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Fasting in the Time of Personal Need

vamrat

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I am not a priest or bishop, but I don't think there is ever going to be a time where you should not do something beneficial for your soul. We should be praying "constantly" so if this personal need is causing you to pray more, then good!  Who should you turn to in a time of need before God?  As for fasting, even Christ hint's to its efficacy as a spiritual tool (specifically when casting out demons, but I suspect that it has other uses as my priest tells me to do it and I have knowingly cast out approximately 0.0 demons). 
 

Mor Ephrem

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quietmorning said:
Is it permitted to fast and pray for a cause for a period of time?  (Some one in ICU in the hosp, for example).
I think so.  There are some concerns that, IMO, would have to be taken into consideration (e.g., days and seasons in which fasting is probably inappropriate, keeping one's personal fast strictly while neglecting the ecclesiastical fasts), but in theory this is allowed. 
 

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I don't think abstaining from food will help someone... to be honest. Is it supposed to be like a hunger strike? Moderate fasting can,  however, be useful in curbing the flesh.
 

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Perennial1 said:
I don't think abstaining from food will help someone... to be honest. Is it supposed to be like a hunger strike? Moderate fasting can,  however, be useful in curbing the flesh.


???
 

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Perennial1 said:
I don't think abstaining from food will help someone... to be honest. Is it supposed to be like a hunger strike? Moderate fasting can,  however, be useful in curbing the flesh.
Joel Osteen, huh?
 

quietmorning

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Thank you, everyone.  :)  I'm inclined to talk to my priest as he knows my struggles.  I used to fast for important needs before I converted to Orthodoxy - my understanding of fasting in such a situation is to prepare the self to go before the King of kings with my requests.  To humble myself - and / or as the old testament states often, to purify and set myself aside for His use.  I've never seen it as something that 'earns' His favor. 

But just because that's my understanding - I may have hit the nail on the head or missed it all together - so I think talking to my priest is a good thing. 

I know that when my soul is fat and saturated with gunk, prayer becomes so heavy it falls to the floor and doesn't get any where. 
 

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Perennial1 said:
I don't think abstaining from food will help someone... to be honest. Is it supposed to be like a hunger strike? Moderate fasting can,  however, be useful in curbing the flesh.
Perhaps you are mentioning a view of fasting that I don't particularly apply to. . . if you mean helping someone 'else' as in someone other than myself?

PRAYER, petitioning Our Lord on the behalf of another is very helpful, because He is merciful and He loves us.  He keeps His word. 

FASTING, however, in this instance, would be more of my acknowledging that I am not worthy to ask - that I am heavy and fat in soul and engulfed in the world.  It's preparing myself to come before Him as I am.  It's saying, YOU are God, and I am NOT.  As there is nothing that shows me more how frail I am than turning away from what feeds the body and concentrating only on what feeds the soul. 
 

Punch

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This is one of the few times that I fully advocate fasting.  This is fasting for a purpose, not just because it's that time on a calendar.  It is always appropriate to fast and pray for the sick or for a great need.
 

Mor Ephrem

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Punch said:
This is one of the few times that I fully advocate fasting.  This is fasting for a purpose, not just because it's that time on a calendar.  It is always appropriate to fast and pray for the sick or for a great need.
Why do you assume that those "times on a calendar" are without purpose? 
 

Punch

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Mor Ephrem said:
Punch said:
This is one of the few times that I fully advocate fasting.  This is fasting for a purpose, not just because it's that time on a calendar.  It is always appropriate to fast and pray for the sick or for a great need.
Why do you assume that those "times on a calendar" are without purpose? 
I made no such assumption.  There are those that fast on those days for exactly the purpose for which they were intended.  I don't know any of those people, but I am sure that they exist.  The reason that I don't know any of them is that they usually keep quite about their fasting as was commanded by Christ.  The ones that talk about it all the time probably are not doing it for the purpose intended.  The assumption that I am making is that if one undertakes a fast in a time of need, they know exactly why they are fasting and know exactly what they are trying to accomplish from it.  Perhaps this is a faulty assumption, but I DO know people who have been in this situation, and that was the case with them (and no, they did not sit around talking about meatless recipes.  They simply did not eat). That is why those fasting in this situation get no argument from me. 
 

