Methods of Fasting – Chapter 4 – Korean Miracles
We have learned about the wonderful blessing and power that comes through fasting and prayer. Let us now specifically study the method for fasting. Though there is great blessing in fasting, if one doesn’t have the basic knowledge as to how to fast, he will not obtain the desired results.
PREPARATION FOR FASTING
Through the ages people fasted to receive power from God, to obtain faith, and to receive healing for incurable diseases; but because of the mis- conception that fasting is too difficult to put into action, it is rarely practiced today. It was thought that in order to fast a person went away to a mountain or shut himself up alone without any preparation and depended only on his will to see him through. Therefore, it was accepted as an impossible thing for the weak and general public to do.
Fasting is to give up all food for a specified period of time, but it is different from physically starving. Fasting makes use of the preserved nutriments in the body. It is possible to fast for a week or two without much suffering, particularly if someone with previous experience helps to guide through the transitional period. With patience and effort it could be extended to 30 or 40 days. Beginning to fast without having any preliminary knowledge may result in being able to fast two or three days and may even result in unexpected in- jury. A temptation that might be damaging is the thought that you must fast longer than other peo- ple. One of the things to beware of is wrong at- titudes and motives. Fasting is not done just to show that you can do it, for then it diminishes the power of life and damages your faith. The one who desires to fast must duly comprehend their own condition and then begin to fast with a settled conviction and a fixed purpose.
I am so happy that I now know the great power and truth that comes through fasting and prayer. For the past 20 years I have been troubled with ozena, and in spite of the continued use of many different medicines I could not get it healed. I have not been able to smell well at any time in my life. The pastor of our church, seeing me with this condition, advised me to go to Korea to the Full Gospel Prayer Mountain and, as Rev. Choi recommended, cry out to God with fasting and prayer.
I arrived in Korea with many fears and doubts. However, with God’s help and the guidance of Rev. Choi, I fasted and prayed, drinking only water for 15 days. The first three days I was troubled with hunger and thought only of food. After four days the hunger pangs disappeared and my head was clear and refreshed. I felt strong and did some walking and simple exercises. As I receiv- ed good teaching and learned to depend upon God I realized that fasting was not too difficult. After I completed 15 days of fasting and prayer. the disease was gone. Jesus had healed my ozena condition completely, and I could smell everything. I was so full of joy that it seemed I could fly in the sky. I thank the Lord that man shall live by the Word of God and not by bread alone. I shall continue to remember His grace and blessings dur- ing the rest of my time here in Korea and when I return to my home in Japan. I want to give glory to my Lord for manifesting this great miracle of God.
-A Japanese Christian.
Personal hygiene and eating habits before and after the fast are very important. The time just prior to fasting is called the pre-fasting period. During this time it is advisable that food intake be reduced gradually from three, times a day to two times, then once a day, and on into complete fasting. Before the pre-fasting period it is good to take some medication that will clean the stomach and intestines.
CAUTIONS TO OBSERVE DURING THE FAST
After completing the pre-fasting period, there are four things I caution people about in the fasting period. Be careful to observe these cautions. First, drink water. The Webster Dictionary and Bible dictionaries define fasting as “the abstaining from food for religious reasons.” Food is defined as edible substances that are solid; therefore. pure water is not food. During the time of fasting it is important to drink water, as this tends to clean the inside of the body. Water is not contrary to faith as long as it is natural, pure water; not cola, cider, or any other man-made mixtures that include water. Be careful not to drink too much water at one time. A glass or so several times a day is ideal. If a person does not drink water at all he will not be able to fast for a long period of time. If one drinks water wisely during a fast, he can fast for three and four weeks and even more without much difficulty.
Second, refrain from taking an excessive!v hot bath. Having a very hot bath during a prolonged fast can cause dizziness, and you may be unable to continue. Instead, give yourself a sponge bath or bathe in tepid, lukewarm water. It is important to bathe regularly during a fast as many impurities are secreted through the pores of the skin and cause a foul odor. Also be sure to brush your teeth and gargle often as fasting produces a different smelling breath.
It is a proven fact that one very rarely contacts a cold during times of fasting.
