fasting

Please explain fasting:
[list]
*]How is it done (besides the obvious)?
*]Can you fast for a cause or person (like praying)?
*]How long does it usually last?
*]Spiritually, how does it differ from prayer?
*]Is there a certain time to fast?
[/list]Thanks in advance.

You will probably hear a lot on this subject from others. Let me begin by mentioning that fasting has a prominant place in scripture, both old and new testament. There are many passages that you can look up and read.

A common type of fasting is having bread and water only on Friday. This of course is to do something special on the day the Lord died for us. A person must be in good health and can handle it, otherwise you are probably violating the 5th Commandment doing harm to yourself. Many of the faithful relate how fasting has improved their prayer life. Some fast for an end to Abortion. Some fast for unity in the church. Some fast for a loved one to return to the church ETC. Fasting and prayer are usually used in combination. Some say all the Mysteries of the Rosary and fast on the same day.

May God bless you in your search for information on fasting,
Deacon Tony

Fasting can be done in different ways. It’s not always just food. Mary has said that the best fast is on bread and water. We are also supposed to fast from sin. If you have some weakness, you would try to overcome it. For example, if you have a hard time holding your tongue when someone says something you don’t like, try to hold your tongue next time.

Yes, you can fast for a cause or person.

In the early years of the church everyone fasted on Wednesday and Friday, which is what Mary has recommended at Medjugorje. The length of the fasting period is up to you, I believe.

Fasting is a form of prayer.

A great book on fasting is Fasting by Father Slavko Barbaric, O.F.M.

[quote=Deacon Tony560]A common type of fasting is having bread and water only on Friday.

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[quote=Authorkat]Mary has said that the best fast is on bread and water.
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Thank you for the thoughtful replies.

I love bread!! Does this diminish the effect for me of a bread and water fast?

You don’t get all the bread you can eat. Only a moderate portion is consumed. Judging from the few answers that you got, you can see that fasting is not at the top of many peoples spiritual practices.

God bless you
Deacon Tony SFO

I personally fast, i don’t really think about doing it on any given feast, I do it when I need to contemplate the Lord. I drink water and eat one meal of bread and butter. I don’t really think about food much anyway, I only eat to survive it’s not a big pleasure for me though i do enjoy ice-cream!

The thing with fasting for me is that I feel in some way purified and removed from the thoughts of indulging the self. I find fasting and praying/ contemplation deepens faith for me and is a great help to me spiritually. I’m not sure if there is a right way or a wrong way to fast as no-one i know does it. But the intention behind my fasting is to relieve myself from worldly things altogether and concentrate fully on the spiritual, on Christ Jesus, The Holy Spirit and God our Father. I’d be interested to hear how anyone else fasts and other people thoughts . God Bless you all xx

on the subject of fasting, i highly recommend the chapter on fasting in the book ‘celebration of discipline’ by richard foster. it has many very practical suggestions, and when you finish the chapter, you want to start immediately!

fasting is a great way to ‘get our own attention’, so to speak. most of the time we go through life in a sort of food inebriation, apathetic and deaf to the voice of God. confession of our sins and fasting are two great ways of ‘softening our hearts’ and allowing God’s voice to be heard.

i’ve fasted from things besides food, as well. i gave up movies one year, and only allowed myself to watch one per month (i had been watching as many as 3 or 4 per day). after the fast, i’ve gotten much better at being very selective about what i watch, and to watch in moderation. which, i think, is a good point to alot of fasting.

in the old testament (that is, in jewish tradition) and today, fasting on bread and water only on wednesday and friday is a common form of the discipline. the idea is to pray when you would normally be eating.

God bless you as you begin your journey with this discipline!

It is intersting you ask this question. Is the Holy Spirit leading to towards fasting?

Jeffreedy789 suggested that fasting can be an intentional prayerful break from any thing, habit, or pleasure. I gave up all baked goods and candy for Lent and God put it on my heart to continue this fast…still going strong (however it is a daily struggle). I love cookies and chocolate more than any food. Oddly enough, God has rewarded my effort by helping me lose weight - while that was not my intention, shedding a few extra pounds is a Godly bonus!

Then God recently put it on my heart to start the weekly bread and water fast. I am devoting this to a person/situation, and reparation of sins.

If you are thinking about it, I do believe it will make you spiritually stronger. Besides, if the Holy Spirit is calling you to a fast, you might as well submit because that means it is God’s will for you.

As others have mentioned, there are lots of ways to go about fasting.

On EWTN’s “Web of Faith,” the priests often mention smaller or simpler methods of fasting–for example, if you drink several cups of coffee a day, you might drink one of those cups without cream (rather than giving up coffee altogether). This is not as radical a form of fasting as the bread-and-water approach, but it can serve as a daily sacrifice that you can offer up for a particular intention. And it can often be implemented a bit more easily.

Besides being a regular practice of discipline, special fasting can also be used during times of spiritual struggle, discernment, etc. For example, if you are in the process of making an important decision, you might skip lunch for a week and spend your lunch hour praying rather than eating. This has a two-fold function: you spend more time in prayer and you distance yourself from material things. Both functions can provide clarity.

I belong to a prayer group for mothers of special needs children. We felt called to fast. But just being a mom to our kids is a life full of mortification already. So we do what I call “cooperative” fasting. Each of us will fast for 3 hours on Wed and Fri. One will cover 9a-12p, another 12p-3p, then one other 3p-6p and the last will do 6p-9p. In one day we have collectively done 12 hours of fasting. Then by doing this on 2 days of the week, we have 24.

We fast when we are confronted with serious problems like husbands who are abusive, or a child who is drug addicted. Fasting is like the nuclear bomb of prayers. It helps break through where regular prayer is not enough.

[quote=jrabs]It is intersting you ask this question. Is the Holy Spirit leading to towards fasting?

Jeffreedy789 suggested that fasting can be an intentional prayerful break from any thing, habit, or pleasure. I gave up all baked goods and candy for Lent and God put it on my heart to continue this fast…still going strong (however it is a daily struggle). I love cookies and chocolate more than any food. Oddly enough, God has rewarded my effort by helping me lose weight - while that was not my intention, shedding a few extra pounds is a Godly bonus!

Then God recently put it on my heart to start the weekly bread and water fast. I am devoting this to a person/situation, and reparation of sins.

If you are thinking about it, I do believe it will make you spiritually stronger. Besides, if the Holy Spirit is calling you to a fast, you might as well submit because that means it is God’s will for you.
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I have been able to continue my Lenten fast from sodas. I was drinking about 3 a day, (20 oz per drink). I find that I do not even want one anymore. Thank you God!!!

Wow! I never thought of it that way - but you hit the nail on the head. That is exactly WHY I was drawn to fast! Thanks for the enlightenment.

[quote=mark a]Thank you for the thoughtful replies.

I love bread!! Does this diminish the effect for me of a bread and water fast?
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It is okay if you like the bread, but just remember that if you eat it during fasting all the time, you will get tired of it sooner or later.

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