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Do Christians Have To Fast

Do Christians have to fast?

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 ---marth8849 on 3/11/10
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Could you EARN something by fasting?
---michael_e on 11/29/10


Great answer, Ian! How can Christians say we have to fast because Christ is not with us when He is with us always in Spirit, and we are members of His body? To say that God won't answer your prayer unless you hurt your own body is a pagan idea. Some fasted in the Bible, but an example is not a command, and nowhere in the NT epistles does any apostle ever command or even suggest fasting as an aid to prayer.
---Patricia on 10/30/10


Robyn, bless you!

But the word states within the fine line of wisdom to fast and pray when the bridegroom Jesus is gone.

Mat 9:15
And Jesus said unto them, Can the children of the bridechamber mourn, as long as the bridegroom is with them? but the days will come, when the bridegroom shall be taken from them, and then shall they fast.



Mat 4:4
But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.



NOT ROBYN.
---Carla on 8/7/10


Carla: You need to stop passing incorrect and wrong information. You will be the one to go to Hell for that. Not the christians who don't fast every week, according to your false teaching. If you lead other people wrong, there is a high price to pay for doing that. Check yourself.
---Robyn on 8/6/10


More than anything now and those that don't wont see heaven!

The debate of Jesus time was exactly that why don't the disciples fast oft,

Well because they had the bridegroom with them. He said he will have to go, so he sent us the comforter and we are without him physically:

Fasting is a necessary weekly or daily requirement, You choose, although The do spiritual church that preach every thing is legalism( a boring tune from the lazy party ) flourish. Those who secretly take time off work and fast build a super, strong Spiritually lasting relationship with Christ.

very few find the narrow road!
---Carla on 8/5/10




No -- God does not require or demand christians to fast but it good and beneficial to do,sometimes. Fasting and prayer often go together. Fasting allows us to give up wordly things,temporarily and focus on God. Fasting changes us and not God.The purpose should be to gain deeper fellowship with God. You can read Acts 13:2, I Corin 7:1-5, Matt 6:16-18. God bless.
---Robyn on 8/4/10


Mark 9:28 And when he was come into the house, his disciples asked him privately, Why could not we cast him out?

Mark 9:29 And he said unto them, This kind can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting.
---francis on 6/27/10


Some spiritual aspects only come by prayer & fasting. That's what Jesus said to His disciples.
---Lawrence on 6/25/10

NO HE DIDN'T !!!

The line you are reffering to was NOT from Jesus, but was a Scribe who added this note on the margins. Later it was entered in the end of the text as a scribal note. It was NEVER in scripture!

The same is true with the Doxology of The Lords Prayer. " For thine is the kingdom forever and ever"...

This was never spoken by Jesus either. But was added by a scribe.
---JOHN on 6/26/10


No we do not have to fast. But it is a good thing to do,occasionally. We can fast from many things. When we are passing through an especially hard trial(s) or period of testing, fasting would certainly, be in order. It is a special time spent with Christ to enhance our prayer life and to make our requests know unto God. We put our flesh down,so to speak, during this special time. If we are seeking something specifically from the hand of God. Something we ordinarily would not seek, then we should,certainly, fast as is stated in the bible.
---Robyn on 6/26/10


Some spiritual aspects only come by prayer & fasting. That's what Jesus said to His disciples.
---Lawrence on 6/25/10




The New Testament does not tell us that we must fast. However, Jesus, knew we would, because He said, "when you fast".
---catherine on 6/5/10


when i did a 3 day fast, it was just good overall, im pretty overweight, and eventually i noticed i was more aware/happy i eat alot, and after one bite of a mc chicken i was good, i made the mistake to eat a whole #3 also and felt terrible and vomited it
---anthony on 6/5/10


Not unless God leads you into it....There are all kinds of fastings. Perhaps one day perhaps for a week.
---catherine on 4/24/10


Marth, no, Christinas do not HAVE TO fast, but fasting is often mentioned in a good way in the Bible (Jesus himself refers to it is well, when asked why His disciples did not, He said that later they will), so it is clearly considered a good thing. But it has been abused in the past, so now we have a habit of rejecting it. That is also not good, but we must learn what it really means
---peter3594 on 4/15/10


No. Jesus Christ said, "No man can come unto the Father except through Me." Fasting was done before Jesus was resurrected. Now He is the only way to have our prayers answered.
---Betty on 4/13/10


ignacius,
You state,"God (((will not see))) these actions if we mistreat them"
From this -(as God put it, afflict your soul to get his attention) to please God.This is the fast God said he does not want.
God changed the whole concept of fasting at Isa.58.It is not something you do to or for yourself to get God's attention or please God but something you do for others to please God.
Contradictions on fasting in bible -yes. God disapproved of fasting but it was ignored and edited in script .Jesus is not about doing something against his Father or for himself to please his Father.It was always about doing for others all the time to please his Father.By comparrison, God has replaced fasting with the golden rule.
---earl on 3/15/10


