I remember attempting to fast when I was in my late 20s to early 30s, and it was so difficult that I didn’t think I would ever be able to do it. 

Back then, I was trying to do something spiritual. I was a new Christian in the Navy, doing my best to stay on the right side of righteous behavior. Navy sailors travel to places all over the world, encountering other cultures, restaurants, alcoholic beverages, women, and even prostitution.

As a young 20-something, I found it difficult not to do what the other sailors did. We went to nightclubs every chance we got. We chased women, drank too much, and sometimes got in trouble.

Every time I returned to the ship or hotel, depending on how we traveled, I felt guilty because of my behavior the night before. At some point, I wanted to change my behavior. As a Christian, I was supposed to set an example.

Have you ever tried to fast out of guilt? It doesn’t work. Not to mention that it is nearly impossible if, the night before, you fill your belly full of junk food and beer. Anyone who knows anything about how the digestive system works knows that you crave food because of the high-carb/sugary bar foods and alcohol. My cravings the next day were more than I could handle. Fasting was not going to happen.

I wanted to be a better Christian, but I felt out of control and seemingly powerless to do anything about it. Presently, I am in the habit of fasting for health reasons, and somehow, it is much easier. I usually fast 18-20 hours a day to keep my insulin and blood glucose levels in check. Sometimes I fast longer than 18-20 hours.

Now that I am used to fasting, I want to try a much longer fast for spiritual reasons. I am still a follower of Christ. Before Jesus began His ministry, He fasted in the wilderness for forty days and nights. He faced temptations while fasting and was able to overcome them. When He returned, He seemed to have clarity and focus on His mission.

I am unsure of the benefits of fasting for spiritual reasons. I have heard preachers claim they could get closer to God and glean unique insight and wisdom by fasting. In hindsight, this usually had to do with some reason they were asking the congregation for more money above the tithe. 

Anywho, my motivation is to gain more intimacy with God. I want to know this great spirit who made me. I want to know this being who, after creating this world, was compelled to incarnate and enter into His creation to save it. Who wouldn’t want to know someone like that?

My second reason for wanting to try a longer fast is health. I have read that when the body fasts, it can go through a process of clearing toxins. Because the body doesn’t have access to the usual supply of glucose during the fast, it must find other energy sources. Also, because the body conserves energy during fasting, the metabolism becomes more efficient, causing a lower heart rate and blood pressure (The Science, Methods, and Benefits of Fasting).

Since I began fasting in 2019, I have not lost or gained weight. However, weight loss is a must. The pressure on my joints is increasing, and my knees, back, and hips need relief. I would hope to kick-start the weight loss process during this period of cleansing.