My 21 Day Fast - What Happened Before, During and After (Repost)
Updated: Oct 5, 2019
Many people fast for many different reasons. Not all fasts are for spiritual reasons. There are medical fasts, diet fasts, hunger strike fasts, and other types of fasts. Every time I fast, it’s for spiritual reasons. I always separate my reasons and intentions in denying myself food. If I’m going to diet, then it’s only a diet, and not a fasting diet. Unless I’m instructed to fast (go without food) for medical reasons, for me, fasting is something sacred, and I treat it as such.
In the Bible, there are 3 different types of fasting:
Regular or Full Fast – Abstaining from all types of food; both solid and liquid, except for water, herbal tea, and cleansing juices (no sugar or sweeteners). These juices can be cranberry or apple juice. You do not want to drink anything acidic. With that said, during the duration of your fast, I would stick to 80% water and 20% cleansing juices. I occasionally drank hot herbal and green tea. Some people frown on drinking cleansing juices as part of a fast. However, our diets are quite different from the human diets a few millennia ago. With all the preservative and additives put into our food, you may need a little help cleaning out your body. If you want to stick to just water, please do. Check out the following scriptures on Full Fasts.
“Jehoshaphat was terrified by this news and begged the LORD for guidance. He also ordered everyone in Judah to begin fasting.” – 2 Chronicles 20:3 (NLT) “And there by the Ahava Canal, I gave orders for all of us to fast and humble ourselves before our God. We prayed that he would give us a safe journey and protect us, our children, and our goods as we traveled.” – Ezra 8:21 (NLT)
Partial Fast – Abstaining from all bread, sugar, meat, and other delicacies. This fast is a fruits, vegetables, water, herbal tea and cleansing juice diet. This can also be called the Daniel Fast. I recommend reading the 10th chapter of Daniel; specifically, Daniel 10:2-3:
“In those days I, Daniel, was mourning three full weeks. I ate no pleasant food, no meat or wine came into my mouth, nor did I anoint myself at all, till three whole weeks were fulfilled.” – (NKJV)
Absolute Fast – This is when you go without food or water. This fast is typically for 3 days. Although there have been people who fasted for about one week or more without food or water. The average human body can last for about 3 days without water before the body is adversely affected. Our bodies are made up of mostly water, so we need more water than food. The average human body can last about 21 days without food (some say 40) before the body is adversely affected. Read Esther 4:15-16 and Acts 9:9. With that said, Moses and Elijah fasted 40 days without food or water (Deuteronomy 9:9 and 1 Kings 19:7-8). This had to be a God-led endeavor. Jesus himself fasted for 40 days. Any average person attempting this supernatural fast would not and will not survive this long without food or water.
“Then Esther told them to reply to Mordecai: “Go, gather all the Jews who are present in Shushan, and fast for me; neither eat nor drink for three days, night or day. My maids and I will fast likewise. And so I will go to the king, which is against the law; and if I perish, I perish!” – Esther 4:15-16 (NLT) “He remained there blind for three days and did not eat or drink.” – Acts 9:9 (NLT) “This happened when I was on the mountain receiving the tablets of stone inscribed with the words of the covenant that the Lord had made with you. I was there for forty days and forty nights, and all that time I ate no food and drank no water.” – Deuteronomy 9:9 (NLT) “And the angel of the Lord came back the second time, and touched him, and said, “Arise and eat, because the journey is too great for you.” So he arose, and ate and drank; and he went in the strength of that food forty days and forty nights as far as Horeb, the mountain of God.” – 1 Kings 19:7-8 (NKJV)
"where he was tempted by the devil for forty days. Jesus ate nothing all that time and became very hungry.” – Luke 4:2 (NLT)
I’ve recently fasted for 21 days (7 days with one meal and 14 days without any food; just water and cleansing juices). Now, I’ve fasted many times before, but never 2 weeks without food. One day I was listening to a sermon about the power of fasting. After I finished the sermon, I prayed and petitioned God for some things only He can manifest and bring to fruition. Then in my time of devotion, I came across a scripture I read many times before, but this particular time, it was speaking directly to me.
