I wanted to begin my new ministry on the right foot, but I was unsure how to do that. After some prayer, God asked me to fast. I must admit: as usual, I was skeptical about this being God’s idea. I mean, I have fasted before, but during those times I have fasted from things like television, social media, desserts, or specific food items (like French fries). I had tried cutting out meals but found that my blood sugar levels plunged a bit too low to continue that. So after trying and failing with food, I had resigned myself to the idea that fasting from food just was not for me.
This idea of mine is not very Biblical, however. Fasting is a discipline that the Bible discusses at length. I have been somewhat disciplined in the area of food because I have controlled my diet for a few years now. However, I did not realize that 50 percent of all New Testament ordinances are linked to food, which means that food and intimacy are related in the mind of God.
Think about that for a moment. Family dinners. Church meals. Communion. Fasting. These are all food-related situations that create intimacy among people and especially believers. If you have been part of a Christian church, you know that many fellowship events are centered around food. I sincerely believe this dependence on food is one of the main reasons that God asks us to DENY ourselves food and participate in fasts.
I knew that fasting, even a partial fast such as the Daniel fast, would require intense preparation even before beginning. Here are some simple ways you can prepare yourself before you begin a fast:
- Plan. Once you decide to fast, make a plan. What kind of fast will you do? There are several types and lengths from which to choose; I chose a 21-day Daniel Fast, which is a partial fast. When will you fast? I chose September because on the Jewish/Christian calendars, it is a season for reconciliation with God. I also gave myself a few weeks advance notice before beginning, so that I could…
- Pray. The best and most important way to enter into a season of fasting is with prayer. Ask friends to pray for you before, during, and after your fast—in fact, pray that some will join you on your journey. But mostly, seek the Lord on your own and allow Him to work in your life before you begin fasting. He will prepare your heart for what He is going to do!
- Practice. In addition to praying, you should “practice” fasting one to two weeks before your real fast begins. No matter the type of fast you are undertaking, you will be denying your body some type of food for some time. I practiced by cooking foods from the Daniel Fast for two weeks before actually beginning the fast. This helped me find recipes that I liked and prepare my body for the difference in what I was eating. I also was hooked on caffeine; only one cup of coffee a day for me, but breaking that habit BEFORE the fast was imperative so that my first few fasting days were the absolute worst.
Great leaders are always looking to go to the next level. Fasting can take you there, but you must prepare.
Have you ever fasted? What type of fast did you do? How did you prepare for it?