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Fasting to "get God's attention" is just a hunger strike. It won't work to help someone in the hospital.

The true purpose of fasting is for asceticism.

P.S. the passage in the Gospels about using "prayer and fasting" to cast out demons - suggesting a power in fasting to accomplish something external to oneself - is an interpolation and is not included in many Bibles.
 

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Perennial1 said:
Fasting to "get God's attention" is just a hunger strike. It won't work to help someone in the hospital.

The true purpose of fasting is for asceticism.

P.S. the passage in the Gospels about using "prayer and fasting" to cast out demons - suggesting a power in fasting to accomplish something external to oneself - is an interpolation and is not included in many Bibles.
Why would I fast to get His attention? 

 

Alveus Lacuna

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Punch said:
This is one of the few times that I fully advocate fasting.  This is fasting for a purpose, not just because it's that time on a calendar.  It is always appropriate to fast and pray for the sick or for a great need.
When are we going to make a real life encounter happen?
 

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Perennial1 said:
Mor Ephrem said:
Perennial1 said:
Fasting to "get God's attention" is just a hunger strike. It won't work to help someone in the hospital.
Oh?  And you know this how?  
Logic.
Try it with the communion between your soul and the relationship you have with The Lord. . .and then see if it fits.  (Proverbs 14:12 - There is a way that appears to be right, but in the end it leads to death. - used the NIV for your sake.) - which would be my response to any answer where 'Logic' is used.

Edited: for after thought and Scripture text.
 

Punch

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Alveus Lacuna said:
Punch said:
This is one of the few times that I fully advocate fasting.  This is fasting for a purpose, not just because it's that time on a calendar.  It is always appropriate to fast and pray for the sick or for a great need.
When are we going to make a real life encounter happen?
Why?  Have you not had one?
 

vamrat

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Mor Ephrem said:
Perennial1 said:
Mor Ephrem said:
Perennial1 said:
Fasting to "get God's attention" is just a hunger strike. It won't work to help someone in the hospital.
Oh?  And you know this how? 
Logic.
So you don't know what you're talking about. 
That's the long and short of it, though neither do we.  The difference is, there is an admission of it in faith.  We do not know what God will do. He will do as He wills.  At the same time, we have many examples of where Faith has made the difference.  St. John of Shanghai said that "the prayers of a righteous man availeth much".  The faith of the woman with the flow of blood healed her.  But we cannot logically argue it.  Nor can we logically argue against it.  You cannot quantify faith, prayer, and fasting.  (My priest sometimes says, "God is not vending machine.  You do not put in quarter and out comes answer to prayer.")  What we do have is the testimony and witness of the Scriptures, the Saints and histories of the Church, and the testimony of the faithful in the power of God to cure any ailment, and time and time again have shown that it is our faith that heals us, and what is prayer and fasting if not an expression of underlying faith?
 

vamrat

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Mor Ephrem said:
vamrat said:
St. John of Shanghai said that "the prayers of a righteous man availeth much". 
I'm pretty sure he's quoting the Bible, bro.  :p
On further googleation I see that this is correct.  Probably a fitting thing for a Saint Bishop to be doing, all the same.
 

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quietmorning said:
Perennial1 said:
Mor Ephrem said:
Perennial1 said:
Fasting to "get God's attention" is just a hunger strike. It won't work to help someone in the hospital.
Oh?  And you know this how?  
Logic.
Try it with the communion between your soul and the relationship you have with The Lord. . .and then see if it fits.  (Proverbs 14:12 - There is a way that appears to be right, but in the end it leads to death. - used the NIV for your sake.) - which would be my response to any answer where 'Logic' is used.

