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Thread: 40 day water fast

  1. #1
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    40 day water fast

    Has anyone on this forum ever done a 40-day water fast, like Jesus did?

    This means not eating anything for 40 days, only drinking water.

    My mother did this every so often when I was growing up, so assume fasting for that long must be extremely beneficial. I honestly don't know how she did it, but I am seriously contemplating it, as I am sure it has tremendous spiritual results.

    I am really desperate to get close to God these days and to experience Him on new levels, and also for Him to really do a work on the inside of me. I desperately need it.

    So, anyone ever fast for this long? If so, could you please give a synopsis of exactly what it did to bring you closer to God? Did you experience any sort of special blessing from God? How exactly did God work through this?

    One thing, though -- I am a fair bit thinnner than my mother was, so I am a little nervous about the heath issues -- but then again, if God is in it, He will sustain me. The only thing I know is that you're not supposed to eat solid foods afterwards.

  2. #2
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    Forty days is an extremely long time for a water fast. It's amazing that your mother was able to do it! I'd think by even day three or so, you'd be weakened and in danger of flushing all the electrolytes out of your system. There are quite a few members here who have fasted over a long period of time (though I am not sure they went forty days) and I am interested to hear what they have to say.
    Psalm 19:14
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    be pleasing in your sight,
    O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer.

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    If you want to fast I'd really suggest fasting for shorter periods first and only then attempting something so long.

    I have never attempted to fast for anything like 40 days but have read a few articles that discuss the effects on the body and how best to reintroduce food to a system that has gone without for so long.

    If God is calling you to fast for so long he will see you through it, but do be sure that this is truly God's calling before attempting something that could cause you medical damage.
    24 August 2013 - I've decided to take a break from a number of internet forums, including this one, for my own reasons.
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  4. #4
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    I do not think you fast because you want to fast. I think you fast because God has laid upon your heart a burden or a need that is so great that you must fast. How often and how long you fast is between you and the Lord. If you are fasting only you and the Lord should know about it. I do not impune anyones motives for fasting but this is the kind of thing done in secret that the Lord may reward openly.

    For the cause of Christ
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  5. #5
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    Welder4Christ,

    I have done water only for 21 days. I have not done water-only for 40 days. You do not mention whether you have fasted for shorter periods or if this is your first experience with water-only fasting? 40 days is quite long for water-only but, as you say, when God is the author of it (as He was with Moses and Jesus), He will sustain you. But, let's look at Jesus for a moment. Scripture says that after 40 days, Jesus hungered. That is very telling. When the body begins to hunger again, it has entered starvation. Jesus was extremely weak which is why Satan chose then to tempt him. Jesus also required the Angels to minister to him--he didn't just pick up and start eating and going about his business.

    I'm not trying to talk you out of it. I would encourage you to be sure that God is calling you to such a long fast and to prepare yourself for it.

    1. A week before you start a 40 day water-only fast, begin removing caffeine and sugar from your diet.
    2. At least three days prior, stop consuming animal products (meat, dairy) and concentrate on eating fruits and vegetables. This will begin the cleansing process in the body. It will also reduce the likelihood that you will crave meat during your fast. Typically, whatever you ate in the last meal is what you will crave during the fast.
    3. During that week, also drink lots of water.
    4. During the fast, along with Bible reading and prayer, you might find the devotional book, 40 Days of Prayer and Fasting by Mahesh Chavda, very uplifting
    5. During the fast, you will experience periods of energy and periods of great weakness, rest as you need to and do not push yourself. Don't exercise except for slow walking if you feel up to it. Drink lots of water as your body will detoxify and water will help flush it out.
    6. As for weightloss -- the funny thing is, heavy people lost allot, skinny people, not so much. I wouldn't fret about this aspect too much.
    7. If you are basically healthy with sufficient nutrient stores, you should not need to take any supplements (vitamins/minerals) during this time. If you are on medications, don't stop taking them.
    8. When the fast is over: break the fast with an orange or other juicy fruit. Eat very slowly. I mean like taking an hour to eat the orange. Your first day should be fruit only. Day two, you can add some vegetables. I would not recommend meat or dairy until after the third day. The refeeding process is important so as not to make yourself ill.
    9. At this point, you are clean physically and spiritually and probably emotionally. You should feel like a new woman!