“So Jesus said to them, “Because of your unbelief; for assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you. However, this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting.” - Matthew 17:20-21 (NKJV) emphasis
Biblical (faith) fasting is very much a spiritual endeavor. Because of my petition for God to intervene in certain areas of my life, I knew the Lord was speaking to me to go on a fast. I needed real results and a real breakthrough. In the above quoted scripture, Jesus is saying, there are certain things you desire that comes only by going above and beyond the ordinary you’ve become accustomed to. Fasting is the mechanism by which the impossible and unobtainable becomes possible and obtainable. Fasting gives you power over certain types of strongholds that can only be broken by the power that it (the sacrifice of fasting) will give you through will of God. In addition to that, Jesus is saying, it’s not the fasting alone that does it, but it’s the combination of praying and fasting that moves God to operate on a level that common faith cannot reach. Every believer has common faith, but not all believers can discipline themselves in a lifestyle of praying and fasting to move beyond the common to experience the supernatural.
WHAT IS FASTING?
First of all, spiritual fasting is not dieting. Spiritual fasting is denying yourself the pleasures of the body; not focusing on the activity of filling the body with natural substance, but filling the mind and soul with spiritual substance. Fasting is the spiritual “tool” and “weapon” by which spiritual strongholds and yokes are destroyed. Fasting strengthens our relationship with God, our Father. Fasting helps to discipline the Christian to live a life that pleases God. Fasting allows you to become use to denying yourself certain pleasures that can interfere with your spiritual growth. Through fasting, you can defeat the “flesh.” Fasting increases your spiritual capacity to operate the gifts of God - under and through the anointing of God. Fasting increases your desire for God. Fasting sharpens your spiritual discernment.
While you are fasting, you want to create an atmosphere of spiritual expectations. You have to be mindful and deliberate about the type of music and day-to-day conversation you allow yourself to listen to. You must be careful who you allow to speak into your life. Fasting is very much about filling your time with studying God’s Word, prayer, meditation, and devotion. To achieve the spiritual result(s) you desire, and a higher spiritual level, you must abstain from, television, social media and other attention grabbers, and give God your attention for a planned, specific, and dedicated period of time. Your motives must be pure and must align with the will of God and His purpose for your life. The scriptures I recommend on how and why you should fast are Isaiah the 58th chapter and Matthew 6:16-18 (the words of Jesus himself).
Fasting is not just a Christian “duty,” it’s a scriptural mandate and something expected for Christians to do, especially for spiritual growth:
“Yet even now.” Declares the Lord, “return to me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning;” – Joel 2:12 (ESV) While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” – Acts 13:2 (ESV)
WHAT HAPPENED BEFORE MY FAST
You have to prepare your mind, body and spirit for fasting. When I decided to give my appetite (flesh) over to the will of God through fasting, I began to study and revisit everything about the necessary sacrifices for a successful outcome. There is so much false information disseminated about fasting. The best source and authority on fasting is the Bible. People have made up some real interesting and unbiblical types of fast. I call the fad fasting. Nevertheless, if you follow the types of fasts I have laid out above, you cannot go wrong.
Some people eat to live. Others live to eat. I have to admit, I’m somewhere in between. I’m a true foodie, but I do understand the necessity of maintaining a balanced diet. I understand that to stay healthy, I must eat healthy…and eat I must. The irony is that if I want to develop my spirit, and keep my spirit healthy and strong, I must occasionally deny my flesh through fasting, to bond with God.
Food can be a real addiction for some people, and they must seek deliverance in that area of their life. For real spiritual power to overcome strongholds, fasting is not an option; it’s a necessity.
“For many, of whom I have often told you and now tell you even with tears, walk as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and the glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things. But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ." –Philippians 3:18-20 (ESV) “Jesus said to them, ‘I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.’ “– John 6:35 (ESV)
When I decided to go on a 21 day fast, I knew it required some real planning and real focus. I filled my mind with all the Biblical knowledge available to me, and knowledge from those who’ve had success and experience with long fasts. As mentioned, for the first seven days of my fast, I cut my meals down to one per day to prepare my body for the 14 day Full Fast. Preparing your mind is not just about preparing to go without food. It’s also about changing your day-to-day routine(s) to create an environment and establish behaviors conducive to a successful fast.
