In July, my church announced a 10-day mid-year fast that would be 4 days – breaking with food, 3 days – break with fruit, 3 days – break with only water. I was involved in that fast and here is what I learnt from it.
Disclaimer: This is my PERSONAL account, written to inspire faith and not to mandate you to do anything.
- It is done by Faith. – “And it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that God exists and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him”. Hebrews 11:6 (NLT)
Just like every other spiritual exercise such as bible study and prayer, fasting should and can only be done by faith. I weigh (and have always weighed) 49 kg, with a my BMI of 16.5(underweight) and on a normal day if I have not eaten by 11am I tend to get dizzy; as a result, I don’t even go near fasting for anything. During my university days, I underwent long fasts like fasting 18hours a day for 21 days but I always made sure I wasn’t doing anything, I literally spent that time on my bed sleeping and reading the bible, I never fasted more than 12noon on days I had to go to class. Upon graduating from school, I shied away from fasting because I don’t have the luxury to take any time off to fast. In the past, whenever my church announced any fasts, I won’t partake and would feel extremely guilty or sad whenever someone shared testimonies from the fast and though my fellowship fasts every Sunday I generally spend that day on the floor of my house (you guessed it) doing nothing but reading, sleeping and praying. So I decided to take on the challenge and do this fast. As one of my friends said, my mindset (like Esther’s) was “if I perish, I perish!” (Esther 4:16); I told myself God won’t convict me to do something he won’t empower me for and I would only break the fast if and when I faint. I took almost a week before the fast started to pray and get my faith up by confessing scriptures of strength in preparation for the fast. I reached out to 2 of my friends who were also fasting while working for moral support and to keep me motivated and so I began the fast. Coincidentally, I didn’t eat dinner the night before as I came back home late from work on that night and when I woke up the first day of the fast, I immediately felt dizzy and the devil kept supplying thoughts like “You will faint on your way to work”, “You will be so useless at work that they will have to send you home”, “You won’t even have strength or time to pray and your fast will be in vain” etc. but I pressed on. 10 days later I completed the fast without fainting or slacking at working. So if you were like me wondering how do I fast when I’m working, the answer is do it by faith! Believe that God will give you strength, don’t be afraid to start.
- You stop feeling hungry by the 3rd Day – “People do not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God” – Matthew 4:4 (NLT)
Ha! Take it from me I’m a shameless foodie ( I would easily eat at least 4 wraps of amala in a buka anyday); by the 3rd day the hunger and desire for food vanishes away. The 3rd day of my fast, I broke with beans, dodo and one big turkey ( my intention was to eat till I drop) but amazingly I could only eat 3 spoons of the beans, all the dodo and 1 bite of turkey; trust me I couldn’t believe it too. I wasn’t hungry, I was weak but not hungry. And that’s how it was till the end of the fast; you stop craving food, you can sit among people eating and not desire the food at all. On the 9th day of the fast, I attended a workplace party where all sorts of food was being served, I sat with colleagues who were eating and I didn’t have any desire or craving for the food; as my friend said you know you have passed from death into life when that hunger vanishes.
- You become more sensitive and aware. – “Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely”. – 1 Corinthians 13:12 (NLT)
There is a joke i share with a friend of mine and some church members shared that by the 7th day when you are just drinking water even if you don’t pray, you will start seeing angels! hehehehe (it’s a joke oo). There is an element of truth in it though, by the 2nd day I was smelling and hearing more sharply. I share a desk with a colleague on my current project and found myself having to block my eyes with earbuds because it seemed like he was typing in my ears; I could hear him swallow, type and other weird sounds (it was annoying). Then the moods swings are epic! I was mostly irritated at everything even my phone (haha) on the 2nd day. This sensitivity also goes spiritual too; by the 3rd day, praying was smooth as a sail and sweet too. I was praying like 3 hours per day and a time came when even when I wasn’t praying with my mouth, I could hear my spirit praying in tongues. It was amazing oo, worship is on another level at this point.
