Long and very long fasts are serious spiritual battles. It is a pity that most of God’s children know nothing of combat in that realm. It is an experience to be had at least once. We recommended that those called to lifelong ministries of prayer and fasting, should labour and gain experience in the region between twenty-two and forty days of fasting.
It is not enough to remain in the shallow and safe waters of short and medium-sized fasts. There is some fish that can be caught in shallow waters. However, the person who wants to fish for whales and sharks has to go into deep waters. There are some things that can be received from the Lord as His response to short and medium-sized fasts. There are others that can only be received after long and very long fasts. There are some blows that may be landed on the devil’s kingdom, plans, and strategies in partial, short and medium-sized fasts. However, there are other blows that can only be landed on him by those who go on long and very long fasts. There is a sense in which God has left it to us to decide how far we want to go. It is for us to choose whether we are going in for shallow water fishing or for deepwater trawling fishing. Shallow water fishing is relatively safe. Deepwater fishing is risky, but with the risks lie the potential for mighty breakthroughs. Think about this matter.
This also means that breaking long and very long fasts is a more delicate issue than breaking short and medium-sized fasts.
I decided to put the division between long and very long fasts on the thirty-second day purely out of what a number of us encountered during a recent very long fast. We felt that we were in a new zone. Two of us felt that we were dying on the night of the thirty-third day, whereas we were fairly all right before then. Things remained gloomy and the battle truly intense on the thirty-eighth day. Your experience may be different, so do not worry very much about the classification.
BREAKING LONG FASTS
We offer the following program as a suggestion for the breaking of a long fast of twenty-two to thirty-two days:
- Drink prepared fruit juice made from non-acidic fruits. The juice should be diluted with water in a ratio of 1: 1. No sugar should be added to it. Juice made commercially should be avoided as much as possible, because it is not fresh and contains sugar. There may even be the risk of food poisoning. Undiluted juice should not be taken. It is too concentrated for the system. We recommend that the fast be broken between 6: 00 and 9: 00 p.m. We recommend that the fruit juice be taken at the rate of one glass per hour. For the best treatment of the body, nothing else should be taken.
- As an alternative to the juice, eat light soup made from vegetables, meat or fish, without oil. Pieces of meat, fish, and vegetables should be filtered off. No spices should be put into the soup. The soup should be taken at the rate of one glass every hour. It is possible that you drink juice and one hour afterwards eat the soup or vice versa. However, we have found that the best results are obtained when one sticks to either the juice or the soup. It is a mark of lack of discipline to want to take the two the same evening, especially after over thirty days of fasting.
Any of the following can be taken. It is also possible to alternate them with one taken in the morning, the other at noon, and the other at supper:
- Soup prepared as on the first day, but larger quantities, taken at breakfast, lunch, and supper.
- Fruit juice prepared as on the first day, but larger quantities. It is quite acceptable for the soup and the juice to be taken one after another in the morning, afternoon, and evening.
- Very soft vegetables cooked in meat or fish. We recommend that the meat or fish should not be eaten on the second day. The problem with many people is lack of discipline in eating habits. You ought to take this opportunity to re-educate your entire body and your appetite. To do this, we recommend that you should allow yourself only three meals—morning, afternoon, and evening. Eat nothing in between, even though your diet is light and your body is making many demands. You should resist the temptation to yield to lack of discipline. You should also decide that you will not eat anything between supper and bedtime. This will yield dividends in the future, and you will be in great control of your body and its demands.
The following could be eaten:
- Vegetables cooked until soft with meat or fish. (Fish is preferable to meat.) Vegetables and fish can be eaten in acceptable quantities. Meat should be boiled until very soft and eaten in very small quantities.
- Fruits of all kinds except acidic ones and avocado pears and plums.
- Yoghurt or milk.
- Bread soaked in milk.
- Boiled carrots or boiled eggs in case of diarrhea.
- Eat vegetables cooked with crayfish, fish, or meat.
- Eat meat or fish or beans.
- Eat fruits.
- Consume milk or yoghurt.
- Eat pap.
- Eat salads.
- Eat boiled or fried eggs.
- Eat small quantities of carbohydrates like plantains, yams, rice, et etcetera. These must be well chewed.
