Last week, I wrote an article about the first 3 days of my seven day fast . This article is a follow-up to that, and will detail the effects and experiences of the fast as it came to a close.
Day 3 1/2
At this point, I was beginning to realize that God was delivering strength to me as it was needed, and my body was doing its best during the normal times to reserve its resources. After all, how would you feel if you knew you were being starved? Throughout my day at work, I felt crystal-clear mentally, but physically very sedate. It’s a good thing I work in front of a computer.
My appetite at this point had completely vanished. The thought of food seemed to escape me, and I felt very satisfied as I nursed tall glasses of cold water. Each day, I believe I averaged 8-10 glasses of water.
I don’t intend to enter into uncomfortable territory here, but let it be known that after 3 days of going without food, your digestive system decides to nap indefinitely, and thus your bowels will have no work to do.
Tonight was the first night of our bi-weekly Men’s fellowship, and we had planned to do a lesson and then work a little at the church. I normally wouldn’t recommend exerting yourself like this during a fast, but it was needed. Good thing I had my faithful friend and study partner Keith there to help. Surprisingly, I felt very refreshed and energized… The work was quick and steady, and I felt great when I left.
Then came the evening. After my devotion and prayer, I reluctantly decided to submit to the will of my flesh and fall asleep. This was the first good night’s sleep I’d had so far on this fast. Thank you, Jesus.
This day was incredible. It was the first day that I felt like I was really making ground. All day I had energy like I hadn’t felt prior during this fast. I accomplished so much at work, and was both mentally and physically energized and diligent.
After returning home from work, I finished studying my notes for the evening’s Bible study and left for church with my family. Standing behind the pulpit delivering a message on the Grace of God, I knew in my spirit that God was preparing to rain down blessings on our city. I was growing very excited.
I’d like to say something at this point that many people may feel guilty about. During this fast, I did not always feel like praying, and in fact I may have prayed less and less fervently than I normally would have. Some people might feel their fast is ineffective, or that somehow they have failed, when this happens. But I believe it’s important to understand that fasting is very demanding on your body. You will not have the energy to pray with the same fervency you can when you are eating healthy meals. It is important, though, to keep communicating and speaking to God.
Waking up this morning, something strange happened. While I was very mentally focused, I could not seem to get my body to operate very well at first. It was a good thing I woke up early, because I had to take extra time to do simple things like raise my arms to brush my teeth, put one foot in front of another to walk, and lean over to tie my shoes. I didn’t feel strange, weak, in pain, or anything… I just needed extra time to wake my body up. I’m assuming this was again just my body rationing resources as it was realizing it’s in for a long haul without food.
Work today was again quite good, but as the afternoon grew closer, my strength began to wane. I also began to get another headache, although not as bad as the first two days. I decided to cancel a Bible study I had scheduled, and get some needed rest. So I rested.
Today was a good day on all counts. I had no “side-effects” to speak of, and generally felt incredible all day long. I believe this was the first day after the “hump” that many “career fasters” speak of. It is the point where your body is finally in tune with what you’re doing… where everything has begun to adjust and synchronize.
I started to feel sad that the fast was almost over, because I was now at a point where I felt free. I felt like I could seriously go on for another week or more. My body, all day, felt strong and vibrant. I was able to function at a level I hadn’t been at on my best days of healthy eating and exercise.
In all honesty, I feel like I should have continued this fast, but knew that other areas of my life were in demand of my resources, time, attentions, etc. I was further reassured by the fact that God had specifically called me to a seven-day fast, and that His purpose was being accomplished in the sacrifice I had made to this point.
This happened to be Saturday, and a perfect time to begin preparing my body to break the fast. After praying and taking some quality time with God, I started to read articles on the subject. In another article sometime, I will write about “how to break a fast”, but it’s important to note here that fast-breaking should be done with great care. It is possible to cause great harm to your body by breaking to aggressively, or with the wrong types of foods.
As my fasting drew to a close, I spent some time meditating on what I’d felt through the week. I felt much closer to God, but I didn’t necessarily receive specific direction from Him at this point for our church, or for my personal life. Yet in my spirit, I felt triumphant. I felt victorious. I knew that I was now prepared for God to reveal Himself, and His will to me as He had said.
In all, this was an incredible journey of faith, reliance, self-deprecation, humbling, obedience and sacrifice. It was also a time of deep cleansing, meditation and reflection, of closeness with God, and trusting. As each hunger pain came and fell, then disappeared, God was releasing the grip of the enemy in situations all around me. He was speaking to pastors of denominational churches, entering homes of those who’ll one day be worshiping in our choir, walking the streets of our city and overturning the tables of the money changers who have deceived many for many years.
This fast had served its purpose, and now the blessings are beginning to fall from Heaven.