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Biblical Fasting | ✝ Fasting in Christianity

Biblical fasting is voluntary abstinence from food and drink for religious-moral reasons. These renunciations are not made from the conception that food or beverages are unclean but because the soul rises to God by refraining from the body.

Biblical fasting is abstaining from all food or, in the case of sickness, only from some drink, worldly things, and all evil desires so that God may be merciful. Yet also to kill the lusts of the body and to receive the grace of God. Biblical fasting is also an act of virtue, an exercise afraid of the body’s desires and strengthening of the will, a form of repentance, therefore, a means of salvation. 

Fasting is also a means of perfection, of putting to death the will of the body, a visible sign of our zeal and diligence towards the likeness of God and the angels, who do not need food. It is also the work of God, for He does not need food,” writes St. Simeon of Thessalonica. Fasting is divine life. It is the slaying of the body, for feeding it has made us dead, and the banishment of the passions is fasting, for covetousness stirs up the desires of the body.

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What is biblical fasting?

Children up to 7, the elderly over 60, the sick, and those doing heavy work or on long and tiring journeys are exempt from fasting. Biblical fasting is the first commandment man received from God while still in heaven. Fasting is the mediator of the Old and New Testaments. Since Christ fasted, all Christians are obliged to fast, and the devil fears those who fast.

Biblical fasting means consuming fasting food without satiation, doubling this ascetic effort with its spiritual equivalent, abstention from sin. Fasting is eating fast food, but you can do this to the point of drunkenness without being concerned with the spiritual side of fasting. This is why Christians must fast, not just eat fafastood. Regarding fasting, it must be kept with a just account, without exaggeration, lest the body becomes sick.

Fasting proves that we renounce the world and its joys to open ourselves to God and the spiritual world. Fasting is from food, drink, oversleeping, and evil thoughts and deeds, so fasting is fasting from food and sin. He who fasts must also cultivate good deeds in addition to abstaining from food.

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Spiritual Fasting

Those who fast should beware of pride, and those who cannot fast because they are sick in the body should pray or do other good works as they can, for God does not require bodily biblical fasting, but good works He expects.

Spiritual fasting is a divine commandment whose purpose is the restoration of faith. According to St. Basil, the Great, fasting is as old as mankind because it was instituted in paradise. Throughout the liturgical year, the Church promotes the patristic tradition and teaching of fasting for man’s continuous and unceasing awakening and dedication to spiritual need.

Fasting is presented in the hymns of Tripodiod as a pre-aluminated grace, an unfailing weapon, the foundation of spiritual struggles, the excellent path of the virtues, food for the soul, the source of all wisdom, unfailing living, and imitation of the divine life, the “mother” of all goodness and virtue.

Read also: Spiritual Fasting According To Biblical Accounts.


How Christian fast?

Biblical fasting offers benefits both to the soul and the body because it strengthens the band body and, at the same time, eases and cleanses the soul. It keeps the body healthy and gives wings to the soul. The Saviour teaches us how to fast and tells us that the devil can only be driven out by fasting and prayer.

Christians fast by abstaining from food and praying. Whether one day or several days, fasting or ascetic fasting is the expression of the state of waiting and preparation; in this sense, biblical fasting is always linked to the expectation of union with Christ. Through the Sacrament of Holy Communion, thus taking on a Eucharistic character. It is “a journey, a pilgrimage” towards this holy joy, and this joy makes the sorrow of fasting a “bright” one. And the suffering is a “spiritual spring.” 

The observance of fasting is a duty of every Christian. The whole, authentic and perfect fast is both bodily and spiritual: fasting from food. Together with fasting from work, fasting from food, and eating. This is what the Church encourages us in her Lenten hymns: ‘Let us fast, fasting received, acceptable to the Lord. Fasting in Christianity is the turning away from wickedness, the restraint of the tongue. The denial of wrath, the turning away from lust, from flattery. The absence of these is the true and welcome fast.”

