Purpose of this Session
Simple, practical guidelines to help you succeed in fasting and prayer.
i. Make fasting a regular part of your Christian Lifestyle
To effectively avail yourself of the benefits of fasting seek to make it part of your Christian lifestyle. Do not wait for an emergency, but incorporate both short and longer fasts in your regular schedule.
ii. Prepare yourself spiritually
Confess any known sin to God, and set your heart and mind to seek God. Keep yourself from worldly distractions and detoxify not only naturally but in your mind and emotions also. Refrain from too much TV during the fast, and abstain from any negative talk.
Check your motives for fasting according to Isaiah 58, and ensure that your heart is right before God.
Enter the fast with positive faith, knowing that God promises reward as we do so (Matthew 6:18; Hebrews 11:6).
iii. Prepare yourself physically
If you have health concerns consult your doctor prior to beginning a fast and explain what you plan to do.
Begin with realistic goals for the length and type of fast you plan to accomplish. Better to succeed in a two day Daniel fast than fail in a total 7 day fast. As you develop in the discipline of fasting you can extend your fasts.
Drink plenty of water to flush your body, and eat fruit and vegetables to clean your system of toxins. In the early stages of a fast you may experience headaches or bodily aches and pains, as well as a coated tongue and halitosis. This happens because the body is expelling toxins, and withdrawing from caffeine and sugars etc. Don’t give up, this is a good thing for a system clogged with unhealthy residues!
At the end of a fast, especially a longer fast, do not overeat. Eat smaller portions of easily digestible foods as your body gets back into gear. Eating the correct foods before and after fasting can also help guard against uncomfortable constipation.
Exercise moderately during the fast, and take time to rest as necessary.
iv. Set clear goals for your fast
Decide at the outset how long, what kind of fast, and the purpose of your fasting. Is it for the salvation of family members? Revival in your city? With a clear purpose faith can be released and difficulties or discouragements during the fast more readily overcome.
v. During the fast set aside time for Bible reading and prayer
Fasting is not dieting! Fasting is an effective way to set ourselves apart from the usual activities we engage in to seek God’s face and direction and blessing in our lives. Make sure that during your fast as much time as possible is set apart for this purpose.
Set aside one or two days over the week to fast according the principles we have outlined in this lesson. It may also be that you want to engage in a corporate fast as a school or together with others.