My Absolute Fast – A Fasting Experience with Cadet Shawn Williams
Recently, I had the opportunity to participate in an absolute fast. This is the kind of fast in which you don’t eat anything and just drink water for a given period of time. The entire College for Officer Training (CFOT) was asked to prayerfully consider fasting for a 5 day period in March (2019). The purpose of the fast was to corporately prepare our hearts and stop relying on our own strength, avoid fleshly distractions, and fully rely on God as we go into our Spring Campaign.
In the past, I have fasted for one meal per week, but I believe I was doing it for the wrong reasons. In my mind, I was seeking to manipulate God to get what I wanted. I thought that by fasting, God would listen to my request. This mindset is wrong.
However, this fast was different. I went into it with the hope that the time I would typically spend eating, I could focus on spending time with God. Although, not eating anything certainly posed some serious challenges.
During the first day, I was experiencing some weakness and knew that I needed to seek God for strength. I secluded myself and prayed for strength to be strongly willed for the commitment that I had made to fast for the week. My scripture for that day was Psalm 100:5 “For the LORD is good and his unfailing love continues forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.” God is worthy to be praised and worshipped because he is good and caring. He is committed to the promises that he makes; God is reliable, unchanging, and full of love.
The biggest challenge was, of course, the act of preventing myself from eating. There were numerous times when I would be walking through a hallway thinking about the food and snacks that I had in my room. I even dreamt about eating Welch’s fruit snacks and cheeseburgers. During this time of fasting, I began to realize how often I eat or snack. I am very thankful that having access to food has never been something that I have had to worry about. Praise God for his provision!
Support from the CFOT community was key. I received encouraging notes and scripture daily to meditate and reflect on. I know that I was being covered in prayer. I also received words of affirmation from others commending me as an example of strength for continuing with the fast for the complete 5 days. I know that it was not on my own strength but the strength of God that provided for me during my absolute fast.
My mentality for the absolute fast was believing that by denying my body what it needed, which is nutrients from food, I would be able to deny myself those things that I really didn’t need. I would be better able to deny temptations that come my way. This would not be done under my own strength because my body is weak, but the Spirit is willing. On my own I am weak but with God I am strong.
Laying aside my appetite for food was an act of self-denial and recognition that I am not to be controlled by my appetite and other worldly things. This absolute fast brought to my attention the importance of sacrifice and spending time with God. The complete surrender of myself helps me remember that self-denial is crucial when following God. When hunger comes true nourishment comes from God’s word; food cannot complete the soul. God is the great provider who will always supply grace, comfort, and nurturing when I cannot provide it myself.
written by Cadet Shawn Williams, Messengers of the Kingdom, College for Officer Training, USA East