I was 21 years old, a new believer and college graduate when I heard a sermon from Pastor Alan Gorman about fasting. It is perhaps the single sermon I most took to heart in my life.
Since then, I have fasted once a month. From 1984 to 1991 I did a 24 hour fast. On a trip to Turkey in 1991 I was inspired by Doug Bradley to extend it to a 36+ hour fast. Since then I have been fasting from after Sunday dinner (8:00 p.m.) until Tuesday breakfast (10:30 am. since 2020). It is set in my calendar for the first Monday of each month. For a few years I would feel a sense of dread the day or two before the fast. For the last several decades it is something that I have looked forward to. Major props to my sister Elaine and her husband Tod who have been fasting weekly from noon Wednesday to noon Thursday for the last 30 years!
On Sunday I abstain from caffeine and wine so it’s easier when I fast on Monday. On Monday I drink only water. On Tuesday and Wednesday I eat fruit, greens and protein. I don’t re-introduce wine again until Thursday evening and coffee (since 2020, I drink half-caff as a rule of thumb) until Friday morning.
The 5 Benefits
This pattern has become a powerful monthly reset for me. Here are the benefits:
1. It brings my mind, body and spirit into a singular focus. It is as if I do a factory reset and everything gets recalibrated with the proper spiritual, physical and mental focus.
2. My body detoxes and body tells me I need healthy food after a fast. I maintain very healthy nutrition patterns for at least a week. Sometimes I will go the entire month with moderate carb and sugar intake. As much as anything else, the monthly fast has helped me stay slender.
3. It reinvigorates my sense of taste. Absence truly does heighten the sense of pleasure. When I introduce new flavors after a fast, each one is new all over.
4. I realize I’m not a citizen of this world. By not eating or eating differently I’m reminded we don’t live by bread alone and that this world is passing away. Most people eat without thinking or reflecting. During and after a fast, everything becomes heightened and times slows.
5. The Lord will often give me a unique spiritual insight or blessing within a day or two of my fast. It’s not a hard and fast rule, but it is a pattern I have observed over the decades.
I encourage you to begin some kind of consistent fasting pattern. I have chosen monthly because I have been able to sustain it over the course of decades. There are many great resources on fasting out there. Let me know if you decide to give this a try. Contact me after you’ve done it for at least three months.