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The True Nature of Fasting The True Nature of Fasting What is Fasting? Why do we fast? How should we fast? The True Nature of Fasting Definitions of Fasting English Webster’s Dictionary 1 : to abstain from food 2 : to eat sparingly or abstain from some foods WikiPedia

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The True Nature of Fasting


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the true nature of fasting2
The True Nature of Fasting
  • What is Fasting?
  • Why do we fast?
  • How should we fast?
the true nature of fasting3
The True Nature of Fasting
  • Definitions of Fasting

English

Webster’s Dictionary

1 : to abstain from food

2 : to eat sparingly or abstain from some foods

WikiPedia

Fasting is primarily the act of willingly abstaining from some or all food, drink, or both, for a period of time.

the true nature of fasting4
The True Nature of Fasting
  • Definitions of Fasting

Hebrew

Tsum - keep the mouth shut

the true nature of fasting5
The True Nature of Fasting
  • Definitions of Fasting

Greek

the true nature of fasting6
The True Nature of Fasting
  • Biblical accounts of fasting

Old Testament

Genesis 2:16-17

“ And the LORD God commanded the man, ‘You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die.’"

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The True Nature of Fasting
  • Biblical Accounts

Old Testament

Deuteronomy 9:18

When Moses went up to Mt. Sinai

“Then I again fell down before the Lord for forty days and nights; I ate and drank nothing because of all the sin you had committed, doing such evil before the Lord as to enrage him.”

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The True Nature of Fasting
  • Biblical Accounts

New Testament

Matthew 4:1-2

Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil. {2} After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry.

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The True Nature of Fasting
  • Biblical Accounts

New Testament

After Jesus drove a demon out of a young boy.

Mark 9:28-29

28 After Jesus had gone indoors, his disciples asked him privately, “Why couldn’t we drive it out?”

29 He replied, “This kind can come out only by prayer.”

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The True Nature of Fasting
  • Why Do We Fast

I. As a Sign of Sorrow

A. For tragic events (Judg 20:26; 1 Sam 31:13/1 Chr 10:12; 2 Sam 1:12, 3:35; Jer 14:1-12; Joel 1:14, 2:12-15).

B. For personal sorrow (1 Sam 1:7-8, 20:34; Job 3:24; Pss 42:3, 102:4, 107:17-18).

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The True Nature of Fasting
  • Why Do We Fast

II. As a Sign of Repentance and Seeking Forgiveness

A. National or corporate sins (Exod 34:28/Deut 9:9, 18, 10:10; 1 Sam 7:6; Ezra 9:1- 10:17; Neh 1:4-7, 9:1; Dan 9:3-14; Jonah 3:5-9; Zech 8:16-19).

B. Personal sins (2 Sam 12:16-23; 1 Kgs 21:27-29; Ps 69:10; Acts 9:9?).

C. As an opportunity for public exposure of sin (1 Kgs 21:9-12; Isa 58:1-5; Jer 36:6-9).

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The True Nature of Fasting
  • Why Do We Fast

III. As an Aid in Prayer to God

A. For others (2 Sam 12:16-23; Neh 1:8-10; Ps 35:13; Dan 6:18, 9:15-19).

B. For self (1 Sam 1:7-11; Neh 1:11; Ps 109:21-24; Dan 9:3, 10:1-3).

C. For success in battle (Judg 20:26; 1 Sam 7:6; 2 Chr 20:3) and in other endeavors (Ezra 8:21-23; Esth 4:16).

D. For relief from famine (Jer 14:1-12; Joel 1:14, 2:12-15).

E. As a means of personal or group devotion (Matt 6:16-18; Luke 2:37; Acts 10:30, 13:2-3; 1 Cor 7:5).

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The True Nature of Fasting
  • Why Do We Fast

IV. As a Part of Experiencing God’s Presence

A. Supernatural sustaining by God (Exod 34:28/Deut 9:9, 18, 10:10; 1 Kgs 19:8).

B. Reliance on God in times of temptation or spiritual warfare (Matt 4:2/Luke 4:2; Matt 17:21/Mark 9:29).

C. Reflecting the reality of the absence of Christ’s immediate presence with his followers (Matt 9:14-15/Mark 2:18-20/Luke 5:33-35).

