For many Christians, January is a popular time to experience a season of prayer and fasting. After the food, fun and festivities of Thanksgiving and Christmas, the start of a New Year is always a great time to refocus and set goals, including spiritual goals. Fasting is a deeply spiritual experience that allows us draw closer to the Lord and hear from on high!
From the experience I’ve gained over the last several years of fasting every January, and periodically throughout the year, I thought I would share a few suggestions on how to prepare for a fast. Preparation is important so you can have a game plan and the tools you need to go on this incredible spiritual journey.
Fasting requires a temporary lifestyle change, but as busy women, we all know life still goes on. Scripture even tells us that we should continue our daily beauty and hygiene rituals when we’re fasting so that we look normal to the outside world. (Read Matthew 6:16-18).
5 Ways To Prepare for a Spiritual Fast
- Determine how long you will fast. Biblically, some fasts lasted 1,7, 10, 21 and 40-days. Ultimately, the length of time you fast is between you and the Lord.
- Determine what type of food you will fast. Some people fast based on time of day. For example, not eating/drinking from sun-up to sundown. Others choose to abstain from certain categories of food – like meat, bread, desserts, etc. Again, what you fast is between you and the Lord, but you need to develop a plan for how you will handle business and social situations during the fast.
- Determine what your areas of prayer focus will be. I like to journal during my fasts and typically start off making a list of things I want to pray about during the fast (and after).
- Go grocery shopping. Once you determined what kinds of food you will fast, it’s very important to plan all your meals and snacks. If you can, throw out food items you know will be a major source of temptation. Do you know you will be stuck in long meetings on certain days? Be prepared by throwing a stash of fasting-friendly snacks in your purse.
- Nourish your soul. While it’s easy to focus on how you’ll be depriving your belly during the fast, it’s important to feed your spirit with music that uplifts the Lord. This is also a great time to start a new devotional or Bible reading plan. Some great spiritual development books to read during a fast include, Jentezen Franklin’s book on fasting and Spirit Rising: Tapping into the Power of the Holy Spirit by Jim Cymbala.
A Few Scripture References
- Ezra 8:23
- Isaiah 58:6
- Joel 2:12
- Daniel 9:3