View Kids Fasting
Each year, we spend time praying and fasting for the year ahead. These are called our Five Days of Focus. In Matthew 6:16 Jesus gives some instruction on fasting. Verse 16 starts with, “When you fast…” not “If you fast…” That would say that it’s something we are to do, it’s not just for adults, it’s for anyone who is a believer. No matter if you are a kid or a parent.
The Bible refers to fasting as abstaining from food for spiritual purposes. Normally fasting includes abstaining from all food, solid or liquid, but not water. When dealing with kids, we would encourage you to do a partial fast or a restriction of one’s diet but not a total abstention. Daniel talks a little about this in chapter 10.
Here are some practical ways to fast with your kids:
- Make different choices.
For a period of time, choose healthy foods for snacking. Instead of cookies, choose carrots. Instead of soda choose water. Instead of fast food, choose nutritious meals.
- Abstain from sweets.
Lead kids to not eat sugar-based foods for a designated time.
- A digital fast.
As a family, decide to fast from technology. This could be as simple as not using the tablet or TV for a day or the week.
- Grow from short to more intensive fasts.
Don’t start with a 40-day fast that will be difficult to achieve. Start small and build on success.
Be intentional about helping kids understand why you’re fasting:
- Fasting must centre on God.
If you fast for any reason other than to centre on Him; His will and His desire, it will be in vain.
- Fasting reminds us that God is our provider of every good and perfect gift.
Help kids find this reality.
- Fasting helps us focus.
The point of a fast is to focus on a particular issue, need, concern, or desire. Determine the point and be very intentional to share and help kids understand.
- Fasting is a discipline not a punishment.
Don’t use the biblical discipline of fasting to ease your guilt or need to punish poor behaviour.
- Model biblical fasting.
Kids learn more from what they see than what they simply hear. When teaching the discipline of fasting, know that you can’t lead kids to do something that you’re not willing to do yourself.
- Don’t sell kids short.
While the practice and understanding of biblical fasting will be best suited for older kids, teaching and allowing kids to participate in age-appropriate ways will lay foundations for deeper and more meaningful experiences in the future.