Third, do not engage in excessive work. exercise. or reading. Excessive activity during the fasting period causes the body and mind to become tired and thus is an obstacle to fasting. Light work or exercising and light reading are not hindrances dur- ing the fast. In fact, reading the Bible during a fast is a necessity and spiritually beneficial. There are some 32,000 promises in the Bible, and they give us faith, encouragement, confidence, and the blessings of heaven as we read. Some Christians have read the entire Bible during a long fast. Fourth, clean the digestive tract. I have previous- ly mentioned the need of cleaning the digestive tract prior to fasting. I mention it again, more specifically, as it is very important. If a person has problems with constipation he should take an enema. The only exception to this is one who has cancer of the colon or rectum.
These four cautions should be observed carefully in order to obtain maximum results from the fast. It is sometimes good to gather together when fasting. The Scripture says that when two or three gather together in His name thl;’-t Christ would be in the midst. Through fasting and prayer, our hearts become tender and hatred disappears. We will begin to pray for our enemies and we will become more patient and longsuffering as well as receive the fruits of the love of Christ in our lives.
Toward the end of 1973 I went to the Full Gospel Prayer Mountain to spend time with God and think over my past life. Even though I went to the prayer mountain fully intending to fast and pray, I thought I would have to eat some food from time to time because my health was weak and my body tired. As I started to pray,’ the Holy Spirit began to deal strongly with me and I felt compelled to begin a complete fast.
After several days my head was dizzy, my strength was gone, my face became emaciated, and my heart was upset. I was becoming a living corpse through fasting and I could not seem to pray. I did not endeavor to seek God at a fixed time nor did I seek God with my whole heart. I was too proud.
I thought, “What good is this that results in a haggard and dried up body. If we did not give water to flowers they would wither, twist, and dry up. A well- nourished person with a rudy complexion gives added grace to what is already beautiful. You have to eat in order to nourish the body. Don’t lose your health. Eat food!” Thus the terrible battle went on. During this troubled time, I was greatly helped and encouraged by the counsel of Rev. Ja Shil Choi.
I was amazed when a young boy sitting beside me, was filled with the Holy Spirit. He had been fasting and praying for five days, and was filled with great joy and glory. Recognizing my lack of ability and my need, I confessed my sins to Christ and began to seek Him with all my heart.
When I came to the point where my own life meant nothing to me and I had to commune with Christ, He touched and cleansed me. I felt as if I was lifted into the third heaven. Strength flowed into my exhausted body as I continued to communicate with the Lord, and through His Spirit I felt as if my own spiritual life was growing.
. I was healed of stomach and intestinal trouble. In addition to this, I was made keenly aware of the terri- ble trick Satan was playing on me. Then God began to show me some future events.
After my healing, I no longer felt tired and my weight moderately increased. I have plenty of vitality to meet the challenges of the day. I went to the prayer mountain only to rest and pray, but received forgiveness and healing from our wonderful Lord. Hallelujah!
-Jin Ok Kwan
Korean Church of San Francisco
1475 Ellis St.
San Francisco, California, 94115 POST-FASTING CAUTIONS
The most difficult period is immediately after the fast. This period requires more discipline and self-determination than any other time of the fast. The importance of caution at this time cannot be emphasized too strongly.
Fasting can be compared to the foundation of a house and the careful control during the period immediately following fasting compared to the completion of that house. You can lose the physical benefit of a lengthy fast and do great harm to your body if you are not extremely careful during the post-fasting period.
The most important thing to remember is not to eat solid food and not to overeat. After tasting food again there is a strong temptation to overeat. If eating is instinctively guided by the appetite, it can result in serious damage to one’s health.
I knew a person who did not heed the instruction concerning the resuming of a normal diet. He consumed great quantities of beef and rice as well as other food immediately following a 30-day fast, and as a result he died. It is absolutely essential that one overcome the strong desire to overeat. Food intake should be increased gradually.
Even though there are no definite rules regarding the type of food to eat, it is wise to follow some guidelines as to quantity. Begin the first day by drinking vegetable juice a little at a time. Later in the morning, add a cup of watery soup. You may also have a small amount of apple juice later in the day. A watery soup made of boiled pumpkin and rice powder or boiled watery corn soup is good to drink.
On the second day, thicken the soup and continue to drink vegetable and apple juice. The third day, eat a dish of thick soup and a small amount of fruit or tomato juice. From this time on you may gradually in- crease the quantity of soup and the variety of food at a rate depending on the length of the fast. It is important to remember when eating solid food to chew the food longer than usual as the smoothness of digestion depends on the amount of saliva mixed with the food. As a general rule, it is advisable to follow a light diet for a period of time proportionate to the fasting period.
