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?