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Ignatius,
Isa.58.5,fasting. Do you,"spread sackcloth and ashes under" yourself?Is this a correct technique in a fast?
If not then are you not fasting-(disciplining your inner emotions) correctly?
If not ,then are you taking the unsanctioned unapproved easy way out when you do not?
---earl on 3/15/10


Fasting is not a means to "acquire" the Holy Spirit, but rather a means of practicing discipline. We overcome our natural desires to eat, or drink, or whastever we are giving up for the fast. If we could "acquire" the Holy Spirit, that would make God nothing more than some type of genie(or jinn) to respond to our every wish and command. Fasting is meant to cleanse our bodies, minds and souls for the purpose of walking with the Lord more closely, by giving our full attention to the things of God.
---tommy3007 on 3/16/10


earl,

After prayer and fasting for forty days in the wilderness, the Lord victoriously faced the temptations of the devil (Matthew 4:1-11). The Lord himself asked the disciples to use fasting as an important spiritual weapon to achieve spiritual victories (Matthew 17:21, Mark 9:29, Luke 2:37). The example of the Lord was followed by His disciples (Acts 14:23, 27:9, 1 Corinthians 7:5, 2 Corinthians 6:5, 11:27, etc.). The Early Church not only prayed but fasted.

It seems that it is only you who believe fasting is completely meaningless. The kind of fasting that the Pharisee did is indeed meaningless, for it does lead the faster to spiritual heights (Matthew 6:16)

In IC.XC.,
---Ignatius on 3/15/10


earl,

You missed the point. The reason why God was not please with there fasted was not because fasting itself is meaningless, but because there fasting was incorporated with evil deeds. God will not see these actions if we mistreat them. That is why Saint John Chrysostom, Saint Gregory Palamas, and a hosts of Saints and Fathers, have said that fasting from foods/drinks alone will do one no good, unless prayer, compassion, alms-giving, etc, accompanying fasting.

The Pharisees in Jesus' time fasted and prayed, but they did not follow what they preached, making these spiritual methods useless. Fasting and other ascetic acts do not necessarily indicate virtue.

And FYI, Jesus fasted for forty days (Mat 4:1).

In IC.XC.,
---Ignatius on 3/15/10


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ignatius,and others
You mentioned Isa.58.5.Could you have read v.6 and 7 you would see Jesus' Father say he was not satisfied with fasting that people do,much like today and supplied an alternate.Jesus would not have followed traditions of men rather he would follow the Father's will and I believe he did.No 40 day fast for Jesus.Below is why I believe Jesus did not fast as others do.He addressed these problems.

v.6-7.
Wickedness -did satan fall?
Burdens-Did Jesus lighten your burdens?.
oppression-all people are free and equal in God's kingdom.
Bread-fed 5000
Shelter- be the good samaritan
Clothing-be the good samaritan
---earl on 3/15/10


\\I do not see where going hungry does anyhing other than decrease the weekly shopping bill and make you hungry.\\

That's because spiritual things are spiritually discerned, earl.

If you don't understand the importance of fasting (even though Jesus said that some demons won't leave us without it), then obviously you're not on the spiritual level for fasting to do you any good.
---Cluny on 3/15/10


earl,

Jesus, his Holy Apostles, and the Early Christians fasted. In the OT there are many examples on the spiritual benefits of fasting.

In Isaiah 58:5, the Holy Prophet describes fasting as a "day for a man to afflict his soul" (NKJV). And in Psalm 69:10, David says he "chastened" his soul with fasting (NKJV). And in Psalm 36:13, he says he "humbled" his soul by abstaining from food.

Humility is an attitude of the heart. "A broken and contrite heart--these, O God, You will not despise" (Psalm 51:17 NKJV).

I am not sure which Bible one is using, as I see many disagreeing with Fasting. Either people have not read the Bible or they just don't believe it.

In IC.XC.,
---Ignatius on 3/14/10


Earl...buddy...Jesus did fast. He fasted 40 days at which time He was tested and tempted by the devil. Sometimes I wonder exactly what Bible some people are reading. The whole deal with fasting is not for your own gain. You are to fast for God's glory.

You don't fast for monetary gain, to lose weight, to be healed, or for any other personal benefit. You fast for others and to show God's glory. Sorry the repeat, but some folks don't get it the first time around.
---Troy on 3/14/10


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From the standpoint of having good health, fasting does clean out most of the impurities and poisons your system acquires.

