90 Day Asceticism/Prayer Challenge

A friend invited me to join him and a few of our other buddies on a 90 day asceticism/prayer challenge called Exodus 90.

I’d felt that my prayer life was rote and lukewarm for some time, so to get this invitation and join was a blessing. It’s been the first time in a long while that I’ve had a good long freeform talk with God.

A few of the ascetic disciplines we have to take up daily:

  • Take short, cold showers
  • Regular, intense exercise at least 3x/week
  • Get a full night’s sleep (at least 7 hours)
  • Abstain from alcohol.
  • Abstain from desserts and sweets.
  • Abstain from eating between meals.
  • Abstain from soda or sweet drinks (white milk, black coffee, and black tea are permissible).
  • Abstain from television, movies, or televised sports.
  • Abstain from video games.
  • Abstain from non-essential material purchases. 
  • Only listen to music that lifts the soul to God.
  • Only use the computer for work, school, or essential tasks (e.g., paying bills).
  • Only use mobile devices for essential communications; cut non-essential texting, app, and internet use. 
  • Take Wednesdays and Fridays as days of fasting. (Abstain from meat and only eat one full meal, as well as two smaller meals that together are not equal to a full meal.)

There are some exceptions to this list: On Sundays and holy days, we are allowed to relax one discipline. We also check in with each other daily on how we’re doing and share our challenges/struggles.

The tough ones for me are cutting out movies, snacks, and podcasts. But I’m doing a lot more reading and am more involved with my kids now, so that’s great.

It’s been challenging so far, but rewarding. My wife told me she noticed a big change already: “You’re more there, more attentive, and less absorbed with your phone.” She loves it and it makes me happy too. I feel calmer and more relaxed throughout the day. A couple days after stopping snacks and sugars, my average resting heart rate went down too.

There’s a version for women too, called Fiat 90. My wife hasn’t tried it but it looks good.

One criticism of the Exodus 90 program that I’ve seen is that it does nothing for your life on day 91 and beyond. The creators have updated the program though, with a plan for day 91+. We’ll see how it goes!

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