I am not bragging! I’m simply stating a fact. The reason I write about this today is to encourage you with my positive fasting experience. Fasting was taught and followed by the New Testament church—often for extended periods of time. Recently, I felt led to “water fast” for 7 days.
I have been fasting with prayer regularly for many years; long ago I discovered the spiritual power of this Christian discipline. I’m convinced that every believer should follow the New Testament example unless they have a medical condition that would contraindicate it.
A lot of people try and fail in fasting for the following reasons:
- food addiction
- lack of commitment and discipline
- lack of preparation in heart and mind
- lack of recognition of the spiritual warfare involved
- health reasons
In the past, I’ve been able to water fast and carry out my regular responsibilities and duties. Now that I’m older, I realize that a longer fast, for me, should be done at rest. I stopped my exercising, working, long walks, weight training—all of it for the week. Even after stopping much of my activity, I actually needed a 15-minute nap to get through the day.
Let me share the process during this fast. Honestly, this is never easy, although some fasts have been easier than others.
The first 2 days are always difficult. The body is burning up the glucose or sugar in your blood. Imagine you have so much glucose floating in your bloodstream it takes 2 full days to use it up! Sometimes I find these days extremely difficult; this time not so much. I found myself tired and mentally weary all the time. Initially, I drank only water, then after 3 or 4 days I also took some weak black tea.
Day 3 was a slight improvement but I started to notice that running up the stairs my heart really accelerated. My old habit of many years is that I rarely walk upstairs. I always run. But my mind was starting to clear up.
Day 4 was similar to day 3. I was mostly “low batt” but I noticed my mind and spirit getting much sharper. I began to sleep less at night. I was amazed at how much better my mind was working. My memory improved.
Day 5 I began to feel quite good. I was short of physical energy, but mentally sharp and feeling much stronger.
Day 6 in the afternoon, I felt grouchy for the first time. I had been quite active all day and was just a little short of energy so my mood was unpleasant. I just chose to be pleasant even though I did not feel that way.
Day 7 was the final day and a victorious day! I felt so good that I could have continued longer, but my goal was only 7 days. I noticed as well that I was losing weight a little too fast—13 pounds in 7 days! So I thought I’d better stop now.
Throughout the process of this 7 day fast, I was prayerful. I spent time in quiet meditation and listened for the Lord to speak. I have always noticed when I fast that there is spiritual warfare. There is no devil in favor of your fasting. However, when I’m done the fast I often hear the Lord speaking to me quite clearly, which He did this time too.
I have sometimes wondered why believers refuse to fast and pray, considering that all the significant men and women of God in history have fasted along with their prayers. Why would they do this? Because the wisdom of God tells humanity that seeking Him to the extent of denying your body food brings something spiritual to life. There is a supernatural component to fasting that we are missing by neglecting this spiritual discipline. I should add that it is extremely healthy for the body. In fasting, you burn up the impurities in your body which leads to better health.
Why do so few of us take a few days off work just to fast and seek the Lord? There is no arbitrary number of days we should fast. That is between you and the Lord. We take days off for vacation, visiting family, or traveling, but never for spiritual reasons. This suggests we have few spiritual priorities in our lives.
I encourage you to schedule a period of fasting and prayer and literally take time off to seek God. You will find Him if you seek Him with all your heart. When was the last time you had a significant encounter with God? I can assure you that you will hear clearly from Him when all distractions are gone and you discipline your body and mind to wait upon Him.
As we enter yet another troubling year, every one of us needs to seek God. If we can hear from God, our minds, our wills, and our emotions will settle down to peace in Him.