When You Are Hungy For God

When our soul aches, our daily to-do list is a mile long and we can’t hear God over the noise of our technology then what?

Maybe it’s time we fast.

Fasting is a spiritual discipline that feeds our soul while we starve our body. Every time our mind signals “I want food” it’s a signal to pray.

As Americans, to give up our beloved food from sun down to sun down is not an easy task. When it comes to fasting, my friend Diet Coke is hands down the hardest thing to deny myself for 24 hours! But how hungry for God are we?

John Piper writes in A Hunger For God: “When midmorning comes and you want food so badly that the thought of lunch becomes as sweet as summer vacation, then suddenly you realize, “Oh, I forgot, I made a commitment. I can’t have that pleasure. I’m fasting for lunch too.” Then what are you going to do with all the unhappiness inside? Formerly, you blocked it out with the hope of a tasty lunch. The hope of food gave you the good feelings to balance out the bad feelings. But now the balance is off. You must find another way to deal with it.”(pg.20)

Fasting is a servant. In its quiet moments, it brings out your soul’s struggles. The hope of a bag of chips or a gallon of ice cream to drown your sorrows out is stripped away and you find yourself raw before God’s throne.

On days of fasting for me, I do not watch any television and have minimal computer time or texting. Sometimes I do it with friends, so we will text and email each other encouragement. But otherwise, it’s a quiet day. There is nothing and no one to conceal my dark feelings and it is there, before God’s throne, that I find time and time again, indeed God is enough.

In the Bible, we see many great men and women of God participating in fasting and prayer. There’s David (2 Sam. 12:16), All the Jews for Esther (Esther 4:16), Ezra (Ezra 8:21-23), Nehemiah (Nehemiah 1:4) and of course Jesus, our ultimate example, in the wilderness for 40 days (Matt. 4:2).

Have you ever gone on a fast?

Here’s a few of my tips.

1. Start with a 24 hour period. (do not fast if you are pregnant or have a medical condition that requires a special diet)

2. Look at your calendar and pick a day where you are home most of the day.

3. I like to go from sundown to sundown, which means an early supper in the winter time on day 1 but the next evening it is such a joy to break the fast with family!

4. Fasting is not to impress God or others. Fasting was created by God as a tool to bring us into a closer relationship with him.

5. Without prayer, fasting is simply a diet. You must commit to praying and meditating.

6. As a homeschooler, I usually lighten our class load and have the kids join me in some of my prayers. I also try to line up quiet activities for them to do so I can break away for pockets of prayer times. I will admit, lunch time and afternoon snack time can be a beast but you can do it!

Are you hungry for God?

“Sometimes you are so hungry, the only way to be fed is to fast.”
~Susan Gregory writer of The Daniel Fast

For further reading on the topic of fasting – download this free PDF written by John Piper titled “A Hunger for God.”

Comments

  1. happyhomemaker says:

    Hi Courtney! What a great post. Neat way to help discipline and humble ourselves. I don’t know if you have ever done one but sometime in the future could you post a blog about Christian women and modesty? I would love to get great tips on how to be stylish and hip but still look like a woman who represents God. You always look great in your photos and vidoes so you must be a great source of information. Thanks!

  2. Fasting is not something that I grew up knowing much about. When everything that I loved was striped away, I found myself desperate for God. I was drowning in my circumstances and I couldn’t get enough. I learned of the power of fasting and gave it a try. In one day, my life was transformed. A woman deeply addicted to the emotional comfort of food, I went an entire day with food. I couldn’t believe that simply calling on the name of Jesus was enough. But, Jesus is enough. I want to be so hungry for Him that I have no time to eat.I desire Him far more than food. Thanks for this encouraging post.

  3. Our Church, Jesus Miracle Crusade Intl. Min., strongly upholds and widely practices prayer and fasting. It is for this purpose that prayer and fasting houses were built throughout the archipelago, where there is morning and evening praise and worship (for this strengthens those who are fasting). Our Church, an apostolic one, also practices the laying on of hands to heal the sick, cast out demons, etc. and prayer and fasting is a most powerful tool. The Lord Jesus fasted before He began His earthly ministry: preaching the Gospel and healing the sick.

