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Way Of Life - Biblical Fasting


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#1 RSS Robot

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Posted 11 August 2014 - 09:17 PM

We can say that such things as fasting are not necessary since God knows our hearts, but examples such as the one about Abraham and his son show that God does require evidence of our faith and earnestness.

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#2 John81

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Posted 12 August 2014 - 07:38 AM

Due to health issues I've not done a full fast in some time now. I can still do partial fasts.

 

I've known a few that fast once a week, or one weekend a month, or something similar. That's not something I've ever felt compelled to partake in. The fasts I've done over the years have been when I felt moved by the Holy Ghost to do so for a specific reason, or the rare occasion when a pastor would call for fasting and prayer, or when uniting with one or more other Christians to fast for something.

 

While I wouldn't make a blanket statement against all what might be called "ritualistic fasting" (for lack of a better term off the top of my head), meaning a pre-planned fast one does like every Thursday, or every third weekend, or every fifth Sunday, I wouldn't recommend them. While some start these with good intentions, as far as I can tell, it seems they quickly become just part of a rote routine with little actual meaning to them other than fulfilling an obligation. Isn't there supposed to be more to a fast than that?

 

Does anyone here fast?



#3 Jordan Kurecki

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Posted 12 August 2014 - 08:11 AM

Due to health issues I've not done a full fast in some time now. I can still do partial fasts.

 

I've known a few that fast once a week, or one weekend a month, or something similar. That's not something I've ever felt compelled to partake in. The fasts I've done over the years have been when I felt moved by the Holy Ghost to do so for a specific reason, or the rare occasion when a pastor would call for fasting and prayer, or when uniting with one or more other Christians to fast for something.

 

While I wouldn't make a blanket statement against all what might be called "ritualistic fasting" (for lack of a better term off the top of my head), meaning a pre-planned fast one does like every Thursday, or every third weekend, or every fifth Sunday, I wouldn't recommend them. While some start these with good intentions, as far as I can tell, it seems they quickly become just part of a rote routine with little actual meaning to them other than fulfilling an obligation. Isn't there supposed to be more to a fast than that?

 

Does anyone here fast?

Our church has been in the process of fasting every thursday nights for about a year for  Revival Meetings that are going on this week.  I can say that I think for me at least is has started to lose it meaning, we started with good intentions, and I believe God is blessing, but like you said it easily becomes part of a routine.


Edited by Jordan Kurecki, 12 August 2014 - 08:12 AM.


#4 DaveW

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Posted 12 August 2014 - 08:32 AM

When it is necessary for me to.

#5 John81

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Posted 12 August 2014 - 08:33 AM

That's a good thing to fast and pray for but I can certainly see how a year-long endeavor like this could become a matter of routine for most, if not all involved.

 

Some years ago a few Christians decided to do fasting on a regular weekly basis. They soon declared themselves more spiritual than the rest of us since they were doing this and we weren't. However, their fasts soon amounted to them talking about food all day of the fast and literally counting down to the 24 hour mark so they could eat. They would start cooking about an hour before the fast was to end so just as soon as the time arrived they could sit down to a huge meal.



#6 John81

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Posted 12 August 2014 - 08:41 AM

Dave,

 

I'm not sure. I know Jesus said his disciples WOULD (not might) fast after He was no longer present with them but no real direct command as to when or why.

 

The fast most seem to do doesn't seem to equate to an actual biblical fast. At least here in America, most often the fasting seems to focus upon simply going without food for a period of time. Often lost is the accompanying prayer.

 

Some do spend what would normally have been their meal times that day in prayer over whatever matter they are fasting over. That seems to be more in line with a true, biblical fast.

 

As for myself, if I feel the Spirit leading me to fast and pray about something specific I do so. Otherwise I don't.

 

In earlier years I would join in with others who were fasting but looking back on it I was not doing a biblical fast. I was simply abstaining from food for a period of time and most often looking forward to it ending so I could eat something. Thankfully the Lord showed me my error.

 

Unless one is moved of the Lord to fast for some specific reason, I don't think it's "necessary" we fast just for the sake of fasting or being able to say we have done so.



