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Fasting Without Prayer Is Just A Diet

Apr 25, 2008
True biblical fasting requires prayer. You can pray without fasting but you can't fast -God's way - without prayer. If you've decided to fast, here are a couple things to keep in mind:

1. Numerous times in the New Testament, Jesus talked about fasting. He always said "when," not "if" you fast. It is something Jesus expects from Christians. Although fasting should come from your heart's desire, at first it may seem like a chore. That's okay. Tithing isn't always easy, either. But your obedience means more to God than your sacrifice. Like anything else, the more you do it, the easier it will become.

2. If you struggle with bulimia or anorexia or any other condition where it is imperative that you eat regularly, you should never participate in a full fast. There are other options, as indicated below.

3. Fasting is not manipulation. You may be fasting to hear God more clearly or to receive an answer to a specific prayer, but you cannot fast God into doing something for you. God is always concerned about the condition of our hearts more than He is about giving us what we want.

4. Unless you hear differently from God on this issue, don't think you need to be on your knees for the full fasting period. God understands that you have a family, a job and daily activities. Fasting and prayer can be done around these things. Again, it is an issue of the heart.

5. You will get hungry! Headaches, fatigue, and general loss of energy are all natural parts of a fast. This is your body reminding you that you're not giving it what it wants most. But, unless you have a condition like one mentioned above, you will get through it - even though your mind will tell you otherwise.

Here are the four most common forms of fasting:

1. Twenty-Four Hour Fast - This is the most normal and convenient fast today. It takes place from sun-down to sun-set the following evening. Jewish tradition was to eat a full meal in the late afternoon and then fast until dinnertime the next day. You may want to eat a large early dinner and spend an hour with God after dinner, asking Him to bless your fasting time. Waking up the next morning knowing you will be able to eat that evening makes dealing with the hunger pains a little easier to bear.

While most people drink only water throughout their fast, natural fruit juices are another option. Some people also choose to eat only fruits and vegetables during their fast, although this form is usually implemented during a longer fast (like a three-day or longer). If caffeine is a major factor, you may choose to allow for morning coffee to eliminate headaches.

2. One Meal Per Day - This is recommended for those who are new to fasting or who have a condition that doesn't allow for a full, twenty-four-hour fast. Try eliminating one meal per day and replacing it with prayer time.

3. Food-Specific Fast - This form of fasting is traditionally practiced by Catholics during Lent. Whether it's chocolate, sugar, chips, red meat, soda, or candy, this type of fast is a great disciplinary exercise as well as an excellent way to surrender a desire to God. Use the time you would spend eating that particular food studying God's Word and listening for His voice.

4. A Complete (or Radical) Fast - Going without food and water for any period of time can be a health risk. The Bible talks about a few people who abstained from both food and water, including Ezra, Daniel, Esther, and Paul. But these cases were rare and extreme. If you do choose to partake in a radical fast, do so only with clear direction from the Holy Spirit.

Fasting is a form of worship and obedience. The benefits are many. See the following scriptures for further study on fasting:

2 Chronicles 20:3
Matthew 9:14
Matthew 6:16
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