May 20 I Friday
1 Chronicles 10-12
“Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke?” —Isaiah 58:6
When we fast, it is an invitation to see the brokenness of sin in our world and long for God to do something about it. But from a practical standpoint, how do we actually fast? Firstly, we must pick something to fast from. Traditionally, food is what people abstain from, but for medical reasons or our relationship with food, it may not be wise to fast from food. An alternative could be going off social media or watching TV.
Secondly, we must pick something to fast for. Some may feel like we need the most profound thing in the world to fast for, but this is not what God is after in our fast. When people fasted in Scripture, they were seeking for God’s guidance, mercy, healing, deliverance, repentance, hope and salvation. A possible place to start is to take a list of prayer requests from people, ministries and organizations and pray for them while we fast.
Thirdly, we must decide how long we will fast for. If it is food that we are fasting from, we will feel hunger pangs after a while. Most fasts are about 24 hours, but for those who are just starting for the first time, consider fasting for 12 to 18 hours before increasing it to 24 hours.
A good way to fast from food is to begin after a nice full dinner in the evening, and when we wake up the next day, skip breakfast but drink lots of water throughout the day. As we go throughout the morning, we may feel hunger pangs, which is a reminder to intentionally pray for the things that we are fasting for. At lunch, if we are just beginning to fast, we could break the fast—by then, we would have fasted for about 12 to 18 hours and prayed for whatever God had laid on our heart. But if we could go on a little longer and hold our fast until dinner, we would have completed a 24-hour fast. If we are fasting from something like social media, when we go on our phone, it is a reminder to lean in and pray for the thing that God has called us to fast for. For an extended fast, we could choose a food item or a thing to fast over a period of time.
Lastly, we must decide whether to fast alone or in community. Scripture has examples of people who fasted alone and those who did it with others. If we have Christian brothers and sisters in our life, why not consider what God maybe calling the group to fast for together. Altogether, may our fast be done in a manner that pleases God.
Prayer: Holy God, thank You that fasting is an invitation to see the brokenness of sin in our world and long for You to do something about it. Cultivate in me a heart to fast for Your kingdom work. Amen!