The Art of Fasting

When you mention the word fasting the first thing that usually comes to mind is absence of food, but fasting can literally be from anything, including by way of example:

  • Televisions
  • Movies
  • Video games
  • Reading
  • Blogging
  • Work
  • Entertainment in general
  • Telephone use
  • Talking
  • Seeing (giving your eyes a rest)
  • People
  • [enter what stimulates you here]

Jesus’ famous fast in the wilderness was from more than just food. He was also alone. For us that would mean fasting from most of the things in my above list. Many people forget that one of the original purposes of the Sabbath was a form of fasting from many of the stimulations of daily life. Rest is more than relaxation.

My father used to be a regular faster. He would fast once a month for at least three days and one day every week. During that period, he was robustly healthy and at 80 could walk both me and my brother in to the ground.

With that in mind I have begun investigating the idea of fasting, including from food, but also from other forms of stimulation. I am in investigation mode at the moment, but am looking forward to beginning June with some form of regular fasting.

I believe it is time to accede to God’s wisdom in calling myself to regular fasting.

  5 comments for “The Art of Fasting

  1. JACK
    May 18, 2008 at 11:16 am

    Most traditional religions, including Islam, Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism, Judaism and Christianity, advocate fasting at various times. Especially, Hinduism and Islam have looked at the matter of fasting very deeply and have made it compulsory to observe the rituals associated with it.

    It is recognized that fasting is important for improving the healing power within the body.

    However, one should not allow children to fast. Do not fast if you are pregnant or suffer from any of the following:
    – diabetes
    – heart disease
    – epilepsy
    – anaemia
    – very low blood pressure (below 50 diastolic)
    – kidney failure
    – osteoporosis
    – gout (the pain increases with fasting)
    – stomach ulcers.

    Fasting also has to be planned well. To read more…

    [link removed by moderator]

  2. Jen
    May 19, 2008 at 12:37 pm

    This is something that interests me as well. For me, it is no internet or computer use on Sundays. A small thing, I guess, but…it does end up being more relaxing and productive. It’s not as if I sit there online all day (hardly), but it’s just…off-limits on Sundays.

    Food fasts don’t go well for me. Last time I ended up quite sick (but with health conditions that make not eating downright dangerous, I suppose it was a stupid thing to do). I’d still do it, of course, but definitely not when I need to be out and about; it makes me a danger not only to myself but others.

  3. George
    May 24, 2008 at 1:20 pm

    William, you make (again) an excellent point that I’d never focused on.

    Fasting does not start with giving up food. And it’s not about physical health. It’s about the removal of physical distractions from God. Being full of food is the easiest way for me to slip God well into the background — while I thank Him before I eat, practically never to I thank Him when I’m finished.

    But it would be just as distracting to continue to be stimulated by the rest of my daily life. Jesus’ parable of the sower addresses the thorns in our lives — those thorns are our interest in our prosperity.

    Keep us posted on your findings, William. And thanks for your service.

  4. John
    May 30, 2008 at 5:04 pm

    When you remember that food goes almost thirty feet from your mouth, all the way through your intestines to leaving your rectum, that’s a lot of stress to your digestive system under. That’s why it’s more important than ever to consider the quality and quantity of what you eat.

    If you have health problems you can still fast but do it with compassion towards yourself. Get on a transition diet, one that will give your body time to adjust to lots of fruit/vegetables. Pick one unhealthy food a week to replace. Do that for at least three months. Then fast one day in a week. Wait two weeks. Fast one day again. Do this for 2 months.

    After five months, do a two day fast over a weekend. Wait three weeks, do another two day fast. Do the same three weeks later. See what’s happening here? Fasting immediately and only on water, especially if you’re consuming mostly fruit/veg, will cause you a lot of grief. But the worse you feel, the more badly you need to fast!!! Your body is DELIGHTED that you gave it the chance to get rid of all the crap stored throughout yourself. Don’t fight it – it’s a symptom of restoration, of a slowly returning health.

    I also commend fully the idea to fast in other ways and to wean ourselves from the world for periods of time. It’s a powerful thing to do.

    I hope and pray you all have success in your various fasts. Think about doing a water-only fast but as I said already, transition slowly and start off with one day fasts over a few months. You can even stretch it out to a year before you finally go for a 3 or 5 day fast. The benefits are so many, I could be here all day writing about them.

    God Bless.

  5. Gisi
    May 22, 2017 at 1:55 pm

    I'm so happy to read this, my soul is beginning to be aligned with God's will for me, so fasting is definitely something I need to do.

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