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How to fast and pray for beginners

Fasting is an invitation to invest, more than usual, physical energy in spiritual energy through prayer, Almand giving, and spiritual readings. During Lent, it is considered necessary for the faithful to pay more attention to prayers at home. More and more often than usual. The Holy Fathers called fasting without prayer “fasting of demons.” Because demons do not eat because of their physical nature, neither do they pray.

To fast as a beginner, first, you must pray about it and seek God. And then you must abstain from food and drink and all worldly and all evil desires, so that the Christian may make it easier and God may be gracious to him, to kill the wishes of the body and to receive the grace of God.

Christian fasting is abstaining, for a time, from sweet foods – milk, meat, cheese, eggs, and their derivatives – and strengthening the soul’s powers over the evil inclinations of the body.

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Scriptures to read while fasting.

I’m sure most of us have heard about people who fast. We often hear of people fasting, refusing to eat until something is put right. But what does the Bible say about fasting? And what Bible verses to read to strengthen us when we fast.

When we fast, we should read the following Scriptures: Matthew 4:3: The tempter came to him and said, If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread. Jesus answered and said to him; It is written: Man does not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.

We have many examples in the Bible of people who fasted. Moses fasted on Mount Sinai (Exodus 34:28). Hannah fasted when she wanted a son from the Lord (1 Samuel 1:7 ). And David fasted several times (2 Samuel 1:12, 12:22). All the people of Israel fasted on the Day of Atonement (Leviticus 23:27 ). We find many examples of fasting in the Old Testament. But biblical fasting is not something that is only in Old Testament. Jesus fasted when he was in the wilderness (Matthew 4:2 ).

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Fasting for God

Anna served God in the temple with fasting and prayer (Luke 2:37 ). Saul fasted after his conversion on the Damascus road (Acts 9:9 ). and Cornelius fasted before he had his vision (Acts 10:30 ). The assembly at Antioch fasted when Barnabas and Saul were sent on their first missionary journey (Acts 13:3 ). Paul, on the road to Rome, abstained from food for 14 days.

Jesus teaches us that there is a way to fast for God and a wrong way. In Matthew 6, He leads the crowds that fasting can be a form of religious hypocrisy like almsgiving and showing prayers! He condemns the intention to fast in the sight of the world. True fasting for God is kept in silence, without showing oneself outwardly (Matthew 6:17-18 ).

But what about “proclaiming a fast,” like that of Esther (Esther 4:16 ) or Jehoshaphat or Ezra (2 Chronicles 20:3, Ezra 8:21 )? These are times when the people proclaimed a fast for an urgent situation, a fast that was coupled with much prayer before the Lord. We see fasting often correlated with prayer (Psalm 35:13, Matthew 6:5-18, 1 Corinthians 7:5 ).

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Fasting for spiritual growth

So what should Christians fast for? Is it a command of Scripture? The Bible does not command us to fast. God does not ask Christians to do so. At the same time, the Bible presents fasting as something good, profitable, and beneficial. Too often, the emphasis is on abstaining from food. On the contrary, fasting in Christianity should take your eyes off earthly things to focus on God. Although we almost always find fasting about food in the Bible, there are other ways to fast. Any temporary giving up of something to focus our attention entirely on the Lord can be considered fasting (Exodus 19:14-15, 1 Corinthians 7:1-5 ).

Fasting for spiritual growth is a spiritual exercise between those who fast and God, who rewards those who seek Him. Isaiah 58:1-7, we have described a right and wrong way too fast. Fasting to impress others is the wrong way. Fasting with a motive before God and aiming for His glory is the right way! We may think more about these and our reasons next time we fast.

Fasting and prayer bring spiritual power into our lives. It’s something the disciples learned from their experience in Matthew 17. When the Lord returned from the Mount of Transfiguration, a man prayed to Him about his son, who was a lunatic and suffered severely, often falling into the fire and often into the water. The disciples tried to heal the boy but could not. Only the Lord Jesus could.

