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Ask Chuck: Fasting for financial breakthrough

Gas
Prices for gas at an Exxon gas station on Capitol Hill are seen March 14, 2022 in Washington, D.C. The cost of gasoline continues to rise across the globe due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine and continued inflation associated with the global pandemic. |

Dear Chuck,

I am seriously worried about our finances. We are struggling to keep up, even with two incomes. We need God’s intervention!

Desperate for Hope

Dear Desperate for Hope,

Inflation is on everyone's mind. There is pain at the gas pump, pain in the grocery aisles, pain in the car markets, pain if you go to eat out…I get it!

The American Psychological Association partnered with The Harris Poll to conduct a survey between February 7–14, 2022, along with a late-breaking poll fielded March 1–3, 2022. The later findings were “alarming,” with more adults rating inflation and issues related to the invasion of Ukraine as stressors than any other issue asked about since the Stress in America survey began in 2007. Top sources of stress: prices of everyday items due to inflation (87%), supply chain issues (81%), and global uncertainty (81%). Like you, financial stress is a critical issue for a majority of Americans.

While there are many practical steps you can take, like reducing your expenses by the overall inflation rate and seeking to adjust your investments to keep up with the impact of inflation, I want you to consider fasting.

Fasting for financial breakthrough

Fasting is a way to stop looking at things of this world in order to focus more fully on the Lord.

The Bible addresses fasting for repentance, sorrow, deliverance, guidance, and help. It is to be done with genuine humility in order to draw closer to God.

Anna, the prophetess mentioned in Luke 2, served God day and night with fasting and prayers. John the Baptist taught his disciples to fast. Jesus said in Mark 2 that His disciples would fast after his death.

Nate Shurden, pastor of Cornerstone Presbyterian of Franklin, Tenn., writes:

“When we fast, we say, ‘No’ to something we enjoy. Whenever we do that, we pick a fight with our flesh. For whenever we abstain from something, we expose how strong our desire is for certain earthly things. By denying ourselves in this way, we clean out the soul, making room for God. This is why prayer goes hand-in-hand with fasting. For when you desire whatever-it-is you’re fasting from, instead of turning to that thing, you turn to God in prayer. In feeling the pain of emptiness, you take time to be filled up with God—to taste and see that He alone is your true sustenance.”

My personal experience with fasting

Multiple times in my life, I have done extended fasts from all food, including two times when I fasted for 40 days drinking fresh juice only. To prepare, I read many books on the topic and followed step-by-step advice from experienced advisers.

On another occasion, my wife and I limited our food intake to 750 calories a day for 21 days to experience the same hunger that millions of others in the world do. This was a form of fasting that denied our flesh in order to increase our empathy for people and raise awareness of the need for our work in low-income nations.

Suggestions on how to begin fasting

● Prepare ahead without drawing attention to yourself. Wean from sugars and caffeine before the fast begins if you are going to eliminate normal eating habits.

● Pick a good time to start and stop. How will your fasting affect the rest of the family? Your job? Social commitments?

● Claim Scripture, and keep a journal.

● Study the Word, and pray for wisdom, guidance, revelation, and the breaking of sin.

● To avoid defeat, do not be too ambitious. Try giving up a meal per day or per week. Build from there. Seek professional advice before a prolonged time of fasting.

● Involve your spouse, family, or small group for accountability and encouragement.

● Some fasting ideas: from food, sugar, coffee, or sodas; liquids only; limited calories; from TV, social media, shopping, etc.

● Seek the Lord’s intervention during your time of fasting.

Financial fasting

This method of fasting is designed to break detrimental spending habits, eliminate debt, and/or jumpstart a path toward certain goals. You design the parameters, but some basics include setting a time frame, purchasing only what is absolutely needed, and keeping a spending journal. There are many references to this kind of fasting online. One popular idea is to fast from eating out or buying more groceries by eating only what is in your pantry or freezer for as long as you can make those supplies last. 

Whether seeking His will in financial decisions or dealing with financial pain, fasting should be considered. Turn to Him. Only He can satisfy your deepest longings.

“Is not this the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the straps of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke? Is it not to share your bread with the hungry and bring the homeless poor into your house; when you see the naked, to cover him, and not to hide yourself from your own flesh? Then shall your light break forth like the dawn, and your healing shall spring up speedily; your righteousness shall go before you; the glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard.” Isaiah 58:6-8

While seeking the Lord’s guidance, if credit card debt is a source of your financial pain, Christian Credit Counselors is a trusted source of help. They can help your family get on the road to financial freedom.

Chuck Bentley is CEO of Crown Financial Ministries, a global Christian ministry, founded by the late Larry Burkett. He is the host of a daily radio broadcast, My MoneyLife, featured on more than 1,000 Christian Music and Talk stations in the U.S., and author of his most recent book, Economic Evidence for God?. Be sure to follow Crown on Facebook.

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