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Fasting #35200
Sat Feb 03, 2007 2:05 PM
Sat Feb 03, 2007 2:05 PM
Joined: Jan 2007
Posts: 10
NY
Caroline Offline OP
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I was thinking recently about how one church that I went to got really into fasting before prayer meetings. We held prayer meetings every Friday night and we were supposed to fast all day before the prayer meeting, and then after the prayer meeting, we'd all go over to someone's house and eat.

Did any of you get the impression that P/C churches generally used fasting kinda like a hunger strike? Like if we were refusing to eat, God would be more likely to give us what we wanted ...

There were all kinds of fassts, too- the Daniel fast, the Esther fast, the 40-day fast, the 21-day fast (for the wimps who wouldn't commit to 40 days)...


"The good Christian should beware the mathematician" ~Augustine, De Genesi ad Litteram, II, xvii.37
Re: Fasting [Re: Caroline] #35201
Sat Feb 03, 2007 3:45 PM
Sat Feb 03, 2007 3:45 PM
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Quote

Caroline said:
Did any of you get the impression that P/C churches generally used fasting kinda like a hunger strike? Like if we were refusing to eat, God would be more likely to give us what we wanted ...


It was my experience that just about everything the Charismatics did and do was to make our God indebted to them in some way, especially by "manifesting gifts". Of course, this is the nature of their upside down Gospel in the first place. They "choose" God with their own free will and then their effeminate God must respond positively and surrender to their own "goodness" (Arminian heresy). <img src="/forum/images/graemlins/surrender.gif" alt="" />

Denny

Romans 3:22-24


Denny

Simon Peter answered Him, "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life." [John 6:68]
Re: Fasting [Re: Adopted] #35202
Sat Feb 03, 2007 6:05 PM
Sat Feb 03, 2007 6:05 PM
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Dave U. Offline
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Besides the matter of attempting to manipulate God into doing what you want, charismatic fasting can become a means of entering into a more spiritually suggestable frame of mind. The simple fact is that depriving oneself of food, drink, etc., tends to weaken one's normal defense mechanisms, making you more "open" to unusual spiritual suggestions. Of course, charismatics have no exclusive on this kind of fasting: all sorts of religions and cults practice fasting and other forms of self-denial as a means to entering into an altered state of consciousness. Although there are legitimate scriptural reasons for going on a fast--dedicating your time to prayer, humbling yourself before God, repenting of sin, etc.--none of them have to do with entering into an altered state, having a heightened sense of spirituality, or engaging in what's often misunderstood to be "spiritual warfare." Sadly, the practice of charismatic fasting often has more to do with paganism than Christianity.

Dave U.

Re: Fasting [Re: Dave U.] #35203
Sat Feb 03, 2007 9:31 PM
Sat Feb 03, 2007 9:31 PM
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R
Robin Offline
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During my charismatic days fasting was always considered a mark of high-voltage, super-duper Christianity. Only the best of the best could really do it, and lots of people tried it either to measure their own spirituality or to appear more spiritual to others - exactly the opposite of what Jesus instructed!

But fasting does serve an important purpose. Like regular Bible study and prayer, fasting should be a secret spiritual exercise. I have seen it applied in two Biblical ways: First as a personal discipline (as Jesus did in the wilderness), and on occasion as a corporate fast, called for a particular purpose or in preparation for an event like a mission, a meeting, or in seeking extraordinary wisdom in a difficult situation. I have known our church and presbytery to call for a fast when faced with a matter of church discipline for example, or to prepare for a particularly challenging mission.

I also find fasting very useful in helping me get a grip again when I've lost perspective. It is a powerful tool of self discipline because it is secret and because for a time at least, hunger looms large and ever-present - the perfect reminder. Bringing the body under subjection to the mind and heart is a completely valid and Biblical exercise, as long as it does not become a means of "earning" God's favor. That is superstition! Fasting does not earn brownie points. It does not make God more likely to hear our prayers. It is not a spiritual rabbit's foot that we invoke as if to move God on our behalf. Fasting is rather a discipline that we employ to subject ourselves more and more to Him. It is surrender, not an attempt to gain influence.

