watching, reading, and writing stories

Why Fast?

on March 25, 2015

It’s been awhile since I’ve posted. I used my free time during Spring Break to catch up on some things and get some writing in, but it’s been hard for me to think of a good topic to blog about. But during Spring Break, my church decided to take a day to fast and pray for persecuted Christians around the world. Through the process, I’ve found that several people didn’t know what the point of fasting was, or had never done it before. So I thought I’d share my experience with fasting.

Bananas, Fruits, Food, Grocery Store, Supermarket

Image Source:

When I was younger, I didn’t really fast either. Sometimes my parents did, but I didn’t think it was necessary to being a Christian, and sometimes it even felt like only the ‘really good’ Christian’s fasted. It wasn’t for everyone. Anyway, this changed when I went to college. I attended a Lutheran University and fasting was more of a normal thing in that environment. They practiced Lent, the giving up of something specific for 40 days (From Ash Wednesday to Easter) and I decided to join in and give up something too. Once I think I gave up french fries, another time I gave up Hulu. Anyway I got more used to the idea and practice of fasting. We also had something called Thirty Hour Famine, where we would not eat food for about 30 hours. It was supposed to help us be aware of others around the world who were hungry.

So as I got out of the college life and moved on to young adulthood, I still would fast occasionally. Sometimes it was because I was trying to make a big decision and wanted to be focused on God as I made it. Other times it was because I really cared about someone who was struggling, so I would fast and pray for them. I also fasted several times in order to break a bad habit or cycle. I’d notice that some activity or thing (like dessert) I enjoyed was becoming an obsession, so I would fast from it for a day to break the craving.

Well when my church fasted this past week, they gave everyone a good description for why we should fast. “The primary purpose of fasting is to express a deep longing of our soul for the presence of Jesus in a particular aspect of life. Jesus taught this in Matthew 9:15 where he answered a question about why his disciples were not fasting in his presence. Jesus said ‘Can the wedding guests mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them? The days will come when the bridegroom is take away from them, and then they will fast.’ His point was that when he was with them they did not need to fast but when he was gone they would fast as an expression of their longing for his presence.”

I think it’s important to remember why we do something like fasting. It can be easy to do any of the Christian Disciplines with the wrong motive. Fasting is not about proving you’re a good Christian, or better than those who don’t fast. It’s not about giving up something, just for the sake of giving it up. It shouldn’t be done just because it’s a tradition, or because it’s what everyone else is doing. We should fast, because we long for Jesus’s presence. And as we fast, our hunger should point us back to Him.

I’ve found that when I fast, hunger pains can be a good reminder for me to pray. In addition, because I don’t have to cook, clean dishes, or spend time eating, I have a lot more time during the day to do things like pray or read the Bible. Fasting can be very beneficial to our walk with Jesus, and it’s helped me personally.

Even though fasting may seem hard to you, I’d like to encourage you to give it a try. It really isn’t that bad. True you’ll feel hungry, but that goes away eventually. And even if you can’t give up food for health reasons, you could try fasting from something else that takes up your time, like watching TV or playing video games.

But if you do fast from food, take it slow. Maybe try a 12 hour fast or 24 hour fast to start out with and drink plenty of water. But most of all, remember that why you fast is most important. Spend time with Jesus during your fast and let Him fill you up.


4 responses to “Why Fast?

  1. This is pretty cool! I try to do morning fasts. I can’t get much further than that! Thanks for stopping by my blog! Hope it is not too over the top for you. I just sent a link to our campus pastor. I may be excommunicated! 🙂

    • lydiamhill says:

      Yeah fasting gets harder the longer you go. I liked your blog, some of the comics I read were pretty funny. How long have you been making them? And thanks for sharing the post! 🙂

      • I have been goofing around with cartoons for about 3 years. My famous cartoonist friend told me I should do it 20 years ago, and it took me forever to get started! I need to try to get published at some point…

        I really am terrible at fasting! I might be able to do it if I didn’t have to work while doing it. I am addicted to coffee, And you can’t drink that on an empty stomach. What a spiritual giant I am! 🙂

      • lydiamhill says:

        Well I hope you get something published 🙂
        And yes working while fasting does make it more difficult, although sometimes if I’m working it helps me forget that I’m hungry.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: