The Wesley Fast
In the Christian sense, fasting is abstaining from food as a spiritual discipline. Most Christians accompany fasting with prayer. Many Christians view fasting as a way to intensify prayer and increase its effectiveness. Some believe that by denying your physical hunger for a time, your spiritual sensitivity is heightened or enhanced. Essentially, fasting makes prayer more powerful, and can also help you hear God’s voice more clearly.
For a portion of John Wesley’s ministry, he advocated fasting on both Wednesday and Friday each week as a regular spiritual discipline. But, as time passed, Wesley fasted mostly on Fridays, which was the Anglican norm. He usually began at sundown on Thursday and typically ended his fast at 3:00 pm on Friday. This is the “Wesley fast” we will use here at Peachtree Road UMC.
The Wesley Fast
7 Days in Lent
Begin: Sundown on Thursday
Break: 3:00 pm on Friday
Guidelines for Observing the Wesley Fast
- Be flexible and listen to the Holy Spirit. Don’t get so caught up with the act of fasting itself that you forget why you are doing it in the first place.
- Plan on Friday as your regular fasting day. This is the day Christians historically have fasted primarily because Jesus was crucified on a Friday. If for some reason another day of the week makes more sense for you, then fast on that day.
- Make sure you drink plenty of water while fasting.
- Remember, there will be times when it makes sense to skip your Friday fast or move it to another day of the week. For example, if you have an opportunity to have lunch on a Friday with someone you’ve been wanting to connect with for a while, don’t feel compelled to create an awkward situation by sticking to your fast. Just change your fast day that week. Guideline #1 applies here.
- Use the time you ordinarily would use for preparing and eating a meal in prayer and meditation. Allow the spiritual discipline of fasting help you to rid some things from your daily routine so you can experience more time with Christ.