The Place of Fasting in the Christian Life – page 8


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From the Summer 2018 issue of Knowing & Doing:

The Place of Fasting
in the Christian Life

by Thomas A. Tarrants, III, D.Min.
Vice President for Ministry & Director,
Washington Area Fellows Program,
C.S. Lewis Institute

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  A good way to ease into fasting is to do several one-day partial fasts. For example, you could limit your eating to one piece of toast for breakfast, lunch, and supper, or you might drink only a small glass of juice at mealtimes. Always drink plenty of water when fasting. If possible, use the time you save at mealtimes to seek God in prayer or to read or meditate on Scripture.
  When you are ready to move on to a one-day fast with no food but plenty of water, a good way to start is by skipping supper. If your last meal was lunch, you would wake up the next day with your body already well into your fast. That gives you all day to seek God in prayer and the word.
 Resume eating at suppertime. It will help your digestive system if you eat relatively smaller quantities of easily digested food for a couple of meals. It is important to exercise self-control and not gorge on food, which might be a temptation for some. Become comfortable with doing one-day fasts before attempting multiple-day fasts.
  For fasts longer than one day, you need to pay more attention to what you eat a couple of days before and for some days afterward (depending on how long you fast). This is particularly important when breaking the fast, because your digestive system has gone on “pause” and has reduced or stopped the production of various enzymes needed to process food. If you overeat or consume the wrong foods, you will pay the price.
  For a three-day fast in which you drink water but eat no food, a couple of days before you begin, eat a soft diet of fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts, and other nutrients that will not clog your digestive system and are easy to expel; avoid any significant amounts of meat and cheese. Drink plenty of water during the fast. Break the fast gradually, starting with fruit or vegetable juice, then small amounts of easily digested foods, such as raw fruit (not citrus), applesauce, or yogurt. Avoid meat, greasy foods, and other foods that are hard to digest. And don’t overeat; discipline yourself to gradually resume normal eating.


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