1. Victoria Nimmo Walters
    March 16, 2016 @ 3:38 PM

    There are many ‘kinds’ of fasts practiced today, and most (if not all) find their roots in Scripture–at least in reference if not in command.

    One of the more common fasting practices is called the “Daniel Fast” wherein the one fasting limits themselves to basic wholesome foods and denies themselves any kind of pleasurable tastes. This one is rooted in the abstinence of Daniel and the three Hebrew children when they were being groomed for service to the king. The dietary practices of the land wherein they were held captive was not agreement with Hebrew dietary laws, so Daniel persuaded the household overseer to allow them to eat only lentils for a prescribed time (to show him that their God would sustain them…they didn’t need the king’s meats and fancy delicacies to retain their health.)

    Lenten fasts call only for abstinence from meat on Fridays (fish is allowable.) Full fasting is requested on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday (which mark the beginning and ending of Lent.) However, the Catholic church considers fasting to be: eating only one full meal for the day which can be supplemented with two small snacks, the total of which do not equate to a full meal. Water is unrestricted as it is an emblem of purification given to us in the Sacrament of Baptism as is never to be denied. Rather than finding a Scriptural source for this practice, it is rooted in Church Tradition which dates back to those things handed down from the early church that were not written down, but passed forward from generation to generation (the practice of that ‘handing down’ or ‘passing forward’ is rooted in Scripture–all the way back to Deuteronomy and the giving of the Law. The Israelites were told to “write these things on your forehead, and on the doorways of your house; talk of them as you walk together, and as you sit together over meals.)

    Throughout my life I have also heard that fasting does not always mean ‘from food,’ but we can offer up anything that we enjoy more than spending time with God (such as watching TV, reading things other than devotional materials, shopping for things beyond our base necessities, etc.) and spend the time we would ordinarily be doing those things in prayer and Scripture study. I haven’t been able to track down any Scriptural support for this kind of fast, but I also can’t find anything that would make it not valid.

    • avincent
      March 16, 2016 @ 4:49 PM

      After I finished with this post, I came across a reference to fasting that talks about a fast that is pleasing to God. In Isaiah 58 it doesn’t say that God called the people to a fast but does say, “Is this not a fast that I have chosen.” So God does choose a fast. In this reference it talking about the attitude and actions of the faster. How Israel was fasting and trying to get God to move on their behalf but were at the same time abusing their fellow men. God would not honor their fast because their heart and actions were not right.

      I have heard of a Daniel fast before and have read the story. I love the story of how God showed that His ways are better than any other.

      Growing up in the Protestant arm of faith, I don’t know a lot about Catholic practices. Thank you for sharing this information with us. Fasting isn’t regulated or required in the Protestant seating section (as far as I know) but we can certainly appreciate our Catholic brothers and sisters desire to follow the tenets of their faith. God honors a heart that honors Him and His Son, regardless of labels or laws.

  2. Victoria Nimmo Walters
    March 22, 2016 @ 3:13 PM