SABINE WRITES: I’ve been told that fasting isn’t limited to abstaining from eating food for a certain period of time, which is true. But when Jesus says, “This kind come out only by prayer and fasting” (Mark 9:29) He’s talking about a very serious topic.
He’s saying that certain strongholds can only be abolished by prayer and fasting – a form of dedicating yourself to a spiritual battle. It seems clear that God intended fasting to be something that we all participate in at some point in our walk with Him. Fasting is part of diving deep into the things of the Lord.
But is fasting from other things – for example social media, television, going out with friends for some time – genuine fasting? The kind of fasting that challenges your faith and breaks strongholds and brings you closer to God in ways that you never thought possible? Or is it a way of watering down a precious yet difficult spiritual practice?
What is the most effective way to fast?
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This is a very interesting question. I think a way to look at it is, food is needed for survival, therefor taking it away seems pretty serious, we fill the void with prayer and time with God, letting him be our sustainance (spelling?) .
So therefor I think that if you do fast something other than food it needs to be a sacrifice, I think that social media and technology could very well be a sacrifice (at first anyway) instead of spending all those hours on social, you rather spend it in time of prayer and scripture. This I believe would be an effective way to fast.
Though I do want to say, don’t fast if it’s not actually fasting ie. Don’t do it if it’s not for God, You can’t be just saying “ohh well I’m fasting chocolate cause it’s bad for me.” It needs to be deliberate and a sacrifice that will make you come to the realisation that God can satisfy your needs which will allow you to press further into him, growing your relationship with him.
“Sustenance.” You were close! 🙂
I agree with what you said–it’s definitely all sacrifice. I’m planning on fasting from the Internet starting today because I feel like I spend entirely too much time online watching movies when I can be learning and growing in God. Maybe there aren’t any hard things for me to do out there in the world (I’m not saying fasting from the Internet isn’t a hard thing!), but that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t be prepared for them when they come!
Fasting is the deliberate forgoing of a physical need (or want) so that you may have an increased awareness of spiritual needs…
That being said…I’d encourage you to read Mark chapter 9 to get the context and see how that may apply to us.
Keep learning, keep asking questions!
Hey guys! Do you all know why all my comments have started needing moderation??? And the one I commented on here seems to have disappeared… =P I TOTALLY understand if they’re wanting to check all our comments and such, I’m just hoping I didn’t do anything bad… =P I don’t even know if this comment will post or not…. =P
I am not sure I can really give you a good answer to your question or even know the exact answer to your question. But I am actually fasting from something right now, so I can share with you a little about why and how I am doing that and it may or may not be helpful.
I am fasting from sweets for a season because I realized I was very much addicted to it and I saw it as a sin in my life. I was using the tasty gifts of desserts to sin rather than to enjoy and glorify God with. Also, because of some health reasons and for hopefully enhancing my motivation in life in other areas, such as school, I saw that it would be best to fast from it. I think though, that it is very important to spend time praying during any kind of season of fasting and to have that time to turn your focus on God. I know for me, I am realizing how often I would go to desserts for comfort, rather than going to God in prayer, so it forces me to rely on God more. I don’t know if this helps or not, but I can see it to be a wise thing to fast from something that has become an addiction rather than a gift, but it can also be easy to have that fasting time turn inward towards yourself and wanting to draw attention to yourself. So I would encourage any type of fasting from something to be a good time for really concentrating on prayer and worship and using the time to grow in your walk with God. I am definitely not a pro on this topic though and nor a pro in fasting. 😉 But hopefully something I said will be helpful. 😉
I can so identify with what you said about going to sweets for comfort. I’m glad I came across your post b/c since the new year is approaching, I was thinking of fasting from sweets and fried foods for 21 days to break that stronghold but just wasn’t sure if that was considered a “real fast”.
Looking forward to reading all of the comments on this!
Me too! 🙂
We fast from food to feast on God. The piont is that you sacrifice something so you can spend more time in focused prayer. So if you fast from Facebook, every time you think about logging in, pray instead. I fast from screens one day a week and sometimes more ifor there’s a need. I only fast from food once every month, but if there’s a special need I’ll have a water only fast for a day. Some people will eat only juice for a week so they get enough energy to keep going, but the hunger reminds them to pray. The thing to fast from and for how long change will with the need for prayer. Having a set time helps a lot. Anyway, hope this helps!
