It was sudden and soundless.
My body laid back against the cool wall and slid to the floor. My eyes finally peeled open as Judah’s sandy tongue swiped my cheek. It took a few seconds for my brain to register what just happened.
I know it was silent because, as I came to, my friend still faced the sink washing dishes. No bones clunked against the wall or wood floor to jolt me awake. It was a peaceful descent.
“Did you see what just happened?” I asked
She hadn’t. So I told her.
“Do you think you should eat now?” she replied.
Hesitant, but sideswiped by a moment of wisdom, I slurped down a Costco blueberry yogurt to conclude the multi-day food fast.
If you struggle with food and weight control, fasting as a spiritual discipline can trigger some old unhealthy behaviors.
During this fast, I based success on the number of days I didn’t eat. A shaky sense of self-worth inflated with every meal missed. Panic rose as failure hunched in the doorway waiting for me to cross over and start eating again.
The purpose of fasting is to humble ourselves and connect with God. (Matthew 6:16-18) He is the focus, not food. Additionally, you and your prayers, not just the sacrifice, are His focus. He leans in. (Daniel 10:12)
Fasting and prayer create a melody that sings in heaven’s ears. And it bellows like a battle cry in the army of darkness. Changes happen behind the spiritual curtain of time and space causing breakthrough in our lives. Healings and callings are released. Families are saved, and impossible dreams become reality.
According to the National Eating Disorders Association over 9% of Americans (30 million of us) suffer from a clinically significant eating disorder. If you are being treated by a professional for an eating disorder, or think you should be, ,do not fast now. Be free from the pressure of fasting food. A time may come when you will fast, but for now fully pursue your healing. ( See resources at the end of this post.)
Jesus tells us in Matthew 9:14-16 not to put new wine in old wineskins. Do not fast until your eating disorder has been fully surrendered to God and redeemed. Instead try a social media fast or a Netflix fast. The sacrifice is just as powerful and it wont sink you deeper into an illness God is delivering you from. Your life is too precious.
When you are ready to fast, set yourself up for success.
The right preparation can safeguard us from slipping into unhealthy thinking about food.
What to Prepare Ahead of Time for a Successful Fast.
1. Fasts should have a purpose.
“A fast without prayer is just a diet.” -Pastor Walt
Focus your fast.
What are you seeking God for during your fast?. Write it down. Ask God for bible verses to accompany your prayer time.
2. What will you fast?
All food. Fluids only.
Meats sweets and bread. The Daniel Fast.
Your favorite food.
Sprinkling salt on every meal.
3. Set a start date and end date prior to beginning the fast.
Neglecting this step can be a trap for people with a past history of food restriction or binging. The fast above lasted 3 times longer than I originally planned.
Schedule your fast.
Sunup to sunset for one or more days.
Full day fasts. 1 day, 3 days, 5 days, 7 days.
Give yourself an absolute timeline. And if you’ve never fasted before, start small.
4. Prep Your Pantry
Eliminate foods you are fasting. Stock up on fluids.
Purchase fruits and veggies for your Daniel fast. Research recipes.
Pinterest is packed with them.
5. Expect to hear from God.
This is the best part. Fasting was His idea in the first place. Plus, He’s really good at following through on His promises. (Hebrews 11:6) So when you close in on God this way, He hustles to meet you there. (James 4:7-10)