As soon as you begin to eat food again your natural desire for food will strongly tempt you to overeat. Therefore this period is the most difficult time of a11. The importance of carefulness and self-control during this period cannot be overstressed. Eating to appease the appetite can be dangerous. If the fasting period has been two or more weeks, the stomach has adapted itself to the fast. Therefore, one should not eat the normal quantity and variety until two or three weeks after breaking a fast of that duration. A good rule to follow regarding the days of temperance in eating fol1owlng a fast is to observe one day of temperance for each day of fasting; that is, a fast of five days duratIOn should fol1owed by a temperance period of five days. ThIS WI help you to keep a healthy body and allow the fast to have the fullest physiological effect.
From my childhood I was s~ame.d time and time again by epileptic seizures. As I grew older, I could not bear to continue living in my home town because of the embarrassment this condition brought me, so I began to wander. During my travels I stayed for a time in the home of a Christian who was attending the Presbyterian church in Pyangtang City. These people introduced me to the prayer mountain.
During my pre-fasting period I thought, If I cannot receive healing, I will commit suicide as I no longer have any purpose for living.” I finished my pre-fasting period and entered into the fast with all my heart. The devil tried to get me to break the fast, but with the help of the Holy Spirit I was able to overcome the pain in my body and the weakness of mind.
After five days of fasting and prayer, I saw a vision in which a Bible and hymn book came down to me from heaven. As soon as I received it I saw the prayer room filled with holy fire. At that moment, I seemed to be drawn into this strange fire. This vision came to me twice, and each time I was drawn into the fire. As I entered into the fire the second time I cried, “Hallelujah,” as I had the assurance in my heart that I was healed of the epilepsy.
Since this time I have not had an epileptic seizure. All glory and honor to the Lord forever. Hallelujah!
-Goon Ja Lee
Gungsung Apt. 307
289 Namgajoa Dong
Seodaimun Ku, Seoul
FASTING AND PRAYER AT HOME
The first time you attempt an extended fast, you should receive guidance from someone who is ex- perienced in fasting such as the counselors at the prayer mountain. However, if your business and time will not allow you to get away, you can fast and pray at home. Before you begin, buy a good book on fasting and study it carefully. This gives greater knowledge and confidence in fasting. After you have made the decision to fast, your family will often worry about you and advise you to eat, thus, tempting you to end the fast prematurely.
I do not encourage one who has a serious illness to fast alone at home. It is essential for those seriously ill to be guided by an experienced person’s teaching and practice.
I know of women believers who have fasted 20 or 30 days while continuing to work at home. However. these people had previously completed four or five shorter fasts a year at home.
The cautions to observe while fasting at home are almost the same as those mentioned previously. I am going to refer to those cautions dealing with several things more specifically.
First, do not begin your fast suddenly, but reduce food intake for two or three days. Before beginning to fast, cleanse your digestive tract thoroughly.
Second, drink five or six cups of water a day while fasting. Do not worry about symptoms such as headache, nausea, low fever, sleeplessness, sneezing, stomach ache, or belching. In fact, do not be surprised if these symptoms appear. Never have an injection or take medicine thoughtlessly.
Third, do some walking and exercise. Even though it is not advisable to endeavor to do excessive work dur- ing a fast, light exercise and working moderately at home is good.
Fourth, walk, read, or worship Christ at mealtime to help overcome the great temptation to satisfy the eating instinct. If possible, avoid looking at food and coming to the table at meal time. If you remain where eating is taking place, the temptation to break the fast will be very great.
After the fast is completed begin to drink watery soup. Later, drink thickened soup, and gradually add a light diet.
Fifth, abstain from cakes sugar, side dishes, or stimulus food of any kind. It is also good to refrain from marital relations during this time.
If you obeserve these cautions you can have a profitable fast at home. If you are unable to fast three meals a day, try fasting one meal a day. Repeatedly overeating at breakfast time can cause you to drag through the morning feeling mental strain and not at all in full attention. To have a keen sense of judgment is difficult, but many people have found by fasting breakfast and spending the time in prayer, they have a clear head, are at full attention, and have a good sense of judgement. If possible, fast one meal a day from time to time. Through fasting one meal a day, many people stay healthy and enjoy a long life. Among my friends and family there are many these days who fast one meal a day. Fasting is profitable in maintaining physical health.