Think quick! Erm... I mean fast!

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Sstavix
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Think quick! Erm... I mean fast!

Postby Sstavix » Sat Jan 19, 2019 3:09 am

ArcticFox wants more topics in this subforum, so here I am with a subtopic!

I've been asked to give a talk this Sunday about fasting and prayer. So it seemed like a good topic to bring up here. Fasting is kind of a big thing in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (we dedicate at least one day a month to it, typically). But it has been mentioned a few times in the Old and New Testaments, too - and not just in Jesus' famous fast for forty days in the desert.

It's mentioned many times in Psalms (35:13, 69:10, 109.24) and in the Prophets of the Old Testament (Joel 2:12, Nehemiah 9:1). Also consider Jesus' suggestion about fasting in Matthew, chapter 6.
When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show others they are fasting. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that it will not be obvious to others that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.
So what are your thoughts? Who else has had any experiences with fasting, or have questions about it?

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Re: Think quick! Erm... I mean fast!

Postby Beastbot » Sat Jan 19, 2019 5:08 am

I've only tried it a few times, myself, but it's never really done anything for me. I'm not sure why. All I do is feel weak and/or sleepy.
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Re: Think quick! Erm... I mean fast!

Postby ArcticFox » Sat Jan 19, 2019 2:32 pm

I've only tried it a few times, myself, but it's never really done anything for me. I'm not sure why. All I do is feel weak and/or sleepy.
The key to fasting is to remain focused on the Lord. Prayer, scripture study, meditation... These are the things that are enhanced when in a state of fasting. I've heard it said that if one doesn't do these things, they aren't really fasting, just being hungry.

The reason fasting works is that it gives us practice in mastering control over our body. Our bodies constantly push us to do things that are gratifying physically. Food, comfort, sex... these are all things that have a physical desire that can distract us from being in a more spiritual place. By fasting, we assert control by the spirit over the body, which helps us connect with the Lord.

When I'm on my monthly fast I find that it's easier to pay attention in Church and understand the lessons being taught. It also helps me focus on my scripture study on those days. I just need to be better about actually doing it. :wink:
"He who takes offense when no offense is intended is a fool, and he who takes offense when offense is intended is a greater fool."
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Re: Think quick! Erm... I mean fast!

Postby J.K. Riki » Tue Jan 22, 2019 7:13 pm

Fasting is one thing I do not do enough of, personally. It was never something I heard much about growing up, and I do not have an active spiritual community that does it now either.

I have fasted in the past for specific purposes, and I found that it did indeed refocus my thoughts on God. It worked. I simply did not stick with it, and also I know there is a "hump" to get over when it comes to fasting where it is much harder initially than it is if you make it a habit.

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Re: Think quick! Erm... I mean fast!

Postby Sstavix » Wed Jan 23, 2019 1:56 am

The key to fasting is to remain focused on the Lord. Prayer, scripture study, meditation... These are the things that are enhanced when in a state of fasting. I've heard it said that if one doesn't do these things, they aren't really fasting, just being hungry.
Or, as I put in my talk, it's just an extreme and short-lived diet plan. :wink:

My talk went well, for those who were wondering. A lot of people told me they really enjoyed it (even though my wife, who also spoke, only left me with 10 minutes to do a talk I had planned on taking 12-15 minutes to do!) But AF did touch on one of my key points.

Probably the biggest enemy we have to growing in a spiritual fashion is ourselves - or, more precisely, the "natural man." There are many things in this world that can draw us away from our spiritual enlightenment, and most of these can lead to addictions. Fasting is an attempt to put aside the "natural man," those things that bind us to this Earth, so we can pray and focus on filling our spiritual cravings, instead.
Fasting is one thing I do not do enough of, personally. It was never something I heard much about growing up, and I do not have an active spiritual community that does it now either.
I never did it growing up (except perhaps for medical reasons) and until I joined the LDS church, I never visited a Christian community that put much emphasis on it, either. It makes me wonder why this is... if Christ mentioned it, it had to have been important. Why don't more Christian churches incorporate it into their practices?

Sounds like a research project to me! Woo hoo!

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Re: Think quick! Erm... I mean fast!

Postby J.K. Riki » Thu Jan 24, 2019 9:03 pm

It makes me wonder why this is... if Christ mentioned it, it had to have been important. Why don't more Christian churches incorporate it into their practices?
Map it along side the other really, really challenging things Christ tells us to do (like love our enemies) and I bet you will find some interesting data. ;)

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Re: Think quick! Erm... I mean fast!

Postby ArcticFox » Thu Feb 07, 2019 7:34 pm

I've been thinking a lot about the benefits of fasting, and what it means in the grand scheme of things.

Have you ever noticed that most of the sins we can commit are based on behavior that is animalistic, in nature? Think about this:

When we consider the Seven Deadly Sins...

Greed: Animals who gather tend to hoard as much as they possibly can. While this is necessary for them, it isn't for humans and yet... we engage in that behavior.

Sloth: Heh. The sin that actually shares a name with an animal known for doing very little. Some animals work, but most don't, as it's one of nature's ways of conserving energy, which animals do neeed to do.

Lust: Animals are driven to mate. A lot. 'nuff said.

Wrath: Animals are often aggressive, violent and territorial.

Envy: Wanting what others have is kind of related to stealing, which is something many animals will do.

Gluttony: Some animals will literally eat themselves to death if you let them.

Pride: Not really an animal thing, this one.

So when we consider sin, it can be viewed as "humans acting like animals." Of course, there are lot sof things animals do that we must do. We eat, we reproduce, etc... but it isn't okay to do these things in such a way as to harm others. That's spirituality. That's obedience to God... to gain mastery over our animal instincts and follow a higher, more enlightened path.

Fasting symbolizes this mastery, and is good practice for us.

(Side note: Notice how so much of our culture has shaped itself to honor the Seven Deadly Sins, rather than avoid them?)
"He who takes offense when no offense is intended is a fool, and he who takes offense when offense is intended is a greater fool."
—Brigham Young

"Don't take refuge in the false security of consensus."
—Christopher Hitchens

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Re: Think quick! Erm... I mean fast!

Postby J.K. Riki » Fri Feb 08, 2019 3:19 pm


(Side note: Notice how so much of our culture has shaped itself to honor the Seven Deadly Sins, rather than avoid them?)
It's true. I hadn't considered that consciously before, but you're spot on there.

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Re: Think quick! Erm... I mean fast!

Postby ccgr » Sat Feb 09, 2019 2:15 pm

Jay and I have been skipping breakfast on Thursdays for years. I'll admit that my prayer life is sporadic but it's still a good time to reflect on the blessings and things to ask from God.

last year for Lent I gave up snacks between meals. That was a tough fast! It's much harder at work where people bring in all kinds of yummy food :(


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