D. Going without food to remain longer under Jesus’ teaching (Matt 15:32/Mark 8:3).

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The True Nature of Fasting
  • Why Do We Fast

V. As an Act of Ceremonial Public Worship (Isa 58:3; Jer 36:6-9; 8:19; Acts 27:9).

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The True Nature of Fasting
  • Why Do We Fast

VI. As Related to Ministry

A. Preparation for significant ministry (Matt 4:2/Luke 4:2; Acts 9:9, 13:2-3, 14:23).

B. Specific command of God while prophesying (1 Kgs 13:1-22).

C. Suffering for the sake of the gospel (2 Cor 6:5/11:27).

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The True Nature of Fasting
  • How Should We Fast

Sayings of the Church Fathers

St. Basil The Great:

There is both a physical and a spiritual fast. In the physical fast the body abstains from food and drink. In the spiritual fast, the faster abstains from evil intentions, words and deeds. One who truly fasts abstains from anger, rage, malice, and vengeance. One who truly fasts abstains from idle and foul talk, empty rhetoric, slander, condemnation, flattery, lying and all manner of spiteful talk. In a word, a real faster is one who withdraws from all evil.

As much as you subtract from the body, so much will you add to the strength of the soul.

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The True Nature of Fasting
  • How Should We Fast

St. John Chrysostom:

Do you fast? Then feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, visit the sick, do not forget the imprisoned, have pity on the tortured, comfort those who grieve and who weep, be merciful, humble, kind, calm, patient, sympathetic, forgiving, reverent, truthful and pious, so that God might accept your fasting and might plentifully grant you the fruits of repentance.

Fasting of the body is food for the soul.

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The True Nature of Fasting
  • How Should We Fast

St. John of Kronstadt

Why did Adam and Eve lose paradise, why did they fall into sin and death? Was it not because of one evil? Let us attentively consider why we do not care about the salvation of our soul, which cost the Son of God so dearly. Why do we compound sin upon sin, fall endlessly into opposing to God, into a life of vanity? Is it not because of a passion for earthly things and especially for earthly pleasures? What makes our hearts become crude? Why do we become flesh and not spirit, perverting our moral nature? Is it not because of a passion for food, drink, and other earthly comforts? How after this can one say that it does not matter whether you eat non-Lenten food during Lent? The fact that we talk this way is in fact pride, idle thought, disobedience, refusal to submit to God, and separation from Him.

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The True Nature of Fasting
  • How Should We Fast

St. Athanasius -

Seest thou what fasting does: it heals illnesses, drives out demons, removes wicked thoughts, makes the heart pure. If someone has even been seized by an impure spirit, let him know that this kind, according to the word of the Lord, "goeth not out but by prayer and fasting" (Matthew 17:21).

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The True Nature of Fasting
  • How Should We Fast

Anthony the Great

Always establish one and the same hour for taking food, and take it for fortifying the body and not for enjoyment.

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The True Nature of Fasting
  • How Should We Fast

St. Seraphim of Sarov

The holy fasters did not approach strict fasting suddenly, but little by little they became capable of being satisfied by the most meager food. Despite all this they did not know weakness, but were always hale and ready for action. Among them sickness was rare, and their life was extraordinarily lengthy.

To the extent that the flesh of the faster becomes thin and light, spiritual life arrives at perfection and reveals itself through wondrous manifestations, and the spirit performs its actions as if in a bodiless body. External feelings are shut off, and the mind that renounces the earth is raised up to heaven and is wholly immersed in the contemplation of the spiritual world.