turn over the plate and spend some special time with the Lord. I pray you will find any or all of these tips helpful. Here we go.
1. Prepare yourself physically. Let’s think practically for a minute. If you stuff yourself full of cheeseburgers, pizza, and tacos in the days right before your fast, what do you think will happen? You will most likely not have a good time. This means you will not enjoy the time you’ve set aside for God. You may find yourself more focused on counting down the clock than counting on God for your breakthrough. Instead of large and fattening meals, try to eat healthier and lighter meals in the days leading up to your fast. If you will be doing an absolute fast, be sure to drink plenty of water and gradually move your body away from those foods and cravings that will seek to destroy your time with the Lord.
2. What is your motivation? Make sure you know your purpose for fasting. Keep it always at the front of your mind so when your stomach starts to growl, you can remember why you’re giving your refrigerator the “cold” shoulder. Hunger has a way of sweet-talking us and reasoning with us to make us give in to those chips if we can’t think of a good reason why we shouldn’t. Many times we fail or struggle during a fast, simply because we lack motivation and purpose for our fasting. So, set your mind on what it is you will be petitioning God for and focus on that — not your hunger.
3. Prepare yourself spiritually. Pray to the Lord for strength before the big day. When we pray for help, we may notice that we are more focused, strengthened, and empowered during our fasts, and as a result we really get a chance to enjoy our time with the Lord. It makes a huge difference. Giving up food or something else for a few days doesn’t feel like much of a sacrifice when we’re spiritually prepared. So, don’t be afraid to ask for help from the One who is your strength.
4. Have some spiritual activities planned. Plan out some activities beforehand that will keep you busy during your downtime. It’s not a good idea to wait until you get into the heart of your fast to try and find things to do, since at that point your stomach will be throwing punches at you from the inside. This can make it very hard to concentrate on anything, including making plans. Here are some suggestions: sign up beforehand to do some volunteer work, set aside some sermons to watch on YouTube, make a list of applicable scriptures to study, plan prayer walks in the park, etc. Find things to keep you busy that will take your mind off eating, but stayed on the Lord.
5. Focus on getting past day one. With some people, the first day is the hardest. That’s because your stomach and your body are throwing a fit because they have to adjust to the fact that they are now missing the mounds of food that they were previously accustomed to. You also have to adjust your mind to the fact that you’re not supposed to eat and convince it to stay away from the cookie jar. However, when you get past the first day, it usually gets easier. Many people even get to a point where they don’t even feel real hunger anymore. So, go ahead. Knock out those first twenty-four hours, and hopefully the rest will go down without much of a fight.
Please note that these tips can be customized and applied to any type of fast for no predetermined length of time. The main take-away is to make sure that you are focused and prepared so that you can enjoy your time drawing near to God. And remember, you are not merely giving up food, but you are spending quality time with your wonderful Heavenly Father, who loves you dearly. Make every moment count!
So He humbled you, allowed you to hunger, and fed you with manna which you did not know nor did your fathers know, that He might make you know that man shall not live by bread alone; but man lives by every word that proceeds from the mouth of the Lord.
**If you have health concerns you should check with your doctor before attempting any type of fast which will alter your normal food and liquid consumption. Use wisdom! Be safe!**