May 2, 2014

Fasting: Why and how

Fasting is the act of temporarily giving up something from your normal routine, such as food, sleep, sex, or speaking and communicating, as an act of dedication and sacrifice to God.

There are a few reasons one might fast. Some religious groups encourage a regular fast, monthly or annually, to help one renew one's dedication to God and keep one focused on one's path. Some people fast to show their dedication when making a deep heartfelt request of God in prayer. It is not magic to guarantee an affirmative answer, rather it is a pure act of heart and spirit.

Sometimes one feels cut off from God, or finds oneself wandering from one's path. Sometimes one has trouble finding one's path. These situations can often be helped with a fast.

Guidelines for fasting

1. Fasts are private. Other than discussing it with a physician before a long fast, and discussing it with others who are joining you in your fast, you should not discuss it. It is not to be a point of bragging. Of course, you may discuss things you learn during your fast.

2. Pray first! Before you begin your fast,and during difficult times in your fast. Ask for strength to fast and that your fast be worthy, worthwhile and accepted.

 3. Fast only as long as you need to, and don't over stress your body. You may wish to consult with a physician before beginning an extended fast from necessities such as food and sleep. Monitor your health carefully.

4. Pray, study, meditate and pray some more. Every waking moment during your fast should be dedicated to God. You should be praying, studying holy books and respected religious leaders and teachers, meditating and reflecting on God and the reason for your fast,singing hymns, praising God, and otherwise dedicating every moment to God.

5. Break your fast gently. Don't feast after a food fast, have a sensible healthy meal. Don't oversleep after a sleep fast, maybe add an hour or two to your normal sleep schedule for a couple days, or take a short nap to supplement your sleep.

Please use caution with extended fasts from food and/or sleep. Fasting from water is not recommended, as it can be extremely dangerous. Fasting is about showing dedication and growing in spirit with a loving God, and it is not intended to be harmful to your body. It should not be an extreme sport. It is also an act of humility, and one should remain always humble.

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