What is it?
From one of my main mentors, Dallas Willard:
In fasting, we abstain in some significant way from food and possibly from drink as well. The discipline teaches us a lot about ourselves very quickly.1
Jesus seems pretty clear that fasting would be a regular spiritual discipline of his followers. We know that He said that even though his disciples did not fast like other Jews of their day, when He was taken away, His disciples would fast.2
Why fasting is a good discipline to practice while on retreat?
Fasting is a wonderful opportunity to test and confirm our total dependence upon God. We live by every word that God speaks.3 Retreats are times when we spend time listening to God and His word. This affords us a great opportunity to practice our total dependence upon God for our sustenance beyond food.
Often we have limited time while on retreat – they are never long enough. The time to plan, buy, prepare, eat and clean up the food can take away from this precious time we have alone with God. The Center for Renewal is not a “full service” retreat center in the sense that we don’t provide meals for individuals on retreat. Since the food preparation is on you the retreatant, not having to prepare, eat and clean up while on retreat will give you more time to be in the silence seeking God’s face. Believe me, when you get home you will wish the time was longer. Fasting during a retreat gives you a gift of time.
1 The Spirit of the Disciplines by Dallas Willard pg 167
2 Matthew 9:15
3 Matthew 4:4