Fasting is a very personal endeavor.
It’s a private matter between us and God.
And yet, when He does something amazing, we have to talk about it! We’re supposed to remember and reflect on all He’s done for us (Deut 8).
So today, because many people are trying to understand what fasting is all about, and because God is so awesome in how He responds, I’m going to be brave. I’ve decided to get real with you about a few of my experiences with fasting.
The main point I want to convey is that every time I have fasted, I’ve developed a stronger bond with God, and He has always done something powerful in my life. Sometimes it was simply inside me, and sometimes it was in my circumstances. He didn’t always grant my request, but He was gracious to me – every time.
- The first time I fasted was an epic fail. I had decided to go a full day on just liquids, but I drank grape juice on an empty stomach, which had me lying on the bathroom floor for a good half hour trying not to puke. After a panicked phone call to my dad for advice, I decided to start over the next day and promptly ate some crackers.
Lesson learned: Do proper research so you can succeed in your fast and maintain good health.
- One time I felt led by the Lord to give up lattes (which just happen to be one of my favorite things in the entire world!) God reminded me that we must never crave anything more than we crave Him. Basically, He asked me “are you willing to give up anything, if I asked you to?” I knew it was a test, so for four months, I didn’t drink a latte. At first, it was torture walking past Starbucks, but I must have passed the test, because I felt God give me permission to drink them again. To some people, that might not make much sense, but for me it was a powerful lesson about the desires of the flesh and putting God first.
Lesson learned: Sometimes we have to give up one thing we love for something (or Someone) we love even more.
- Last summer, as our student ministry team prepared for a youth conference where I was privileged to teach breakout classes, I decided to seek God through fasting. I asked God to move in our youth like He had never done before. While God didn’t do as big a miracle as I was hoping, He did many little miracles, and it took me a while to recognize these as His response to my fast. Both my children had an amazing personal encounter with God. Even though I was battling a bad cold, I had more compliments on my classes than in previous years. While many things didn’t work out like I wanted, He always brought a resolution to each of my problems – He showed up over and over again.
Lesson learned: God’s ways are not our ways, His timing is different than ours and He always blesses those who serve Him.
- Perhaps the biggest miracle was when I felt led by God to do a 21-day fast over my marriage. I’ve written many blog posts about the struggles in marriage, but at one point I reached an impasse. Things went downhill, I could feel evil looming over my home, and I couldn’t seem to get a breakthrough. God reminded me that some things are only overcome with much prayer and fasting. (Matt 17:21) My marriage wasn’t miraculously fixed, but at the end of the fast, I could feel a ‘spiritual shift’. I could see little changes over the next several months that added up to restoration, and God showed me it was a result of my obedience and my faithfulness in fasting.
Lesson learned: Fasting doesn’t always bring immediate results, but God does provide healing and restoration.
I always learn something new about God when I fast. It’s hard to describe, but fasting is an incredible experience.
Please consider joining us in January for our 21-Day group fast!
As promised, I have compiled a list of resources that I’ve been using to learn about fasting.
Coming soon: different types of fasts, motives and attitude, and more!