How to Get Closer to God: Spiritual Rule 3 Fasting [blog/spiritual discipline]

How to Get Closer to God: Spiritual Rule 3 Fasting [blog/spiritual discipline]

Share this:

A spiritual rule will enable you to approach your spiritual growth systematically.  Because the rule is outlined and specific you will be able to measure and chart my growth.  You will also be able to pinpoint areas that need improvement as well as spiritual areas where you excel.  The spiritual disciplines I have studied and will discuss are as follows: Lectio Divina, The Jesus Prayer, Fasting, Prayer Walking, Centering Prayer, Spiritual Friendship, Examine and Journaling.  Below is a brief explanation of the highlighted spiritual discipline.


Adele Calhoun defines fasting as the “self denial of normal necessities in order to intentionally attend to God in prayer.  Bringing attachments and cravings to the surface opens a place for prayer.  This physical awareness of emptiness is the reminder to turn to Jesus who alone can satisfy.”[i]  Fasting is also the most common spiritual practice amongst the various religions.[ii]

There are also various biblical scriptures on fasting.  In the Hebrew Scriptures (Old Testament) there are examples of both public and private fasts.  Jesus himself fasted for 40 days and 40 nights.  He also gave instructions on fasting.  In Matthew 6:16 – 18  he states: “And whenever you fast, do not look dismal, like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces so as to show others that they are fasting. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward.  But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face,  so that your fasting may be seen not by others but by your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.”[iii]  The challenge for some lies within the food fast.  This can be one of the most challenging types of fast to because food tends to hold a psychological and physical hold on us. [iv]

In Richard Fosters Celebration of Disciplines we are introduced to three types of food fasts.  They include: the Normal Fast which is to abstain from all food and drink accept water, The Partial Fast where food intake is less than normal and The Absolute Fast which is to refrain from all food and drink as Christ did.   For those looking for a different option to fasting other types can include fasting from television, cell phones, computers and music which allows for the space for God’s voice to be heard.

Determining the type and length of fast is a decision between you and God.  Please also be sure that when you decide to fast from food that you consult your doctor if you have health-related issues, such as diabetes.

[i] Adele Ahlberg Calhoun Spiritual Discipline Handbook (Downers Grove: Intervarsity Press, 2005) 218.

[ii] Tony Jones, The Sacred Way (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2005) 160.

[iii] Bible NRS

[iv] Tony Jones, The Sacred Way (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2005) 164.