There are a few things you can expect to experience on a fast. First, you can expect hunger. Your physical body needs food and is trained to expect it. You will probably experience both a physical and a psychological craving for food.
If you do, turn your hunger into prayer: “Father, as my body craves food, I crave Your presence. My food is to do Your will” (see John 4:34). Let your hunger be a positive feeling because it will turn your heart to Him. “I have treasured the words of [Your] mouth more than my daily bread” (Job 23:12).
Hunger and cravings for food will give you the opportunity to present an offering to the Lord. Each time you deny your craving for the sake of your fast, you are placing a sacrifice on the altar. The offering is your obedience (1 Sam. 15:22).
You can also expect to experience an increasing desire for the things of God. Just as your body has come to expect food, so your spirit will come to expect spiritual nourishment. God will begin to create in you a spiritual craving that only He can satisfy.
A fast is more than abstaining from food. It is replacing physical food with spiritual food. If you are fasting a certain meal, make that mealtime a time of prayer and study of the Word. If you are fasting for a period of time, fill that time as much as possible with concentrated, focused listening prayer.
Let the Lord set your fast. Don’t impose upon yourself a fast to which the Lord has not called you. He is likely to call you into minifasts in the beginning and train you for longer fasts.
Don’t set yourself up for failure by fasting in the power of your own flesh. What God calls you to do, He also provides the power for you to accomplish. The fasts to which He calls you will be prime training ground for learning to submit your flesh to the Spirit.
I pray that the Father will usher you into a new dimension of power as He calls you to incorporate fasting into your life. I believe that you have been drawn to these words because God has already placed in you a hunger for the deep things of God, and He is about to show you Himself. You will not be disappointed, for His Word assures us that “He satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things” (Ps. 107:9).
Jennifer Kennedy Dean is an author, speaker, conference leader and executive director of the Praying Life Foundation.