Fasting is about submission, commitment and discipline. During the “planning” stage of your fast, you should be planning to make some permanent changes, and to discipline yourself to establish new behaviors to coincide with the spiritual results you expect from your fast. This is called Faith.
“Faith shows the reality of what we hope for; it is the evidence of things we cannot see.” – Hebrews 11:1 (NLT)
Preparing your mind, is also about developing a strong will. You have to develop mental toughness to start and complete an extended fast. Your mind must be guarded.
“More than anything you guard, protect your mind, for life flows from it.” – Proverbs 4:23 (CEB) “For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ, being ready to punish every disobedience is complete.” – 2 Corinthians 10:4-6 (ESV)
Temptation is not only pressing and prevalent during your fast, but spiritual opposition will come when you make up your mind to begin your fast. So, you must be prayerful before you even start. Ask God for spiritual, natural and mental strength.
“Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am tempted by God;” for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death.” – James 1:13-15 (NKJV)
Faith is a necessary in the life of the Believer, and you cannot please God without faith. With that said, you cannot survive on faith alone. You must add to your faith…
“Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For he who lacks these things is shortsighted, even to blindness, and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins. Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble; for so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” – 2 Peter 1:2-11 (NKJV) “But someone will say, “You have faith, and I have works.” Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe—and tremble! But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead? – James 20:18-20 (NKJV) “So, then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” - Romans 10:17 (NKJV)
Be smart about your fast. If you are taking medications that requires you to eat when taking them, then you should eat. Block off other times to fast. It is not wise to take certain medications on a completely empty stomach, especially for an extended period of time. If you have certain types of ailments or diseases (like Diabetes) which require you to regulate your blood sugar through dieting, then you have to take that into consideration when planning your fast. You have to know your body and what you can tolerate without jeopardizing your health. I’m a firm believer in divine healing. Maybe healing is on your prayer list as you plan to fast. Sickness may very well be a stronghold in your life that needs to be broken through prayer and fasting.
Do what you have to do to keep yourself functioning and healthy as you develop a routine of fasting. You may not be able to undergo a full fast, or an extended fast right now. Ease into fasting, and continue to ask God for direction in your sacrifice. God will lead you as you seek His guidance in fasting; for it honors Him. With that said, I’ve known some exceptional people who are more mature and experience in their Christian faith than most. They’ve gone through their fasts trusting God, even with medical needs and concerns. Over time, I’ve watched as the favor of God sustained them in their bodies, and for some, complete healing. With that said, if you are under medical care, I do recommend having a conversation with your health care professional as you plan your fast. God gave you common sense for a reason. You can’t be too spiritual and neglect your natural body; That’s not God’s plan.
“Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers.” – 3 John 2 (NKJV) “What comes first is the natural body, then the spiritual body comes later.” – 1 Corinthians 15:46 (NLT) “The Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you. And just as God raised Christ Jesus from the dead, he will give life to your mortal bodies by this same Spirit living within you.” – Romans 8:11 (NLT)
Preparing your body is more than conditioning yourself to go without food. You must prepare yourself to (temporarily) refrain from the pleasures you’ve become accustomed to. For example, married couples (assuming you are married if engaging in sexual activity) must come to an agreement to refrain from sex while fasting. If you work-out regularly, you will want to plan to pause your routine while fasting. Fasting is about humbling yourself before God while endeavoring to connect with Him on a deeper level. Refrain from any extra-curricular activity that will distract you from your time with God.
“Be still, and know that I am God…”- Psalm 46:10 (KJV) “Do not deprive one another except with consent for a time, that you may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again so that Satan does not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.” - 1 Corinthians 7:5 (NKJV) “Physical training is good, but training for godliness is much better, promising benefits in this life and in the life to come.” – 1 Timothy 4:8 (NLT)
Spiritual preparation for your fast is vitally important for the success of your fast; even more than the natural or physical preparation. Throughout the years, in all my fasting, I’ve found that your spirit can carry you through physical weakness and physical challenges.