Self discipline is vital and wonderful when applied wisely to make one's life a living sacrifice. But it can also become a tool of self-deception, a means to prideful self-righteousness, or a superstitious attempt to gain God's favor if it's misapplied. Here are a few helpful Scriptures if you want to take some time to look at self-discipline:

1 Cor 9:27 Matthew 5:29, 16:24; Luke 14:26-27, 33; Rom 8:13

"Called" fasting, corporately:

1 Samuel 7:6, Joel 1:14 and 2:12 (for repentance). For guidance, Acts 13:2-3. As a blessing, Acts 27:33

-R

Re: Fasting [Re: Robin] #35204
Sun Feb 04, 2007 7:15 AM
Sun Feb 04, 2007 7:15 AM
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Kalamazoo, MI
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Quote
Robin said:
Self discipline is vital and wonderful when applied wisely to make one's life a living sacrifice. But it can also become a tool of self-deception, a means to prideful self-righteousness, or a superstitious attempt to gain God's favor if it's misapplied.


In my charismatic days i went in for fasting in a big way.

Yeah, yeah, it was in part to develop self-discipline - but if i was to be honest with myself, it was really mostly about cementing my position in the elite. Like Robin said - a means to prideful self-righteousness. Even if i did it in secret, i knew that i was fasting two out of every three days (or whatever) - so despite the leg-up it gave me on self-discipline, i couldn't help but be prideful about how much more 'spritually dedicated' i was than all those low-class christians who would whine about skipping one meal.

Maybe i'm being a bit hard on myself [because of the scorn with which i now view my charismatic glory days], but if i am it's not by much.

Now i'm sure there ARE valid ways in which fasting can be used biblically, but becuase of my own past abuses in this area it's not something i'm likely to be doing again. (In part because of a medical condition of mysterious origin {possibly brought on by my extreme fasting?} that won't allow me to fast anymore - at least not in that total way that i was used to).

- M.

Re: Fasting [Re: Robin] #35205
Sun Feb 04, 2007 8:53 AM
Sun Feb 04, 2007 8:53 AM
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Quote

Robin said:
But fasting does serve an important purpose.


To me, fasting and the resulting hunger is a powerful physical demonstration of our desperate spiritual need for God's Word.

Quote

The words that I speak to you are Spirit and they are life. John 6:63


I believe it should be well noted that after Jesus fasted in the wilderness, Satan did not tempt Him with french toast and twinkies, but tempted Him to deny God's precious words.

Denny

Romans

3:22-24

Last edited by Adopted; Sun Feb 04, 2007 9:30 AM.

Denny

Simon Peter answered Him, "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life." [John 6:68]
Re: Fasting [Re: Caroline] #35206
Sun Feb 04, 2007 12:43 PM
Sun Feb 04, 2007 12:43 PM
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Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Wayne Offline
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When I was attending a non-denominational Charismatic church in my city, there were numerous times of corporate fasting.

There was a weekly time of fasting every Wednesday from morning until the end of the midweek service. There also was weekend fasting on the first full weekend of the month from Friday morning until after the Sunday morning service.

In addition, there was a week long fast from the day after Labor Day until the following Sunday and a month long fast for the month of January.

All these periods of fasting would be indicated in the weekly church bulletin and there would be reminders at the pulpit along with the other church announcements.

The senior pastor told us that when we fasted, that really got God's attention. Therefore, we would be more successful at bringing people to Christ and then to membership at our church. This helped to achieve the numerical church growth that the pastor believed was a characteristic of a healthy church.


Warmest regards,

Wayne Baker
Re: Fasting [Re: Wayne] #35207
Mon Feb 05, 2007 7:22 AM
Mon Feb 05, 2007 7:22 AM
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Quote

Wayne said:
The senior pastor told us that when we fasted, that really got God's attention. Therefore, we would be more successful at bringing people to Christ and then to membership at our church. This helped to achieve the numerical church growth that the pastor believed was a characteristic of a healthy church.


This Charismatic legalism never ceases to amaze me. Does this pastor really believe that we can force a sovereign and omnipresent God's attention, and treat Him like He was a "shoemakers apprentice" (Luther)?

