“When you fast, do not look sombre as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show others they are fasting. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that it will not be obvious to others that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.
1. Know WHY you are doing it, and what you want God to do.
In other words, check your motive and purpose.
Why are you fasting? It might be a good idea to write it down in a journal. For example: “I am fasting one meal (or whatever it is you’re are giving up) per day because I want God to …..” Having it written down may also help to focus your prayers.
2. Make a plan
Choose what to give up and for how long. It’s your call! Start small, and if you decide to fast food (never water) and have medical conditions or are taking medication, always seek your Doctor’s advice first. Some people can’t fast food - and that’s absolutely fine.
3. Be gentle with yourself
Don’t worry if you forget or give in! Dust yourself off and start again the next day! It’s going to take time, patience and persistence especially if you’re at the start of your fasting journey.
4. Keep a record
A journal of your emotions, feelings and experiences will help not just during the fast, but also for fasting in the future. Record how you feel, and what you are praying for, together with any answers to prayer.
5. Share the journey
Jesus tells us to fast secretly in order to test our hearts’ motive, but there’s no need to go alone and be isolated. That’s why we’re fasting as a church – there’s strength in numbers! Confide in your spouse, a friend, member of your connect group. You’ll need that support to cheer each other on and make it!
Suggestions for fasting:
Remember, fasting is giving up food or other good things for the purposes of drawing closer to God. Here’s some things that you might want to consider giving up for a short period. Ultimately though – you decide!
- A meal a day/ mid-morning snack/ supper (never give up food if you are on medication that doesn’t allow for it, or you have medical conditions that would make it unsafe to do so. If in doubt, always consult your Doctor first before fasting – and never give up water).
- Tea/ Coffee/ Alcohol/ fizzy drinks
- Social Media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, WhatsApp)
- TV/ media
- Your Phone
- Games consoles – Xbox, PS4, Nintendo Switch
Matthew 7:7 - Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you .
This F.A.S.T. acronym might help shape your prayers over this season:
Focus on God (Colossians 3:2)
Ask Him for strength (Proverbs 18:10)
Seek His kingdom, His plans, His purposes (Matthew 6:33)
Tell Him you’re desperate! (John 6:35)
Go for it.