Lent! It’s all about the fasting and sacrifice, right? We’ve already talked about a few different ways we can add prayer and almsgiving to our Lenten observances this year, but this week I would like to focus on fasting. Especially fasting as a spiritual practice.
I have been experimenting with fasting this Lent and wanted to share some of my thoughts and experiences with you all. These are notes from a newbie!
1. Be creative and flexible.
Fasting can of course mean going for a length of time without eating anything, but you can experiment with different lengths of time, different times of day, etc. Also, you might consider only fasting from certain foods (a common Lenten practice) if you are pregnant, nursing, or have some other reason why fasting is not a good idea for you this year.
2. Make sure prayer is part of it.
They say fasting without prayer is just a diet. True! Make sure you add a prayer component to your times of fasting.
3. Do it for someone else.
Fasting is a sacrifice that you can offer up for someone else’s benefit, or for a specific intention. I have been fasting/praying for specific people this Lent, and I find it is a powerful way to “pray all day” as well as remind myself of the power of prayer.
4. Start small.
You don’t need to begin with declaring a 5-day fast. Try skipping lunch, or not eating after dinner instead. If that turns out to be too easy, you can always add to the fast later.
5. Stay busy.
Distract yourself with work or other activities during your fast. Do not sit around thinking about how hungry you are.
6. Drink lots of water.
Drinking water will keep you hydrated while fasting, which is important, but also can help ease hunger pangs and replace the “habit” of eating regularly during the times you are fasting.
7. If you mess up, try again!
Don’t give up just because you broke your fast one time. That’s what the devil wants for you to do. Get back in there and try it again!
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Danielle will be speaking at the Rochester Catholic Women’s Conference in Rochester, NY
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