Breaking the fast

I don’t talk about fasting on this blog very often. Which is strange in a way because I share so much with you guys about everything else. Fasting is such a personal thing for me, though. With each period of fasting, I am also praying very specifically for something. So it’s personal. And maybe a little weird to share. But I want to share what a day of rejoicing today has been.

Today, Easter Sunday, Christopher and I broke our most recent fast. And we celebrated. You guys, we really celebrated. Has what we were praying for happened? Nope. In fact, in the past year this is the third period of fasting we’ve gone through praying for the same thing.

So why keep praying? Because it’s not about getting what we want. It’s about crying out to God and telling Him the desires of our hearts. And more importantly, asking Him to teach us to make the desires of our hearts mirror His own heart. To teach us to love those around us. To care for the orphans and widows. To be fearless in speaking His truth and grace to the broken world around us.

So no, what we have prayed for hasn’t necessarily been fulfilled quite yet. But fasting together has been huge for us. Each period of fasting draws us just a little closer together and closer to God.

For those of you who haven’t fasted before and would like to begin, I’ll share what has worked for us:

–Most importantly whatever we are giving up needs to be something that we will desire multiple times a day. Often this means a favorite food item is given up because that’s something you know you’ll think about at least 3 times a day. But it can be anything from fasting from an entire meal every day or from your favorite food or from media or TV (we gave up TV / Netflix / Hulu / movies for Lent one year and it was pretty amazing).

–Usually we each pick an individual thing to give up and as well as something to give up as a couple (like when we gave up TV).

–We pick a very specific thing that we want to pray for during the time of fasting. And each time we desire whatever it was that we gave up, we take that moment to remember to pray.

–We try to always do a minimum of a month at a time (or 46 days in the case of Lent) just to really delve into the habit.

–Since we started dating we have always prayed together every night. We also pray together at meal times and occasionally throughout the day if something major comes up. And of course individually throughout the day as well. So us praying together and individually is a habit that comes easily to us now. But during times of fasting, in particular, we try to be better about spending some time really listening to God. To open scripture more often. To sit in silence more often. To bask in God’s presence more often.

We don’t tell people we’re fasting. Now obviously I’m breaking this one by blogging about it, but I’ve decided to make an exception today. Like I mentioned before, fasting is personal. Plus we don’t want to be those “holier than thou” types who just want to show off how “spiritual” we are. It’s not about that. Occasionally when someone asks directly why we’re not doing or eating something we will tell them that we’re fasting and then change the subject. But that’s about it. The only other exception to this was last fall when we had just begun a period of fasting (having not told anyone) and a dear friend told me that she wanted to let me know that she had decided to fast and pray for us during the very same month we were fasting. It overwhelmed and humbled me. So after she told me that, I decided to share with her the crazy timing of how we were actually fasting and praying together at the same time. It was such an incredible month to know that she was joining our fast and praying for us. 🙂

These are just some things that have helped us. Definitely not the definitive list of “how to fast” haha!

So today is Easter Sunday. And we celebrate our risen Savior. It feels like there couldn’t have been a more appropriate day for us to break our fast and to feast and rejoice. It has been a great day, my friends. I hope your Easter has been full of adorable bunnies and dyed eggs, but most important, I hope it has been filled with Jesus. 🙂

If you don’t mind sharing, have you fasted before? How is it similar/different than this?

Did you have a good Easter? 

Love Rach

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36 responses to “Breaking the fast

  1. thehipandthrifty

    Kudos–An honest, open, and inspiring post. Happy Easter! 🙂

  2. i have fasted occasionally, but it is not a regular thing. i usually participate in lent. with recent life events, i just didn’t feel like keeping up with it this year. that sounds awful to say, but just getting out of bed was hard. easter was very quiet but it was charlie’s birthday!

  3. I think it’s perfectly fine to not share something THIS personal on your blog if you don’t feel up to it. Obviously this time something was different, and made you want to share.

    • Yeah, I’m pretty good about sharing what I want and not feeling badly if I decide not to share something. Like you said, though, this was definitely a different situation. I’m so glad I wrote this post and took the time to process it all in writing. 🙂

  4. You and Christopher have such special traditions. Thanks for sharing and giving a glimpse into this one.

    I usually give something up for Lent, but that is the only experience I have with fasting.

  5. I agree with what you said about fasting. The Bible talks a lot about not saying much when we fast but actually to be more joyful when we do fast so people don’t know about it.

    I don’t understand all of fasting but I know it is a really special time. The only time I really fasted (get ready to laugh) was from coffee. I love coffee and drink it A LOT. So giving that up really helped me focus on The Lord and I really feel like God answered some prayers because of the extra time I spent praying. Not to say God has to answer every time we fast because that isn’t why we fast but I think you understand. =)

    • ​Oh girl, coffee is definitely difficult to give up! So not laughable. It really is such a great time to focus more on God and pray more. 🙂 And yes, I definitely understand exactly what you mean. I’m glad you shared! 🙂

  6. I do fast when God places someone on my heart, or when I really am crying out to Him for His guidance in a situation. But Nate and I have both been challenged lately to fast more often, not only for those reasons but because we just want to get closer to our God. It’s like you said, fasting really helps one to focus on God and to be more in tune with His desire for our lives. It’s personal, and it’s special!
    I really enjoyed this post! Thank you for sharing from the heart!!!

