Fasting and Prayer #6
Having shared words on prayers, definitions, why and other types of prayer in series of other articles titled “prayer”, I introduced fasting in my first article, defining it and telling us its types. My second article is centered on why we need to abstain from foods. Third and fourth article is centered on benefits of fasting, while fifth article is centered on classes of fasting. In this article however, I will write on types of fast summing it up with advise.
Types of Christian Fasts
Believers know that there are different types of fasting that we undertake in this Christian race. Some of those would be mentioned here.
1. Absolute Fast (Dry Fasting)
This is a type of fasting that continues for a whole day or more (24 hours or more). It is usually called marathon or dry fasting. Prophet Moses, Prophet Elijah, Jonah and Jesus and apostles embarked on fasting like this.
2. Water Fasting
In this kind of fasting drinking of water is allowed but nothing else.
3. Partially Restrictive Fast
Limited to some particular foods/substance e.g. fruits. Daniel and the three Hebrews practiced this in Babylon.
“Prove thy servants, I beseech thee, ten days; and let them give us pulse to eat, and water to drink.” (Dan 1:12)
4. Intermittent Fasting
In this type of fasting the person who is fasting uses “pause button” regularly maybe because of his job nature and other reasons. He would fast a day, pause tomorrow and continue the other day. On and on like that. It could be used by those who like to embark on dry fasting, they could fast for 24 hours or 3 days marathon, then pause to refresh for a day or three and then take it up again.
5. Intercourse Fasting
This has to do with couples, they can limits/restricts sexual intercourse for a period of time as the apostle said to seek the face of the Lord before continuing again.
“Defraud ye not one the other, except it be with consent for a time, that ye may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again, that Satan tempt you not for your incontinency.
“But I speak this by permission, and not of commandment.” (1 Co 7:5-6)
Couples need to study themselves and carry each other along before embarking on this kind of fasting.
6. Daily Fasting
It is the kind that starts from 12 midnight and ends by 12:00 p.m., 3:00 p.m. and or 6:00 p.m. Those who have fasted for long and who wants to start fasting again are usually encouraged to start with this. They start by building themselves up, building their guts (intestines) and other organs of the body up by this daily fasting.
If he often takes breakfast at 7:00 a.m., he is encouraged to skip 7:00 a.m. till maybe 10:00 a.m. and above. Through this the system would be built towards the fasting until he can fast for hours.
It has been discovered that some who do not build their systems ahead often injured themselves and they would be heaping the blame at the doorsteps of God but unknown to them that they have injured themselves because of their lack of knowledge.
“I fast twice in the week….” (Luke 18:12a)
It worth stating here that Jesus does not rebuke the man for all the works according to the law of Prophet Moses that the man was doing, but he said he was full of himself, instead of putting on the righteousness of God, instead of acknowledging God in all, he thought self could do it all. It was the human nature that the man exalts that Jesus said was wrong here and therefore, when the person with no self-righteousness have conviction that God has heard him, he lingers on in that position proving himself to God.
The kind of fasting the man fasts or talks about here is a daily fasting.
7. Other Types
Other types of fasting though not included in the bible is given up Television viewing for a while; internet surfing; retiring to a place on a business (working) day to pray, leaving some social activities like I said of the event in Nineveh, there was no television then, neither radio nor other social media as common today. But they all gave up something, it may be social life, you that love visiting people, may refrain from it a day to seek the face of the Lord in prayer, you may not go to farm or fishing to seek the face of the Lord. You may limit your talking to seek the face of the Lord. These and more we could do to seek his face.
8 Commonest Type
Having said all of those it worth stating that according to statistics the commonest type of fasting from the ancient time is abstinence from food.
(i) It Must be Limited to a Set of Time/Period: It must not be perpetual. Set a time when it would end.
(ii) Check Your Capability, if Cannot Continue Stop: If you start the fasting and you discovered some physiological changes in your body which is negative you should stop it.
(iii) In Disease Conditions e.g. ulcer, diabetics etc apply wisdom: There are some disease conditions that do not allow for protracted or long fasting, if you are suffering from such you should apply wisdom when you want to embark on fasting.
(iv) In Hard Work Smaller/Light Food Taken: If you are the type that do a hard labor for a living and you want to perform this exercise and still go to work, you should be taken lighter foods.
A friend would have killed himself when undergoing this exercise as been mandated by the leaderships of the church he was attending because he was a bricklayer and decided to go to work because he has been without work for months and the one the job he secured he does not want to lose it. Thence, he went to work with fasting, but when things wanted to go out of hand, he applied wisdom and stopped the fast and that was when the commanded fasting by his church leaders ended.
Not to present yourself as a lazy person or a drudgery, apply wisdom when you are fasting.
(v) Carry Your Spouse Along: It is always good to carry one’s spouse along when undergoing this exercise so that there won’t be misconceptions that would lead into other things at home. All the apostles enjoined us that if we do not want our prayers to be hindered we need to carry our spouses along.
“Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered.” (1 Pet 3:7)
“Defraud ye not one the other, except it be with consent for a time, that ye may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again, that Satan tempt you not for your incontinency.” (1 Cor 7:5)
Fasting is a wonderful exercise that would assist our spiritual person it would give us deeper insights about God, heaven, and ourselves when we can embark on the exercise. Apostle Paul says he fasts often and through that he was able to be transported out of the world to the third heavens. (2 Cor 12:2)
“In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness.” (2 Cor 11:27)
Are you seeking for some things for your life? Are you doing some research work, and everything seems not progressing? You can embark on this exercise and commit those things into the hands of God, and you shall be surprised at what the Lord will do for you.
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