Edited: for after thought and Scripture text.
Fasting can be useful in making a prayer more affective only in the sense that, since asceticism purifies the body and mind, one is able to better establish a connection to God. But the sole effect of fasting is ascetical and nothing more. God does not answer a prayer because someone is fasting- fasting is not a hunger strike to convince God to do something. Therefore fasting will not help someone in the hospital. But it can be helpful to fast while praying :)
 

vamrat

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Perennial1 said:
quietmorning said:
Perennial1 said:
Mor Ephrem said:
Perennial1 said:
Fasting to "get God's attention" is just a hunger strike. It won't work to help someone in the hospital.
Oh?  And you know this how?  
Logic.
Try it with the communion between your soul and the relationship you have with The Lord. . .and then see if it fits.  (Proverbs 14:12 - There is a way that appears to be right, but in the end it leads to death. - used the NIV for your sake.) - which would be my response to any answer where 'Logic' is used.

Edited: for after thought and Scripture text.
Fasting can be useful in making a prayer more affective only in the sense that, since asceticism purifies the body and mind, one is able to better establish a connection to God. But the sole effect of fasting is ascetical and nothing more. God does not answer a prayer because someone is fasting- fasting is not a hunger strike to convince God to do something. Therefore fasting will not help someone in the hospital. But it can be helpful to fast while praying :)
I agree with you in that fasting is not magic, but at the same time, you say that fasting can help prayer, and we have the witness of the Saints and greater yet the miracles of Christ performed through the faith of another (your faith has made you well) that show that faith (and it's expression - prayer) are the most powerful force in existence, so would it not lead that via prayer, fasting can move mountains?
 

Mor Ephrem

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Perennial1 said:
Fasting can be useful in making a prayer more affective only in the sense that, since asceticism purifies the body and mind, one is able to better establish a connection to God. But the sole effect of fasting is ascetical and nothing more. God does not answer a prayer because someone is fasting- fasting is not a hunger strike to convince God to do something. Therefore fasting will not help someone in the hospital. But it can be helpful to fast while praying :)
But where has anyone argued that fasting alone accomplishes anything?  Even when the Church speaks about fasting, she never divorces it from prayer, almsgiving, and in general the living of a life according to the gospel, even going so far as to point out how fruitless it is without these things.  You are the one who has introduced the "hunger strike to convince God" concept. 
 

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vamrat said:
Perennial1 said:
quietmorning said:
Perennial1 said:
Mor Ephrem said:
Perennial1 said:
Fasting to "get God's attention" is just a hunger strike. It won't work to help someone in the hospital.
Oh?  And you know this how?  
Logic.
Try it with the communion between your soul and the relationship you have with The Lord. . .and then see if it fits.  (Proverbs 14:12 - There is a way that appears to be right, but in the end it leads to death. - used the NIV for your sake.) - which would be my response to any answer where 'Logic' is used.

Edited: for after thought and Scripture text.
Fasting can be useful in making a prayer more affective only in the sense that, since asceticism purifies the body and mind, one is able to better establish a connection to God. But the sole effect of fasting is ascetical and nothing more. God does not answer a prayer because someone is fasting- fasting is not a hunger strike to convince God to do something. Therefore fasting will not help someone in the hospital. But it can be helpful to fast while praying :)
I agree with you in that fasting is not magic, but at the same time, you say that fasting can help prayer, and we have the witness of the Saints and greater yet the miracles of Christ performed through the faith of another (your faith has made you well) that show that faith (and it's expression - prayer) are the most powerful force in existence, so would it not lead that via prayer, fasting can move mountains?
Fasting cannot move mountains, period.
 

Mor Ephrem

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Perennial1 said:
vamrat said:
Perennial1 said:
quietmorning said:
Perennial1 said:
Mor Ephrem said:
Perennial1 said:
Fasting to "get God's attention" is just a hunger strike. It won't work to help someone in the hospital.
Oh?  And you know this how?  
Logic.
Try it with the communion between your soul and the relationship you have with The Lord. . .and then see if it fits.  (Proverbs 14:12 - There is a way that appears to be right, but in the end it leads to death. - used the NIV for your sake.) - which would be my response to any answer where 'Logic' is used.

