Ten Fasting Tips For a Successful Fast
The following provide some practical fasting tips that will assist you in fasting with the least number of distractions. They come from a resource of personal experience of those who fast often and have been forced to learn the hard way to find the smoothest path into the sometimes-difficult personal terrain of fasting. During a fast, focus is critical. You will become painfully aware of how nosy, chaotic and cluttered your world has become. This is because fasting will force you to slow down. Here are ten principles, which will help manage the chaos and find victory and power over your life again.
1. Tell the least number of people that you are fasting.
Fasting is an exciting event and it is easy to blab off to everyone that you are on a fast, especially when you begin to experience the incredible benefits. The problem is that you set yourself up for failure and disappointment when you make your fast public. There are two reasons for this:
First, most people will think that you are crazy. Secondly, do not tell people that you are fasting as it can cause the fast to become a law to your heart. You are fasting because you are in love with Jesus. The key to a great fast is to stay fixed on Jesus, not people or circumstances. Keeping your fast between you and God will help you stay focused in times of temptation.
2. Turn off the TV.
Watching TV while on a spiritual fast will become increasingly ridiculous. In every commercial you are being tempted with food. Most of all, it destroys your Christ-focus. It is not going to kill you to turn off the TV and radio, and stop buying the newspaper. The world will continue happily along without your presence.
Remember, a tug-of-war is going on in the soul between the flesh that is being inflicted, and the spirit that is being strengthened. You are the most vulnerable when you’re feeling deprived. That is the time when you must be aware of the temptation to find an escape. Let God be your entertainment. Turn to Him when you feel deprived. Look for your Bible, not the converter!
3. Get alone with God.
Fasting and solitude have always gone hand in hand. Jesus was led by the Holy Spirit away from the crowds, into the desert according to Luke 5:15. What kind of man would King David have been if he had not spent countless lonely nights as a shepherd. Where the stars were his friends and the harp, a way of expressing his heart to God. It is in loneliness and the quietness of solitude that we learn friendship with Jesus. It does not matter how large a ministry you have, you need to get alone with God. Your ministry will survive without you–and if it doesn’t, it was built on the wrong foundation, you not Christ!
4. Feast on His Word.
Just think of all those lost hours of time spent on radio, television and newspapers. Well, during your fast make a diet adjustment. Saturate yourself in His Word. Use every available means possible–tapes, books, videos, Christian television, but most of all, the Bible.
This is a good time to renew your mind, to think differently. Be aware that behavior patterns may begin to surface that others will think are fanatical. The Word will develop within you an irrepressible enthusiasm that, you can do all things in Christ who is your strength, and you are the righteousness of God.
Christians, especially in North America, have lost the art of meditation. In fact, we almost consider it a pagan practice. But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night (Psalm 1:2).
Through meditation we wrestle down negative thoughts and emotions that plague us every day. Meditation is a discipline of the mind where you take charge of your thoughts, directing them towards God. We are a society of lazy thinkers. Television has become an electronic imagination. Look at your reflex thinking, see if it conforms to that truth–and if it does not, cast it down as an evil thing that hinders you from communing with God.
6. Go for walks alone.
Clouds, a breeze in the face, flowers, trees, sun, moon and stars. These are the expressions of God to you–His creation, and as you fast, your five senses will become sharp and clear, allowing the loveliness of God in all that He has made, to impact your soul. Whether winter or summer, go for long walks with God. Invite Him to come with you. Experience the beauty of what He has made to. Feel the quality and vastness of His universe. Reach outward with your soul, embracing God through what He has made.
7. Take a phone break.
Clear your schedule. Take a break from the phone. No interruptions! This is a period of time to minister to Christ and your own spiritual need for deeper intimacy with Him. If Christ needed to refresh His spirit, then even more so do you.
8. Be quiet.
Much dreaming and many words are meaningless. Therefore stand in awe of God.
Ecclesiastes 5:7 With pride comes many words. Tame the tongue. Bring it into submission. Be silent. There is humility in silence. The literal interpretation of the word fast is to cover your mouth. The noise of words can cover insecurity, drowning the murmurs of a restless soul.
9. Do not enter into needless temptation.
The smells and sight of food can be difficult during a fast. As you continue along the path of fasting, all five senses will increase in sensitivity. When the next-door neighbor opens a jar of fresh peanut butter, you will know it. Every desire to draw closer to God will be obscured in peanuts. All you can imagine is the smooth, delicious flavors of peanut butter melting on freshly browned toast.
If you are going to detoxify you ought to do it on a good night’s sleep. The last thing you need during the difficult part of your fast is to be tired and overworked During a fast it is essential that you get enough sleep. Come home from work, take a shower, and allow yourself time to quietly and restfully meditate and pray.
In the days to follow I will be posting information regarding the nine fasts mentioned in the scripture. I pray that they will be a helpful instrument during our 2011 ifast.