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Fasting is a spiritual discipline during which, traditionally, a person abstains from food for a period of time. In practice, the fast may vary in length of time, or in the nature of the abstention, for example, some people choose to fast from only certain foods, or from activities or entertainment.

Jesus fasted, and in fact, seemed to assume that his disciples would be fasting on a regular basis. In Matthew 6, Jesus began his teaching on both prayer and fasting with the word When - "When you pray" and "when you fast". It seems noteworthy that in neither case does he say, "if you pray" or "if you fast".

Abstaining from food is not the only purpose of a fast. In Isaiah 58, the Lord condemns his people for fasts and other outward manifestations of holiness that were not accompanied by truly righteous living.



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