IMO, any OT obligation to fast has been fulfilled as shadows with Jesus' words in the beatitudes:

Quote

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness for they shall be satisfied. (Matt 5:6, NASB)

and,

Then the disciples of John came to Him saying. "Why do we and the Pharisees fast, but your disciples do not fast?" (Matt 9:14)


There is a banquet set before us of God's all sufficient words in Scripture and our appetites should be insatiable.

Denny

Romans 3:22-24


Denny

Simon Peter answered Him, "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life." [John 6:68]
Re: Fasting [Re: Adopted] #35208
Tue Feb 06, 2007 1:08 AM
Tue Feb 06, 2007 1:08 AM
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Kelowna, British Columbia, Can...
Tom Offline
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Tom  Offline
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Quote
Adopted said:
Quote

Caroline said:
Did any of you get the impression that P/C churches generally used fasting kinda like a hunger strike? Like if we were refusing to eat, God would be more likely to give us what we wanted ...


It was my experience that just about everything the Charismatics did and do was to make our God indebted to them in some way, especially by "manifesting gifts". Of course, this is the nature of their upside down Gospel in the first place. They "choose" God with their own free will and then their effeminate God must respond positively and surrender to their own "goodness" (Arminian heresy). <img src="/forum/images/graemlins/surrender.gif" alt="" />

Denny

Romans 3:22-24


This isn't taking away from your experience in the Charismatic movement.
But when I was a Charismatic, although they preached Arminianism, I was not even aware that they were doing so until after I actually left the movement.
I was not given the impression that God was indepted to do anything for us. I was however given the impression that we should jump on God's bandwagon and be "Baptised with Holy Spirit" in order to be more effective Christians.
This was not to say that Christians who were not "baptized in the Holy Spirit" were any less "Christian". It was just that they were missing out on something God intends for all believers.

As far as fasting goes, I think they did it in order to get their minds off of themselves and onto God, because we are usually so earthly focused.

Tom

Re: Fasting [Re: Tom] #35209
Tue Feb 06, 2007 7:12 AM
Tue Feb 06, 2007 7:12 AM
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Tom said;

Quote

I was not even aware that they were doing so until after I actually left the movement.


I didn't say that they were "aware", this is exactly the nature of deceit. Because they refuse orthodox Christian doctrine as "head knowlege" they are unaware of the propositional revelation of God's words in Scripture.

Denny

Romans 3:22-24

Last edited by Adopted; Tue Feb 06, 2007 7:32 AM.

Denny

Simon Peter answered Him, "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life." [John 6:68]
Re: Fasting [Re: Tom] #35210
Tue Feb 06, 2007 8:31 AM
Tue Feb 06, 2007 8:31 AM
Joined: Jan 2007
Posts: 10
NY
Caroline Offline OP
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Caroline  Offline OP
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NY
I remember people SAYING that we fasted in order to get our minds off ourselves and onto God ... but, seriously, has anyone here while fasting found that you were able to think about God more than yourself? For me, it was exactly the opposite. When I hadn't eaten for two days, it was pretty hard to think about much of anything except how hungry I was.

But, regardless, I don't think that's why people fasted anyway (at the churches that I attended, I mean--I can't speak for anyone else here)... it was always about something that we wanted, or proving ourselves spiritual or something.

It's only after leaving Pentecostalism that I can look back and realize how much we kidded ourselves that we were doing things for God when we were really only doing it for ourselves.

Last edited by Caroline; Tue Feb 06, 2007 9:20 AM.

"The good Christian should beware the mathematician" ~Augustine, De Genesi ad Litteram, II, xvii.37
Re: Fasting [Re: Caroline] #35211
Tue Feb 06, 2007 9:53 PM
Tue Feb 06, 2007 9:53 PM
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Kelowna, British Columbia, Can...
Tom Offline
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Tom  Offline
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Caroline said:

Quote
I remember people SAYING that we fasted in order to get our minds off ourselves and onto God ... but, seriously, has anyone here while fasting found that you were able to think about God more than yourself? For me, it was exactly the opposite. When I hadn't eaten for two days, it was pretty hard to think about much of anything except how hungry I was.


Actually, I can say that. It isn't that I wasn't hungry; it was just that fasting helps me discipline myself.
To this day, I am not a man who has a lot of discipline, but things like fasting and getting myself in a regular routine, sure help me not to get too caught up in the everyday distractions that come my way.

Tom


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