Jesus spoke to us of WHEN we fast not if we fast. (Matt 6:16) For generations fasting was considered an essential spiritual discipline. It was practiced by Moses, Elijah, the Kings, Jesus himself and many other Christian leaders. John Wesley the founder of our denomination was a firm believer in fasting. He fasted two days a week for most of his adult life. These fasts lasted from sundown Tuesday till 3PM Wednesday then again starting Thursday at Sundown and lasting till 3PM on Friday. It was also such an important part of Wesleyan spirituality that to this day Pastors being ordained in the United Methodist Church are asked, “Will you recommend fasting or abstinence, both by precept and example?” I like every other Pastor when said, “yes.” That was only 9 months ago so no time like the present to do it. I Pastor Caleb recommend fasting. What is fasting? Fasting is the voluntary practice of giving up something for a period of time for the purpose of growing in our faith. Most often fasting is the giving up of food or drink, but it can be giving up other things. Some people fast from tv, games, social media, anything that you spend time on that you give up for a period. Fasting is not just the giving up of bad habits and bad things. It can be, but food and drink are not bad they are necessary part of life. That’s what fasting is, but why do we do it. We do it to create space. Space in our lives to spend time with God. When we give up a meal, we can use that time to read the Bible or to pray to draw closer to God. We can also use that time to serve or give the money for the meal to help those who don’t have food to eat. When we fast, we need to be intentional in how we are going to use the time that we would be doing the activity we are fasting from. There are other reasons that we fast as well. One of them that John Wesley emphasized was that fasting helped us to identify with those who have no food to eat. How can we fully care for the poor if we have no insight into the lives that they lead? Even a short period of hunger for many of us is unusual. We can snack and eat anytime. When we choose even for a short period to be hungry it makes us more mindful of those who do not know when their hunger will end. A second reason for fasting is that it makes us aware of overindulgence. Even in Wesley’s day he believed fasting helped to see the ways folks overindulge in food and drink. He thought that and he died 62 years before the potato chip was invented. Fasting helps us to examine our relationship with food. Do we over indulge, do we wast, are we grateful for it, is it healthy and giving us life or not, where does it come from and what did it take to bring it to us? Many of us living with an abundance of food could benefit from asking these questions. We know what fasting is, we know why we fast, how do we fast? Before you fast ask yourself if you can do it safely. Some people can not miss meals. Fasting should improve our spiritual health not ruin our physical health. When you do fast though, start small. Don’t shoot for Jesus 40 days fasting in the wilderness, at first try skipping a meal. Then two then maybe a whole day. Drink plenty of water and if need be some fruit or vegetable juice can help. Plan out what you will do when you normally would be eating. That helps both add a spiritual dimension and it helps get through the hungriest period. Lastly, be willing to experiment find what works for you and what doesn’t. Wesley throughout his life sometime had his fast be no food only liquid other no meat or rich food but plain food was okay he changed it up based on his needs and just to try new things from time to time. Good luck fasting!