    Our beloved pastor down to the preachers and prayer warriors fast for up to 40 days and 40 nights (without a morsel of food) esp. when there are crusades. And the power is overwhelming! Diseases are healed, lives are changed, problems are solved in Jesus’ name!

    Even the sick ones (not all and not compulsory, only those who could), they have faith strong enough to fast, and they get healed in Jesus’ name.

    Thank you for this chance to share, Courtney. I’m sorry it’s rather a long one. But if it’s okay to leave our Church’s website, maybe someone would be interested to know more about the power of prayer and fasting and the multitude of testimonies of God’s miracles? http://www.jmcim.org

    Blessings!
    Rina

  4. This is so great. During church this past Sunday, I felt a strong call for me to fast. I didn’t know much about it, so I did some research today. Everything I read lines up with what you’ve said, so now I feel very encouraged about it! As someone who struggles with a lifelong eating disorder, I really appreciate how you said that when we fast, we can’t comfort ourselves with food because that is the very reason I want to fast–to rely on God through my day, not the comfort of food. I’ll be honest…The idea of not eating for 24 hours terrifies me, but your post gives me the hope that it is possible to find peace and rest in God during that time!

  5. Thanks so much for the article on fasting. It seems that it is a command that many believers, including myself, skim over & ignore. As a mom of 4 six & under & a homeschooling Mom, I need practical advice & tips on how to do it- b/c days are never quiet or slow-paced at my house! Making the commitment & taking the time to pray is tough when you feel like you are just hanging on to keep everything on track. So THANK YOU for giving me some very useful, practical tips on how to manage a fasting day with children all around me. I know it will still be a challenge but at least I have an idea on how to adjust my day to make it possible!

  6. I love reading your blog, but I normally do not have time to check in until later in the day. For some reason I had time to squeeze it in early this morning before school starts and the kiddos are up. I am so grateful!

    I thought that today might need to be a day for fasting, as I have struggled lately with eating more than I should. Fasting really helps me get focused on eating appropriate amounts and leaning on God for comfort as opposed to the food. My flesh was resisting this morning, but as soon as I saw the title of your post, I knew today was the day! God is sneaky that way:)

    Thank you so much for the time and effort you put into WLW! It is such blessing to so many of us!

  7. I found the quote by John Piper disturbing. Anyone who eats in order to try to drown out negative feelings is an emotional eater. (They are possibly also a food addict or an overeater- addict.)

    Eating for the taste as some kind of reward or pleasure on a very regular basis (as Piper said he does with lunch daily) may have a problem with viewing food in an unhealthy way (food is our body’s fuel, necessary for life).

    (Perhaps the issue is I have only read that one quote by Piper and not the entire book?)

    An emotional eater should take gentle steps to stop that bad habit – permanently not for one day once in a while. The suggestion to fast to try to stop emotional eating for one day sounds like how people with eating disorders describe anexoria nervosa, it’s a control game the mind exerts over the body.

    If you don’t see my point, just imagine if a crack addict made a deal with themselves to kick crack for just one day and pray when they got a craving, see how wrong that sounds? For ideal health, the drug addict should to kick the crack forever not for one day!

    It seems to me that addicts of any kind should lean on God to try to permanently kick their habit instead of caling it a fast, suffering for one day, then going back to old bad unhealthy habits.

    Lastly, Courtney, have you read of the health issues and with the ingredients in diet sodas? The artificial sweetner is highly addicting and causes more sugar and carb cravings than real sugar soda. Perhaps for your future health you should look into that. Here’s the first article I pulled up that actually describes some of the issues well.

    http://flatulencecures.com/beat-sugar-cravings-hfcs-aspartame-withdrawal-support

    There are other articles and publications that discuss the aspartame health concern controversy that you could easily find online.

  8. I’ve done the Daniel Fast twice. The first time was solely for fasting purposes. My sister was fasting at the same time and she was healed from a sleeping disorder. I did the Daniel Fast a second time but didn’t consecrate the time to the Lord and just like you said, it was simply a diet. There definitely has to be a commitment and dedication to the Lord when you fast.

