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.”