Christian Fasting: Running the Race

In October, my crazy friend, Marc, and I will be running a marathon! To build the stamina to run 26.2 miles we started training months ago. I underestimated how much of my time and energy this consumes. We meet early mornings, usually around 5 a.m., for long runs.

Some mornings, it’s rainy. Or cold. Most mornings, my bed feels so cozy and the thought of hitting the pavement sounds ridiculous! However, I know in the end, the discipline will pay off when we cross the finish line.

In order to keep our minds off the pain of running, Marc and I usually talk about a number of our favorite things, but rarely do we talk about spiritual disciplines. Although lately I’ve been thinking a lot about fasting, which is weird since training for a marathon means I should probably be eating more food. 🙂

However, there are a number of different ways to fast – with refraining from media outlets and food or specific drinks being quite common. But regardless of what the fast is about, they all make me uncomfortable. I told this to Marc, a relatively new Christian, and his response stunned me.

“Well, I don’t understand fasting. Jesus Christ died on the cross for me, and in return, I’m supposed to give up Starbucks? Seems like we’re missing the point.”

Whoa! Instantly, I was humbled.

When I fast, I usually chose something that won’t necessarily bother me too much… like abstaining from Starbucks or Facebook. Marc and I discussed the issue of fasting for the next couple of miles. We compared it to our marathon training.

I realize that much like my marathon training prepares my physical body for the task ahead of me, Christian fasting is a discipline for the soul. By fasting, I make a conscious decision to sacrifice comfort to draw closer to the heart of Christ. Fasting allows us the privilege of sharing in His suffering.

After a couple of miles, I realized that maybe my problem with fasting is that I was missing the point all along. As with all things that are difficult, such as fasting or marathon training, there is also so much joy to be found.

May we challenge ourselves today to pray about a way we can experience the discipline of Christian fasting, and in doing so, enter into the presence of our God.

9 Comments |Add a comment

  1. Calvin Koepke April 28, 2011

    Woah! Sorry, that is a wrong link. That post about fasting will be up tomorrow, so you can see it here if you want:

    My bad 😉

  2. Mathilde April 11, 2010

    Hi all,

    Please visit my fasting website, a website that list my fasting journeys. The first one is starting tomorrow.
    Thank you for checking that out!!!!

  3. Josh Valley August 21, 2009

    Great story Katy! I think we could all use more of God’s presence as well as Marc’s wisdom…lol. Very enjoyable to think over this one.

  4. Mark Hanlon August 19, 2009

    Marc’s comment is so refreshing…very indicative of a new found faith and the beautiful realization of grace! May we all rekindle that flame.

    However, I know I tend to take God’s grace and mercy for granted from time-to-time – actually more often than I’d like to admit. Depriving myself of something for a short period of time reminds me of the unimaginable sacrifice Christ and The Father made for even me.

    Fasting and deprivation isn’t the point, but being reminded of Him is.

  5. Mike Stephens August 19, 2009

    good point anytime we choose God instead of anything the result will be better

  6. jennifer August 19, 2009

    I think that’s a refreshing and exciting way to look at it. Thank you for sharing your revelation.

  7. Cheryl J August 19, 2009

    Interesting article. Fasting is something I have been struggling with and trying to find out what it really means. I get so hungry when I fast that I don’t feel like I can focus on prayer, much less get into His presence. But the “still small voice” in my mind is not letting go of this issue.

    1. Christine La Vita February 26, 2012

      I know exactly what you mean! But Franklin Hall a Fasting Pioneer, says that when we fast we feel further from God, as we are “dying” it is a type of death, where we feel pleasure in nothing. That encouraged me, I went on a weeks fast (water only) and really struggled, hardly could pray was so weak, but wow! the results! I entered into a realm of the Presence of Jesus I never knew existed-feel so much closer to Him now! It works! Even a 2 or 3 day fast of just water, does similar, Power for healing just flows from me after a fast-no working up faith etc.
      But oh! His Presence!! Just DO it! (I am a “woman given to appetite” so it is a struggle first day or so, but I recommend it.

  8. Amy Wallace August 19, 2009

    Wow, Marc’s response really hit the nail on the head. Fasting is something that I want to to try (and running a marathon)

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