  9. I think you hit the nail on the head when you wrote about not being able to “hear God over the noise of our technology.” This is something that most of us avid screen-lovers are struggling with … but we’re just not courageous enough to admit it!

    Slowly but surely, I think many of us have gotten out of control in this area of online interaction. Our souls and bodies, minds and families are waving the red flags, and we continue to ignore all the warning signs.

    http://creeksideministries.blogspot.com/2011/07/we-are-so-out-of-control.html

    As a counselor, life coach, and avid blogger, I believe that this is an important subject that deserves to be on the table! Thanks for this post!

  10. Thank you for posting this. I had a day a few months back where I was feeling just like this. I just felt “unsettled” I guess, and wasn’t sure exactly why. I decided to fast for a day and really spend my time seeking God’s heart and his Word. There were things that I realized that He wanted me to get rid of (like my Facebook account, which was not doing me any earthly or spiritual good) and there were things He wanted me to invest in more, like my relationship with Him and with the people close to me. Fasting can be a very wonderful way to bring you right to the throne of Christ, if you do it with the right perspective. Thank you again for this post!

  11. Courtney, thanks for sharing this! I love your practical insights for those of us who were not brought up in the faith and therefore still seek to learn and grow in areas we might not have yet learned. Do you fast everything except water? I love both your example of technology making so much noise around us that it’s making it impossible to hear the Lord…. and I love the John Piper quote ~~ when we get hungry we get cranky & food satisfies that. But when we fast, what will we do with the cranky feeling? Great stuff to “chew” on in this post Courtney! Thanks. Have a great day!!!

  12. God has really been dealing with me in this area. I have a family member who needs the Lord, and I know that fasting is the key to answered prayer in impossible situations. — I loved that book by John Piper — a must read book on the topic. I also enjoyed Fasting for Spiritual Breakthrough by Elmer Towns.

  13. Thanks for this, Courtney! I have been thinking of doing a fast lately and this is the nudge I need to go ahead and obey!

  14. I used to fast and pray regularly as a young woman, but over the past 16 years, I have been pregnant or nursing most of the time and have gotten so very out of the habit. It is time to re-embrace that spiritual discipline.

  15. This morning I had begun feeling the need to fast. I have a book on the Daniel fast and decided I would begin tomorrow morning. Then I came on facebook and found your post and it only affirmed that it was the leading of the holy spirit. Thank you for obeying God.

  16. thank you for explaining the reason for fasting! I heard about it but never really understood it until now! So again thank you! I need to press in & see if this is where I am suppose to go. Amen & amen!

  17. I am doing a traditional Lenten fast- one full meal a day from Ash Wednesday-Easter, excluding Sundays. It’s so hard, but like you said, every time I feel hungry, I pray to God. I am 27, and this is the first time I have tried fasting (other than giving up candy or soda for lent as a child) and I can already see the spiritual benefits. Fasting for God is a beautiful thing!

  18. I fasted on Ash Wednesday. By 6:30 pm I had the worst headache ever. I couldn’t see straight much less pray. I had been drinking water all day so I know it was low blood sugar and after I finally had some applesauce I felt better.

    I do think it was spiritually rewarding but really hard on my body.

  19. What might you recommend for those who cannot fast because of medical reasons? I have epilepsy, among other things, and I can’t really not eat. If anything in my body gets very out of balance (over-hungry, over-tired,, hormones, anything), I have a seizure. As you can imagine, I’m very routine driven to keep everything on target.

    • I’m so sorry you are facing these physical challenges. I recommend you just declare a day of prayer – but keep on eating as you do. Just carve out special time to pray. You can also set your cell phone to ring every hour on the hour for 12 hours and pray every hour. That’s a good way to remember to pray since your belly won’t be reminding you.

      Hope that helps,
      Courtney :)

  20. “A Woman’s Guide to Fasting” by Lisa Nelson is a fantastic resource for beginniers and great encouragement to those who are familiar with fasting. I highly recommend it.

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