- In case of diarrhea treat it as on Day 3, but do not resort to drugs.
- Eat vegetables cooked to taste.
- Eat meat, fish, or any other source of protein.
- Eat fruits.
- Consume milk or yoghurt.
- Eat pap.
- Eat salads.
- Eat small quantities of carbohydrates as on Day 4.
- Eat small quantities of any cherished dish.
- In case of constipation, go back to fruit and boiled vegetables only until the constipation is over.
- In case of diarrhea, stay on carrots and boiled eggs until it is over.
Return to a normal diet.
BREAKING VERY LONG FASTS
Eat one of the following:
- Soup prepared lightly from fish or meat but without pieces of fish or meat in it. It is better to drain off the oil and drink the soup, which should be as free from oil as possible. Some tomatoes may be put into the soup as well as some onions: Apart from this, nothing else should be put into the soup. Very little salt should be added to it. The meat or fish already contains more than enough oil, and so there is no reason for adding oil to the soup. No pepper should be put in at all. The soup should be taken at the rate of one glass every two hours. Nothing else should be taken.
- Freshly squeezed orange or pineapple or pawpaw or carrot or watermelon juice. The juice should be mixed with water in a ratio of one to one. No sugar should be added to the juice. A glass of such juice should be taken every two hours. Nothing else should be taken. We insist from hard-earned experience that undiluted juice should not be taken.
Some people drink the soup and after an hour or two drink the fruit juice. Others start with the fruit juice and then go on to the soup sometime later on. From personal experience, we suggest that a person should stay on either the juice or the soup for the whole of the first day. The stomach should not be put under the “pressure” of mixtures of foods too soon. Remember that it has been on a forty-day holiday. Do not shock it. We also suggest that it is best to keep to one type of fruit juice. It is not advisable to drink the orange juice and then the carrot juice and the pineapple juice, et etcetera. All this will be disorder. There will be much temptation to do it, but we hope that you will not yield to it. If you feel hungry at night, you should stand up and help yourself to some soup or some fruit juice. However, if you refuse to yield to that night’s desire for food, you do better. However, personal eating habits do come in and there should be some freedom.
Any of the following can be taken. It is also possible to take one in the morning, the other in the afternoon and the third at supper.
- Soup prepared as on the first day but larger quantities taken every four hours or so.
- Juice taken as above but larger quantities taken every four hours or so.
- Very soft vegetables cooked in ground meat or fish. In addition, yoghurt or non-sweetened milk can be taken. There will be much temptation to begin to nibble. Do not yield to temptation. Yielding is sin. If you yield, you will cause damage to your body. You have been warned! The quantity of meat in the vegetables should be very small!
The following can be taken morning, afternoon and evening.
- Vegetables cooked in very soft meat or fish. Fish is preferable to meat if it is available. Large quantities can be eaten three or four times a day. If you avoid the eating of meat, it will be better for you.
- Fruits chosen from the following: oranges, pawpaw, watermelon, pineapple, banana, mangoes and the like. The following should not, however, be taken: plums, apples or avocado pears.
- Yoghurt or milk (non sweetened).
- Light pap, light quaker oats, light custard, etc.
- Soft bread soaked in milk. In case of acute diarrhea, eat a boiled egg, then reduce the quantity of vegetables and fruits that are being taken.
Consume any or all of the following in reasonable quantities:
- Vegetables cooked in meat or fish.
- Boiled fish. Fried fish is not recommended.
- Pap, oats, custard, or bread soaked in milk.
- Yoghurt or milk.
- Fruits of all kinds.
- Salad without vinegar.
- Boiled eggs.
In case of diarrhea, eat boiled eggs and carrots only, until the diarrhea has stopped. Carrots boiled in meat or fish are very good for this purpose. However, it is important that nothing else be taken in addition to them and boiled eggs.
Your diet should be as follows:
- Fish or meat.
- Millet pap, rice pap, or any other type of pap.
- Yoghurt or milk.
- Soft bread.
- Fruits of all kinds.
- Small quantities of carbohydrates like rice, macaroni, garri, Irish potatoes, sweet potatoes, plantains, cocoyams, et etcetera, ground or pounded. Taking large quantities is to be avoided. Past gluttonous tendencies must be checked.
