Fasting.

Discussion in '2000-02 Archive' started by Ben W, Nov 29, 2002.

  1. Ben W

    Ben W
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    I am trying to fast for 24 hours as a part of a prayer vigil for the Persecuted church and other requests as organised by Moriel Ministries. Have any of you guys tried fasting before? Is Fasting for the Modern church today? How should we approach fasting in general?
     
  2. Jim1999

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    Fasting is certainly recorded in scripture. I think it is a private matter; a time to set aside the routine things for prayer and meditation. I am not sure where 24 hours comes in, but that is an individual choice.

    As a diabetic, fasting is rather risky, and not recommended.

    In one church, there was a couple who fasted every Sunday. It was not set aside for prayer and meditation, but they thought it was good for the body to rest all the internal organs. I am not saying they weren't spiritually minded people, because they were. Certainly some time would be given to reflection.

    From my viewpoint, no one should know that you are fasting, except God. I understand the instructional part of fasting. We can't know without asking, but the act itself should be very private.

    Cheers, and all the best to you,

    Jim
     
  3. Dr. Bob

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    I usually do "12-hour fasts". Find them to be no problem (8pm-8am). :rolleyes:

    Now, seriously, I agree that fasting (as was truly practiced) is about as lost an art as spending a long time in prayer.

    When I fast, I spend the time normally involved in food preparation and consumption in prayer. Also, whenever I conciously feel "hunger", I stop and pray.

    Like the "grumble" in my stomach is Pavolv's bell.
     
  4. Ben W

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    Fasting does not really seem to come up in Christian circles I have been with. I really am not sur that the bible gives any clear direction in the New Testament concerning how to fast. Jesus mentioned it. Maybe He fasted also?

    How many of us wait on God for answers to prayer and expect Him to do something? Fasting seems to me to be making yourself do something to glorify Him. Maybe it is as simple as trying to focus on Him. Peeling back the layers of our daily life and seeing what it is that the Holy Spirit is trying to say to us?
     
  5. wjrighter

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    don't do much myself, have not felt led to do so, like Jim says, i think it is a personel thing between God & one's self; also checked out the fact that fasting can be done w/ more than just
    food. example's; tv., personal, time etc... playing on the computer ? [​IMG] golf, fishing,
    on & on.......... pretty sure God will lead tho.
     
  6. Gwyneth

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    There was a chapel in the village where the Pastor used to fast on the day he took communion - he said it was because he only ate with the Lord on that day, or something like that.It was a Methodist chapel.
     
  7. Helen

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    Fasting is quite possible for 24 hours if you don't eat a BIG meal ahead of time. Don't stretch your stomach! Eat normally and finish the last meal with some protein.

    Stay calm and quiet during your fasting period. Sleep when you need to, and spend time with the Lord in prayer and Bible study. I also use the time to write quiet letters to my children about their growing up. They love getting those as they involve my memories and how proud I was of this or that for each and recognition on paper of the mountains they have each climbed. So the concentration during a fast is on God and others. If you think about yourself you get awfully hungry!

    Don't get too active.

    If you have a blood sugar problem, a piece of dry toast half-way through can often do the trick.

    I have not fasted for years because I have not been able to get away by myself, and for me that is really necessary. Having the demands of everyday makes me want to eat like every day! So getting away by myself someplace (my mother has a condominium at Lake Tahoe and some friends also have a cabin in the hills I can borrow), is kind of a need for me. Others may not need it.

    At any rate, those are the tricks I learned, and I do have a blood sugar problem as half of my pancreas was suddenly separated from the other half when a horse kicked me when I was 21!

    God bless.

    Helen
     
  8. Jessie

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    [ December 11, 2002, 10:26 AM: Message edited by: Jessie ]
     
  9. donnA

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    Daniel fasted by not eating meats and sweets, but vegetables when he was waiting for an answer from God. So all fasts are not being totally without food.
     
  10. Rosa

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    I agree that fasting should be a private thing, but it is so private that I don't know exactly what constitutes a fast other than not eating for a specific amount of time. Is fasting when you don't eat meat or sugar for a specified time?
    Also, how do you fast privately when your family asks why your not eating, or in the case of my Daughter, pushing you to eat?
    I do understand the reasons behind fasting, (fasting AND prayer) just not the mechanics.
     
  11. g'day mate

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    Like Jim I am also a diabetic, type 2 wich means no injections of insulin.Take tab morning and night with meals.An orange is good to keep you going,easy to carry as well.It's possible that if I had fasted before, I may not have this problem to-day. [​IMG]
    John
     
  12. Lorelei

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    I am not sure I do understand the reasonings for fasting as part of the NT church. Could you please explain why you fast? Are you trying to get closer to God? Trying to get God to answer a prayer? How does fasting help the persecuted church?