#7 Ukulelemike

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Posted 12 August 2014 - 09:19 AM

One of the purposes I have always understood for fasting, is that it weakens the flesh, while strengthening the spirit, essentially almost literally 'killing' the flesh, which indeed, it actually does, if the fast is long enough, as the body begins to feed on itself.

 

When I first met my wife, who is a nurse, she didnt know anything much about fasting, from a biblical standpoint, and she was terribly against it, because she knew how it harmed the body. Once she understood the spiritual reasoning for it, she was behind it, but it took some convincing.

 

My old pastor did two 40-day fasts, (not at the same time), and I saw his preaching change and gain more power, saw the church grow, and not just in numbers-this is one of the most involved, active churches I have seen or been a part of-people seem to clamor for some way to serve in the church, and I believe it has somehwhat to do with the willingness of the pastor to kill the flesh and empower the spirit, for the sake of the church and the glory of God. And WHILE he was fasting, by the way, with the exception of a few close friends and his family who supported him, no one knew he was fasting, until well afterward, when he could use it, not for attention, but for example.

 

And I agree, I will not fast unless I believe I am led to it-its not to be done lightly.



#8 DaveW

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Posted 12 August 2014 - 09:31 AM

That was my point - it is extremely rare for me to let anyone else know I am fasting.
I only fast when I feel there is a need for deeper prayer, stronger prayer.

But to let others know you are fasting?
Verily I say unto thee, thou hast thy reward.......

I can only think of one time when I let someone know I was in fasting prayer for them, and that was when, after knowing their situation and praying for them, the situation did not appear to be resolving, and the time was coming short.
So I put it to a fasting prayer. Two nights later at some special meetings he came to me and with some desperation explained that time was running short for them.
I felt at that time it would encourage him to know I was praying for him, so I asked him to keep it a secret and told him I was fasting in prayer for him and his family.

Aside from this the only other person who knows is my wife, and sometimes I can fast without her figuring it out for a day.

#9 Ukulelemike

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Posted 12 August 2014 - 01:28 PM

I agree that when one fasts, it should be done in secret, as it were. Though again, for a pastor, once its done and over, it can be used as a learning tool.

 

Consider: if I, as a pastor, for the benefit of myself and my church, decide to do a prolonged fast-and once the fast is complete, or even during the fast, I begin to see things improved, things that are probably, or specifically, due to the time of fasting and prayer, would it not behoove the church to know this after the fact? To teach the benefits of fasting with a concrete example of how fasting and praying works?

 

I don't believe this would be for the reward of the pastor. I speak of what he did as an encouragement for others to truth the Lord and His ways. Notice I never said the pastor's name, or his church.



#10 2bLikeJesus

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Posted 12 August 2014 - 03:00 PM

I believe not all fasting needs to be food or water.  I will fast anything that is part of my typical day to replace the time I would normally have spent doing that activity, with prayer.  If you are fasting food/water and do not spend the time in prayer that you would typically use to eat a meal, where was the profit in that?  Some people spend hours in front of a TV and fasting something like that for 40 days or much longer can be done without physical harm and the resulting hours of prayer would be a great benefit.  A biblical example of fasting something other than food would be:

 

1 Corinthians 7:5 (KJV)
5  Defraud ye not one the other, except it be with consent for a time, that ye may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again, that Satan tempt you not for your incontinency. 

 

Sometimes I will fast something just to make sure the activity has the right priority in my life, and it has not gotten to a point where it is set before God (become an idol). 

 

Right now I am starting to monitor my online time in minutes to make sure I do not spend more time in email than knee-mail.  

 

Bro. Garry

In His will.  By His power.  For His glory.