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Fast for healing

Water fasting is giving up food entirely for some time and drinking only the purest water. Besides the spiritual side, the main effects of fasting are to rest the entire digestive tract and facilitate internal processes. And exchanges eliminate metabolic waste and purify the whole being. Ernest Gunther wrote in his book “Living Food” That fasting is the oldest and most natural way of healing all diseases.

Fasting for healing must be accomplished through water fasting and prayer. Numerous studies have shown that fasting brings fantastic benefits to the body. They heal it, reduce stress, boost metabolism, develop creativity, and improve sleep quality. And most importantly regenerates the entire cellular system and heals severe diseases such as cancer.

“It must be considered that an animal, when sick, retires somewhere and does not eat at all for several days. If a sick person fasts, he will get rid of the disease much faster than if he eats. Even if it is raw food.” Classical medicine has long been unable to explain how fasting can cure many diseases. Some of which are very hard, and some of which are even considered incurable.

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We know from the story of Daniel, who set himself apart for God and simultaneously stood in the gap and interceded with fast-prayer-medium for his nation for 21 days. His prayer was answered from day one, but it was a great spiritual struggle not to receive the answer, so he had to persevere for 21 days until the answer came.

Fasting, praying, and meditating on God’s Word will help you restrain your energy and passion. You will experience spiritual refreshment, guidance, release from things that have come to dominate you, healing of soul and body, restoration of relationships, and more.

It is a privilege to seek God with fasting and prayer, reading the Word, and giving Him your best from the very first days of the year, for in this way, He will honor you with prayerful obedience and bless you throughout the year.

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Biblical Fasting

Type of fasting in the Bible

1. Fasting without food and water.

This fasting should be done less frequently and only for a few days. This fasting should only be done if you get the consent of your family doctor. Also, besides spiritual reasons, dry fasting helps eliminate edema formed due to fluid accumulation in damaged tissues. A short-term water deficiency leads to the fact that swellings of different kinds dissolve as the body uses any available fluid to maintain life.

2. Normal fasting.

During this fast, you drink water; depending on how many days you fast, you can also drink natural juices to maintain your strength.
When you fast, drink a lot of natural water; by doing this, you will eliminate toxins from your body, fasting will make you see better, taste, and smell, and all your natural senses will be improved. Fasting in Christianity breaks all the chains. Even food addiction can break the power of an uncontrollable appetite for food and damage the habit of smoking, alcohol, and even drugs.

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3. Partial fasting

Partial fasting can be interpreted in several ways; it can be with certain foods. And water or juice for a more extended period. The most common partial fast is found in the book of Daniel. At the beginning of their captivity, when they were taken to Babylon. Daniel and his three friends refused to eat the emperor’s choice of foods for ten days and ate only greens. They were as healthy as the other young men who ate from the emperor’s table. In chapter 10, Daniel began another partial fast for 21 days.

Primary Takeaways
  • Christian fasting is abstaining from sweet foods – milk, meat, cheese- for a time. Eggs and their derivatives – as well as drinks- strengthen the soul’s powers over the evil inclinations of the body.
  • Fasting or abstinence from food is not exclusively a Christian practice. It has existed and still exists in other religions and even outside a faith, for example, in certain specific therapies. Today, people fast for all sorts of reasons, some quite bizarre. It is then essential to discern the uniquely Christian content of fasting.
  • For many, if not most Christians, fasting consists of a limited number of outward. Predominantly negative rules and prescriptions: abstaining from certain foods, dancing, and other distractions. The origin of fasting in Christianity lies in the commandment given by God to the first people not to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil ( Genesis 2:16-17).

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The Saviour fasted, and The Holy Apostles followed his example. Christianity has given biblical fasting paramount importance by integrating it into the spiritual life in the unseen warfare, in the battle against the powers of darkness and the passions: “This demon nation does not come out except by prayer and fasting” (Matthew 17:21).