“Maybe my mind and body will become weak, but God is my source of strength. He is mine forever!” – Psalm 73:26 (ERV) “The human spirit can endure a sick body, but who can bear a crushed spirit?” – Proverbs 18-14 (NLT) “Have you not known? Have you not heard? The everlasting God, the Lord, The Creator of the ends of the earth, Neither faints nor is weary. His understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the weak, And to those who have no might, He increases strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary, And the young men shall utterly fall, But those who wait on the Lord Shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint.” - Isaiah 40:28-31 (NKJV)
Right before I began my fast, I created a prayer list. My list ended up being six pages long (front and back). You might initially think that six pages is a long list, but I guarantee you, when you get started on it, your list might even be longer. I put the names of everyone I wanted to fast and pray for. I put every situation on my list in which I needed God to intervene. I put every spiritual request on my list I needed God to fulfill. I wrote down every spiritual stronghold, yoke, and opposition in my life I needed God to destroy. I wrote down everyone (including myself) who needed healing – mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually. My list included what I wanted from the Lord – favor, wisdom, power, anointing in certain areas, understanding, etc. Fasting moves you closer to God by amplifying the spirit and quieting the flesh. I prayed and asked God to strengthen my will and my resolve; “prepare me and keep me during the time of my vulnerability.” I made a reading schedule for both the bible and other materials to keep me occupied during my fast.
“Don’t worry about anything, instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.” – Philippians 4:6 (NLT) “Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!” – Psalm 139:23-24 (ESV) “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.” – Matthew 7:7 (ESV)
WHAT HAPPENED DURING MY FAST
Because I conditioned my mind to go without food, other sustenance and stimulants; both internal and external, I found that I was more focused, sharp, and had increased mental clarity. I wouldn’t call any lengthy fast easy, but it is “easier” when you are intentional, purposeful and deliberate about what you are fasting for. During your fast, be patient and allow God to work in His perfect timing.
“And there by the Ahava Canal, I gave orders for all us to fast and humble ourselves before God. We prayed that he would give us a safe journey and protect us, our children, and our goods as we traveled.” – Ezra 8:21 (NLT)
The research is out. The food we eat not only affects our bodies, but it directly affects our cognitive function and abilities; how we process information, how we develop ideas, the way we reason, the speed at which we react to stimuli, how we respond to stress, and the clarity to make sound decisions. Yes, what we put into our bodies affects us from top to bottom.
During my fast, the moments of mental clutter, and the difficulty of memory recall cleared right up after just a few days into the fast. I was able to analyze my need for change and make the critical day-to-day decisions necessary to quickly foster growth and development. Fasting is just as much a mental cleanse as a physical one. It allows your mind to reset and reboot after years of being poisoned by your body (internally) and environment (externally).
I “fed” my mind with the information of everything I wanted to accomplish. This of course, was with the understanding that I am engaging in a spiritual endeavor. I satisfied my spiritual hunger and took care of my spiritual needs first, then I fed my intellect with other reading material at appropriate times throughout my fast. I was also thoughtful and deliberate about keeping my mental space a “negative-free zone.” My goal was to develop more positive thoughts, conversations and energy. The longer my fast, the more mental clarity I experienced. Also, my moods became much better and stable. It felt like I was receiving more oxygen to my brain.
Remember that fasting time is also quiet time. As much as possible, try to get in a quiet place. I know some of us have families, jobs and other things that require our attention. With that said, once you commit to your fast, it should be a priority. No usual conversations. No usual outings or activities until you’ve completed your fast. Try to spend as much time as you can with just you and God…in prayer and His Word. During your fast, yes, live in the moment, but also think and pray about life after your fast; a refreshed mind, body and soul.
I am convinced, without a shadow of a doubt, that the food we eat is killing us. It’s amazing what becomes normal to us. We consume things that we know are not good for us, but we do it anyway because it tastes and feels good to us. When I was doing my research, I was shocked by all the serious and life-threatening, food-related ailments we suffer from.