- It takes conscious effort – I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should- 1 Corintians 9:27a (NLT)
You may wonder how I could pray 3 hours with my busy schedule (I resume by 7am and close by 7pm ish everyday with little or no break). This is how I do it; I wake up by 3am and get 1 hour of tongues in every morning before going to work, while in commute to work (usually 1 hour) I spend the entire time in tongues, on the way back (about 1hr 30 mins) I spend the entire time in tongues also. On some days when I got home by 9pm, I will spend 30 mins in tongues also. It was intense and I was determined to make it work. My pastor will always say that you can’t be fasting and going about your daily activities like nothing is happening; you have to make allowance for it. He says that you take those time you spend in traffic and on social media and turn them to prayer times with God. And that’s what I did! Think about it; when you are in commute you are either listening to music or on social media checking out someone or something or chatting with someone; why not take that time and convert it to a time of communion with God during your fast. I also set an alarm on my phone and made confessions at my desk every 2hours (confessions take about 2-3 minutes and you can do them anywhere). During the fast (and normally) I was always plugged into a Christian song or a message.
- You receive instruction during a fast – Morning by morning he wakens me and opens my understanding to his will” Isaiah 50:4b (NLT)
I had goals for each day of my fast and on the 4th day I had received a word on my request for that day and in the evening I was asking God for the manifestation and he said in a fast you receive instruction or light about your request then after the fast you take that revelation and work it into manifestation. Many of us fast and expect to get a manifestation immediately, we want to start seeing wonders right after a fast. But we must realize that when we fast we experience heaven and God reveals to us the answer to our request in revelation form, it’s after the fast that we begin to apply it to get manifestation.
- Two are better than one – Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed – Ecclesiastes 4:9 (NLT)
To be honest, a large part of the strength for the fast came through 2 of my friends (Gbemiga and Fisayo); when my stomach was making weird sounds that sounded like tongues and when I couldn’t stand for 30 minutes on the 8th day, I quickly reached out to these amazing friends. We shared experiences, prayer points, revelations, weakness, strength and faith. We prayed for strength for each other and encouraged ourselves when we didn’t have strength anymore, we also shared diets – what to break with etc. At the office party I attended on the 9th day, I sat with Fisayo so I didn’t feel weird being the only one not eating while Gbemiga thought me how to preserve the food and drinks till after the fast hehe. It’s better if you have someone to encourage you on the fast; the person doesn’t have to be fasting the person just needs to share your faith. My good friend Titi, was my arm rest; I leaned on her whenever I had to walk long distances, she was my personal staff (smiles), she helped carry any heavy load I had and was always checking to see if I was okay. As God said in the beginning; it is not good for man to dwell alone. That’s why fasting is somewhat easier in camps because you are in the midst of people going through the same thing as you.
- Breaking the fast is difficult! – Better is the end of a thing than its beginning- Ecclesiastes 7:8 (NLT)
So as a confirmed foodie, I had rice, chicken, 5 alive, some fruits and water ready for when the fast ends (*coversface). When pastor announced the end of the fast, oh what joy that filled my soul! (hahaha) By the 10th day, I was very weak, I had lost my voice and was starting to have blackouts and throat pains. On getting home after the service, I broke my fast with pap (and plenty sugar for strength) then I proceeded (more like pounced) on the rice and chicken and received the shock of my life when swallowing became a painful thing. Swallowing water, fruits or even saliva was painful. After about 3 hours it subsided and I victoriously ate about 3 spoons of my rice and chicken just for me to purge it out in about 3 hours (hahaha) they came out exactly the way they went in. My stomach had gone 6 days without digesting food so I had to give it time to recover. For the next 3 days I purged after every meal and experienced constipation and bloated stomach just because I wasn’t patient to allow myself recover. My advice is to break your fast, reverse the process with water then fruit then food (carbohydrate first before proteins as proteins are harder to digest)
Oh I can’t begin to describe the feeling of victory and satisfaction you have when you complete a fast. I remember praying the next day after my fast ended and as I sat down and raised my hand in worship it was like God has been waiting for me; it felt like I was in a sweet embrace and I didn’t know when 2 hours had passed. I knew my prayers were answered and manifestation was close at hand already.
This post isn’t to boast of whatever I have done because it isn’t by my willpower or ability but to glorify God and also encourage you to take the leap of faith and try fasting.
It’s time to raise your faith to accommodate fasting even with a busy schedule; God will supply the strength when he sees the genuine intention.
It’s absolutely worth it and it’s an experience you want to have.
God bless you.