    Dr Bob had once mentioned how thier church fasted to relieve hunger. It was my understanding that they fasted and gave the food (or money they would have spent on food) from the meals they missed, to help the poor. (I hope I got that right) That type of fasting can make sense to me, it is a way to sacrificially give, but not a way to get God to do things he already promised he would do.

    The Bible says to approach the throne of grace boldly. I don't see how fasting is required to come to God with a request, nor does the Bible teach that he answers prayers more quickly for those who fast. Could fasting be something that gentiles were not required to do?

    ~Lorelei
     
  13. Abiyah

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    I really identified with a lot of what has been writ-
    ten here. I, too, did not have an understanding of
    fasting, because it is rarely brought up.

    However, years ago, i went through a difficult
    time when my daughter decided to leave our God
    out of her life as a teen. Oh, it led to trouble for
    her! Fearing this, I chose this fast: no breakfast
    and no chocolate.

    Why? Because breakfast is first in the morning,
    the thing that dominates the day. My idea was
    to let prayer for my daughter dominate my day
    instead. Why chocolate? Because I love
    chocolate. I have nearly a daily dose now, and
    back then, it was several daily doses, one of
    which was hot cocoa to make my calcium intake
    more pleasurable. So everytime i went to reach
    for the chocolate, my heart went to prayer
    instead. This actually kept her condition even
    more in the forefront than it already was.

    I had an unfortunate (?) experience re fasting
    in private. One day, this precious daughter
    bought me my favorite--one of those big ol'
    Hershey bars with almonds. I looked at it in
    her sweet hands, gulped, and said, "I can't take
    it, Honey." She was hurt--really Hurt. She
    asked why. I stood there in silence for a long
    time, looking at her, wondering what to do. I
    finaly said, "Sweetheart, I will never touch
    another drop of chocolate, until you turn back
    to the Lord." She looked up at me in silence,
    then quietly went to her room.

    It took some months and a precious grandson
    born out of wedlock before she returned to our
    God, but she returned. She is now a married
    lady with a fabulous husband and three won-
    derful children, serving our God. (Pray for them;
    they are making some tough decisions.)

    There are fasts used as reminders and time-
    makers, as mine was. There are fasts done so
    that we can achieve more empathy for the
    hungry, and the money otherwise spent on food
    is given to them. There are fasts when we simply
    become so concerned about something that we
    don't eat, spending the time in prayerr and medi-
    tation instead. And yes, I observe fasts men-
    tioned in the Bible--such fasts as that on Yom
    Kippur.

    But our Lord fasted. If we are to follow His
    example, we should fast. I don't do it enough.
     
  14. Helen

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    Lorelei, when I fasted before, it was as a self-discipline and to force myself to focus my concentration off of myself. At the time I had only young children and I found my life so consumed with day to day activities that the Lord was the rush prayer at night and I knew I had to get back to Him in a very determined and strong way. So about once a year I would take two days while my husband took over the household and parenting for a weekend, and go up to a family cabin in the mountains with my Bible, a pen, and a notebook and a little French bread for an emergency dizzy spell.

    The fast would only be 24 hours -- usually from the time I left home to 24 hours later at the cabin. Then I would eat a light meal, sometimes take a nap, and head for home. It was the only way I knew then of grabbing enough alone time to really be with the Lord for more than a five minute prayer. My oldest daughter, a toddler at the time as I recall, did not sleep through the night until she was three, so anytime my body was horizontal I was asleep!

    It was my answer for a need I had at the time. The fasting forced me to remember WHY I had come to the cabin and was an excellent exercise in self-discipline as well.

    So I don't know why others do, but that is why I used to. Now, with the kids grown, I have lots of alone time with the Lord and I really appreciate that! Self-discipline? Getting better; still working on it! But I haven't fasted for years and do not see a need to now.
     
  15. Wisdom Seeker

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    Yes, I have fasted. It's sort of a way to tell God that you mean business. Instead of eating you pray...and yes... your not supposed to let anyone know. There is even something in the Bible about not letting anyone know...but I don't remember exactly where.

    I read somewhere that eating only clear liquids is considered fasting... that, believe it or not is not just water. The diet they put you on in the hospital after some surgeries is considered a fast.

