Thomas A Kempis in one of his works has explained how there are people who do love the comforts but refuse to bear the pains that come along. At times of rejoicing, people praise Jesus but deny to bear the responsibilities like Jesus did. However there are those who love God in all conditions and would not complain even if they suffer their whole life.
The power of prayers can't be neglected! But the reason behind praying and fasting is important. While there are many believers who pray but don't fast, there are some who fast in body but not in mind! When you decide to fast and pray, you need to prepare yourself physically and mentally. Here's a guide about the stages of the path of fasting, praying.
Christian Fasting and Prayer Guide
The process of getting spiritually close to Lord can be very challenging, especially for those who are fasting for the first time. There are various types of fasting believers follow. This includes fasting for a single meal, fasting for 24 hrs, and the 40 days fasting which is done by many Christians during the time of lent.
You need the inner strength, for which you should seek the help of the Holy Spirit. The journey of fasting is divided into 3 parts. First, preparing yourself to fast and pray; second, during your fasting and praying; and third, ending your fasting, but continuing your prayers.
Preparing Yourself to Fast and Pray
If you think you have a strong reason and a stronger will power to take your cross and walk the footsteps of Jesus in terms of fasting and praying; if you think that the almighty God has called you to follow his footsteps; and if you seek and believe that He will help you in the journey, it's time to prepare yourself! Have a look as to how you can do that.
Another important thing before you start walking the steps of the Lord, is to lay off your burden of sins and grudges that you hold within you. Fasting and praying is a medium of spiritual healing which is not possible without forgiving others and most importantly, forgiving yourself. So, confess your sins and make it a point that you forgive others also.
Commit to Lord of how you plan to fast. Whether you are to do it for a day, a meal, few days, several weeks or for the entire 40 days(during lent season). Will it be a water only fast or water with fruits, vegetable juices. How many hours will you pray in a day and what activities will you let go during the period.
Preparing yourself physically and spiritually is important! If you are new to fasting, don't jump into it suddenly. Start eating small portions of your meals and start eating raw fruits and vegetables at least 2-3 days before the actual fast. Start devoting more time in prayer, meditation. It gives you the inner strength to continue and complete the fast.
During Your Fasting and Praying
As per Matthew 6:16-18,you need to fast and pray with an enthusiasm which shows that you are enjoying the journey of being close to God in mind and spirit! Fasting and prayer gives you immense strength spiritually, and things start falling into place by the increased faith that you put in the lord God.
But beware of the Satan as he tries to tempt you by putting your bodily needs before your spiritual ones. Many a time, it so happens that you tend to fall ill during fasting which makes you stumble on the road to Christ. Be determined and focused in mind and ask the Holy Spirit to help you overcome temptation.
Avoid drugs and unnecessary medication. Limit your social and physical activities, this includes watching television, if that's possible for you. Try to spend as much time as you can in praying and meditating. Also exercise moderately as your excess activities might make you feel hungry and tired.
The first 3 days are the hardest in fast. This is the time when the devil tempts you the most to quit! So, prepare yourself for some mental and physical discomforts like hunger pains, dizziness, mental discomforts, crankiness, headaches, tiredness, etc. It is advised to increase liquid intake which helps get some relief.
Follow a set schedule of getting up, drinking juices and praying. Avoid consuming caffeine, chewing gum, or mints; as all these things stimulate the digestive action in your body. Stick to drinking natural juices as they will help you lift up the hunger and also give your body essential nutrients that are required.
Ending Your Fasting and Continuing Your Prayers
Fasting is occasional but praying is continuous. It is the only way to tell God what we seek. A mixture of fasting and praying makes us stronger in spirituality and faith enabling us to speak with God and praise His glory! Overcoming temptations and being steady in keeping your fast is an achievement. It is also important to properly end the fast.
Don't start proper meals and solid food just after your body is used to the liquid diet as it may be harmful to the body. Start with eating fruits, slowly adding raw fruit and vegetable salad to the diet on the first day. Start adding boiled potatoes and steamed vegetables from the days that follow and start eating solid meal from the fourth or fifth day!
These were the steps one needs to follow in fasting and praying. It empowers your spirit and belief in the powers of God. The process helps you understand God's plans for you and how your prayers and fasting can influence and inspire other believers who still need to strengthen their bond with Jesus.