When I was growing up, there were times my church leadership would encourage the church to fast for one reason or another. I didn't really understand the purpose of it all, and honestly, the few times I tried it, I failed miserably. No one told me that you can and should prepare for a fast. Preparing for this type of spiritual act will ensure a higher level of success and help you carry through what you feel called to do.
Here are things you can do to prepare for a fast in a spiritual and physical way.
Prepare Yourself Spiritually
Fasting is a time to draw near to God and pray to Him. In order to do that, you need to prepare your heart to receive His words and blessings.
Repent—Before you start your fast, take time to repent of any sins that have a hold on you. Have any conversations you need to have with God and your family/friends. Give yourself the opportunity to fast with a clean slate.
Lay Aside Worries—We all have problems that occupy our time and energies. You may have a loved one that is ill or in pain. You may have a life changing choice to make. You may be struggling financially. These are all important things, and God may speak to you about them during your fast, but make closeness with God your main goal. You cannot solve any of these problems. Only God can. We can give those worries to Him before we fast. Here is one way to do that: Quiet your heart, and close your eyes. Ask God to bring to your mind anything that is occupying your thoughts. As you think of each one, picture yourself taking that situation and handing it to God. We know the problem is still there, but we can entrust that situation to God. Resist the urge to take it back. Do this for each situation. When you are finished, you will have a clear head and be ready to receive what God has for you during the fast.
Take on the Full Armor—The Enemy will attack you during your fast. You are weak, and he will try to undermine you or make you think what you are doing doesn’t matter. Prepare yourself in advance by submitting yourself to God’s authority and protection. Rebuke Satan, and say out loud that you are protected by the blood of Christ.
Prepare Yourself Physically
Fasting will tax your body. We should not underestimate the impact fasting has on our physical selves. In essence your body will shut down as you fast. Just like a runner trains for a race, you should train your body for this fast.
Start Small—Fasting is a discipline. Do not set yourself up for failure by making your first fast a 40 day fast. Start with a one day and work up to a longer fast.
Begin Pulling Back from Food Before—Before you fast, begin cutting back on food quantities. Reduce caffeine and sugar; if possible, completely eliminate it. If you are fasting for 3 days, begin to do this 3 days before. If you are fasting one day, do it the day before.
Know Your Body—Decide what kind of fast you will do and know what the risk factors are. If you are younger than 18, older than 70, pregnant, nursing, or menstruating you should not fast. If your job requires heavy manual labor and you want to fast, consider taking off work. You do not want to tax your body. Your body will dehydrate during the fast, so make sure to drink lots of water. You may also decide to do a juice fast, and drink juices during your fast. If you do a liquid fast, you can drink decaf herbal tea, juices, and broth. The best juices are apple, grape, celery, cabbage, and beet juice.
Expect the Unexpected—You are going to feel weak and somewhat cranky. Little things may irritate you. This is an opening for the Enemy to make you feel frustrated. Be prepared. Keep your day simple and avoid stressful situations.
Have a Schedule—Plan what you will do during your fast. When will you drink your juices? Plan scheduled times of prayer and mediation for when you may feel weak.
Avoid Protein and Fat—If you decide to do a juice fast, check the ingredients list on back. Drink sugar free juice (or only juice that has natural fruit sugars in it), and make sure protein and fat are 0. If you drink juices with protein, sugar, or fat, your digestion system will begin to move and you will hunger pangs stronger than ever.
Breathe Deep—You oxygen level is impacted by the lack of food. Take the time to breathe before any activity, especially as the day goes on. Before you stand up, take a deep breath. This should reduce risk of blackouts or dizziness.
Plan Your Come Out Meal—When you break your fast, plan a meal that is light and packed with nutrition. Try to have components of all the food groups, especially protein and carbohydrates. Avoid saturated fats. Eating junk food after a fast will cause major havoc on your digestion system.
By following these tips, fasting will be more manageable.