In the early 1980's my Dad gave me a book on fasting. I wish I could remember the name of it. I've either loaned it to someone or given it away. It talked about all the health benefits that come along with the spiritual benefits. The book advised that the best way to fast was for a 24 hour period that covered more than one day. Eat breakfast then abstain from lunch, supper, and breakfast the next day. End your fast with a salad at lunch. It made a lot of sense. Flush out your body. Of course, the author recommended drinking a lot of water during that time as well.
Dad had begun fasting in this way and encouraged me to give it a try. Especially with all the processed foods we eat it is a good idea. Of course, the spiritual benefits are vast, too. Fasting brings you closer to God in a way I can't describe. It also increases the effectiveness of your prayers.
I began fasting one 24 hour period every week and did pretty good at sticking to it for a number of years. When I became pregnant with my youngest daughter I stopped fasting and didn't return to it for years. I know Dad continued to fast even though as he got older he didn't do it as regularly as he had. Several years ago, God began speaking to me about fasting again. I mentioned it in one of my Bible study groups and one of the ladies in my group, Catherine, said God had been talking to her about fasting, too. Like me, she had once fasted regularly but had gotten out of the habit. We decided to begin fasting and praying one day weekly.
I was amazed at the immediate difference in my prayer life. Our prayers were answered in amazing ways. I felt we were a part of unleashing God's power in our community. It was awesome. Even after Catherine moved to Quincy we still prayed together over the phone. After Mom & Dad died, fasting became more and more difficult for me. Now I haven't fasted in weeks. I need to get back to it.
Please pray for me as I strive to get back to my routine of fasting one 24 hour period every week. After all, look at the example Christ left for us. He often fasted and prayed. If you're not in the habit of fasting or perhaps never tried to fast, I'd like to challenge you to commit to fasting one 24 hour period each week for 5 weeks. See if it doesn't make a noticeable difference to you physically and spiritually (of course, if you have any physical problems, be sure to consult your doctor first).
If you'll join me in this, please leave a comment or shoot me an e-mail. Thank you for your prayers and support.
Matthew 6: 16-18 (New Living Translation)
“And when you fast, don’t make it obvious, as the hypocrites do, for they try to look miserable and disheveled so people will admire them for their fasting. I tell you the truth, that is the only reward they will ever get. But when you fast, comb your hair and wash your face. Then no one will notice that you are fasting, except your Father, who knows what you do in private. And your Father, who sees everything, will reward you."