We eat to share a meal with others, to build or grow relationships (good reasons), or just as a distraction from responsibility.And of course, there are our own cravings and aches for comfort that keep us from the discomfort of fasting.
In view of helping you start down the slow path to good fasting, here are six simple pieces of advice.
These suggestions might seem pedantic, but the hope is that such basic counsel can serve those who are new at fasting or have never seriously tried it. Start with one meal; maybe fast one meal a week for several weeks.
Identify what that is and design a focus to replace the time you would have spent eating.
Without a purpose and plan, it’s not Christian fasting; it’s just going hungry. It would be sad to lack concern and care for others around us because of this expression of heightened focus on God. Good fasting mingles horizontal concern with the vertical.
Jesus assumes his followers will fast, and even promises it will happen.
He doesn’t say “if,” but “when you fast” (Matthew ).
We just never actually get around to putting down the fork.
Part of it may be that we live in a society in which food is so ubiquitous that we eat not only when we don’t need to, but sometimes even when we don’t want to.
If you have regular lunches with colleagues or dinners with family or roommates, assess how your abstaining will affect them, and let them know ahead of time, instead of just being a no-show, or springing it on them in the moment that you will not be eating.
Also, consider this backdoor inspiration for fasting: If you make a daily or weekly practice of eating with a particular group of friends or family, and those plans are interrupted by someone’s travel or vacation or atypical circumstances, consider that as an opportunity to fast, rather than eating alone.
It’s recommended that you abstain from water during a fast of any length.