#11 DaveW

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Posted 12 August 2014 - 05:22 PM

Two things:
Mike, I do teach on fasting from time to time, and I will use my own as an example but it tends to be "names have been changed to protect the innocent" type thing. Speaking more of general instances and how prayer was answered - or not in the way I wanted. ;)
Garry, I agree that fasting can be various things, but part of the point of fasting is that when you miss the fasted thing it reminds you to pray.
This is where food is great for it, because every time your tummy grumbles it reminds you of your prayer reason.
It is not only "Ok it's lunchtime so I must pray". It is also at 2.45 when a hunger pang strikes you remember why you are hungry and stop a moment to pray. And at 2.47..... and at 3.18...... and at 3.19, 3.20, and 3.21..... and at 5.38...
You can't help but pray without ceasing when your stomach is constantly reminding you.
Or something else that you miss.

#12 2bLikeJesus

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Posted 12 August 2014 - 05:30 PM

Two things:
Mike, I do teach on fasting from time to time, and I will use my own as an example but it tends to be "names have been changed to protect the innocent" type thing. Speaking more of general instances and how prayer was answered - or not in the way I wanted. ;)
Garry, I agree that fasting can be various things, but part of the point of fasting is that when you miss the fasted thing it reminds you to pray.
This is where food is great for it, because every time your tummy grumbles it reminds you of your prayer reason.
It is not only "Ok it's lunchtime so I must pray". It is also at 2.45 when a hunger pang strikes you remember why you are hungry and stop a moment to pray. And at 2.47..... and at 3.18...... and at 3.19, 3.20, and 3.21..... and at 5.38...
You can't help but pray without ceasing when your stomach is constantly reminding you.
Or something else that you miss.

I mention other forms of fasting because some people due to blood sugar issues and other health problems find it impossible and/or very dangerous to fast for even 24 hours.  Sometimes fasting solid food only and drinking fruit juices will get them through, but not always.  Therefore, they often forgo fasting entirely, and miss out on a very powerful avenue of prayer.   



#13 DaveW

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Posted 12 August 2014 - 05:42 PM

Absolutely agree - fasting is not always food; in the Bible there are other examples. See 1 Cor 7:5.
It talks of fasting but in that verse it is not talking about food.

#14 John81

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Posted 12 August 2014 - 05:55 PM

Some good points Bro Garry. I practice fasting "things" also. As well, if I have reason to wonder about something I'm doing I'll fast from that thing or activity and seek the Lord on the matter and ponder what I learn from that. I found this beneficial when I caught myself watching a "little" History Channel before bedtime that turned into watching for an hour, or two, or longer. I eliminated that and replaced watching a little History Channel with reading a devotional before bedtime.

 

Years ago I got involved in some online games as a means of gaining "friends" I could share my faith with. It was fine for awhile but soon I found myself accepting several other game invites and after awhile the Lord brought it to my attention it was now taking a lot of time to keep up with that many games. After fasting from the games for three days I came to the conclusion I needed to stop playing all but one. I kept playing the game that required the least amount of daily attention (only a matter of minutes) and let my friends know I was going to stop playing the other games on a certain date. What a blessing that was!



#15 Miss Daisy

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Posted 12 August 2014 - 11:09 PM

DaveW, what was the result of the fasting and prayer for that family that you used as an example?



#16 DaveW

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Posted 13 August 2014 - 12:05 AM

DaveW, what was the result of the fasting and prayer for that family that you used as an example?


The immediate result was he was comforted - he had not asked for prayer - that was what he came to me to do. They had asked in prayer meeting of course, but not directly. For him to hear that I had taken their situation seriously was comforting to him. That alone helped him.
I actually ceased the next day (dinner day 3 - maybe 4) because I felt the Lord had done with my fast, but the answer did not come for another week or 10 days.
I continued to pray though.
And the answer was an "interim" answer.The final answer came 12 - 18 months later.
Their rental agents would not renew and they could not find another place. The agent gave them a weeks grace about the time of this event. During that extra week a place turned up, but short term lease only. They were in that place on casual contract for 18 months when the Lord provided means to buy a place. During that time they could have been kicked out with 2 weeks notice - stressful for them.

Fasting is not a magic wand (not suggesting you think it is, just saying it), but it is a focused prayer.
I personally think it does more for us than it does to God - I worded that really badly, but I hope people understand what I mean.....




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