7 Tips to Help You Get Started Fasting

To be honest, when I decided to fast I expected to fail. I’ve often had problems with my blood sugar falling and getting the shakes bad enough that I made sure I was sitting down. Combine that with the major headaches I’d get and it seemed like a recipe for disaster. But I saw what fasting was doing in my friends’ lives and I wanted what they had. (If you missed the post on the reasons and benefits of fasting I found, you can read it here.)

Not surprisingly, God has taught me many things as I’ve begun fasting—things I never would’ve guessed. Here are some practical things about fasting that I learned the hard way.

Tips to help you begin fasting

  • Plan for it! Choose a day when it’s okay if you aren’t laser focused, in case the fasting makes your thinking a little fuzzy. Don’t choose a day when you know your stress level will be high. (Ask me how I learned that one. Yikes!)
  • Prepare for fasting by deciding the night before that you WILL fast. Don’t leave it up to your feelings because feelings are liars. It also helps to clear your work area of any snacks or candy that might be laying around so it’s not staring you in the face. Just sayin'.  
  • Give yourself time to build up to even a one day fast. Start small by planning on fasting through breakfast to begin with. Then gradually work up to longer periods of time. Celebrate every hour you fast and it will help you go longer.
  • Do not condemn yourself if you don’t make it as long as you planned or hoped. One time I knew I had to eat, so I did. Guilt came crashing down on me, followed quickly with negative thoughts about myself. It was awful. I felt like a massive failure, not just at fasting, but in every area of my life. God brought to mind that Satan is the father of lies, the great deceiver, and I realized the feelings were a mental battle. As soon as I could I got to my knees, confessed and laid it all out before God. I recounted everything I could about who I am in Christ and how much God loves me. Slowly but surely the feelings of failure and self-condemnation lifted and I turned my prayers from myself to everyone I wanted to pray for. I may not have made it fasting, but I determined to pray as if I had. The feelings of failing turned to joy and triumph as I spent time praying for those I had been fasting for.
  • Drink water. Lots of water! When the rumbling starts, pray and drink water. (Just realize this will make for more frequent restroom stops—yet another reason to plan well for the day you fast. ::wink::)
  • Have a response ready in case someone offers you something to eat. You want to be able to graciously decline without offending and without announcing that you’re fasting. Matthew 6:18 says “…so that it will not be obvious to others that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret will reward you.”
  • Have a plan in place for what you want to eat when you break your fast—otherwise you may overeat, or worse, go crazy with the first thing that your hand lands on, like the time I was unprepared and ate a candy bar, or three. Ouch! It not only upset my stomach horribly but made me aggravated with myself for doing something I normally wouldn’t dream of doing.

While you may see immediate answers to your prayers, don’t be discouraged. Keep at it and make fasting a part of your life. It's one of those investments that has a great return.

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