True Fasting

A student of Christian Science was greatly benefited by pondering the spiritual meaning of the word "fasting," as used in the account of Jesus' healing of the child possessed of a "dumb spirit." The disciples, we read, had been asked to "cast him out; and they could not." After witnessing the healing of the child by Christ Jesus when he "rebuked the foul spirit, saying ... come out of him, and enter no more into him," the disciples, eager to learn why they had failed, questioned their Master privately. His answer, "This kind can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting," is applicable to-day to many of our questions as to why we sometimes fail to solve our problems quickly.

Evidently, prayer alone may not be sufficient, there must also be fasting; for Jesus plainly spoke of both prayer and fasting. From what did Jesus mean that we should fast? That question each one must ponder. To fast, as the term is commonly used, means to abstain from eating material food. Here Christian Science, the light that has come into the world through the loving, earnest labors of our beloved Leader, Mary Baker Eddy, shows us that the true meaning of the word "fasting" is a refraining from believing or accepting any suggestion of sin, disease, lack, limitation, poverty, sorrow, or death as real; for to entertain any of these suggestions would be to fail in our attempts to demonstrate the truth of being.

The true meaning of prayer is clearly given by our Leader in the first chapter of the Christian Science textbook, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures." A sincere study of this chapter, coupled with the earnest effort to practice true fasting, will call forth added power and the ability to heal any situation quickly and completely. Slow healings may indicate that there has been insufficient fasting. We may have prayed very earnestly; but mankind does not love to fast, since this requires self-correction and self-discipline. But through true fasting we win a clearer realization of heaven—harmony.

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The Day of Strength
May 4, 1929

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