Whenever individuals are inspired or moved to begin a spiritual fast, there is a major obstacle that stands in your way. In response to an empty stomach, the human brain triggers the release of a hormone. This hormone called Ghrelin signals the body to release stomach acids to digest food. When food is not consumed during a fast, the stomach acids begin to attack the lining of the stomach which results in hunger pains. Thus, ones the ways to mentally overcome this barrier is by meditating on the Bible in place of eating.
This Book of the Law shall not depart out of your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, that you may observe and do according to all that is written in it. For then you shall make your way prosperous, and then you shall deal wisely and have good success, Joshua 1:8.
While a number of congregations begin each January with a church wide fast, bad news can motivate souls to get serious with God by fasting. The context of the passage below begins with news of Israel’s demise. Surviving Jews who had escaped the exile, brought a devastating report on conditions in Jerusalem. As Nehemiah heard that this city was on fire and the walls broken down, weeping triggered a desire to fast and pray for his country. As Joe Biden takes over as president of the United States, now is as good a time as ever to fast and pray for the future of America.
When I heard this, I sat down and wept and mourned for days and fasted and prayed [constantly] before the God of heaven, 5 And I said, O Lord God of heaven, the great and terrible God, Who keeps covenant, loving-kindness, and mercy for those who love Him and keep His commandments, 6 Let Your ear now be attentive and Your eyes open to listen to the prayer of Your servant which I pray before You day and night for the Israelites, Your servants, confessing the sins of the Israelites which we have sinned against You. Yes, I and my father’s house have sinned, Nehemiah 1:4-6.
Since fasting for a week or month may not be possible or realistic for some Christians, there is always the Esther Fast, Esther 4:16. This three day fast is based upon achieving a common goal as believers unite to pray for a specific outcome. Although Ghrelin might cause you to become hungry over this 72 hour period, staying focused on prayer typically helps me overcome this physical distraction. If you like music, spending as much time as possible listening to spontaneous worship montages will take your mind off of the physical and direct your concentration toward the supernatural power of fasting and prayer. May this blog inspire you to push your body to the limits so that an extended fast will become a reality in the future.
by Jay Mankus