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Fasting: How?

1. Decide what you'll fast from. The most obvious is food. But there are plenty of other things you can intentionally abstain from with the goal of replacing the physical with the spiritual. TV, social media, sex, Starbucks...

"Without a purpose and plan, it's not Christian fasting, it's just going hungry." (David Mathis)

2. Start small. Give up one meal the first time you try a fast. Eat breakfast and then decide to fast from lunch, with the intention of spending the time you would be eating praying, reading your bible, or talking a walk and talking with the Lord as you go. Do this a few times before moving on to an entire day fast.

3. Choose your parameters. Will you allow juice on your fast? Coffee? Gum or mints? (For whatever reason, our breath doesn't smell very good while fasting for longer periods).

4. Consider giving up something like your regular Starbucks coffee, and then use the money saved for Kingdom purposes. After a month of a store-bought coffee fast, you'd probably have a nice little donation to give someone in need.

5. Be considerate. A sure way to annoy friends and family is by sitting down to a dinner or lunch date and announcing, "I'm fasting today." If you have a family, and your presence at mealtime is required, mention it to your spouse or children a day or two before so they can prepare and not feel slighted if you're not eating what they've prepared. As much as possible, make your fast just between you and God.

6. Take time to reflect. Fasting will bring out what controls us. Journal or talk to God about your experience with fasting: what you're learning about Him, what you're learning about you. "If pride controls us, it will be revealed almost immediately. David said, “I humbled my soul with fasting” [Psalm 35:13]. Anger, bitterness, jealousy, strife, fear—if they are within us, they will surface during fasting. At first, we will rationalize that our anger is due to our hunger. And then, we know that we are angry because the spirit of anger is within us. We can rejoice in this knowledge because we know that healing is available through the power of Christ." (Richard Foster)

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