    Edit: Time got away from me and I had to leave for work. I wanted to add this FWIW.

    You should be sure that you are physically fit enough for such a long fast. A medical checkup would be good. Even better if your doc were open to monitoring your health status throughout the course of the fast. If you are taking any type of prescription medication, you definitely need to consult your physician. If Jesus needed the Angels, you might consider recruiting a few "medical angels" of your own to minister to you.

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    Thanks for the input, everyone. That is very good information, Frecs, thank you.

    I didn't know about the cuting out of sugar a week beforehand.

    When you fasted for 21 days, what spiritual changes took place?!

    I am desperate for a heart change. I can't stand my attitude, ad if it takes 40 days of fasting to accomplish it, then so be it.

    When my mother fasted, there were no complications, so I know that God was in it. I am also going to pray over this before attempting it, too, so I wont be going into this blindly -- if I do.

  7. #7
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    Withdrawals from caffeine and sugar can cause headaches and moodiness. It's best to get that out of the way before starting a water-only fast because water-only fasts are intensely detoxifying anyway. It also helps to lower your serum glucose levels so you'll have less shakiness at the start of the water-only fast.

    As for spiritual changes. Each time I fast, I draw closer to God. During a fast, I tune in better to what He wants to tell/teach me. It’s a time of cleaning out spiritual toxins and renewing/refreshing my spirit. It’s also a time of addressing emotional issues that need to be confronted. Fasting is truly cleansing on all three levels of our being: physical, emotional, and spiritual. It’s really hard to explain to someone what happens spiritually during a fast – it is truly something that must be experienced for oneself. If you are wanting a "heart change" then fasting can help you toward that goal. You may not need 40 days...you need to ask God what He is calling you to.

  8. #8
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    I have not done a 40 day fast.

    Frecs is the resident nutrition expert, so her capable hands can caution you on the health side. I (having no other expertise) would strongly caution you on your expectations going in. It sounds like you want to "experience something spiritual", and when I hear that I typically understand it to mean "supernatural". I wouldn't blame you for having that desire, as you rarely hear discussions about fasting without mystical magical gnostic awakenings anymore. I could be as wrong as the day is long, and I'm ok with that, but at least you don't have to invest anything just to hear a warning.

    I believe fasting to have primarily practical effects, and at this point I'm cutting and pasting from an older post:
    1) Establishes discipline
    2) Creates empathy with the less fortunate.

    How does it create discipline? I'm glad I asked . Fasting is a means of building resistance to temptation, without tempting yourself with something sinful. Food is required by your body, and it will let you know in short order when you go without for any appreciable length of time. Fasting from food requires a honing of will. Now, if I can grit my teeth and train myself to endure days without food, how much easier will my other temptations be? If I've endured hunger, might I endure sexual temptation with greater ease? My guess is yes.

    How does fasting create empathy? Simple. For some, fasting isn't a choice. Its something that happens due to either scarcity of food or scarcity of funds to buy it. No matter what blessings you've received in life, a fast will, if only for a short time, let you know what its like to suffer as the neediest people on earth. It will break our pride down and allow us to feel the desperation of hunger, and the mental state it puts one in.

    I believe both of these things (Discipline and Empathy) make for a richer walk, but are not of themselves "spiritual experiences".

    Does any of that make any sense?

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    I would both agree and disagree with my brother, HisLeast. Is there a guarantee of something "supernatural" happening during a fast? No. Can something supernatural occur during a 40 day fast? Certainly! The benefits HL mentions are what I would consider the goal of shorter fasts that one can do on a regular basis (fasts of 1, 3, 7 days). Doing 21 and especially 40 day water-only fasts are going to bring you face to face with your spiritual state and with God's love and grace. I guess I would ask "what is 'supernatural'?" Is confronting our humanness and experiencing God's touch in that area of our lives, supernatural? Is experiencing healing of physical illness supernatural? Is breaking emotional bondages supernatural? If that is the supernatural experience(s) you are looking for, then yes, an extended fast of 21 or 40 days will produce supernatural experiences. Will it turn you into a SuperChristian with Total Sinless Perfection and the ability to leap buildings in a single bound? Sorry, NOT! (But, you might suddenly find yourself leaping around in utter joy in worship to the Lord! Leap for joy! Leap for joy!)