Before my fast, I thought the physical concerns I had were because I was just getting older. Until I went on my lengthy fast, I thought I would need medical attention for some of my physical problems. For example, I was developing serious pain in my hips and inner thigh joints. My knees would ache if I sat too long. My sinus problem seemed like they would never go away, and it would sometimes intensify to the point of needing medication to treat my flare-ups. Because I wake early and work late, I was constantly battling fatigue. A new recent concern of mine was heart flutters, and what seemed to be an irregular heartbeat. Every once in a while, I questioned why a man (me) in his 40’s would still get the occasional acne. I also noticed that I pick up some extra unwanted pounds. (Lord, I wish the ladies in church would stop making all those pies and cakes. They know I’m going to eat them…I’m just saying).
MY 21 Day Fast Breakdown (Days 1 thru 7 were a partial fast with one light meal per day).
Here’s what happened on the last 14 (Full Fast) days of the 21 day fast:
Because I was already fasting with one meal per day prior to my full fast, I really didn’t feel hungry until about dinner time (around 5pm/6pm). However, I did drink plenty of water. I also immediately noticed that fasting freed up some time for me to get more things done. I had more time for praying and reading. I had more time to get some needed work done in my business affairs. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in a 2015 study, we spend about 2 hours per day indulging in food (that’s meal prep, eating and clean-up). We spend about 2 hours and 36 minutes watching T.V. on weekdays, and about 3 hours and 21 minutes watching T.V. on weekend days and holidays. With that said, we really do have more time than we think. It’s all about priorities.
I woke up early around 5am feeling really hungry. I drank a full glass of water and started my day off with prayer and devotions. I drank plenty of water throughout the day. I took several trips to the bathroom to empty my bladder. I felt hunger discomfort throughout the day, especially in the evening.
As my body began to consume its reserves, I did feel hunger discomfort, but not quite as hungry as the previous days. I did however, feel lethargic and somewhat week in my body. I continued drinking plenty of water throughout the day. When I went to bed, I did not feel as hungry as I did the night before. I did go to bed with a slight headache.
I woke up early as normal, but this time something strange happened. I had no headache pain and very little hunger discomfort or pain. After drinking a glass of water, I actually felt more energetic, stronger and positive. This is when I introduced cleansing juices into my fast. I alternated between apple juice and cranberry juice. No sugars, preservatives or additives. Note: You will notice that adding cleaning juices will indeed clean you out. Your urine may still be colored, but will become clearer over time. Because you have not been eating solid food, you may not have frequent bowel movements. When you drink the cleansing juices, your bowel movements may be loose until your body is done cleansing. Remember to drink more water than juices. Because your body is detoxing, you will want to carry some mints or gum with you. During this process, your breath may become unpleasant.
I noticed that over the next several days, my body went through a complete change. My hip and joint pains literally went away. Even though my sinus problems have always been (and continue to be) a problem, the intensity of my sinus issues subsided and my head and chest congestion were no longer a big issue. I also noticed that my heart flutters were gone and my heart was beating normal again. I lost about 15 pounds and my acne cleared right up. I noticed that my energy level increased and I was thinking more clearly. Around the seventh day, I had virtually no hunger discomfort or pain, and my occasional heartburn episodes stopped. (With that said, I have heard some people tell me that heartburn was an issue in the first couple of days into their fast). Nevertheless, my overall health improved. Now, of course, I was deliberate about my movements and how much energy I spent during the course of the day(s).
Only a handful of people knew I was fasting. I dressed normal and tried to look as normal as possible. I tried not to put myself in a position where I was tempted to compromise my fast, or have to explain myself to others. It is not necessary, helpful, or acceptable to God to boast about your fast to others. Unless you are under the care of a health care professional, or doing a group fast, it serves no spiritual purpose to make it known you are fasting. With that said, if you are new to fasting, I do recommend fasting with someone who has experience; a prayer partner who could double as a spiritual accountability partner.