- Salads without vinegar.
It is obvious that no one should go out of his way to eat all these things. This is a suggested list. You should eat what you can afford. If you cannot afford meat or fish, you have nothing to worry about. Do not go out of your way to look for a special item. Eat those things on the list that are readily available and that you can afford. For example, if you find that all you can afford is pap from maize or rice, some vegetables, and a fruit, then you are all right. Generally speaking, the person who introduces meat very slowly and cautiously into his diet has an advantage. The digestion of proteins is not a very easy process. This process is carried out by the liver. Remember that it has been on a forty-day vacation. Allow it to come back to work gradually. That will be better for it and for you!
Return to a normal diet.
Eating normally, but in small quantities. Take note of the following:
- Boiled eggs constipate. They should be introduced into the body slowly. They could be taken after the second day to perform the medicinal function of stopping diarrhea.
- Apples and plums constipate many people. They should not be eaten early after the fast.
- Coffee, tea, pepper, and cola nuts are stimulants. They should not be consumed within the first weeks after the fast.
- Eru is a very hard vegetable. It should not be eaten in the first weeks after the fast.
- Okro soup is particularly helpful as an aid to digestion for most people. It is strongly recommended for those fasting in areas where it is available.
There are number of variations from person to person. For example, milk serves as a laxative for some people while for others it causes constipation. You should take the peculiarities of your body into consideration as you work out how to break your forty-day fast.
Another thing that needs to be mentioned is that there are some countries where fruit is generally very rare and too expensive for the average believer. Even in a country like ours where fruits are generally very abundant and cost reasonable prices, they are very rare in Yaounde in the month of August and the early part of September. The one breaking a fast will have to try to make do with what is available. For example, he will ensure that he chooses soups instead of juices when they are not available and he will try to make do without fruits in the days following.
God does take care of His children. The whole situation should be presented to Him. A sister reported that she broke a thirty day fast with light pap. She was in a region of the country where neither vegetables nor fruits were available. The Lord saw her through it. However, if someone is able to lay hold of the right things to break the fast with and, out of uncontrolled desire for food and negligence, he just eats anything, he will suffer for it.
There are real differences between a forty-day fast and a thirty day fast in the spiritual and the physical dimensions. In the physical dimension, it should be understood that the body has been depleted of many of its essential ingredients and they will not be supplied overnight. It should take forty days for the body to break a forty-day fast completely. There may be low haemoglobin, and unless you resort to drugs (and I do not recommend this; I prefer that the body should be allowed to build up what has been lost naturally), it will take some time to build up the body. There may be dizziness caused by the low level of iron in the body. This, too, will build slowly. Weight gain is rapid, but no one should be deceived into thinking that he is back to normal because he has gained weight.
There is often a bad taste in the mouth. This may last for weeks, and it has to be accepted or prayed away. It is often very bad from the beginning, but after some days of eating, it begins to go away and only returns occasionally. Care must be taken that things are not eaten at random in the desire to take away the bad taste.
Water tastes horrible for most people after a forty-day fast.
This horrible taste may be over in a few days, or it may last for weeks. Some people get over it by drinking fruit juice all the time. Others add a few drops of lime to their water while others add “fever grass” to the water, boil it, and cool it before they can drink it. Whatever your situation, you should take it up with the Lord and it may be that He may not take it away but give you grace to bear it.
Often the legs swell at the end of the fast because of water intake. This should not cause unnecessary worry. The body will adjust to normal after some time. We do not encourage the taking of drugs to normalize the situation artificially.
It may not be advisable to drive soon after a forty-day fast.
Some people suddenly become dizzy after the fast. This may happen up to seven days after the fast. Others do not get dizzy at all. Until you know your own reaction to the fast in this area, it is better that you do not take the risk of driving.
Some people recover very fast from a forty-day fast, while others react so badly that they have to stay in bed for many days. You should respond to your body constitution. Do not imitate others. If you are going to do many forty-day fasts in your life, you should ask the Lord to give you the power to recover quickly from each fast; so as to redeem the time.
There are many things that you will learn for yourself out of your own forty-day fast. May the Holy Spirit be your Teacher. May you be open to the changes that He will bring to your body as you break one forty-day fast after another.
God bless you abundantly. Amen.