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?