How to fast
Most people can find a fast that works for them. But you do need to be careful. We do not suggest this for children and if you have health concerns, it is really important that you seek medical advice and agree your fast with your doctor.
We are inviting disciples throughout Liverpool to fast on Fridays (or an alternative day of the week) throughout Lent.
This is our Lenten discipline! You may exceed this if you so choose! As a matter of course, the pharisees fasted twice weekly, ‘I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’ (Lk 18.12). Jesus and Moses fasted for 40 days and nights. Daniel (10.3) ‘ate no choice food; no meat or wine’ and ‘used no lotions at all until the three weeks were over’.
There are many other types of fasts – in Liverpool, we are committing to just one day a week!
Preparing for the Fast
If we’re going to last the fast, we need to make ready for it. Follow these three steps.
(1) Prepare your Place: Remove from the home, car and workplace all treats (unless they’re not yours, of course!) that are going to distract and tempt you away from the fast. Replace them with things that are permissible.
You might want to rearrange your diary so you’re not dining out on fast days!
(2) Prepare your Mind: Think about how you are going to exercise your will and determination to keep the fast. There will be disapproving or discouraging voices – how will you respond to these?
(3) Prepare your Heart. Tell God you’re entering into the fast and why and ask for his companionship, the strength of commitment and a sharpening of the spiritual senses that you may draw even closer and hear and see even more keenly. Every time you feel the tummy grumble, offer your hunger to God and focus on the intentions of the fast.
Some Dos and Don'ts
1. Decide upon your fast. Will it be?
• Zero meals
• OMAD: One meal a day
• TMAD: Two meals a day
• Three meals and no snacking.
• Depending upon your option of meals, you may want to include fruit juice or thin soup in your fast.
2. Increase your intake of water (at least 2 litres a day).
3. You may want to restrict eating to within a 9-hour period and 3-hours before bed.
4. Decide for yourself what you are going to eat, but be smart! Beneficial meals rather than tasty junk food.
5. Don’t binge the next day! Your prize is your walk with God, not your next meal!
If you have any health issues, please agree your Holy Fast with your doctor.
“When you fast, do not look sombre as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show others they are fasting. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that it will not be obvious to others that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” Matthew 6:16-18