“And when you fast, don’t make it obvious, as the hypocrites do, for they try to look miserable and disheveled so people will admire them for their fasting. I tell you the truth, that is the only reward they will ever get. But when you fast, comb your hair and wash your face. Then no one will know that you are fasting except your Father, who knows what you do in private. And your Father who sees everything, will reward you.” – Matthew 6:16-18 (NLT)
I did not engage in any physical exercise or exert too much energy. I stayed away from restaurants and food. I did not linger around my kitchen or engage in discussions about food. When I decided to go on a fast through the leading of the Holy Spirit, I made sure not to engage in any normal, physically pleasurable activities. I made sure my wife and I were in agreement so that my endeavor would be effective. As mentioned above, this is found in 1 Corinthians 7:5. One overlooked necessity is sleep. I live a very busy life. For me, good sleep is hard to come by. With that said, during my fast, I had to make it a priority. Sleep helps the body rest, heal, reboot and recover. As mentioned above, I did drink plenty of water and cleansing juices (nothing acidic).
In order to understand what the human body goes through on longer fasts, I talked to people I know who have gone the full 21 days without food; just water, juices and herbal tea. I do plan to go on a 21 day Full Fast myself. Within two weeks of fasting, your body has consumed and eliminated all the waste and toxins you have stored. With that said, my friends who have gone 21 days without food, tell me, going into the third week, you will start to feel less energetic and a little weaker. With that said, your body is now clean…at least on the inside.
This is where fasting has the greatest impact. Every time I fast, I feel closer to God. I notice that my focus is greater when I pray. During my time of fasting, my worship becomes more intimate. My discernment becomes keener. Fasting allows me to focus more on my spiritual well-being, thereby re-energizing my “spirit man.” Because my relationship with God is strengthened during my time of fasting, my confidence in God increases, and I have more “holy boldness.” During your time of fasting and praying, the more you are communicating with God, the more you put yourself in a position to receive revelation from God. With that said, I know some people who go on a fast expecting to hear from God in their own preconceived way. Know this, God has a way of revealing Himself to each of us in His own way; not how we imagine it should be. When you are fasting, you may find that you are intolerant, or not so willing to entertain the “foolishness,” simple banter, or things you would otherwise find common on a da-to-day social level. Some may say you are acting different and may even be turned off by your demeanor/disposition. Just be aware of how you interact with people, and be a little more patient. This is just your spirit man trying to stay connected and focused. Because you’re fasting and abstaining from things that please and nourish the “flesh,” it’s your spirit that is dominating your nature.
During my fast, I took advantage of my time with God to work on breaking old habits that prevented me from maximizing my ministry, potential, and gifts. Even though I made a prayer list, I spent less time asking God for “things,” and more time seeking the “Face” (presence and wisdom) of God. Fasting is conditioning yourself to stand on and trust the promises of God.
“If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.” – 2 Chronicles 7:14 (KJV)
I did indeed “worked” my prayer list. Everything that I petitioned God for is what I prayed over during my fast. I noticed spiritual opposition came in many different forms: family, friends, work, church, home, and self. What I did was acknowledge the opposition and asked God for strength to overcome. I let His spirit lead. I even learned to pray for my enemies and those who oppose God’s righteousness.
“But to you who are willing to listen, I say, love your enemies! Do good to those who hate you. Bless those who curse you. Pray for those who hurt you.” – Luke 6:27-28 (NLT)
WHAT HAPPENED AFTER MY FAST
When I ended my fast, I was more focused than ever. Redundantly speaking, every time I fast, my mind becomes much clearer. My thoughts are not as foggy, and I have more trust in my decisions after fasting. This is because I have given my thoughts, desires, and imaginations over to the authority of God through the focus that a fast provides. After fasting, you are operating more on the wisdom of God. Your body has also eliminated all the toxins, chemicals, thought and mood modifying agents that affects your cognitive abilities. I notice that I am confident, and much more positive after I reset my brain/mind through fasting.
After you fast, you have to be careful not to fall back into self-defeating routines and “comfortable places” that prevented you from moving forward and maintaining the focus, clarity, and mental restoration that you received as a result of your fast. Just as you planned to fast, you must plan your day-to-day routine(s) after your fast. Keep up a daily routine of prayer and devotions. Be mindful of the music you allow yourself to listen to, the T.V. shows and movies you watch, the conversation in which you engage, the company of “friends” you keep, the books and information you read and absorb. In other words, create an environment for success and continual education in the knowledge that challenges you to become better in every way. Again, remember to guard your mind.
