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    A Girl’s Guide to Fasting!

    The first thing I want to say on the subject of fasting is this: If you struggle with or have struggled with an eating disorder, I strongly caution you against any fasts having to do with food. I will explain how you can still embrace the principle of fasting without involving food later in this article, so don’t worry!

    According to the Bible, fasting isn’t optional. In Matthew 6:16, Jesus says, “When you fast, do not put on a gloomy face as the hypocrites do, for they neglect their appearance so that they will be noticed by men when they are fasting. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full.”

    Jesus doesn’t say “if” you fast, Jesus says “when”. In this verse, Jesus is mostly talking to the Jewish people, but the apostle Paul talks about fasting, too. Paul is not talking to Jewish people, he’s talking to the rest of us.

    …As servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: in great endurance; in troubles, hardships and distresses; in beatings, imprisonments and riots; in hard work, sleepless nights and hunger. – 2 Corinthians 6:3-5

    Why fast?

    We fast simply because when we give up something that we greatly desire, it causes us to fully rely on God for the strength we need to stay away from the thing we’re fasting. You can’t give up something you love by using your strength alone — you must rely on God. Therefore, the principle of fasting is this: Turn to God constantly and rely on Him fully.

    What to fast

    Keep in mind the principle of fasting as I describe above as you consider what you might want to give up for your fast. Remember: Giving up something that you don’t enjoy anyway kind of defeats the purpose of fasting! Example: If you don’t like doing dishes and you decide to “fast” washing dishes, it isn’t going to bring you closer to God. You won’t  have to rely on God’s strength to keep you from washing dishes!

    I don’t recommend liquid only fasts for teens. I do recommend drinking lots of water and even fruit juices. You’re still growing and your bodies are still developing.

    Here are other ‘food fasts’ that you could try:

    • Eat mostly fruits & vegetables. Daniel fasted like this. Daniel 1:8-16
    • No sweets. This one explains itself.
    • No caffeine. Ugh! I don’t even like the idea of this fast, but I’ve done it. I recommend starting with a week.

    Fasts not involving food:

    • Facebook fast! I did this one for 21 days and it was hard for me, but I made it and so can you!
    • Video Game fast. This includes Playstation, XBox, Nintendo, PC, etc.
    • Music fast. If you listen to a lot of non-Christian music, try fasting. When you feel the need to listen to some music, put on a Christian artist instead.
    • TV and movies fast. My husband and I did this for a month. It’s hard at first, but it gets easier.

    If you’re planning a fast, please talk it over with your parents so they know what you’re doing. Set reasonable amounts of time – a few days or a week to start. Also, don’t overdo it! Replace the thing you’re fasting with time spent with God. If you’re fasting TV, then replace your TV time with God time. Don’t announce your fast to the entire world.

    But you, when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face so that your fasting will not be noticed by men, but by your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees  what is done in secret will reward you. – Matthew 6:17-18

    If you have more questions on fasting or anything else I’ve written about please leave your thoughts in the comments!

    Are you planning on fasting?

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    Jenn Arman
    Jenn Arman is a youth pastor, freelance writer and blogger. She was born in San Diego, California and raised 2 hours north east in the Inland Empire where she lives with her husband David and their cats. Jenn desires to bring glory to God and a healthy dose of reality to Christians through both writing and preaching. Visit jenniferarman.com for more on her work. You can also connect with her on www.facebook.com/JenniferArman.Writer and https://twitter.com/JennArman

    49 COMMENTS

    1. I don’t do food fasts, I just can’t handle it.
      I’ll go like for a week or so when I don’t go on a particular website where I tend to waste time, and I make a point to be sure to read my Bible every day. Recently I did this and also a music fast because my brother was travelling to Africa so I fasted and prayed for his safety, but now I’m done because he arrive safely.

      • whatever you want that you feel would be somewhat of a ‘challenge’ like you’re giving it up for a little bit. So if you listen to secular music all the time, try listening to only Christian music instead for a week!

    2. I don’t do food fasting,I mostly do music and computer fasting.I love the singer Mariah Carey and she is a not christian artist,although she has a christain song on almost every album.Fasting helps bulid up or strength against temptation. When the enemy entices you,you’ll resist.

      (1 Corinthians 10:13)
      No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.

    3. Laura – food fasts are really difficult but fasting certain websites and other things can be equally difficult. It’s so cool that you fasted and prayed for your brother while he was traveling, God honors it when we fast for things that are after His heart like concern for the safety of His people!!

    4. i dont usually fast for weeks or days, but what i do is fast two or three meals in a row. maybe all day, or just lunch and dinner, and make sure i pray a few hours at least. i’ve also done facebook/technology fasts and the likes, but i guess ive never called it a fast.
      fasting isn’t just for Lent!

