Lent Fasting - Lent Fasting as Penance and a Tool of Transformation and Breakthrough

In this page we are going to talk about lent fasting and how it can be a tool of penance for shortcomings, as well as a powerful tool of breakthrough and transformation

If you are a Christian and/or practitioner of the Catholic faith, then lent fasting is an excellent way for you to show your devotion next Lenten season.

From what history books indicate, lent was done -- to a great extent -- in preparation for baptism and the forgiveness of sins.

One of the questions we are always asked is whether one needs to fast partially or for the entire 40 days of the Lenten season.

Lent fasting should be a matter of conscience, but definitely it is a time of reflection.

A time of looking at ourselves honestly and without reserve with the aim of enhancing our spiritual condition through a closer relationship with God.

And abstinence from food through juice or water fasting is certainly one way to do it. Many dear friends who are believers start out with a partial juice or water fast, then resume normal eating habits with the exception of certain customary foods as a form of penance.

Lent fasting is a way of denying the flesh and its appetites in favor of submission and humility before God.

But it ought not become a practice of self-flagellation or punishment. Neither should it be done grudgingly just to observe a religious requirement.

The true power of fasting comes when human eyes are placed on God with childlike expectation of what he is, and continues to do in our lives.

Yes, we believe the most important part of lent fasting is the attitude of our hearts. A sincere desire and willingness to let go of old destructive habits and behaviors, thus allowing the Grace of God to cleanse and purify us.

True Fasting

Lent fasting does not necessarily have to be a fast from food on all 40 days, although Church proclamations strongly suggest it. For example, Catholics who are ill are not bound to observe the laws on lent fasting.

To be sure, there are many ways in which we can humble ourselves during this season in regret for our sins.

As indicated in Isaiah 58, “true fasting” is fasting where our purpose is to glorify God both externally and in our hearts.

The Scripture -- which relates to lent fasting and fasting anytime - says starting in verse 6:

"Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke?

7 Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter— when you see the naked, to clothe him, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?

8 Then your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear; then your righteousness] will go before you, and the glory of the LORD will be your rear guard.

9 Then you will call, and the LORD will answer; you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I.

If you do away with the yoke of oppression, with the pointing finger and malicious talk, 10 and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday.”

It is clear in this passage that lent fasting, and fasting anytime, can produce a breakthrough in areas of your life where you might be struggling.

Lookup a word or passage in the Bible



BibleGateway.com
Include this form on your page

What I am saying is that while it is done for “penance,” fasting is a tool used by God to transform and break chains in our lives.

Let’s take one more look at the amazing promises God’s word gives us related to fasting in this passage:

Then your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear; then your righteousness] will go before you, and the glory of the LORD will be your rear guard.

Then you will call, and the LORD will answer; you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I. Then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday.”

I hope this promise gives you a new perspective on fasting, which is what this website is all about.

And it is our sincere desire that this Lenten season you may experience a profound and life-changing spiritual awakening through this wonderful discipline.

Historical Lent Fasting

Even though fasting and abstinence were part of the practice throughout history, there was initially no specific structure under which it was performed.

Over time, however, this changed as Rome extended Lent from three to six weeks excepting Sundays, which is the special day of the Lord.

But since this made the Lenten season only 36 days in length, four more days were eventually added to make it an even 40 days.

This, in many ways, was done to commemorate the fast Jesus carried out in the dessert prior to the start of his ministry.

So fasting during lent, in its purest essence, is an act designed to emulate Christ, who is the Author or our Faith.

“Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil and he fasted forty days and forty nights" (Matthew 4:1-2).

During this time Jesus ate no food whatever, placing himself fully in God’s hands for sustenance and, some say, further revelation and understanding.

It is important to point out that fasting during lent for all 40 days did not come up until the fourth century in the decrees of the Council of Nicea in 325 AD, according to various historical books.

The modern Church, nonetheless, strongly recommends that believers fast all 40 days. According to Catholic church records, The National Conference of Catholic Bishops proclaimed in 1996 that, as people of God, the Church should indeed make the entire season of Lenten one of penance.

Heart-Felt Fasting

In addition to making it clear that Catholic believers are required to fast and not eat meat on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday, and to abstain from meat on every Friday of Lent, the Conference also recommended participation in daily Mass and a self-imposed observance of fasting.

Even when bishops in the US stopped making it a requirement that believers not eat meat on all Fridays of each year, it is unlikely they meant that fasting during lent should be abandoned altogether.

Rather, more than likely what they hoped was to remove cumbersome requirements while still allowing believers to observe lent fasting out of their love for God.

The point is that fasting should be done out of one's own volition, not our of duty which can bring bitterness and strife.

Return from Lent Fasting to Spiritual Fasting MAIN

Robert Dave Johnston
Fitness Through Fasting - Editor

Bookmark This Page

StumbleUpon Toolbar Stumble It!

CopyScape Page copy protected against web site content infringement by Copyscape


*Visit The Anti-Prevention Nation© EXODUS Fasting Lose Weight Shop for Top Pick fasting and colon health / christian fasting books, juicers and extractors, cleansing kits and supplies.

Custom Search

New! Facebook Comments

Speak your mind about this fasting/health topic ... :-)