Dear friends, if we deliberately continue sinning after we have received knowledge of the truth, there is no longer any sacrifice that will cover these sins. – Hebrews 10:26 (NLT) Obscene stories, foolish talk, and coarse jokes--these are not for you. Instead, let there be thankfulness to God. – Ephesians 5:4 (NLT) You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you! – Isaiah 26:3 (NLT) Do not be deceived: "Bad company corrupts good morals." – 1 Corinthians 15:33 (HCSB)
When I came into the knowledge of truth about my body (our bodies), I took on a whole new perspective on how I should treat my body. We are spiritual beings housed in “flesh and blood.” We are entrusted to take care of the gift (our bodies) that God has given us. Fasting allows us to bring our body in harmony with our mind and spirit. Fasting allow us to “reset” and heal from the abuse we subjected our bodies to through deliberate actions like fornication and gluttony (over-eating and unhealthy diets), or abuse because of the ignorance of God’s Word.
“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.” – Romans 12:1 (NKJV) “Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.” – 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 (ESV) “Do you not know that you are God's temple and that God's Spirit dwells in you?” – 1 Corinthians 3:16 (ESV) “Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord, and turn away from evil. It will be healing to your flesh and refreshment to your bones.” – Proverbs 3:7-8 (ESV)
Part of the plan to maintain and sustain my body and health is to continue to educate myself on what I put into my body, and the effects the food I consume has on me. I want to be as effective as possible as an Ambassador of Faith for the Kingdom of God. I realize that I can’t do that if I’m not a good steward over the only vessel (my body) I have to carry out my assignment as a child of God. Constantly abusing our bodies, then praying to God to ask Him for help is not how this whole stewardship thing works. You must be wise and add to your faith some common sense. I believe in divine healing. With that said, how can we ask God to do the impossible, when we don’t even do the things that are possible for us to do…like discipline yourself.
“So we are Christ's ambassadors; God is making his appeal through us. We speak for Christ when we plead, "Come back to God!" – 2 Corinthians 5:20 (NLT)
Once you have been cleansed through fasting, you have a choice to make. It’s your choice if you re-introduce your body to the things that dragged it down (pre-fast), or move forward in the discipline you’ve found through fasting (post-fast). No, it’s not going to be easy, especially with temptation all around you, like sugar and fatty foods. In regards to your personal relationship status, if you are single, and actively looking for companionship, you have to be mindful of not putting yourself in a position to compromise your flesh.
Breaking Your Fast:
Be really careful of how you break your fast, especially if you are thinking about going longer than 7 days. You can hurt yourself if you don’t take your time re-introducing your body to solid foods and certain liquids. For a 3 to 7 day fasts, allow your body 4 to 5 days to adjust back to normal. Start off drinking bone broth and diluted, all natural (no added sugars) fruit juices for the first couple of days, then slowly introduce your body to semi-solids, like unsweetened yogurt with probiotics. This helps with digestion. Then slowly introduced a combination of cooked and raw vegetables with whole fruits. All natural soups (preferably homemade) are always good at this point. Be careful of the ingredients. Stay away from added sodium and sugars from processed food (mentioned again in the bullet-points below). They can cause your digestive system to make a “big fuss,” and keep you close to the “porcelain throne.” Go slow when bringing back meats into the equation. If you can, go all natural. Nothing processed in the beginning…if at all. For fasts longer than 7 days, below are some bullet-points for you:
For the first 3 days, drink bone broth and diluted, all natural fruit juices (no sugars or added sweeteners).
Day 4 and 5. What I did was add some unsweetened yogurt with probiotics to my diet, with small amounts of whole fruits and nuts.
Day 6. I had more yogurt and whole fruits (apple and pear slices). I had a couple of soft-boiled eggs as well.
Day 7. This is when I added meat. I had a small portion of boiled chicken with my vegetables. From here I resumed a regular healthy diet.
