2. Intermittent Fasts
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This is normally a regular act of abstinence, for example one day a week. You may abstain from food, or make some other sacrifice. This type of fast is a way of integrating the spiritual discipline of fasting into your life on an ongoing basis.
Some people might contend they are on an intermittent fast, perhaps abstaining one day a week from high-caffeine drinks, while knowing that in fact they really need to stop drinking so many of these beverages every day. Where is the pain or gain in abstaining for just one day a week? Others exercise instead of eating lunch, but thoroughly enjoy it. So where is the abstinence?
If a person is addicted to buying romance novels or music CDs, then to "fast" for one week every month might be a real jolt. Likewise, if you max out a bunch of credit cards on designer clothing, then you need to stop what you're doing—not just "fast." Be wise in your choice of what to abstain from, and be honest. An intermittent fast will be just as sacrificial as any other type, if you have chosen wisely.
I used to fast one meal every day: I would eat a good breakfast, then eat only fruit for lunch, then eat again in the evening. I did this for several years while in college. Another option is to follow the Catholic tradition of eating a reduced diet one day a week as a way of fasting. Some churches have a regular monthly day of prayer and fasting.
Partial fasts (denying yourself one or more specific foods) are useful because they help you establish a routine. Those close to you accept it as well. Such intermittent partial fasts are also the type of fast you might commit to if, as a group, you were undertaking a round-the-clock fast. Each of you commit to fast for a specific period on a rotating basis, so that there is always one person fasting. We have done this a number of times in our church, ministry, and business, often describing it as a "24/7 fast."
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