    As for me... I shake violently if I go without eating for more than 4 hours. This happened to me at church last night in choir practice..and I had to put a piece of hard candy in my mouth to get it to stop. Sunday's I have to leave for church by 4:00 and I'm not back home until at least 8:30pm...so lunch doesn't always get me through. I don't know what the shaking is about...blood sugar levels apparently. I'll see a doctor after our insurance kicks in to see if there is a medical reason for the shaking.
     
  16. Ben W

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    Wisdom Seeker, Maybe you should be a minister in the Quakers :D

    Just a joke, but quaking has been recorded as a phenomanon that does occur in some churches from time to time.

    Loreli, I am not big on the fasting deal as some are, but I tried it out probably on a basis of curiosity. I think fasting can show God that you are really serious about your request, I also think fasting can help you draw nearer to God by placing more of an emphasis on Him which can result in people being able to listen more closely to what the Holy Spirit is trying to say.
     
  17. Helen

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    W.S. -- sounds like low blood sugar. Two quick fixes: avoid all sugars before you go and during! And have some protein before you go. Cheese on toast, or something like that also works, but some good protein is the best. Then take some string cheese or something with you that is not sugary, because that will only make your blood sugar keep bouncing around if you have sugar. Some nuts -- like a little thing of peanuts or almonds in your purse for emergencies also works well. If the sugar is really required to stop you from shaking, then put in something like the M&M's with almonds, so you are getting some protein in, too, to help even out the metabolising of the sugar.

    Now...back to the subject at hand... [​IMG]
     
  18. Lorelei

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    I can see how fasting might help you put your focus on Christ, but I think we are arrogant to say we can show God just how serious we are. God knows the heart, if you think you are showing him something he doesn't already know you are in error. We shouldn't try to show God we are serious, we should be serious and be about doing God's business. God's business is saving souls and telling others about the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ is how we get serious.

    I am not saying that all fasting is wrong, I think some great examples were given as to how fasting can benefit us, but let us not partake in the false teachings that we can do anything to impress God or to earn something from him. To fast so that God will answer a prayer is saying that you can earn that answer if you are good enough or sacrifice enough. Prayer or fasting should never be about getting what we want, it should be about getting what God wants. God's will is perfect and He can perform it whether we fast or not.

    ~Lorelei
     
  19. Ben W

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    Dear Lorelei,

    Naturally God knows the hearts of all people. There is a difference between good intentions and actually doind something. For example, I work in a technical service department in a paint company where I deal with customer complaints. People are very keen for me to come out and look at there defective painted surface. When the onus is placed onto the customer to actually get off their backside and deliver some flakes to one of the companys stores, the complaint is quite often soon forgotten.

    People can have great intentions to pray, often they get too busy and dont follow them through. by going on a fast you are denying yourself. You are giving that time specifically to God as a means of sacrifice to yourself. In that manner I can say that people are serious about what they are praying for. God knows peoples hearts for sure, but He wants us to get to know Him. That is by putting aside the things of the world and focusing on Him and what He is saying. Fasting can assist in this process.
     
  20. Lorelei

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    I agree, but there are also people doing something with good intentions but for the wrong reason.

    I just read such an example last night in a book by Bob George, called "Growing in Grace". He talked about his first summer job on a farm, and how eager he was to show his boss that he was a hard worker. His job was to dig out all of the weeds by some new tomato plants. He worked real hard, so dedicated that he didn't take a break until lunch time. During lunch he heard his boss screaming. It turned out that in all that hard work he had dug up the tomato plants and left the weeds. He was busy doing and his intentions were good, but it didn't more harm then good. As he so accurately stated "You can be totally sincere, but sincerely wrong."

    That is the point I was trying to make. Fasting can be a wonderful thing I am sure, but as with anything, it must be done correctly. Too many people have this sense that salvation is free and are willing to accept that, but then they add all these rules and works after the fact so that they can feel like they earned the right to keep it. It's a human thing that isn't easy to overcome, otherwise the apostles wouldn't have had to keep reminding the churches that it wasn't by works but by grace we are saved. That works are a result of our salvation yes, but the works just sort of happen when your focus on Christ stays clear. We don't have to try or work at it. Only by letting the Spirit work through us will any work that we do mean anything.

    I am not suggesting that this is your intent when fasting, I think we just need to be cautious when making statements that can cause other people to think that they can indeed earn points with God by doing something like fasting. Believe me, there are religions that teach that fasting will help you get your prayers answered, it will help you have enough faith to get God to do what you want him to do. I might be oversensitive, but I think it is extremely important to keep the intent clear so that others don't misunderstand.

    I agree that Fasting can assist us in helping to keep our focus on Him.

    ~Lorelei
     

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