  7. Thanks for sharing about this. It was really interesting to read. I have fasted in the past, but honestly it’s been a while. I love the idea of it, though, and I do think it’s important to give up something and spend that time in prayer and time with God. Something our pastor talked about on Sunday was from Philippians, where Paul talks about waiting with eager expectancy for God to move. To be honest, a lot of times it’s easier for me to be pessimistic about things, because I don’t want to be disappointed if they don’t turn out how I would like. But I know that’s not a godly way to live. I am afraid to ask God for something and expect him to move, because what if he says no? It’s something I”ve been convicted about lately with the house and baby stuff, and it’s something I’m working on. I don’t think fasting from food would be wise for me right now, but perhaps I can fast from something else and really focus on learning how to trust in God to move in big ways in my life.

    • Yes! Most definitely! Waiting with great expectations… that’s so important. I’m so glad you shared that! I need to focus more on that for sure. Expecting God to move in a big way instead of guarding my heart from things that might not turn out how I want them to. Because even if things don’t happen the way I hope, God is still good and He is still faithful and He is still walking with us every day. 🙂

  8. There is such amazing power in prayer! I love that you mentioned that it draws you closer to God and closer to each other. I have always found that when my husband and I put focus into praying together about the same issue, it brings us so much closer together. I also love that you mentioned that it isn’t really about what “we” want or getting what we pray for, but about pouring our hearts out to God. I loved reading your thoughts on fasting.

  9. I am so glad you shared this! And I think it is totally ok to share after the fact. I have actually never fasted during Lent, but I think about it every year. I always come up with an excuse (crazy time in life, etc). I need to stop making excuses! I know it could be a great experience for me. So thanks for the encouragement 🙂

    • Lent can be kind of big to tackle for a first time. You could always start with a three day fast. Or a week long fast. Really just any period of time abstaining from something you love and reminding yourself to pray, is great. It really does help with drawing us closer to God. 🙂 I’d love to hear about your experience with it if you do try it. 🙂

  10. I loved reading this, mostly because in my 15 years as a Christian, I have never once fasted. And I KNOW fasting works.. if not to get an immediate answer to prayer (God isn’t a giant vending machine in the sky after all), but it works a change in the hearts of those fasting. I’ve been meaning to fast.. it’s actually been on my heart quite a bit recently. So your post has perfect timing and really hit home.. thanks for sharing! ❤ – http://www.domesticgeekgirl.com

  11. We have given up things for lent before, but I like the idea of fasting for a specific prayer each time. And doing it with your husband would be great too!

  12. Thank you so much for this post, Rach! I always wonder about fasting and how other people do it (like with skipping meals/certain foods, or giving up other things), so it was cool to read about how you and Christopher fast! I love that you have your heart in the right place when fasting too and how it’s about asking the desires of your heart to match God’s. It’s so tough, but I know fasting helps you keep that focus!

  13. Fasting is very personal! And it’s a great thing to do for Lent leading up to Easter, which I admittedly don’t participate in often. The only fasts that I’ve ever done have been church-wide initiatives, generally. There was one time when I decided to fast and pray on my own for just a couple of days (from food entirely) when I was really confused about whether or not I should start dating a certain boy when I was in college. God spoke to me really clearly during that time that I was NOT supposed to date that boy because I would, in fact, be marrying Justin! (Which was REALLY surprising since Justin and I were friends, but I didn’t really think about him in a romantic way at all). Several months later, Justin and I were dating…and the rest is history! I suppose it’s a good reminder that I should turn to fasting and praying when I’m facing a really difficult decision, because God answers (even if the answer isn’t what we expect!).

    On Sun, Apr 5, 2015 at 2:37 PM, WordPress.com wrote:

    > Rach @ This Italian Family posted: “I don’t talk about fasting on this > blog very often. Which is strange in a way because I share so much with you > guys about everything else. Fasting is such a personal thing for me, > though. With each period of fasting, I am also praying very specifically > fo”

  14. I’ve always been curious about fasting! It’s not something I’ve ever done, but I’d love for it to be part of my life. 🙂

    Thank you for sharing your journey of fasting and how you and Christopher use it together! I think it’s really great that you guys pray together so often. Your marriage is such an encouragement to me!!!

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  16. This is beautiful and so powerful to share with everyone. It’s no wonder that you two have such a strong relationship because it is rooted by love, devotion, faith, and prayer. Thank you for opening up about it, as I’m sure it has and will touch many!

  17. I just love this!! I read it when you first wrote it, and didn’t get a chance to comment until now 🙂 I’ve never specifically fasted per se…I’ve given things up for Lent, but I’ve never actually fasted to pray for one specific thing. There are times when God moves in my heart to let go of something so I can focus on him and really listen. I love the idea of doing it intentionally, too…I love the thought and purpose that you guys put into it!

    • I think being intentional in our faith is so important! I think it helps keep us from becoming complacent. For me it can be so easy to get in a groove and get busy with life and then one day realize that I have become stagnant.

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