It depends on the person. There isn’t a cookie cutter answer that works best for everyone. Fast from things that might normally distract you from God and use that time to focus on Him.
I’m interested in fasting as well, how to do it right and all. I’m not supposed to do it because of my health. Going without eating is not recommended for people who are prone to gastritis symptoms, or deal with fatigue. (Sometimes I wonder if I ought to fast anyway since it is so important in scripture? I don’t know) Still, if I am ever completely well, I’d love to try it. Delayed eating I know can give me fuller clarity of thought, and even help me concentrate. (Although it can work the other way as well!)
I think “fasting” from other things that occupy too large a place on your life or distract you from God, is great, although very different from traditional fasting. I’ve done that once or twice myself and been delighted with the results. Things that I relied upon too much as to almost be addicted to, after a couple of weeks of going without, I found I cared about a great deal less, and consequently had more control over in the future.
I used to eat dark chocolate to help with nausea, (I was having headaches) and nine times out of ten, it made me feel better. The problem began when I grew too fond of “feeling better” and started eating chocolate whenever I didn’t feel good, for whatever reason. When I came to think of chocolate as a need, and the cravings got worse, I realized I had to do something about it. It had become like a drug for me.
I don’t think they are technically fasting. Fasting is temporary abstaining from food, for whatever duration of time. The point is to show that our belly is not our god, unlike those who oppose the cross of Christ (Philippians 3:18-19). Abstaining from things like social media, etc. would be more analogous to prayer, where we go in secret to pray to God, departing from socialization.
Ethan, you said “The point is to show that our belly is not our god.” This could apply to social media, tv, anything like that, just as well or more than food in my opinion.
Most of the time when I eat, I’m not eating for pleasure, but simply because God made us with the physical need to eat. I think the only time that you could say that food is being used as a god, is for someone who struggles with eating too much. I think that in the context of this verse, food is just being used as one example of earthly things.
I agree with you. I think that in your own life you can identify things that are important to you that maybe you spend too much time on. Then fast from those things. You can spend the time you would normally spend on those things working on your own spiritual life or serving others. It may not be what some would think of as ‘traditional fasting’ but I believe that it’s still extremely beneficial.
I don’t know….. I mean I know that people fasted during the time that Jesus was on earth, but…. I just don’t see how making yourself sick by not eating can be that beneficial. When I skip breakfast I have to have lunch early because I can’t wait any longer. I think that there are more effective ways to spend time in prayer and improve your relationship with Christ than to go without food.
*accidentally reads “What is the fastest way to be effective?”*
“What is the fastest way to read about this one?”-Not getting your comment at all. What’s that supposed to mean 😉
What I meant was that, in my haste, I accidentally misread the heading of this discussion question.
Nvm. I was trying to make a joke. See, my life is a joke, but when I actually try and make one, I fail miserably.
I think mine was the failure, not yours… ‘:-D
Fasting from other stuff is great! I often do social media fasts (in fact, I’m off my social media more weeks than I’m on it) because it distracts me. Even if it isn’t technically “fasting”, it can’t hurt to do something to make more time to focus on God, right? Also, this helps me not focus on other things about fasting. For example, in the past, I felt like if I fasted from food, I’d focus too much on “yay I’m losing weight from this” than “yay I love God!!!”. Fasting from food/drink might also not be good for your health. I’ve passed out from dehydration before, so I know for me personally it’s important to stay hydrated/nourished. Especially on days when I’m physically active, I can’t afford to not nourish my body for health reasons. Other fasting types are, in my opinion, a great substitute!
* Also, an alternative is to only eat foods for nourishment, not enjoyment. For example, instead of ditching food and drink altogether for a fast, maybe you could try only drinking water and only eating vegetables or fruit or something for the day(s) you fast. That way you can focus on God but also not pass out.
I think in some ways abstaining from things other than food could actually be more helpful. Like if I think about it, I feel like it would be a lot harder to give up texting than to give up a meal.
The other kinds of fasting can be good, if it is helping your faith, for example, let’s say you don’t watch tv, so you do a fast from tv, it isn’t challenging you, or helping your faith, so there is no reason to do it, but if you are one of those people who are attatched to their phones, but you take a tec fast, that is good, you can spend more time in your BIBLE or praying, and it helps you grow in your faith.