However, health conditions such as diabetes may not permit some to fast. Some have ruined their health by too much fasting.

Best book on the subject is God's Chosen Fast by Wallis - good to read prior to fasting.
---Lee1538 on 3/14/10


I do not see where going hungry does anyhing other than decrease the weekly shopping bill and make you hungry.
With the story of the publican and the pharisee it was all about sincerity with God and that righteousness follows sencerity.
I can see the effects of prayer-it changes the one praying and dramatically boosting the life of others.But as for fasting some biblical references in NT when compared do not size up.Like when Jesus said he and his apostles do not fast while he is here compared to when Jesus said the only way the demon could come out of this person was by fasting and prayer.Well, Jesus did not fast neither did his apostles.The jewish rulers praticed prayer and fasting.You think he took the person there first to try?
---earl on 3/14/10


\\Cluny,

"You said a saint said fasting gives a person a greater ability to acquire the holy spirit.
Can you explain "fasting gives a greater ability"?
---earl on 3/14/10\\

It is a MEANS to acquiring the Holy Spirit--IF properly entered into.

Same with prayer, almsgiving, Bible study, and other spiritual exercises.

None of these are ends in themselves.

Only if properly used do they have spiritual benefit.

As I warned earlier, fasting is in itself ambiguous, as demons never eat. Even knowledge of the Bible can be counterproductive. Did it do the Pharisees (or demons) any good?

And please--when you ask a question, don't get upset if you don't like the answer.
---Cluny on 3/14/10


John,
What was the reason for Jesus' fast after his baptism?Did he need to metaphorically tune out the unwanted static to gain reception?
---earl on 3/14/10

Yes. He was a man as well. Also Jesus entire ministry is based on obedience to the father, which meant (among other things) fulfilling and obeying scripture.
---John on 3/14/10


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John,
What was the reason for Jesus' fast after his baptism?Did he need to metaphorically tune out the unwanted static to gain reception?
---earl on 3/14/10


Cluny,

"You said a saint said fasting gives a person a greater ability to acquire the holy spirit.
Can you explain "fasting gives a greater ability"?
---earl on 3/14/10


\\Cluny,
I asked ,"how does it please God"?
Your answer is that it basically pleases you.
---earl on 3/13/10\\

Did it occur to you that you asked the wrong question?

What pleases God is how much we "acquire the Holy Spirit," in the words of St. Seraphim of Sarov. Fasting is one of the most important means.

Your very question--"How does fasting please God?"--shows that you are mistaking a means for the end.
---Cluny on 3/14/10


Cluny,

Amen, Amen, and Amen! !!

In IC.XC.,
---Ignatius on 3/13/10


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Cluny,
I asked ,"how does it please God"?
Your answer is that it basically pleases you.
---earl on 3/13/10


Earl,
You miss the point!

You see fasting is not about penitence. It is about shutting the world off and having quality time with G-d.

It is not at all about giving up food. Hunger is just a very minor side effect.

The exitement is you're about to enter into the presence of G-d. You should be in your room away as possible from all things of this world and have a one on one interlude with The Almighy.

In secular terms. It would be like removing all the unwanted static so you can hear the signal coming in more clearly.

It is a great time and a great experience. TRY IT!
---John on 3/13/10


I can't see it is required. "When you fast" implies only that you MAY fast, not MUST fast.. as "When in Paris don't miss the Louvre" is not a command to go to Paris.
Some people seem to get clearer insight after a period without food. There may be a health benefit for some (not all) people.

Whatever benefit there is, I'm sure is a result of some improvement in our faith or state of mind or more time for prayer. And that's no small benefit!

But I don't believe that God is more inclined to answer prayers or give us what we desire because of fasting. He's probably not all that impressed that we miss a few meals. In any case we should follow Christ's instruction to keep quit about it when we fast.
---Donna66 on 3/13/10


it is necessary for you to fast especially if your in long time prayer.
---Kris on 3/13/10


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earl.

What is the purpose of any exercise? To make us stronger and healthier.

Yes, I have answered the questions.

The purpose of fasting is not to "give up" things, nor to do something "sacrificial". The purpose of fasting is to learn discipline, to gain control of those things that are indeed within our control but that we so often allow to control us. In our culture especially, food dominates the lives of many people.

By fasting, we are allowing ourselves to focus on things more needful, such as prayer, compassion, alms-giving, etc. We learn how to rely on God for our needs.

Holy Scriptures advocate fasting by the way. Thereby, fasting is not needless.

In IC.XC.,
---Ignatius on 3/13/10


I will try to answer your question, earl.

