Slowing Down to Practice Fasting

We were created to eat drink and be merry, the Bible says. Going without food or something else you enjoy for any period of time can be tough. Fasting from food when your belly is used to being full can cause a whole series of miserable events: headache, weakness, or just plain feeling ill, like you’re coming down with something.

So, why fast? Here are some of my reasons:

I recognize I have more than I ever dreamed of needing, and I can make a difference in the lives of those who don’t.

Opening our pantry or refrigerator, we have choices. What to eat or what to prepare for supper becomes the dilemma of the day. Most of us can relate to “plentiful” on a regular, daily basis. Maybe you want to make a difference in world hunger by sacrificing a meal, or that gourmet/boutique/designer cup of coffee, or tantalizing dessert, or all of the above. Putting those saved funds toward a charity, one you know helps those in need can bless others with intangible gifts, like hope and healing. Maybe you really need to lose weight (not a good reason to fast, but often, it is the #1 motivation for fasting, if we’re honest.) Maybe you’d like to simply not spend as much money at the grocer, save for something you’ve been planning for. Any or all of these situations may justify a fast.

I need a stronger walk with Jesus, and less preoccupation with social media, politics, people, places or things…

The crux of the matter is denying myself. When I’m all out of sorts, comparing myself to others, or when I’m unusually burdened (preoccupied) with anything, it’s my time to fast. And I’m wise to fill that time with spiritual focus: take a long walk or drive by myself, no radio, no noise, to simply spend time with God. I use the A.C.T.S. format for prayer time, which covers the gamut of how I want to communicate with God:

Adoration. “Be still and know that I am God.” Psalm 46:10

Confession. 1 John 1:9

Thanksgiving. Galations 5:1

And Supplication. “Lord, I pray for ______ that he/she may come to know You are already there waiting for him/her.” Psalm 139:7-18

When Jesus spoke about fasting, he linked it to our need for prayer. But He cautioned: “When you practice some appetite-denying discipline to better concentrate on God, don’t make a production out of it.” Matthew 6:16; The Message Bible. Our human nature so often seeks credit for the times we feel/express/exhibit spiritual strength. Hmmm. Not only is fasting a hard discipline, we’re not to broadcast it. Now we are on to something.

If you’ve ever had a wayward teenager, you know the pain and suffering involved in the wakingsleeping-worrying over them. This leads me to my third strategy, the one I’ve used most often:

I needed a change in how I approached God with intercessory prayer.

Back when we were raising a difficult daughter, though I was in a Moms in Prayer group that I attended every week, getting fervent prayer support for her, I would occasionally have fear- gripping moments. It occurred to me, I needed to couple my prayers with fasting. Instead of nagging the child to death.

About that time, I picked up a booklet on fasting by Henry Blackaby. Two main points have stayed with me.

Fasting doesn’t change God.

No matter how much suffering my teenager was causing us and ultimately herself, there was not a thing I could do to get God to hear my pleas any louder than He already did. Scripture says that before a word has even formed on our lips, He hears us. So, I didn’t need to get any louder or more convincing. I needed to fervently seek God’s guidance on how best to deal with her. And after a time, we were rewarded. We watched God come through for us on her behalf. Our daughter’s rebellion began to cease after she attended a youth retreat (the last of several over the years) and also, as the result of some losses and dramatic events that impacted her. As she began to take real stock of her behavior, I felt a miracle unfolding.

Fasting doesn’t necessarily equate to having hunger pains.

It can simply mean not finishing every morsel of food on your plate, especially when you’d like to go for seconds.

In conclusion, instead of being filled to the brim with cares, or fears, or food or other people’s opinions, fill up on God for a change. You’ll feel the difference He makes.


Grace & Such strives to advance Christian growth among women. While we believe the Bible is the inspired Word of God, we also recognize human interpretations are imperfect. Grace & Such encourages our readers to open their Bibles, pray for wisdom and study for themselves what the Word says. For more about who we are, please visit the About Us page.
Sarah Blizzard Robinson
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  1. Tammy R. on March 2, 2018 at 3:16 PM

    Your gift of expressing yourself through writing is such a blessing-something that I am unable to do. Wanna learn more about the ACTS -so greatfuI I opened my emails and saw this story!!

    • Sarah Robinson on March 2, 2018 at 4:32 PM

      Thank you for your kind words of encouragement.
      Let’s chat about ACTS when next I see you. I’ll bring you a Moms in Prayer guide.
      I’m so blessed we get to travel together!
      Thanks so much for posting.

  2. Jen on March 3, 2018 at 10:23 AM

    As someone who is pretty new to fasting, I really appreciate your clear reasons. Thanks, Sarah!

    • Sarah B. Robinson on March 4, 2018 at 9:41 AM

      You’re welcome. What a challenging topic, though. My fasts are few and far between, but we serve an amazing God who lovingly takes whatever it is we offer Him. My prayer is often, “Have Your way in me,” as I submit to His authority over everything that concerns me. What has meant so much to me over the years, like when I’ve been on retreat, is to receive a card from a brother or sister in the faith who says, “I’m fasting and praying for you.”

  3. Diane on March 5, 2018 at 10:59 AM

    ‘…fill up on God for a change.’ That surely wraps it up in just a few words! Thanks, Sarah! Good motivator for me!

    • Sarah Robinson on March 6, 2018 at 9:10 PM

      Thank you!

  4. Annette on March 5, 2018 at 3:49 PM

    Sarah, You have just opened my heart and mind to rethink my conventional thoughts on fasting. Just this weekend I was at a retreat and a couple of us were talking of fasting and praying for a friend whose husband was just diagnosed with cancer. And my thoughts are always about picking a day to fast. However, to change that up a bit, and take it longer and not get seconds, or that lovely cup of coffee or cut out snacking for a time….may serve better for some instances. It’s a constant daily reminder. I can relate all to well To those fear griping moments of panic in worrying. What better time than Lent to practice a new form of fasting, and draw closer to The Lord. I’m grateful you shared this. ?

    • Sarah Robinson on March 6, 2018 at 9:12 PM

      I’m glad these thoughts spoke to you. And no doubt, the good Lord will lead you to serve in ways only you can. Our prayers and fasts are powerful forms of love.

  5. Carol Ford on March 14, 2018 at 10:38 PM

    I’m so thankful for the Moms in Prayer group that we had back then. It’s exciting seeing the fruit from all those prayers.

    • Sarah Robinson on March 24, 2018 at 8:49 AM

      Amen, Carol!

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