A Definition of Fasting - A fast is the self-denial of normal necessities in order to intentionally attend to God in prayer. This physical awareness of emptiness is the reminder to turn to Jesus who alone can satisfy.
How Do I Go About Fasting? - There are several kinds of fasts for several different reasons found in scripture but they all center around our awareness of our need for God. Scriptural fasting always included going without food or some kind of food. There can be other kids of fasts as well. There are many other indulgences we have today that they didn’t have in scripture.
1. Determine what you will fast from - Understand that in a typical Lent fast you practice your fast Monday – Saturday and Sundays are days of celebration when we take a break from the fast. You don’t have to follow that pattern but that is the tradition.
· You can fast from food or types of food.
o Maybe you want to give up all sweets and sugars, maybe you want to give up caffeine because you depend on it. Daniel (and the lion’s den Daniel) fasted from all food and drink except for vegetables and water. God blessed him physically and spiritually.
o A traditional Lenten fast can include a small snack for breakfast and lunch and then eating a normal dinner. This is a good way to continue a normal rhythm of life but stay very attentive to the goal of your fast.
o Another type of fast is to choose one day a week to go without any solid food for 24 hours. You would eat dinner and then skip breakfast and lunch the next day and then eat dinner again.
· You can fast from other indulgences.
o You can give up some for of entertainment like television or video games or reading.
· You can fast from distractions.
o You can give up social media or texting or email in order to stay focused on God.
· Your fast can be a combination of any or none of these things. Remember the point is that we are making a sacrifice of something we normally need or enjoy as a tool to have a greater focus on the ONE we need most!
2. Fast as a discipline that leads to God not to legalism – The whole point is to lead us closer to God not to set up a legalistic structure that leads us to feel separation if we fail. If you start off a day and forget your fast and later realize your mistake, have a spirit of grace and begin again at that moment and use it as an opportunity to thank God for his unfailing love and grace over our lives.
3. Expect to encounter the God who loves you – God is way more excited about your choice to fast than we are. He longs for you and created you to know you and that you would know him. Expect him to meet you in your choice to humble yourself and sacrifice for him. He is waiting for us to come to Him and give ourselves fully to him.
4. Let the Adventure begin! – Join with other believers on Ash Wednesday (no ashes will be applied) for a time to prepare out hearts together and enter this journey towards Christ.