What is spiritual fasting and how it brings you closer to God
If you grew up in a church, you’re probably familiar with the term “spiritual fasting.”
Some churches participate in an annual spiritual fast such as the Daniel Diet. Others give up something of a religious practice during the Lenten season.
But spiritual fasting is not about starving yourself to lose weight; rather, it is a highly devotional act to the Lord above.
What is spiritual fasting?
Spiritual fasting is when you voluntarily give up food, or something that brings you contentment, to focus on your thoughts and your relationship with God.
Although fasting differs depending on your personal faith, most Christians practice two different types of fasting: a partial fast or a complete fast.
A partial fast comes from Daniel 10:3, where the prophet Daniel gave up sweets for three weeks. A complete fast involves drinking only water or juice for an extended period of time.
What is the purpose of spiritual fasting?
Fasting is not a foreign idea to spirituality. Some people fast for spiritual growth, while others have personal reasons for fasting.
While many might assume that fasting is done as a way to earn God’s praise or harm the body, that is simply not the case.
Spiritual fasting is done to help you focus on your faith, focus more on Him, and can even be used as a way to deal with difficulties, such as overcoming an addiction, grieving a loss or find your life purpose.
For example, Buddha fasted on the way to his enlightenment. Jesus fasted for 40 days and 40 nights in the desert before going to the cross. Muslims fast for Eid and Ramadan. Christians fast for Lent.
Gandhi fasted 17 times when he strove to liberate India. Other leaders have taken this path to spirituality to seek problem solving.
Not only did Martin Luther King, Jr. fast, he influenced others through his actions that followed his nonviolent way of changing culture by instigating spiritual fasting as a tool for social change.
What are the spiritual benefits of fasting?
Fasting for spirituality is not only good for your mind, but also for your body. You will find that you have more energy, that you are drawing closer to God than ever before, that you feel cleansed and transformed, and that you are progressing spiritually.
When you are looking for answers or a renewal of faith, a spiritual fast can help you truly understand your beliefs and how empowering they can be. Also, by giving up food, you allow your soul to cleanse and your mind-body connection can improve.
Many people also find that they have more energy while fasting. From a scientific standpoint, this is because your liver stores glucose, your body’s main source of energy, for up to 12 hours after a meal. When you fast for more than 12 hours, your body switches to fat metabolism, which leads to positive adaptive responses to cellular stress.
What does the Bible say about spiritual fasting?
The Bible and the scriptures say that fasting is a way to repent, draw closer to the Holy Spirit, and renew our commitment to Him. The Bible also emphasizes that fasting is a private effort, not an effort that must be made to be acknowledged.
There are dozens of examples of fasting in the Bible, including the New Testament and the Old Testament:
Matthew 6:16-18“When you fast, do not look gloomy as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show others that they are fasting. Verily I say unto you, they have received their reward in his But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that it may not be obvious to others that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is invisible, and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will repay you.
Deuteronomy 9:9“When I went up the mountain to receive the tablets of stone, the tablets of the covenant which the Lord had made with you, I stayed on the mountain forty days and forty nights; I did not eat bread and I didn’t drink any water.”
Acts 27:33-34“Just before dawn Paul urged them all to eat. urges you to take some of the food. You need it to survive. None of you will lose a hair from your head.'”
Other examples of fasting include when David fasted and mourned the death of his children (2 Samuel 12:16), when Daniel fasted after receiving a vision from God (Daniel 10:3-13), and when the disciples of John the Baptist fasted to repent. (Matthew 9:14-15)
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What happens during a fast?
Prayer and fasting often go hand in hand, as do going to church and reading the Bible. However, whether you feel like allowing yourself time alone during this process is entirely up to you.
During the fast itself, you abstain from food and drink, but not water. It is important to drink water to stay hydrated. You also need to make sure you get enough sleep.
How long should you fast?
You can fast for a day, a week, or even an hour. The length of your fast is up to you.
However long you choose to fast, be sure to drink water; it is dangerous not to do so.
How often should you fast?
Again, how often you decide to fast is entirely up to you. Just make sure you take the necessary precautions to protect your health.
Do you need to tell someone you are fasting?
Absolutely not. This opportunity is between you and God, and you owe this explanation to no one. You can tell your family or friends, but don’t feel entitled to share this news.
Let it be known that you are not doing this to become better than the next person. It is a time when you can restore, refresh and rekindle your relationship with God.
Whether you choose to give up food, music, or social media, your decision is no greater than the next in the sight of God. If you are a beginner
How to Do a Spiritual Fast
1. Take small steps at the start of your fast.
When people decide to fast for the first time, they should consult their doctor. Most people may think they can go an entire week without eating, but that is up to the doctor and the individual to decide.
The reason people start small is that each person’s body is different and adapts at its own pace. Start by fasting a meal for a week or two, or skipping a snack.
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2. Create a play-by-play for each day.
At the start of your fast, you will find that not eating or going on social media will feel exhausting. It is good to write down in a journal a plan of what you will do during your fast and why.
For example, if you choose to fast on the Internet and not go on Instagram for an hour, write down what you will be doing instead, such as reading, going for a walk, or something similar.
3. Be aware of how fasting will affect your loved ones.
Although this time is used to be in tune with yourself and with God, do not give up on those around you. If you give up eating or anything you are doing, you may feel depressed and easily agitated.
Remember not to pick on anyone around you. In the end, God wouldn’t want you to make fun of others while sharing this intimate moment with Him.
4. Remember that you don’t have to give up food.
If skipping meals for hours isn’t your preference, don’t worry!
As mentioned, you can ditch social media or even listen to secular music. Whatever you choose to give up will mean the world to God and grow your spirituality.
5. Don’t lose sight of your end goal.
It may seem more difficult than saying “no” to your stomach once it starts asking for food. Spiritual discipline during this time is essential, and it will strengthen all areas of your life, whether you see it now or later.
This is a time to live and breathe prayer and resilience, and to prove to yourself that you are capable of anything if you put your mind to the test.
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Samantha Maffucci is the editor of YourTango and has written hundreds of articles on relationships, trends and entertainment, numerology and astrology. Am here on Twitter for more.