Edited: for after thought and Scripture text.
Fasting can be useful in making a prayer more affective only in the sense that, since asceticism purifies the body and mind, one is able to better establish a connection to God. But the sole effect of fasting is ascetical and nothing more. God does not answer a prayer because someone is fasting- fasting is not a hunger strike to convince God to do something. Therefore fasting will not help someone in the hospital. But it can be helpful to fast while praying :)
I agree with you in that fasting is not magic, but at the same time, you say that fasting can help prayer, and we have the witness of the Saints and greater yet the miracles of Christ performed through the faith of another (your faith has made you well) that show that faith (and it's expression - prayer) are the most powerful force in existence, so would it not lead that via prayer, fasting can move mountains?
Fasting cannot move mountains, period.
Perennial1,

Forum rules governing the Faith Issues section limit the participation of non-Orthodox to asking questions regarding Orthodoxy or clarifying misconceptions of their own religious beliefs, but do not allow the promotion of non-Orthodox teachings or agendas.  You can do that in other sections of the forum if you want, but you will no longer do it here. 

Mor Ephrem, moderator
 

Second Chance

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Punch said:
Mor Ephrem said:
Punch said:
This is one of the few times that I fully advocate fasting.  This is fasting for a purpose, not just because it's that time on a calendar.  It is always appropriate to fast and pray for the sick or for a great need.
Why do you assume that those "times on a calendar" are without purpose? 
I made no such assumption.  There are those that fast on those days for exactly the purpose for which they were intended.  I don't know any of those people, but I am sure that they exist.  The reason that I don't know any of them is that they usually keep quite about their fasting as was commanded by Christ.  The ones that talk about it all the time probably are not doing it for the purpose intended.  The assumption that I am making is that if one undertakes a fast in a time of need, they know exactly why they are fasting and know exactly what they are trying to accomplish from it.  Perhaps this is a faulty assumption, but I DO know people who have been in this situation, and that was the case with them (and no, they did not sit around talking about meatless recipes.  They simply did not eat). That is why those fasting in this situation get no argument from me.   
Great points!
 

Perennial1

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Mor Ephrem said:
Perennial1 said:
vamrat said:
Perennial1 said:
quietmorning said:
Perennial1 said:
Mor Ephrem said:
Perennial1 said:
Fasting to "get God's attention" is just a hunger strike. It won't work to help someone in the hospital.
Oh?  And you know this how?  
Logic.
Try it with the communion between your soul and the relationship you have with The Lord. . .and then see if it fits.  (Proverbs 14:12 - There is a way that appears to be right, but in the end it leads to death. - used the NIV for your sake.) - which would be my response to any answer where 'Logic' is used.

Edited: for after thought and Scripture text.
Fasting can be useful in making a prayer more affective only in the sense that, since asceticism purifies the body and mind, one is able to better establish a connection to God. But the sole effect of fasting is ascetical and nothing more. God does not answer a prayer because someone is fasting- fasting is not a hunger strike to convince God to do something. Therefore fasting will not help someone in the hospital. But it can be helpful to fast while praying :)
I agree with you in that fasting is not magic, but at the same time, you say that fasting can help prayer, and we have the witness of the Saints and greater yet the miracles of Christ performed through the faith of another (your faith has made you well) that show that faith (and it's expression - prayer) are the most powerful force in existence, so would it not lead that via prayer, fasting can move mountains?
Fasting cannot move mountains, period.
Perennial1,

Forum rules governing the Faith Issues section limit the participation of non-Orthodox to asking questions regarding Orthodoxy or clarifying misconceptions of their own religious beliefs, but do not allow the promotion of non-Orthodox teachings or agendas.  You can do that in other sections of the forum if you want, but you will no longer do it here. 

Mor Ephrem, moderator
Does Orthodoxy state that "fasting moves mountains"? I would like to see sources. I thought fasting in Orthodoxy was only for ascetical purposes. This post is a question.
 

jewish voice

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quietmorning said:
Is it permitted to fast and pray for a cause for a period of time?  (Some one in ICU in the hosp, for example).
I would ask a priest but I don't think in my opinion fasting wouldn't do any harm. just make sure you follow the rules to fasting.
 

