Friday, June 30, 2017

As Christians, we know that fasting is one of the most powerful spiritual disciplines that we can undertake. Along with prayer, fasting is a wonderful way for us to align our hearts and minds with the Lord and open ourselves to the power of the Holy Spirit.

The Bible has much to say about fasting. The Lord doesn’t only command us to fast and pray, but there are also several examples of heroes and heroines of the Bible, along with ordinary people, fasting with positive results. Jesus fasted and prayed for 40 days in the desert. He taught His disciples to fast and pray as well (Matthew 6:16-18).

Fasting and prayer can change your life in ways you never thought possible. Here are 9 ways you can make the most of it!

Prepare Your Pantry – Being unprepared for a fast can lead you quickly toward temptation. Before you fast, make sure that you have everything you might need to stay fuller longer and be in control. Whenever you do eat, nourish your body with raw, real food instead of artificial or processed meals.

Stay Hydrated – Drinking plenty of water can help sustain you during your fast and can also keep head-throbbing headaches at bay. You can also stock your pantry with herbal teas and a little bit of sweetener if you begin to feel unwell.

Set a Timer – Life goes on, even when you’re fasting. Don’t let your tasks distract you from your prayer time. Make sure to set a timer so you can take a break on the task at hand and give some time to talk to God.

Don’t Overload Yourself – When you fast, try to make sure you’re doing it on a day that isn’t jam-packed with appointments, tasks, and chores. You will need to allot time to pray and simply be in the presence of the Lord. Try to choose a day that will allow yourself to take breaks throughout the day to talk to God and reaffirm the purpose of your fast.

Use Your Hunger Pangs as Prayer Prompts – Whenever your stomach rumbles or you begin to experience cravings, use those uncomfortable feelings as prayer prompts. Pray to withstand temptation. Pray for those you love. Pray for your coworkers, your friends, your neighbors. Pray for your enemies. Let your stomach do the talking and tell you to reach out to the Lord instead of what you’re craving.

Consider Alternate Fasts – If you can’t skip multiple meals due to a medical condition or disorder, that’s okay! There’s more than just food that you can abstain from over a period of time. Instead, choose to fast from the Internet, television, coffee, soda, social media, shopping, scary movies, or anything else that might serve as a distraction from walking closer with the Lord.

Reach Out for Support – While you don’t want to make a big show of your fasting, it’s okay to bring other believers in your midst, especially when fasting becomes difficult. Make it a priority to go to church a few times during your fast. Tell your Christian brother or sister in private about what you’re doing. Ask him or her to pray for you. Their support, love, and prayers can help keep the enemy at bay and allow you to persevere in the name of the Lord!

Be Open to Other Prayer Goals – When you fast, you might have certain prayer goals in mind. Maybe you want a positive answer to a medical diagnosis you received. Perhaps you want to use the fast to pray for your family. Sometimes during a fast, though, God will bring other people and prayers to the forefront of your mind. If you find this happening, pray for those people and their needs. Trust that the Holy Spirit is guiding you to think about those people for a reason and give it all you’ve got!

Don’t Get Discouraged If You Mess Up – If you break your fast for one reason or another, don’t give up! God knows you’re human. He knows that you will fail, but He loves you all the same. Just get back up and keep going, remembering that God’s mercies “are new every morning.” (Lamentations 3:22-23). With His grace, mercy, and strength, you can continue and finish your fast!

If you want to grow closer to God, try fasting. Give up something that has been serving as a distraction and turn your attention to the Lord instead. You’ll be amazed at how much your life will change!