We are taking up the challenge as a church to explore fasting in order to enter into a deeper connection and relationship with God. The reason we call it a challenge is because the first step to filling ourselves with God is emptying ourselves of self, and that's not easy. Maybe you are an old pro at fasting, trying it for the first time, or you hate the idea of fasting. No matter where you are on your spiritual journey, our hope is that this page will help you step into the right mindset to begin fasting with simple steps to get started.

First, let's learn a little bit more about fasting.

Fasting is...

  • An opportunity to reduce activities or materials that distract you from God for a limited time
  • A way to connect to God's freedom, direction, commitment, strength, connection, and true life
  • A conscious decision to fill your time with prayer, Scripture, and meditation
  • A chance to focus on gratitude, positivity, and open our minds to God's will
  • How we make space for God by removing something taking up more space, attention, power, or influence than God

Fasting is not...

  • Punishment, deprivation, or sacrifice due to our sinful nature
  • A way to kickstart a diet or healthy habit
  • A mandatory practice during Lent or exclusively reserved for Lent
  • Limited to food or meal reduction
  • A set of rules you must follow

Why should I fast?

Fasting isn’t some magic ritual to try to get God to answer our prayer. It isn’t about harming our bodies or depriving ourselves. Fasting is about what we gain from the process: focus on God. Fasting is a discipline of abstaining from something good, like food, so we can concentrate on our spiritual lives and find satisfaction in God. 

Fasting is all about a desire for God. The decision to fast should not be motivated by arrogance or legalism. When teaching on this topic, Jesus said, “when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that it will not be obvious to others that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.”

The Bible has a lot to say about fasting and why fasting can help us grow in relationship with God. Click below to learn 40 reasons to fast!

Read More →

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Getting Started Fasting

Now that you've seen a very brief overview of what fasting is and is not, let's think through how we can get started with fasting in a positive way that will grow our relationship with God. As with most everything we do, we recommend starting with prayer.

Kids

Pray

Take some time before you begin fasting to set your intentions with God. How are you hoping to grow closer to God through this experience? Maybe you're looking for guidance, gratitude, or strength. Make your intentions known. This will focus your prayer time now and during Lent.

Learn Prayers →
Youth

Reflect

What distracts you from God? When you choose to fast, it's not simply about giving something up. Take some time to reflect on a daily experience that takes time away from God. Is it your phone, the news, driving through Starbucks in the morning? Try to choose something that you can replace with prayer, meditation, or Scripture reading.

Adults

Trust

Fasting is not about perfection. It's okay if you slip up from time to time. Trust that God is in this experience with you. What do you need to give up to God? Maybe it's pride, success, or perfection. If you're trying fasting for the first time, 40 days might feel daunting. Trust that God is with you. This isn't meant to be stressful, dejecting, or limiting - it's meant to rejuvenate your relationship with God.

Fasting Suggestions

To help you get started, we've mapped out some fasting possibilities for you to think about. This is by no means a comprehensive list. The way you choose to fast is between you and God, but these are some of the most common fasting choices that people have expressed to us.

In each fasting opportunity, we've listed three potential ways for you to engage with fasting: Open, Grow, and Thrive. If this is your first time fasting, Open is a great choice for you to dip your toe in the water this year. Grow is if you are familiar with fasting and would like to take a step into deeper waters, and Thrive is for those who are well-practiced in fasting.

We hope you find these suggestion helpful as you start your journey.

Do you find yourself mindlessly eating out of boredom? Maybe most of your time is spent thinking about preparing your next meal. If so, perhaps food has become a distraction from God. Below we have mapped out some simple recommendations to open up to fasting, grow, or thrive depending on where you are in your fasting journey. 

*Note: If you have ever struggled with dieting, eating disorders, or have health issues centered around food, we do not recommend you choose food as your fast.

Open

Empty yourself by fasting from a specific food item for 40 days (not including Sundays). This can be any food item of your choice that you feel has control over you in some way.

Fill yourself by reciting the Lord's Prayer any time you have a craving for this specific food item or feel tempted.

Helpful Hint: There are no fasting rules. If you're just getting started, try giving up this food item until noon each day or every other day. Pray for guidance to find your fast.   

Grow

Empty yourself by fasting from one meal each day. Try to make it the same meal at the same time each day for focus and consistency.

Fill yourself by using the 30 min to 1 hour that you would have been eating to read a different Parable of Jesus each day and pray about what God is teaching you.

Thrive

Empty yourself by fasting from all food until 4pm each day. Don't forget to drink lots of water.

Fill yourself by doing 20 minutes of prayer time in the morning during breakfast and 30 minutes of Scripture reading during lunch. Any time your stomach grumbles throughout the day, stop and thank God for all of the blessings in your life. 

