5 Quick Tips on Fasting for Beginners

Rachael Groll

Author and Podcaster
Published Feb 07, 2024
5 Quick Tips on Fasting for Beginners

Before attempting your first fast, there are a couple of things to consider as you prepare your heart, your mind, and your body.

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Fasting is a topic that many believers shy away from because giving something up can be so hard. In a culture where we are constantly bombarded with things that appeal to our every want and desire, denying our flesh can be a powerful way to re-center our lives in prayer. Fasting can not only help us hear God’s voice more clearly, but it can also help us develop a habit of prayer that can last long after the fast is over.

Before attempting your first fast, there are a couple of things to consider as you prepare your heart, your mind, and your body.

Consider why you want to fast.

There are various reasons to fast, and in different seasons of my life, I have fasted for different reasons. Sometimes, it’s because I desire to see an area of my life experience a breakthrough. In other seasons, it has been because I wanted to gain some direction or clarity from the Lord in a specific area of my life. Other times, it has been because I just wanted to hear God’s voice more clearly. It is helpful to determine ahead of time why you want to fast, and it may even be helpful to spend a couple of weeks journaling and praying about your “why.” Fasting can be mentally and physically difficult, so it’s important to have a goal in mind to help keep you from giving up.

Realize what fasting does and doesn’t do.

Let me be honest for a minute. Fasting is not a cure-all. Sometimes, even after a long fast, your situation does not change. The thing you were praying for is unresolved, or the direction you seek remains unclear. While your circumstances may not change, fasting does put us in a place where we can experience God. It helps posture our hearts in a place of seeking the Lord and being attentive to His voice. In that space of listening to the Lord, we can experience a kind of peace that spills over into our circumstances. It is during those moments of authentic interaction with the Lord that we grow spiritually.

Decide what and when to fast.

Some people resist a fast because they can’t give food up for medical reasons. However, a spiritual fast doesn’t always have to mean fasting from food. Spiritual fasting is, essentially, giving something up and using the vacuum left behind to focus on God. Food is the most common thing to fast, but other things can include TV, social media, or something as simple as candy. It should be something that has a regular place in your life that you will realize is gone.

It’s also helpful to have a plan for when you are going too fast. Will this be a one-week fast or a one-month fast? Are you going to fast one meal a day? Just during lunchtime? It’s better to plan ahead instead of relying on how you feel because you will feel like giving up. It also may be helpful to share with your close family members that you will be doing a fast to help set you up for success. If your spouse makes your favorite meal during a day you are fasting, you will be much more likely to break your fast prematurely. 

Pray when you are missing your “thing.”

Whether you choose to fast from food or something else, you will likely miss your “thing” throughout the day. The benefit of fasting from food is that your body naturally sends you hunger clues. Those hunger pangs can be reminders to pray. In addition to some intentional time set aside to worship or pray, those periods of time when you are feeling hungry or the urge to log onto social media, etc, can instead be reminders to go to the Lord in prayer. 

Write down what you are hearing or experiencing

During a fast, the Lord may start to reveal some things that previously were hidden. Perhaps He will bring to mind just how addicted to your phone you were. Or maybe He will reveal a new aspect of a situation that you hadn’t previously considered. Maybe you aren’t hearing God as much as feeling His presence during moments of worship. Write down what you are experiencing. Some of the most impactful seasons of our walk with the Lord can be launched from a fast, and it can be so encouraging to look back through the year to be reminded of what the Lord did or said during a fast.
Is the Lord calling you to fast? If He is, I pray that you will respond obediently as you lean into what He wants to do in your heart. For additional support and resources on fasting, check out the fasting series of the Hearing Jesus Podcast: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/how-does-fasting-help-us-hear-from-god-fasting-day-1/id1615623952?i=1000569515637

Photo Credit: GettyImages/Uladzimir Zuyeu

Rachael GrollRachael Groll is a missionary, podcaster, and the author of She Hears: Learning to Listen to Jesus. You can hear more from her on the daily Bible Study podcast, Hearing Jesus, and read her content at SHEHEARS.ORG

This article originally appeared on Christianity.com. For more faith-building resources, visit Christianity.com. Christianity.com