By Donal Moroney
Are there any people who should not consider fasting?
Those who are physically unwell, have a long-standing medical condition, are pregnant or know of any other physical reasons why they shouldn’t be fasting.
What constitutes ‘food’?
Anything of nutritional value whether it is a solid or a liquid.
How can I use my time most wisely whilst fasting?
Plan well before you fast and have some clear prayer objectives.
Seek to remove as many, if not all, distractions.
If you are working whilst fasting plan times during your day when you will be able to stop work to pray, for example at mealtimes.
You will require more rest than normal so exercise wisdom in planning when you can rest. Decide your level of activity accordingly.
Keep yourself well hydrated. You will need to drink almost double the amount of water you normally would.
If you are fasting corporately with a small group or your church make sure that you stay connected for support, encouragement and accountability.
Benefits of Christian fasting
The fasting that God blesses is not a declaration of our own strength, but an expression of our desire for intimacy with Him and our dependence upon Him. Genuine and authentic Christian fasting can only come from a heart that God himself gives us (Philippians 2:12-13) and a strength that He supplies (1 Peter 4:11).
Fasting comes alongside our prayer as a companion to bring about a heightened sense of earnestness and expectation of breakthrough. Fasting is a special measure that is an interruption of normal life. It is a time for unusual prayer that shows God that we want to enjoy Him for who he is, not for the gifts that He gives us.
More of God Himself
For the believer the ultimate purpose of fasting is God himself. More important than earthly guidance, protection, deliverance and provision is our immediate and eternal rejoicing in him, and knowing that He in himself is enough.
Fasting reminds us that God is himself the Great Feast: “Come, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and he who has no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without price” (Isaiah 55:1).
God satisfies us more than the best of foods and quenches our thirst more than the purest water “eat what is good” and we “delight [our]selves in rich food” (Isaiah 55:2)
When we fast our stomach aches remind us that Jesus is our best and most satisfying food, not our daily bread. Jesus is the truest drink, not our typical beverage.
Christian fasting is not concerned with what we go without, but who we want more of.