What Is A Spiritual Fast & How To Do One

Photo: malcolm garret via @pexels
What Is A Spiritual Fast & How To Do One
Self, Health And Wellness

If you grew up involved with a church, you're probably familiar with the term "spiritual fasting."

Some churches participate in an annual spiritual fast such as the Daniel Diet. Others give up something as a religious practice during the season of Lent.

What is a spiritual fast and why try one?

Spiritual fasting is when you voluntarily give up food, or something that brings you contentment, to focus on your thoughts and relationship with God.

RELATED: 30 Spiritual Quotes For People Who Love From The Deepest Parts Of Their Soul

Fasting isn't a foreign idea to spirituality. For example, Buddha fasted on the path to his enlightenment.

Some people fast for spiritual growth. Jesus fasted for 40 days and 40 nights while in the wilderness before going to the cross. Muslims fast for Eid and Ramadan. Christians fast for Lent.

Other religious people fast for various reasons. Gandhi fasted 17 times when he strived to liberate India.

Other leaders took this path to spirituality to petition for the resolution of problems.

Not only did Martin Luther King, Jr. fast, but he influenced others with his actions who followed his non-violent manner in changing culture prompting spiritual fasting as a tool for social change.

You might wonder how to participate in a fast or what the process is. There are several books on fasting for beginners.

There are not just food fasts, but social media fasts, fasts from playing video games, going to the movies or spending money on shopping.

Fasting takes various forms and it doesn't have to involve food at all

Currently, intermittent fasting, not meant to be a spiritual act, is also becoming part of a journey that people consider enlightening.

There's KetoFast, A Hunger For God, and books on eating one meal a day. Fasting is spiritual, but it's also mainstream.

How long does a fast last?

You can fast for a day, a week, even an hour! However long you decide to do this is completely up to you.

What do I do while you fast?

Many people worship, read the bible, and pray (a lot). You do not need to socially distance yourself from others during this time.

However, if you feel as though giving yourself some alone time during this special moment, do whatever it takes!

Do I need to tell anyone I'm fasting?

Absolutely not. This occasion is between you and God, and you don't owe anyone that explanation.

You can tell your family or friends, but do not feel like you're entitled to share this news.

If you are considering fasting, you may feel a bit overwhelmed with all of the information you can get by doing the research.

Let it be known that you are not doing this to become better than the next person. This is a time where you can restore, refresh, and revive your relationship with God.

Whether you choose to give up food, music, social media, etc., your decision is no greater than the next in God's eyes.

If you are a beginner of all of this religious stuff, it can get really hectic, really fast.

Here's what some people do when spiritual fasting and why they give something up to grow closer to God:

1. Small steps first.

When people decide to fast for the first time fasting, they should consult with their doctor. Most people may think they would like to go a full week without eating but that's for their doctor and the individual to decide.

The reason people start small is because each person's body is a machine that adjusts at their own pace.

Start by fasting one meal for a week or two, such as skipping a snack is a place some people decide to start.

RELATED: Is Intermittent Fasting Worth It? Know The Pros & Cons Of Intermittent Fasting - And Why It Doesn't Always Work As Well For Women

2. Create a play-by-play for each day.

During the beginning of your fast, you will find that each time you're not eating, or not going on social media, will seem grueling.

It's good to journal out a plan for what you will be doing during your fasting, and why.

For example, if you choose to fast from the internet, and not go on Instagram for an hour, then write down what you will be doing instead such as reading, going for a walk, etc.

3. Think of how fasting will affect your family/peers.

Although this time is to get in tune with yourself and God, do not abandon those around you.

If you are giving up food or something that you do, you may feel down and easily agitated at first.

You should not take this out on anyone around you.

At the end of the day, God would not want you snapping at anyone while sharing this intimate moment with Him.

4. You don't need to give up food.

If skipping meals from hours on end is not your preference, do not worry!

As mentioned above, you can give up social media, or even listen to secular music.

Anything you choose to give up will mean the world to God.

5. Do not lose sight of your end goal.

It may seem harder than it is to say "no" to your stomach once it starts to beg and plead for food.

Learning obedience during this time is essential, and it will strengthen all areas of your life whether you see it now or later.

This is your time to live and breathe prayer and resilience and to prove to not only God but yourself that you are capable of anything if you put your mind to the test.

RELATED: 10 Essentials Steps To Forming A Deep Spiritual Relationship

Sign Up for the YourTango Newsletter

Let's make this a regular thing!

Destiny Duprey is a writer who covers astrology, spirituality, love, and relationships.

Author
Editor