One of the purposes of fasting is to humble the flesh. The various "works of the flesh" weaken when we are fasting.

When practiced properly, fasting will help show us our own brokenness and dependence on God.

Another purposes is training of the will--gymnastic training, if you like. Saying, "no," to little things like food make it easy to shout, "NO!" to big things like sin.

Fasting needs to be accompanied with more prayer. Otherwise, it will bring us closer to the demons, who never eat at all.

In other words, fasting is for OUR benefit.
---Cluny on 3/13/10


ignatius,
How does it please God for someone to purposely go hungry?
Has this been answered ?
---earl on 3/13/10


"What is the purpose?What does fasting do other than make one hungry? What does a person think of when they are hungry?
Does going hungry please God or be close to God?" )(earl)

Such questions has been answered in this blog.

In IC.XC.,
---Ignatius on 3/12/10


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Rod4him-

Amen! One will do well in studying Jesus' parable of the Publican and the Pharisee (Luke 18:11-12). The Pharisee lacked humanity and was filled with pride, making his prayer (if such a thing can be actually be called prayer) and fasting totally useless in the eyes of God.

"Fasting was of no benefit to the Pharisee in the Gospel, even though he always fasted two days a week, because he had adulterated it with pride and condemnation of his neighbor. Not that this means fasting is unprofitable. Moses, Elijah, and the Lord himself showed how beneficial it is for those who fast properly in way pleasing to God (Saint Gregory Palamas: The Homilies, Homily 6).

In IC.XC.,
---Ignatius on 3/12/10


What is the purpose?What does fasting do other than make one hungry? What does a person think of when they are hungry?
Does going hungry please God or be close to God?
---earl on 3/12/10


BE AWARE G-D WILL NOT BE MOCKED!

I have heard some carnal Christians say things like... "Its a good way to lose weight, or it good for your health etc etc.

That is NOT what spiritual fasting means. When someones has a alteria motive to lie to the Holy spirit and G-d. The result of that fasting would be Judgement.

When I fast I remove ALl health or self serving benefits. THIS IS FOR G-D ONLY.

So I buy a half Gallon of Ice cream, so when that fast ends I remove any hint of peronal self serving results. Weight lose or Health wise.

I fast to separate myself from the world and spend quiet time with my G-d only!

ANYTHING ELSE IS BLASPHEMY!!!
---John on 3/12/10


Yes Donna, I have a particular fondness for the concept of fasting as I came to Christ while on a long fast. However, I have noticed if one isn't careful it can lead to self righteousness. On the other hand, it can lead to humility, particularly when no one ever knows whether one has fasted or not.
---Rod4Him on 3/12/10


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Jesus didn't say, "IF you fast."

He said, "WHEN you fast."

So that should speak volumes to you.

There are so many good things that come out of fasting. I fasted on water only for 10 days when I lost my job in 1989. I was devastated. I saw miracles happen after I came off that fast that still follow me today.

Now a days,I can only do like a 3 day fast.
There are all kinds of fasts. The fruit and vegetable fast is the Daniel fast. Water only. Or how about the one Jesus did in the wilderness, no water and no food. Wait, maybe he did have water.
Or just fast one meal a day for one or two days.
Isaiah Chapter 58 is the fasting chapter of the bible.
---Donna on 3/12/10


My last post should have read in part, "Is it appropriate, yes. Jesus said when He was with the disciples there was no need, however, there would come a time when they would.

Poor proof reading on my part.
---Rod4Him on 3/12/10


"Do Christians have to fast?" No.

Is it appropriate, yes. Jesus said when He was with the disciples there was to need, however, there would come a time when they would.

The major problem with fasting is that it can immediately turn into a works deception. When one fasts, the challenge is not to let the one doing it think that now they are better than others or closer to God.

The older one gets if the body is not used to it, one may get headaches and such.

Caution, don't let it turn into a good works program.
---Rod4Him on 3/12/10


I believe Christians should be open to fasting. There are things that we'll never be delivered from or have spiritual insight to except for fasting. When we make that sacrifice God shows himself, his will,and his work.

shary8757
---Shary on 3/12/10


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#3 Many Christians today have ignore fasting. But the Early Christians did not. Fasting was part of the Church since the Apostolic time. The Holy Apostles fasted in order to accomplished their ministries by the power of the Holy Spirit and by prayer (Acts 13:3). One needs to fast willingly, and not by force. God does not need our fasting. We do so in order develop self control and to remember God and His Kingdom. We remember that we need to depend on God in our fasting.

