Friday, July 1, 2011

God's how-to regarding fasting

(Republished from first post on 6/15/07)

Jesus said that some things happen “by nothing but by prayer and fasting” I would think any prayer warrior would want this spiritual bunker blaster. But some are afraid to handle such a weapon or don’t know how. Others don’t realize the benefits of such.
God tells us how to properly fast in Isaiah 58. In vs. 3 and 4 we find that we must be holy, sincere, earnest, and charitable and not fast to be noticed. Fasting is to humble ourselves before God. (v.5) And God knows our intentions.
But what are the benefits? (v.6) Fasting breaks strong chains of wickedness, cuts loose heavy burdens, frees the oppressed, and breaks bondage. No wonder the devil tries to make the saints steer clear of fasting! Also, when we are not eating it gives us more income to help the poor, (v.7) which God wants us to do. One of the greatest misconceptions is that fasting will harm you physically, but God (v. 8) promises that your health will spring forth speedily. Dr. Joel Fuhrman (see his book Fasting and Eating for Health)and other doctors who specialize in fasting for treatment prove that fasting is healthy. Besides, Jesus would not advocate something destructive to His temple. Those who fast much testify to improved health and vanishing infirmities. Scientific studies show that those who have lived under fasting type conditions have longer life spans. Deny yourself and step away from the table, for many are digging an earlier grave with their fork.
Another benefit (v. 8) is that the glory of Jehovah will guard your back, similar to the children of Israel with Pharaoh’s army. When you call (v. 9) God will answer. When you cry, God will say, “Here I am.” God reiterates that with fasting you must live a blameless, careful, God fearing life, but if so, He will exalt your light in the middle of nowhere (v. 10) and it will break forth as the morning. (v. 8) Commentators believe that “light” refers to prosperity. Your darkness will be like high noon. Your every step will be ordained of God, He will feed your soul in famine, give vigor to your bones, and you’ll be like a flourishing garden and an eternal, artesian spring. Also they that are of you will build the old ruins, you will build the foundations of many generations, and you’ll be called the repairer of the breach, the restorer of the paths to dwell in. Meditate on that! But God gives one final condition (v.13) if you want Him to heed your fast and bless you like this. Don’t meddle with His Day of Rest. That is, don’t do your tasks and pleasures, but honor God not walking in your own ways, not finding your own pleasure, nor even speaking your own words, and then to consider this type of life delightful. Then God will cause you (v. 14) to delight in Him, give your life the ride of its life with abundant blessing, and nourish you with the heritage that He has promised Jacob. That’s a fact; keep your end of the covenant and God will prove it to you.
For water-only fasts longer than several days or more: 1) Lead up to your fast eating raw fruits and vegetables. 2) Expect weakness, pain, dizziness, and cold from detoxification, slowed metabolism, and lower blood pressure. 3) Drink lots of pure water. 4) Come off long fasts (1 week – 40 days) with juices and broths for the first 2 days. 5) Then eat juicy fruits & vegetables (starting slowly) for the same amount of time as your fast. 6) Plan on loosing a pound a day. 7) If you break your fast with heavy meals or food too rapidly there could be dire consequences with acute pain or worse. For you must give your body time to build up its digestive enzymes again (yogurt cultures & probiotics help). There is a strong temptation to gluttony after fasting, but it is harmful and can go to accelerated weight gain with your slowed metabolism.  (If you are uncertain about fasting due to health problems, the above mentioned book would be an advisable read.)
-by Phillip


Gayle said...

Great post on Fasting!

Kim M. said...

Thanks, Phillip for your nice commnet on our blog. Looks like you also had a happy Father's day too. (Michael got to eat breakfast in bed with his boys) It was so cute.
I wanted to comment on this post. It has been very informative. I have had some questions about it lately and this has really helped. Thanks so much!

Kira said...

Great post !

I must confess that fasting is something i have "avoided" ...based on greed and selfishness . I hate how our weathy countries how an obesity problem and then how people are dying in poor countries for something as accessible to us as clean water !

But then i dont really help the problem either by avoiding a fast .

Can i ask a few questions ( i understand you dont have a lot of free time so no pressure to reply )

* can children fast ?
*Do you think you should fast on a day where you are not working ? so as to have more focus on the Lord ?

Thanks .

The Dickinsons said...

Thank you for kindly responding to this post. I am happy to try to address your questions...good questions by the way.
1.) Can children fast?
Yes, they can and have fasted. However, I would be hesitant to compel children to fast. I know of only one incident in the Bible where children were compelled to fast. That was when God was going to destroy Nineveh. And even the animals were made to fast, to try to invoke God's mercy. When Queen Esther proclaimed a fast for the Jews, children may have fasted but I don't know, but we do know that they were fasting over a life and death matter. Now the following is only my humble opinion, but there have been children who have seen daddy and mommy fasting and enjoying it, and they have wanted to fast too, but children's zeal is often greater than their strength. So as a parent I have told them they could fast, but usually for just a meal or two, if they were old enough to handle it. E.g. My 7 year old, if he would want to, might skip a meal; my 13 year old might skip a couple meals or a day. This would also depend on the child's strength.
2.) Do I think one should fast on a day when he/she is not working, so as to focus more on the Lord?
Having a free day, to fast and pray without other obligations would be ideal and preferable. However at times one has felt the need to humble oneself before God, yet prior work obligations left no other option but to fast while working. I do think that if fasting makes an employee defraud their employer (makes the worker so weak that he cannot satisfactorily complete his prior obligations with his/her employer, it is better not to fast food. In such a case the worker may fast other things: dessert, a special food, or other desirable foods or things in order to be able to retain strength for work.) But again, as you mentioned, it seems to me that the best fast would be to be able to get away from all responsibilities to be able to focus more on the Lord and have more time to pray.
Again these are my humble opinions, and I am open to learn from any difference in opinion.
Thank you again for taking the time to comment on our blog,
Phillip and family

Sherry L Dickinson said...

Hi Phillip,
This post is such a needed subject to point out to others. And, I am a person who needs this post, and who needs to follow these instructions on fasting. I am grateful that you remind me of such responsibilities.
Our e-mail has not been working for one week now. Hopefully, we will be able to get it working soon, like maybe tomorrow (Thursday).
I know your time to leave for Argentina is quickly approaching!
Much love, Mom

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