What’s the purpose of fasting? To me, there’s two components of a fast.
- Denying your physical needs/temptations so that you can . . .
- Be more intentional seeking God.
The problem I’ve experienced with myself over countless years of fasting is that I spend an overwhelming amount of time focused on #1.
What type of fast am I going to do? Daniel, liquids, water only? Full, partial? Am I going to incorporate a non-food fast like social media? And then 99% of my fast is focused on trying to find fast-approved recipes, avoiding social media, and honoring the fast I’ve chosen.
But what’s the missing piece?
There’s always lot of intentionality about what I’m fasting but little when it came to how I’d seek God more. How do I always lose sight of that? I have no idea, but it’s so easy to let what I’m fasting completely overshadow why I’m fasting.
The hope is that fasting provides an opportunity to seek and depend on God more. Whether that be an extra meal during the day or time saved not on social media or watching TV. But, more than I care to admit, God doesn’t generally get that extra time.
Which is why I now start any fast by reverse fasting.
What’s a reverse fast?
Instead of focusing on #1 first, I’m going to focus on #2. Reverse the priorities. Instead of spending so much time figuring out what I’m not going to eat, I’m going to first figure out how to seek God more.
It starts by doing an honest assessment of my day and identifying unproductive times. Once I’ve identified those, I can cut them out and get more time in my day. Then I intentionally plan how I’m going to use that extra time to connect with God.
That’s the key to a reverse fast.
For example, here are some unproductive times I’ve identified in the past:
- Hitting the snooze button. Seriously, I waste 30 minutes a morning.
- Always having a TV show I’m watching and watching it when I have idle time.
- Checking social media a gazillion times a day.
- Randomly browsing the internet for no productive reason.
Cutting out those things could easily free up one to two hours a day (if not more!). So with that extra time, my reverse fast has looked like this:
- Morning (15 minutes): Read from a devotional like My Utmost For His Highest. Marinate on it.
- Lunch (15 minutes): Eat lunch at home. Before eating, spend time praying for people in my life (intentionally collecting prayer requests beforehand).
- After Work (30 minutes): 15 minutes of personal prayer/worship. 15 minutes of listening for God’s voice.
- Before Bed (30 minutes): Read and marinate on a longer Bible reading plan.
So there you have it. My reverse fast. I feel this change puts the priority and focus back on the right thing (God). This coupled with a few other practical things I’ve discovered along the way will help you set the table for a spiritual significant fast!
How about you? What’s been your experience with fasting? How do you structure yours?
18 replies on “Why I Started Reverse Fasting to Grow Closer to God”
So happy to have come across this. I’m currently on a fast and I also found that my focus is on fasting from food and I keep looking at the clock to see when 6pm will hit so I can eat. During the day instead of reading the world, my mind is just focused on food. I a fasting from social media and oversleeping and yet I am not using that time to pray and ready the bible and connect with God because I am occupied by hunger and for me that defeats the purpose.
I absolutely love the idea of reverse fasting and to be honest the focus on hunger is really taking away from the many good things that could come out of a fast I’m going to maybe fast from treats but eat food and then continue to fast from oversleeping and social media and then spend way more time with the Lord.
I needed to see this today.
yay, glad you read this at the right time. i expanded on this in another post with some other helpful things i’ve found while mostly failing at fasting. perhaps you’ll find some of them useful as well. you can read it here:
Thanks Alex, I have been really confused lately about fasting as I haven’t fast for a long time. But ideas help me a lot
That’s terrific. Glad I was able to help spark some ideas for you. If you don’t mind me asking, what about fasting confused you?
Alex. . . This is Scott in J-ville. Definitely feel you on this one, and had to work out my own way to keep God first. The last couple of years I’ve Daniel fasted and ate the same thing for breakfast lunch and dinner. The schedule helps me to not focus on food. In fact, I’m not focused on food so much (bored), I tend to skip meals and just read my Bible. . . lol. Always, I feel very healthy at the end of my fast, so I’m definitely repeating this year!
The biggest thing I fast is, like you, T.V (Netflix) This always is life changing, and I always come out of it wondering why I don’t always fast TV. 3 months later I’m usually back to my hours of mindless drivel ;) Maybe I’ll last 6 months this year, but summer usually kills it. lol
I absolutely love and dread this time of year. God always teaches me something and stretches me, but it take work and dedication. I think it is a powerful spiritual discipline, especially when you keep God the primary focus.
You da man!
Oooh, I like that idea of eating the same thing everyday! Keeping things simple so you don’t get too caught up on the “food” portion of the fast.
Might have to try that next time.
And I also go in streaks with Netflix. Luckily right now all my TV shows are on break so I don’t have any distractions on that front. ;)
I really like your idea. I have never fasted before because of my health problems so I can not go without food. Deanna handed out the email pastor Craig gave y’all and read over it and was wanting to do domething so I can hear God more. I really like your idea and am going to try it. There is really no excuse for me since I am not working. I down loaded the reading the bible on U version today and started that, and I got a journal last week so I can use it for a prayer journal. Thank you again for sharing
Awesome! Sounds like you’re locked and loaded ready to hear God more! Praying that happens for you.
I love this!! Great article Alex! So helpful and keeping the main thing the main thing.
Funny how it’s so easy to lose sight of what’s important. Good thing we have these fasts every year to help remind us!
This was so awesome to receive because it’s exactly what I felt God leading me to do. Couldn’t have written it better myself. Thanks!!
Thankful to hear what God’s been stirring me is the same thing he’s stirring in you!
I pray your fast is incredibly rich and full of God!
This post was so helpful! I’ve focused way too much on the food for the past 2 fasts I’ve tried. I know I miss the point.
For Awakening this year, I plan to cut out sweets and eat more whole foods, but not obsess over it. I will also take Facebook off my phone. I don’t want to know how much time I waste browsing my news feed when I’m bored.
In the past, I have felt like if I don’t fast food, I’m not REALLY fasting. Your post helped put it in perspective … #2 REALLY is the goal!
Welcome to the “Focus on the Stupid Stuff” club. ;)
And I’ll be the first to admit what I’m fasting doesn’t align with the model the Bible lays out for us (i.e., fasting from food). Part of me also does feel bad I’m not fasting from food when everyone else around me is.
But I know the food fasts I’ve done the past few years have been sorely ineffective so I’m good with deviating from the norm in hopes of a better outcome.
I’m pretty confident God will be okay with that given my intention is to focus more on Him. ;)
Good to hear from you! Hope all is well in Florida.
Great post my man. I could not agree more! In many of my past fasts I have concentrated so hard on the food aspect, that I spent little if any time talking with and listening to my Father. I know that He would not be happy with the legalistic approach to fasting that I have had so many times in the past. I pray that we all focus much, much more on our prayer and study time than to whether or not the flatbread we are purchasing has yeast in it or not (and no I did not do that yesterday!) ;-)
Amen to that prayer!
I’ve never did a fast as a Christian. And its been years sense I’ve done a fast period. I know that God has been preparing me for this sense November. I’ve come in to scripture that have clearly said to do the Daniel fast. I also like what you’ve said about reverse fast. Makes complete sense to my life as well. I know I will be sitting down to right it out. And make my weekly schedule. I did not do that the whole month of Dec. And its really been chaotic. Righting out time really helps me to prioritize. So thank you for your wisdom. Really good stuff here I will ponder upon. And be praying for you.
In Christ Jessie
Heya Jessie! That’s awesome you feel God leading you to do a Daniel fast. In all honesty, I feel like that’s the best type of fast (one you feel led to).
I’ve added you to my prayer list. Praying God does some big things in your life during your fast!