Joy of Fasting

Fasting has undoubtedly been largely associated in the thought of humanity with asceticism. The belief that there is some virtue in deliberately abstaining from certain practices not considered in themselves as harmful or injurious, and even, according to the human estimate, regarded as good, has prevailed among some classes of people, the main thing apparently being the voluntary renunciation of a thing regarded as desirable.

When, after healing the epileptic boy, Christ Jesus said to his disciples, "This kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting," he linked these two mental processes together,—for mental they most assuredly are,—as they had never been linked before. As a matter of fact, there can be no true prayer without fasting; as there can be no true fasting without prayer. The two are interdependent. The individual who is learning how to pray is also learning how to fast. Through prayer he feeds upon the bread of Life. By fasting he abstains from indulgence in material beliefs, and rejoices in so doing, as he more clearly realizes the truth of being.

From the time the early church lost the power of spiritual healing until the advent of Christian Science, men had oftentimes attempted to heal themselves and others by prayer, but largely without success. Undoubtedly, such lack of achievement arose from the fact that, while perhaps believing in the power and love of God, they did not understand the unreal nature of evil, and were therefore unable to destroy belief in it. To attempt to heal by spiritual means while admitting the reality of evil is like pouring water on a fire with one hand while pouring oil on it with the other. Christ Jesus said to his disciples not only, "This kind goeth not out but by prayer," but added the words "and fasting," which are deeply significant. They imply an entire abstinence from any belief in matter as real. Evil must be recognized as a false claim; and it must be denied, mentally unseen, canceled, before release from its seeming effects can be accomplished.

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The Next Footstep
June 28, 1930

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