Awakening: Fasting

A Weekly publication of The Awakening Institute for Spiritual Formation,

Spiritual Direction and Soul Care

Hi Everyone, I pray that you, at this very moment, are experiencing the presence of God in your day. Now is a good time to be still and let God speak to your heart.


Fasting has been part of the Christian journey since the beginning. This is especially true during the season of Lent. The reason we fast is to develop God-awareness. Fasting is simply setting aside a regular activity, usually a meal or series of meals to allow that time to be redeemed by God in such a manner that it allows us the grace to better feel God’s presence in our midst. Fasting can take many forms, games, TV, electronics, etc. However, it seems to me, if we are physically able, when the fast affects our body we are able to enter into a deeper sense of God-awareness. The very feeling of hunger can become a powerful metaphor as we seek God’s presence and guidance in our lives. Physical hunger may lead us to the consideration of spiritual hunger.

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be satisfied.” NRS Matthew 5:6

It may lead us to a better understanding of, thus a deeper compassion for and solidarity with, those who are hungry and starving for food in this world. We may be able to better hear Jesus’ words when he said;

for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, NRS Matthew 25:35

When this occurs our fasting may make us more spiritually able to see Christ among us and make us better stewards as we are convicted to take what we would have spent on a meal, or meals, and make that money available to those who are in need.

Fasting has also been a powerful way for the preparation of hearts for ministry, or to go about a special task given to us by God.

Jesus, right after his baptism and just before his official ministry fasted as a way to prepare for the enemies temptation and the rigors of his mission, which is to bring salvation to the world.

“Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. He fasted forty days and forty nights, and afterwards he was famished. The tempter came and said to him” NRS Matthew 4:1-3a

Barnabas and Saul (Paul) fasted prior to going out on their historic ministries.

While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, "Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them." Then after fasting and praying they laid their hands on them and sent them off. NRS

Acts 13:2-3

Fasting is less an act of piety as it is an act to develop a deeper relationship with self, others, the world and God. Fasting frees us from overly concentrating on feeding ourselves, giving us a deeper sensitivity to the needs of others. Fasting is others directed making us more aware of opportunities to provide food or money to those in need. Fasting on a world-wide basis can act as a correction to our overly developed need to consume and exploit, just so we can have and eat all we want, even at the expense of others. Fasting brings us closer to God as we realize just how fragile we are and just how much we need God, as well as a realization of how God provides for us. Fasting at its best, when entered into with a desire to be closer to God, a desire to sense God’s presence more fully and respond to God’s Guidance more effectively, is a way to turn away from self and turn toward a deeper dependence on God.

Consider fasting this Lent, food yes, but if this is not practical for you consider fasting from something that you spend a lot of time doing and enjoying. You may find that God has something even more exciting and enjoyable in store.

Save the Dates

Lectio Divina (3 hour seminar and practice)

April 29th from 9:00am-12:00noon

Introduction to the Enneagram (6 hour seminar)

May 20th from 9:00am to 3:00pm with 1 hour break for lunch

Centering Prayer (3 hour seminar and practice)

June 24th form 9:00am to 12:00 noon

Please email for details

Coming in the Fall of 2017

Introduction to the Enneagram Eleven Week Course

This is an Eleven week (27.5 hour) course into the fantastic world of the Enneagram.

This class will include an in-depth look into all nine spaces as well as their subtypes, wings, triads and Holy ideas, with emphasis on its usefulness within the context of spiritual direction and self-care.

Syllabus is now available;

Want to learn more about the important practice of spiritual direction, or are looking for a spiritual director to walk with you in your spiritual journey?

Contact “The Awakening Institute”

321-298-8801 or visit our website

Coming this Fall

Christian Mysticism in Today’s World

Course Description: This is an 12 week course, (2 1/2 hours per session), designed to help the student discover the most important dynamics of Christian Mysticism, both in its historical context as well as the many ways it has, and continues to develop today. We will use a three-fold approach, which includes 1) Defining mysticism historically and what it means for disciples today. 2) Answering the question, “Who is a mystic?” and 3) the way of the mystic.

Syllabus now available, email:

Upcoming Classes and Seminars

  • Introduction to Spiritual Direction

  • Contemplative Listening

  • Lectio Divina

  • Centering Prayer

  • Exploring Spiritual Dispositions

  • Introduction to the Enneagram

And much more…

Request a free syllabus today:

To register please call 321-298-8801

Or visit our website for a complete listing of available classes and a free syllabus for a class of your choice.

Community Bible Experience

This is an encounter with God’s Word designed for those who wish to experience the Scriptures at a deep heart level, as a way to inner transformation.

Coming in the summer of 2017

The Gospel of John

Watch for details

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Some recommendations for excellent spiritual guidance…

If you have others to share with our readers please send them to

Something to Ponder

The divine is also discovered in my happy, joyous, light-filled times, but no matter how much light I carry within me, there will always be times of feeling lost, being confused, seeking direction. It is the way of the human heart. It is the way of going inward. It is the way of Sophia (wisdom).

Joyce Rupp,

The Star in My Heart, Discovering Inner Wisdom, pg. 3

Italics mine

A Gathering of Spiritual Directors

This coming spring The Awakening Institute will host a gathering of spiritual directors. The reason for the gathering is to come together in prayer and to seek discernment regarding ways we can, together, raise awareness within the church of how spiritual direction can be a vehicle by which God’s presence and voice can be more deeply felt and more clearly heard, at both individual and congregational levels. If you are a spiritual director and would like to join in this conversation please contact Gene Yotka at 321-298-8801 or email for additional details.

Recommended Reading

(Additional to our daily Scripture reading)

  • Gratefulness, the Heart of Prayer, by David-Steindl Rast

  • I Am A Follower, by Leonard Sweet

  • Becoming Human, By Jean Vanier

  • Knowing As We Are Known, by Eugene T. Yotka

  • Let Your Life Speak, by Parker Palmer

  • Desiring God’s Will, by David Benner

  • Walking In The Light, by Steve Harper

  • Thoughts in Solitude, by Thomas Merton

  • Incarnation: The Surprising Overlap of Heaven & Earth, by Will Willimon

  • The Mystic Way of Evangelism, by Elaine A. Heath

  • A Hidden Wholeness, by Parker Palmer

  • The Return of the Prodigal Son, by Henri Nouwen

  • Way of Love: Recovering the Heart of Christianity, by Norman Wirzba

  • Falling Upward, by Richard Rohr

  • Between the Dark and the Daylight, by Joan Chittister

  • New Seeds of Contemplation, by Thomas Merton

  • New! Love Henri, by Henri Nouwen

Have Something You Would Like to Share?

Awakening would be blessed to receive original articles, poems, or artistic work that would be helpful and edifying for those interested in Spiritual Formation, Spiritual Direction, and/or Soul Care for future publication.

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