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Frecs View Post
    I would both agree and disagree with my brother, HisLeast. Is there a guarantee of something "supernatural" happening during a fast? No. Can something supernatural occur during a 40 day fast? Certainly! The benefits HL mentions are what I would consider the goal of shorter fasts that one can do on a regular basis (fasts of 1, 3, 7 days). Doing 21 and especially 40 day water-only fasts are going to bring you face to face with your spiritual state and with God's love and grace. I guess I would ask "what is 'supernatural'?" Is confronting our humanness and experiencing God's touch in that area of our lives, supernatural? Is experiencing healing of physical illness supernatural? Is breaking emotional bondages supernatural? If that is the supernatural experience(s) you are looking for, then yes, an extended fast of 21 or 40 days will produce supernatural experiences. Will it turn you into a SuperChristian with Total Sinless Perfection and the ability to leap buildings in a single bond? Sorry, NOT! (But, you might suddenly find yourself leaping around in utter joy in worship to the Lord! Leap for joy! Leap for joy!)
    By supernatural I mean SUPER-natural. Something the physical material reality simply can't account for and has no precedent of.

    I see no gaurantee nor even hint within scripture that shorter fasts and longer fasts have different objectives or results, or that any of those results would necessarily include joy, or for that matter any supernatural (see above) experience. I don't say this to discourage the fast. I simply caution on expectations, especially if those expectations may have been influenced by a religion nearly overcome with gnosticism.

  11. #11
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    Question here.

    Should the focus be on the fast and the duration of the fast or should it be on God? I know people who have fasted who feel it was THEM doing the fast as a way to show God how much they cared about Him. To me, this just seems backwards.

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    Hi V,

    I think first and foremost, the focus must be on God. If one has a specific focus for their fast (i.e., repentance, overcoming strongholds, etc.) that is fine but it must be God-centered, not me-centered. Even if one is fasting regularly for self-discipline, the focus can not simply be “self-discipline” because that is “self” centered. If a fast is not God-centered, it’s not fasting, it’s starving.

  13. #13
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    Does the bible say explicitly that we should not fast simply to cultivate discipline and empathy?

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    Quote Originally Posted by HisLeast View Post
    Does the bible say explicitly that we should not fast simply to cultivate discipline and empathy?
    No. And I would encourage one to fast for the development of spiritual & physical discipline and empathy. One just needs to keep the focus on God rather than self. It has be to "God powered" rather than "self powered". The motive needs to be God-centered not self-centered (to prove one's superspiritualness for example).

    It is also not about forcing God to do something for us. It is not manipulating God.

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by notuptome View Post
    I do not think you fast because you want to fast. I think you fast because God has laid upon your heart a burden or a need that is so great that you must fast. How often and how long you fast is between you and the Lord. If you are fasting only you and the Lord should know about it. I do not impune anyones motives for fasting but this is the kind of thing done in secret that the Lord may reward openly.

    For the cause of Christ
    Roger
    Their are many benifits from Fasting and that mostly being able to devote our time to the Lord and as the flesh grows weaker the Spirit has mre room to speak to us. And as the Spirit gets stronger we can gain faith to forsake those weaknesses etc. God's deliverience.

    And here's something I wrote some time ago about another knid of Fast........one in which you can eat.

    [Is] not this the fast that I have chosen? to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke?

    [Is it] not to deal thy bread to the hungry, and that thou bring the poor that are cast out to thy house? (Help the poor and Homeless.) when thou seest the naked, that thou cover him; Then shall thy light break forth as the morning, and thine health shall spring forth speedily: and thy righteousness shall go before thee; the glory of the LORD shall be thy rereward.


    Then shalt thou call, and the LORD shall answer; thou shalt cry, and he shall say, Here I [am]. If thou take away from the midst of thee the yoke, the putting forth of the finger, (criticizing others) and speaking vanity; (speaking proudly or just out of the Spirit.) And [if] thou draw out thy soul to the hungry, ( whole heartedly) and satisfy the afflicted soul; then shall thy light rise in obscurity, and thy darkness [be] as the noonday:


    And (Extra Bonuses) the LORD shall guide thee continually, and satisfy thy soul in drought, and make fat thy bones: and thou shalt be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters fail not….. I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth, and feed thee with the heritage of Jacob thy father: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken [it].

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