Fasting Facts Sheet
(excerpts from Spiritual Disciplines Handbook,by Adele Ahlberg Calhoun)
Dos and Don’ts
- Don’t fast when you are sick, traveling, pregnant or nursing. People with diabetes, gout, liver disease, kidney disease, or hypoglycemia should consider fast of other than food.
- Don’t fast if you are in a hurry and are fasting for immediate results regarding some decision. Fasting is not magic.
- Stay hydrated. Always drink plenty of fluids. Watch your caffeine intake.
- If you are new to fasting, begin by fasting one meal. Spend the time with God that you would normally be eating.
- Work up to longer fasts. Don’t attempt prolonged fasts without guidance. Check with your doctor.
- Expect your tongue to feel coated and expect to have bad breath.
- As a beginner in a day-long fast, start after supper and fast until supper the following day.
- Don’t break your meal with a huge meal. Resume eating with smaller portions of food.
What to do in the Time Set Apart for Fasting
- Bring your Bible and a glass of water.
- Relax and breathe deeply. Place yourself in the presence of God. Offer yourself and your time to God. Phases like, “I am here”, or “Speak Lord, your servant is listening” (Samuel’s prayer).
- Spend time worshipping God for his faithfulness.Psalm 103:1-5 is a good starting point for praise.
- Bring your desires to God. Ask him if this desire is in line with his will and his word for you. Be still and listen.
Suggestions for Getting Started
- When the fast is difficult, share your thoughts and feelings with Jesus. Be sensitive in your spirit to hear his response. Tell Jesus what it means to you to share in the fellowship of his sufferings.
- Fast one meal a week. When you feel hungry, sit with Jesus in the wilderness (Luke 4) and feed on the fact that “Man does not live on bread alone.” (Luke 4:4)
- Consider fasting from media, sports, shopping; anything other than food. Dedicate the “extra time” you now have to God. What feelings arise in you? That thoughts interrupt your prayers?
- Especially during Lent, focus on Jesus and his temptations in the wilderness. Use your imagination and place yourself inside the account of Luke 4. What do you and Jesus talk about: How are you tempted to indulge yourself? How does it help to talk to Jesus about this?
- Make two lists; one of needs, the other of wants.Ask God to show you where to fast from your wants. Offer to God the time you spend longing for your wants.
- Abstain from purchasing morning coffee or daily sodas or sweets. Offer the money to God.
“The purpose of fasting is to loosen to some degree the ties which bind us to the world of material things and our surroundings as a whole, in order that we may concentrate all our spiritual powers upon the unseen and eternal things.” Ole Hallesby
written by Major Lauren Hodgson, Spiritual Life Development, USA East