    5. what is fasting? i was reading it and didn’t really see anything that told me what it was to fast. only thing i should fast. but if you think about it i don’t want to do though thing if i don’t know what it means

      • It’s giving up something that you enjoy, or want. It doesn’t have to be food, it can be anything. Like not listening to secular music for a week, putting away your ipod, turning off the TV, things like that. 🙂

    6. I would like to fast, but I’m afraid I’ve had a history with eating disorders. I wish there was a site that connected people who want to be discipled/mentored with people who want to become a mentor/teach a disciple, or even just a Christian support site where you can talk/chat with a Christian who can help us pray in our troubles and such.

    7. ok so i have thought about fasting before especially a food fast but i dont see how it would help! if it were me i would be way to distracted to focus on God!!! even if i were to fast something else i would be more distracted than anything!!!!! how can i not do this????

    8. Rachel, I understand what you mean by thinking you would feel distracted while fasting, but you can use the distractions to your advantage. For example, during a food fast you might feel distracted by a growling stomach, well every time your stomach growls, pray! Ask God to help you through your fast, pray about things that are troubling you, pray about questions that you are hoping God will answer. Use the distractions as reminders to pray! I hope that makes sense, it’s a trick I use every time I fast anything 🙂

    9. I’m definatly going to do some sort of fasting and give up something I love with God’s help so I can be stronger in Him. And I totally agree with the fact that you don’t have to give up eating to do this. But this reminded me of the very popular practice of Lent. Although not to get each other confused (because its really not the same)It started to get me thinking about giving things up.
      The idea of Lent is to either give up something you do or something you love, or begin to do something and make a habit out of doing better things and make better choices. But I’ve mostly seen people give up something and that was just the end of it. In Proverbs 21:3 it says, To do justice and judgment is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice. It just reminded me that while trying to give up something is good, its also good to try to make better choices and make good habits.

    10. This isn’t relevant to the topic, but do you feel as though KJV is the correct and only version to read for reading the Bible. I read many articles about how other versions are perverse and not accurate. What do you think?

      • Some might not be as accurate to the original but for me, KJV is harder to understand (with some lengthier words or complex language) so I use other versions that put it into simpler words. Sometimes I even compare different versions if I don’t understand the meaning, but I don’t think there’s one “right” version.

      • I’m not sure. I would advise you to read the bible closest to the KJV that you can understand. NIV is easy enough for most teens, but stronger readers can move up to the ESV, the NKJV and then to the KJV. This might just be me, but I kind of feel like it makes God seem weak when we confine His communication to only a certain version of the Bible. I’ve read many versions of the bible and they don’t really differ by much. Keep watch though because I’ve seen a handful of verses that can differ wildly from the KJV. if you’re up for it, there are also concordances which are study guides you can use to find the original Greek/Hebrew/etc words and definitions to really sort out the translation kinks. Hope this helps!

    11. I Don’t Watch Tv Or Movies That Much . I Usually Read But I Never Read The Bible Unless I’m At Church And We Have To Read Scriptures Or Something And If I’m Scared And The Devil Is At Work Messing With My Mind . I Haven’t Been To Church In A While Because I Don’t Have A Church Home Anymore . I Don’t Understand The Bible Really So I Don’t Read It . I Pray To Be Able To Understand Fully Exactly What God Is Saying But I Don’t Seem To Get It Because Of The Language Really . I Just Need Help In That Aspect .Also I Don’t Know What To Fast . Should I Fast Reading Books And Try To Read The Bible .

    12. I’ve done a 30 hour famine with my church to raise money for a child in Africa. We raised hundreds of dollars! 🙂 God is soo good! For the past few months, I’ve also only listened to Christian music! 🙂

    13. I remember doing a food fast back in April. It was my longest fast ever – before, I only fasted for a few hours or so – but I did 30 hours, and it was hard.
      Fasting from other things, though, sounds like a good idea. I could probably do without Facebook for a bit.

    14. My family has always done the no meat on fridays and ash wedensday fast. This year I’m also trying to do a fast where on fridays you either have 2 small meals or one big meal. It’s hard but I’m trying and it’s easiest for me if I just have coffeee milk at breakfast instead of food.

    15. Fasting is something I’ve always struggled with, because it means giving up somthing that I love. This past week I did a music fast, I think of it more as a music cleanse. I love my secular music, I’ve realized that not all of it pleases God. I need to be careful what I listen to.

      • Fasting is just a way to focus more on God-I’ve done a fast for a day or like a fast from technology for a week. Let God lead you to when and how long and what he wants you to fast from.

    16. I tried fasting once. But when I was done, I felt like I did nothing. Why? I later learnt that while fasting, we should do away with our pleasures. Like playing games, watching movies, chatting…. and get more involved in the things of God. Like bible study, praising and praying to him. By that we will feel the holy spirit much more better. Bless you

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