Friday, October 3, 2008

10/03/08 - Fasting

Have you ever fasted before? I mean not eaten a meal or two as spiritual discipline? (Of course you can fast from other things, but most see fasting as not eating.)

I can't recall ever hearing a sermon on the importance of fasting as a spiritual discipline. It's not talked about much in Christian circles and I know Christians who have never practiced the discipline of fasting.

But fasting is close to my heart. I've practiced the discipline of fasting for about 13 years. I've fasted one meal, two meals. I've done a 22 day juice fast for spiritual reasons. I've done partial fasts. I've fasted for breakthroughs in my own life. I've fasted for other people and I've done corporate fasting.

Now in saying this, I am not at all wanting to say, "Oh look at how spiritual Heather is for fasting!" I tell you this as a way of encouragement. Actually, I believe fasting should be a very private matter, between you and only those people who many be effected by you fasting.

Whenever I fast, God does amazing things. I see what controls me. I see what's inside so much clearer! God revels much to me when I fast and I feel so much closer to God when He calls me to fast.

If you have never fasted then I encourage you to pray about if or when you should fast. Look up scriptures on fasting and some of the reasons people fasted in the bible. See what Jesus says about fasting.

There are a couple of great books you can read: A Hunger for God by John Piper (I HIGHLY recommend this book!), and The Celebration of Disciple by Richard Foster.

I would say that if you are looking for a breakthrough in your own life and have not looked into fasting, then pray and ask if God is calling you to fast as a spiritual discipline!

If you feel for medical reasons you are unable to fast from food, then seek God about something else you can fast from (cell phone, computer, TV, video games). I do not recommend fasting for anyone nursing or pregnant, as well as others with medical conditions that require you to eat food a certain number of times per day.


Charity said...

I would also agree with you that fasting is an important spiritual discipline. I would have to clarify though that it is spoken about regularly in Christian circles just not much in Protestant Christian circles. I am part of an Ecumenical Christian Community (includes Protestants, Catholics, and Orthodox Christians) and I have noticed that the Catholic and Orthodox traditions speak and practice fasting much more then we as Protestants. I have learned a great deal about the importance of fasting from these other two Christian traditions and am very thankful for being able to be a part of an Ecumenical community and exposed to other Christian traditions. On a side note I have also read Foster's Celebration of Discipline and highly recommend it to anyone.

Elizabeth said...

Very good. I have also seen fasting work in my spiritual life. I like Isaiah 58 on fasting -- it looses the bands of wickedness -- or gives us victory over areas of ourself that we need help in. Thanks for encouraging us the more.

Charmagne said...

Donald S Whitney wrote a FANTASTIC book called Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life
This book taught me alot about fasting - and many other areas of life that need improvement too!

Sara said...

Hi Mrs.Paulson,
I recently came across your blog,(I've enjoyed it very much by the way) and noticed that you've done a 22 day fast. Right now I am on my 4th day of fasting of 21 days, and I am wondering if you could give me some tips... I don't have any close friends or family who have ever done this, so I was hoping that maybe you could share with me a bit. I really don't know what to expect.
My e-mail address is, or you can contact me through my blog as well:
Please don't feel like you have to- I'm sure you're busy.
Sincerely, Sara