We Eastern Orthodox Christians have several fasting periods in our liturgical calendar and fasting as been part of our Tradition since 33AD. It is part of Ancient Christianity. It is part of Christ's Church (The One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church).

In IC.XC.,
---Ignatius on 3/12/10


Jesus said, "When you fast....", and not "If you fast...."

Therefore, He's assuming that His followers WILL fast.
---Cluny on 3/12/10


Many Christians insist on rationalizing all of the lies that have always been taught about our wonderful loving kind God, but He did not force us into a life of drudgery and regulations (fasting, etc.), we forced ourselves into such a lifestyle by imagining "drudgery" to be His will (and then offer Him no apology to Him either).

...but a "rigor of devotion" and "severity to the body" is not pleasing to The Lord.

Colossians 2:20 and 21
"Why do you submit to regulations...Do not handle, Do not taste, Do not touch?".

Those who chose not to share in The Lord's bounty will resent your joy in doing so (and fault it as 'gluttony').

Our only concern should be His INTERNAL presence.
---more_excellent_way on 3/12/10


I agree with both of you. It may be good for one beleiver (maybe one who feels he/she is too 'attached' to food), to abstain to learn not to be so attached, but no, it is not worship, though it may be done to the glory of God (as all actions that are not sinful can be done)
---peter3594 on 3/12/10


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Should you fast? Yes!

Fasting from foods is intended as spiritual preparation for an experience of deeper communion with God. Each person is a unity of body and soul. A right spiritual diet and a discipline of fasting go together and strengthen each other. Just as prayer benefits not only the soul but also the body so also fasting from foods benefits not only the body but also the soul. Fasting along with prayer and alms-giving make us more sensitive to God's personal presence.

The Holy Prophets fasted and prayed. So did Jesus, the Holy Apostles, Saints and Church Fathers.

It was customary in the late 1st to early 2nd century for Christians to fast on Wednesday and Friday (as evident in the Didache)

In IC.XC.,
---Ignatius on 3/12/10


#2 After prayer and fasting for forty days in the wilderness, the Lord victoriously faced the temptations of the devil (Matthew 4:1-11). The Lord himself asked the disciples to use fasting as an important spiritual weapon to achieve spiritual victories (Matthew 17:21, Mark 9:29, Luke 2:37). The example of the Lord was followed by His disciples (Acts 14:23, 27:9, 1 Corinthians 7:5, 2 Corinthians 6:5, 11:27, etc.). The Early Church not only prayed but fasting.

The Christians received this tradition from the Jews, and the Old Testament are filled with Scriptures demonstrating the power of fasting and prayer: Ezra 8:21-23, Daniel 10:3, 1 Kings 21:27, just to name a few.

In IC.XC.,
---Ignatius on 3/12/10


#3 Fasting from foods/drinks alone is a waste..

"[...]the honor of fasting consists not in abstinence from food, but in withdrawing from sinful practices, since he who limits his fasting only to an abstinence from meats, is one who especially disparages it [...] For let not the mouth only fast, but also the eye, and ear, and the feet, and the hands, and all the members of our bodies. Let the hands fast, by being pure from rapine and avarice. Let the feet fast, but ceasing from running to the unlawful spectacles. Let the eyes fast, being taught never to fix themselves rudely upon handsome countenances, or to busy themselves with strange beauties [....]" (St John Chrysostom, Concerning the Statues, Homily III).

In IC.XC.,
---Ignatius on 3/12/10


In Mt. 9:14-17 when Jesus was asked why His disciples did not fast, He replied that while (He) the bridegroom was with them, how could they fast. But when the groom was taken away then they would fast. We tend to think that this is that time when the groom has been taken away. But the truth is that when a person is born again, he is baptized into the Body of Christ(1 Cor 12:13) of which Christ is the Head (Eph1:22) and therefore, in the Spirit, we are placed into Christ (Gal 3:27) like a branch into the Vine and hence for us (The Body & Bride of Christ) Christ is not away from us, as we are in Him and He is in us. So when this is correctly understood, fasting has no place in this dispensation of the Body of Christ (Church) age.
---Ian on 3/11/10


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NO, Christians DO NOT have to fast.

Each individual Christian might make the decision that their character is in need of learning self discipline from "fasting", and some Christians are not so unruly that they need to "fast".

It pleases The Lord to see how happy He has made His children when they feast on His bounty (without neglecting their responsibilities, "fasting" is contrary to "feasting").

The habits of ancient worshipping societies needed to be obeyed/observed 2000 years ago so that a worshipper could be an upstanding citizen instead of a vagabond (many things told to the ancients are not fit for modern devotion).

"Fasting" should NOT be considered WORSHIP.
---more_excellent_way on 3/11/10


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