The people of the Bible fasted at pivotal points. Fasting is a practice in Jewish tradition, and fasting was also often practiced in moments of desperation and crying out to God. In 2
Samuel, David repented of his sin and fasted in hopes that his child (conceived out of wedlock) might be healed and live. In the New Testament, Saul was bent on destroying those who preached Christ. After hearing Jesus on the road to Damascus, he fasted for 3 days (Acts 9). He is then healed of physical blindness (that occurred after hearing Christ–though it’s implied that he was also spiritually blind and gained spiritual sight). Saul goes on to become St. Paul–one of the most zealous people to ever live for Christ. And, of course, Jesus fasted. In Acts, the early Christians also fasted and prayed before praying over others and sending them out on mission. Now, Christians all over the world practice fasting.
In my own life, fasting seemed daunting. In the Catholic Church, there are two days that are prescribed for fasting. Even those two days of the year are very difficult for me physically. Recently, I read a book that helped me to see the history, benefits, hows, and whys of fasting. It gave stories of people’s positive and negative experiences with various types of fasting. The book was “Fasting: Spiritual Freedom Beyond Our Appetites” by Lynne Baab. My eyes were opened to the benefits of fasting and how it can bring one into greater intimacy with the Lord. Fasting leaves an open space for God. It disciplines our bodies and minds to grow in the Spirit. It detaches us from the things of the world in order to better be attuned to the Father. I was able to ponder other types of fasts: for example, fasting from social media, jewelry, or certain types of foods (instead of all food).
I am making an effort to fast from listening to music. Perhaps that seems a silly fast. For me, however, it is necessary. (And maybe you, too!) I really like listening to music, but it brings a lot of noise to my life. I want to hear the the still, small voice of God. I want to leave an opening for the Holy Spirit to speak to me. I don’t want to hear songs on repeat in my head. Of course, the Spirit can speak through music. I want to leave room to hear Him in the stillness, in sacred silence. I desire to receive His love. My commute is now a time for a conversation with my Heavenly Father. I feel that even this short time in the car is preparing me better for the challenges ahead in the day. I walk into work in a better state of mind and clothed in the armor of God (Eph. 6). When I blast music on the car ride, I don’t walk into work with the same peace. I am so thankful for this new knowledge of fasting, and the grace to implement it!
When are some times to fast?
- When you are struggling with decisions or confused, not at peace
- When you are struggling with habitual sins and habits you can’t seem to break
- When loved ones are in trouble
- When you are longing for intimacy with God
- When your country or another region of the world is in turmoil