What I didn’t mention in the bullet-points above is that you need to listen to your body. Pay attention to how your body reacts to certain foods you introduce it to. On the 4th day of breaking my fast, I ate a few avocado slices…big mistake. My body immediately rejected it. What I laid out above is what worked for me. Everyone is different. Do your research and get to know your body. With that said, over the years of experience in fasting, I’ve come to find that some things are common. It’s a good chance you may experience cramping, bloating and gas when eating solids again. You may also experience episodes of diarrhea. This is your body letting you know that you need to adjust your diet, and that you may be moving too fast. This leads me to my next few points. Below is a list of food to stay away from when breaking a fast:
I. Oily foods are not good when breaking a fast. They irritate your digestive system. This is why the avocado did not agree with me while I was breaking my fast. Yes, it’s healthy, but I introduced it too soon.
II. Acidic food and juices are not good at all for breaking a fast. Now here’s a caveat, I mentioned cranberry juice as a cleansing juice while fasting. Cranberry juice is acidic, so I did dilute it while fasting. You may want to do the same. Undiluted cranberry juice can irritate your empty stomach. So, that means no pineapple, grapefruit, lemon, lime or any other acidic juices.
III. Bread (yeast) is not a good idea when breaking a fast.
IV. No artificial sugars or sweeteners while breaking a fast. Your digestive system has been dormant for a while. Introducing anything artificial and processed into your body while breaking a fast can do some damaging things to your body. You should research the long-lasting damage that too much sugar does to the human body anyway. Become familiar with artificial sweeteners like High Fructose Corn Syrup and Aspartame. These are actual poisons to our bodies, but they are common ingredients in our food. I recommend eliminating or cutting down on sugar in your day-to-day diet. Except for the natural sugars you find in fruits and vegetables, after your fast, your body is “sugar-free.” You have a choice to bring sugar back into your body...or not.
V. Except for the natural sodium and iodine we get and need through a proper diet, be careful of consuming salt while breaking a fast. This is another ingredient we need little of. The overconsumption of salt can and will damage your body.
I know all of the above may seem overwhelming. I don’t want you to become discouraged with all the dos and the don’ts. Just keep it simple and don’t overdo it when breaking your fast. Your body should adjust back to normal after only a few days. Just to be safe, I stretched things out a little. Trust me, actually doing it is easier than reading all this. This information is just to prepare you for your fasting journey. Even though you are fasting for spiritual reasons, allow your fast to restore your temple (body). After your fast, do what you can to stay healthy. Ask God for His divine providence and healing as you break your fast.
After breaking my fast, I wanted to make sure I continue to feed my “spirit man” to keep me spiritually strong. This includes daily devotions and daily prayer. To repeat what I said previously, I’m mindful of what I allow myself to see, the music I listen to, the conversations in which I engage, the information I research and consume, how I treat people, the examples I set, the battles I choose to fight, the words I speak, and the Gospel I share.
I do fast more often as part of my “spiritual maintenance plan.” I endeavor to stay close to God and His Word. Fasting keeps me humble and submissive. Just giving my appetite to God (in every way) and allowing Him to perform his “work” in my life, to fulfill His promises, is a reward all by itself. Fasting has renewed my spirit on many levels. I’m much more aware of spiritual opposition and I see people as people, and not the source of my opposition. My spirit is much more at ease through connecting with the source of my strength (God).
“For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.” – Ephesians 6:12 (NLT)
Remember, whatever you feed most becomes stronger. There is indeed a war going on in each and every single human being. Your flesh (sinful nature) will always try to dominate your life. (Read Romans the 7th Chapter). Fasting sharpens your spiritual weapons to make you more effective against the enemy. Fasting allows your spirit to dominate your life instead of the flesh.
Because I spent more time in God’s Word, I feel justified as a Christian and more knowledgeable of scripture. Because I spent more time in prayer, I feel closer to God and not condemned by my sinful nature. I feel more spiritually stable and accomplished. I know my prayers are more fervent and effective. I’m more confident in the anointing God has over my life.
To maintain your post-fast, spiritual increase, you must do what’s necessary to stay connected with God. That may mean setting spiritual boundaries. There are some things as a Christian on which you will have to take a stand, and not compromise; even when it’s not popular. Fasting gives you the insight you need to be bold enough to act on what you believe.