Drinking for pleasure rather than sustenance can become a wedge between us and God. If you can't imagine going a day without your coffee, soda, beer, or any beverage, it might have too much power over you. Consider replacing this need with a need for God's presence.

Open

Empty yourself by replacing one beverage each day with water.

Fill yourself by being intentional with the time you are drinking water rather than consuming it absentmindedly. Thank God for the gift of life with every gulp you take.  

Grow

Empty yourself by fasting from a specific beverage for 40 days (not including Sundays). This can be any beverage of your choice that you feel has control over you in some way.

Fill yourself by reciting the Lord's Prayer any time you have a craving for this specific beverage or feel tempted.

Helpful Hint: There are no fasting rules. If you're just getting started, try giving up this food item until noon each day or every other day. Pray for guidance to find your fast. 

Thrive

Empty yourself by only drinking water for 40 days and removing all other beverages.

Fill yourself by stopping to say a prayer of gratitude and thanksgiving after every glass of water you drink.

Have you ever noticed your attitude shift after listening to talk radio, watching national news, or clicking on headlines through your favorite social network? Knowing what's going on in the world is helpful, but consuming too much news can distort our view of the world in negative ways. If you find yourself getting sucked into the latest news, it could be distracting you from a relationship with God. Consider fasting from news this Lent. 

Open

Empty yourself by giving up news for specific times each day. You can commit to a specific time (I won't check the news until 10 am) or simply try to make it through your first 15 minutes of being awake.

Fill yourself by starting each day with a prayer rather than turning on the news or checking headlines on your phone.  

Grow

Empty yourself by only watching the local news at one time each day. Remove national news, talk radio, news podcasts, etc. from your routine.

Fill yourself with the Good News for 30 minutes each day by reading through one of the Gospels during Lent (Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John).

Thrive

Empty yourself by completely giving up news programming of any kind on any platform.

Fill yourself with positivity by keeping a daily journal of ways God has blessed you each day of Lent.

In our culture it's easy to get caught up in the "more" mindset. Everything is on demand and available instantly. If I see shoes I like on Amazon, I buy them. I have the extra money, so why not spend it? If you find yourself clicking the "Buy Now" button without a second thought, it might be a good idea to fast from extra spending this Lent.  

Open

Empty yourself by only allowing one "non-essential" purchase each day. You might have to figure out what is non-essential. That Starbucks coffee might not make the list.

Fill yourself by writing down a prayer and putting it in the place of your credit card. When you are tempted to spend extra, repeat that prayer.   

Grow

Empty yourself by giving up Amazon or Walmart (or wherever is most convenient for extra spending) for 40 days.

Fill yourself by reading daily Scriptures about generosity at the beginning of each day.

Thrive

Empty yourself by suspending all non-essential spending for 40 days.

Fill yourself with generosity by reading daily Scriptures about generosity and donating the money you would have spent on extras to Mozambique Missions.

During shelter-in-place and quarantine times, it has become so easy to replace God with Netflix, Hulu, HBO, or whatever streaming service you prefer. We binge podcasts, tv shows, and have marathons of gaming just to fill our time. If this has become the norm for you, consider fasting from your favorite form of entertainment to make room for God.   

Open

Empty yourself by choosing not to engage with entertainment content from 8am to 8pm on weekdays. (Or whatever days/ times you choose)

Fill yourself by going on a walk, practicing yoga, or participating in a calming activity to clear your mind and talk to God instead of choosing entertainment.

Grow

Empty yourself by giving up entertainment for a 24 hour period each week or multiple days each week.

Fill yourself by using that time to read spiritual books, reconnect with friends or family, or spend time in prayer.

Thrive

Empty yourself by fasting from all entertainment-driven content for 40 days.

Fill yourself by creating a nightly schedule of spiritual practices that you can experience instead of watching tv, listening to podcasts, or playing video games.

Do you have a mini anxiety attack or stress spike if your phone or iPad isn't within arm's reach? We've all felt that emptiness when we realize we've accidentally left our phone at home. If you see your screen time creeping up week after week, you might be unintentionally shutting out space for God. Try fasting from technology for Lent. 

Open

Empty yourself switching to an old fashioned alarm clock to keep from looking at your phone first thing in the morning. Try to keep that going for 15 minutes each day or every other day.

Fill yourself by using the first 15 minutes of your day to read Scripture and pray that you will see what God is trying to show you this Lent.

Grow

Empty yourself by limiting your phone usage to connect with people rather than scrolling social networks, playing games, or reading articles. Basically, if you're not interacting with another human then don't do it.

Fill yourself by listening to our daily audio devotion when you start to feel the itch to tinker on your phone. 

Thrive

Empty yourself by only using your phone for phone calls for 40 days. You can check your email when you get to your computer, and why text when you can call?

Fill yourself with connection by choosing a new person every day to call and ask how they are doing. Pray before you make the phone call for God to be with you.

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