Monday, January 7, 2013

Questions About Fasting

As part of our forty days of prayer and fasting, which start this Wednesday from 8-9pm in the Kerith Centre, I'm encouraging as many people as possible to fast for the Wednesday, or for longer if you want to.

A while ago I posted answers to some common questions on fasting, which I thought might be useful to repeat here. I hope you find them helpful.

See you Wednesday!




Why fast?

In his book “40 Days of Prayer and Fasting” Mahesh Chavda lists 12 specific benefits of “the fast that God has chosen” from Isaiah 58:


  1. Revelation
  2. Healing and wholeness
  3. Righteousness
  4. The presence of the glory of God
  5. Answered prayers
  6. Continual guidance
  7. Contentment
  8. Refreshing
  9. Strength
  10. Work that endures (like an ever-flowing spring)
  11. Raising up future generations
  12. Restoration

Fasting is a time of emptying ourselves so we can be filled up anew with what God has in store for us.


Jesus seemed to teach that there are some issues that can only be resolved through prayer and fasting (Mark 9:29) and he clearly expected us to fast (Matt 6:16, Matt 9:15). The early church also fasted (Acts 13:2, 14:23). We therefore need to fast too.


What does it mean to fast?

To fast is to do without food. People seem to disagree about whether you should just drink water or whether it’s OK to drink fruit juice as well so feel free to do what you want!


Whatever you decide to drink it’s really important to drink lots of fluids, but try to stay away from caffeine. If you are going to drink juice go for grape and apple juice as they are not acidic - avoid orange juice and citrus juices. Add water to juices so you don’t get a sugar high.


In the first three days of a fast people will sometimes experience headaches, nausea, dizziness and a stiff neck, often as a result of the caffeine withdrawal. On the occasions I’ve fasted for more than 3 days I’ve always found the desire for food goes after 3 days and I feel sharp and find it much easier to focus. No promises though!

How long should I fast for?

It’s up to you! It’s just as scriptural to go on a 1 day fast as a 40 day fast so don’t feel under pressure. If you’ve never fasted before then why not start off by fasting for a day?


Any practical tips?

If you have a medical problem then you should consult your doctor before fasting. Children definitely shouldn’t fast.


Jacqui Webber-Gant, one of our members, came up with the following suggestions:


  • Mums still have to cook for their kids which can be hard. Try to prepare food quickly and if possible get someone else in the family to cook (if they aren’t fasting)
  • Remember that you fast TO PRAY therefore use the time you are not eating to go out and pray-otherwise you just feel miserable.
  • Be careful when standing up fast or going up stairs as you can feel light headed. Extended fasts make you feel cold because food acts as fuel. Make sure you clean teeth and shower often because you are detoxing and the body gets rid of some interesting odours!
  • Plan times in the day to pray and read the Bible
  • Sleep more as you will restore energy that way
  • Try to avoid being around food for the first few days
  • Do not drink alcohol.
  • Make sure you walk and find time to talk to family members because meal times are the talking times-and you can feel a bit weird if you are avoiding the family table.

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