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jewish voice said:
quietmorning said:
Is it permitted to fast and pray for a cause for a period of time?  (Some one in ICU in the hosp, for example).
I would ask a priest but I don't think in my opinion fasting wouldn't do any harm. just make sure you follow the rules to fasting.
Thank you, Jewish Voice. :)
 

quietmorning

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Perennial1 said:
Mor Ephrem said:
Perennial1 said:
vamrat said:
Perennial1 said:
quietmorning said:
Perennial1 said:
Mor Ephrem said:
Perennial1 said:
Fasting to "get God's attention" is just a hunger strike. It won't work to help someone in the hospital.
Oh?  And you know this how?  
Logic.
Try it with the communion between your soul and the relationship you have with The Lord. . .and then see if it fits.  (Proverbs 14:12 - There is a way that appears to be right, but in the end it leads to death. - used the NIV for your sake.) - which would be my response to any answer where 'Logic' is used.

Edited: for after thought and Scripture text.
Fasting can be useful in making a prayer more affective only in the sense that, since asceticism purifies the body and mind, one is able to better establish a connection to God. But the sole effect of fasting is ascetical and nothing more. God does not answer a prayer because someone is fasting- fasting is not a hunger strike to convince God to do something. Therefore fasting will not help someone in the hospital. But it can be helpful to fast while praying :)
I agree with you in that fasting is not magic, but at the same time, you say that fasting can help prayer, and we have the witness of the Saints and greater yet the miracles of Christ performed through the faith of another (your faith has made you well) that show that faith (and it's expression - prayer) are the most powerful force in existence, so would it not lead that via prayer, fasting can move mountains?
Fasting cannot move mountains, period.
Perennial1,

Forum rules governing the Faith Issues section limit the participation of non-Orthodox to asking questions regarding Orthodoxy or clarifying misconceptions of their own religious beliefs, but do not allow the promotion of non-Orthodox teachings or agendas.  You can do that in other sections of the forum if you want, but you will no longer do it here. 

Mor Ephrem, moderator
Does Orthodoxy state that "fasting moves mountains"? I would like to see sources. I thought fasting in Orthodoxy was only for ascetical purposes. This post is a question.
I think what you are missing is that I asked this question in context to comparison to the fasts that are already in place in the Church Calendar.  I wasn't asking for a definition of what fasting was for.  Fasting during Bright Week - for instance is definitely not appropriate. . . I wasn't sure if there were any other times.

Fasting is not only for ascetic purposes.  It is not only for self-discipline (redundant, I know - but I wanted to clarify the meaning of 'ascetic'.)    There are fruits of fasting just as there are fruits of praying - and those fruits are that I am prepared, that I am humble, that I am choosing life instead of this world.  In those choices, there is righteousness - and in righteousness there is communion with God.  It isn't earned.  I can't do one thing by myself, it is Christ IN ME.  HE DOES IT.  But I am willing to allow HIM.  I am the 'yes' to His 'Amen and it is DONE.'

Fasting is a part of the whole.  It is allowing Him to work in me.  And if He chooses to answer my prayers at the same time, that's great - but it has been my experience that sometimes - actually more often than not that He knows the truth of whatever situation and I'm as blind as a bat and as deaf as a door nail.  He knows.  I don't.  I will submit to what His will is. . . fasting is a gift that He ENABLES to prepare me to both come before Him and to receive Him and His will for me.
 

Alveus Lacuna

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Punch said:
Alveus Lacuna said:
Punch said:
This is one of the few times that I fully advocate fasting.  This is fasting for a purpose, not just because it's that time on a calendar.  It is always appropriate to fast and pray for the sick or for a great need.
When are we going to make a real life encounter happen?
Why?  Have you not had one?
I meant we need to hang out.
 

Punch

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Alveus Lacuna said:
Punch said:
Alveus Lacuna said:
Punch said:
This is one of the few times that I fully advocate fasting.  This is fasting for a purpose, not just because it's that time on a calendar.  It is always appropriate to fast and pray for the sick or for a great need.
When are we going to make a real life encounter happen?
Why?  Have you not had one?
I meant we need to hang out.
Ah, I think that would be an excellent idea.
 
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