F is for Fasting

I like to fast. I like the “spiritual over temporal” challenge and the feeling of power that comes through conquering the cravings and desires of the body. But there’s a catch…I’ve heard it said that “fasting without prayer is merely starvation.” I believe this. Fasting for me is a spiritual experience and not a tool I can use to lose weight. In fact it seems that every time I fast, I usually don’t lose any weight and have even gained a few ounces, as at the “break fast” meal I tend to eat as many calories as I would have throughout the day!

So this type of fasting is defined by the Guide to the Scriptures as:

To voluntarily refrain from eating or drinking for the purpose of drawing closer to the Lord and requesting his blessings. When individuals and groups fast, they should also pray to understand God’s will and to develop greater spiritual strength. Fasting has always been practiced by true believers.

How does it work? For me, I can only get through a 24-hour fast comfortably if I invoke Divine Assistance in the venture. When I am prayerfully fasting, I rarely even feel hungry or think about food. On the other hand, If I am just going without food,  I get very hungry after about 4 hours!

I’ve been reading the book, The Infinite Atonement, by Tad R. Callister, and came across some interesting insights into how fasting works.

Fasting…does much more than make us hungry; it does more than refine our spirits; it has within it a certain inherent motivational power that can change and soften the hearts of others, particularly when they know we are fasting for them…In the words of the missionary evangelist, E. Stanley Jones, suffering has ‘an intense moral appeal.’ Jones once asked Mahatma Gandhi as he sat on a cot in an open courtyard of Yeravda jail, “‘isn’t your fasting a species of coercion? ‘ ‘Yes,’ he said very slowly, ‘the same kind of coercion which Jesus exercises upon you from the cross.'” (Callister, Tad R., Infinite Atonement, Deseret Book, Salt Lake City, Utah 2000. page 213)

As a Mormon, I fast regularly on the first Sunday of every month, but for times of special need, I have fasted every Sunday for months, or periodically as situations arise wherein I could use some extra blessings from heaven.

Total Investment: The cost of the two meals not eaten each month are donated as an offering to be used to help those in need. You could be nit-picky about it and say an egg and toast costs about $2.00 and a peanut butter and jelly sandwich costs about $2.50 and donate about $5, but we are encouraged to give a “generous” fast offering to relieve the burdens of those less fortunate. We typically give about $50-100/month.


About Gail

Genealogist, librarian, writer, traveler, Mormon
This entry was posted in A-Z Challenge, Books, Health & Wellness, Spirituality and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to F is for Fasting

  1. As a moslem, we share the same rituals! We have a one month mandatory fasting during ramadhan month, and many sunnah (recommended optional) fasting. Three days in the mid of the month (full moon) and every monday and thursday.

    I agree that when we are fasting with divine intention, we enjoy the hunger and not disturbed by others when they are eating. But if it is non fasting day, we always find something to chew hahaha..

    Best regards from Indonesia!

    • Gail says:

      Thanks for sharing! I did not know Muslims fasted so often. It’s good for the health, both spiritually and physically! By the way, your photographs are wonderful.

      • Thank you Gail, we have lots of fasting rituals since it is proven scientifically as well that it is a very healthy practice.

        Thank you for reminding me to go back to this healthy ritual!

        About photography, I am still newbie and still need lots of practices. Thank you!

  2. clicksclan says:

    When I was staying in Halls of Residence at university there were a group of Egyptian science teachers who came over for six weeks at a time and stayed in the neighbouring house. During one stay it was Ramadan and we had many discussions about whether or not we would be able to fast for a period of time like that. I think if you’ve got something to focus on as a reason for doing it, you would manage it.

    I do also have a friend who does a 5:2 diet, so for two days a week they have ‘fast’ days. They don’t go entirely without food, but cut down to about 500 calories. And I myself had to fast for a short period of time recently before an op. I was so desperate for my morning cup of peppermint tea that I made my husband brew one for himself so I could just sniff to get the smell.

    It’s interesting to think there are so many different reasons for fasting.

    Cait @ Click’s Clan

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