How To Fast During the Lenten Season

Lent is a Christian observance that usually lasts from Ash Wednesday to Holy Thursday. These 40 days of lent are traditionally accompanied by fasting. Abstinence is not only from food, but could also include other activities such as sex. The traditional understanding of fasting is to completely abstain from eating any kind of food and just take liquids for one whole day. Some churches have made it a requirement for their followers to completely fast during the Lenten season. Other churches have a more lenient take on fasting. You can opt to drink liquids for the whole day or choose to skip a meal. A popular spin would be not to eat red meat.

Some people have their own ways of fasting. For the Lenten season, people can choose to stop drinking alcohol, quit eating sweets or abstain from sex. Each has his or her own interpretation on how to “fast.” Ideally fasting occurs from Monday to Saturday. Sunday is seen as a day of celebration.

All churches have their own exemption to the rules. Those too young or too old are exempted, as well as those who have problems related to their diets. So if you choose to fast by abstaining from red meat, remember that there are other means of eating. Eating fish or making salads could work for you. Remember that you can choose to sacrifice one thing. It is not always food you have to sacrifice.

Understand that the point of fasting during the Lenten season is not to give up things per se, but to make more time for God. We give up a part of our daily routine to have God with us even for just 5 minutes each day. We replace the time we spend playing video games with time spent praying to God. Instead of going to malls, sacrifice your time and try to visit the nearest church.

In fasting we sacrifice possibly what we eat, but in turn we are being “fed” spiritually. By spending more time with Christ and God, we keep on getting fed with their blessings and wisdom. Do not fast because you are required to do so, fast because you know that something greater comes out of it.

If you fast on a bad habit, say you quit smoking for the Lenten period, try not to go back to that habit. During the long Lenten break, you should have learned how to live without the cigarettes. Ideally, one should never go back on a bad habit given up during the Lenten season.

The most important thing to remember here is that you never fast without having the Lord as your reason. It’s not some “in” thing to do, you don’t do it out of requirement; you do it as a way of showing your commitment to the Lord. Fasting requires a great amount of discipline and commitment to the idea that you want to be “fed” spiritually. Great sacrifice is always needed if one aims to attain that which is the best.


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