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The Spirituality of Fasting, book by H. H. Pope Shenouda III

5- The Apostles also fasted

 

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As Christ fasted in the New Testament, so did the Apostles who fulfilled the Lord’s commandment when He said: “When the bridegroom will be taken away from them, … then they will fast.” (Matt 9:15). Thus, the apostle’s fast is the oldest and first fast practiced by the Christian Church.

When the Apostle Peter was fasting and became so hungry that he longed to eat (Acts 10:10) the vision about the acceptance of gentile nations appeared to him. It was declared to him during his fast about the acceptance of these nations.

In his service to God, the Apostle St. Paul said: “In labours, in sleeplessness, in fastings;” (2 Cor 6:5), and elsewhere “In fastings often” (2 Cor 11:27). It was also said that he and Barnabas fasted together (Acts 14:23).

During the Apostles' fast, the Holy Spirit spoke to them.

Thus the Bible says: “As they ministered to the Lord and fasted, the Holy Spirit said, “Now separate to Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” Then, having fasted and prayed, and laid hands on them, they sent them away.” (Acts 13:2,3).

How beautiful then is the Lord’s saying to the Apostles about fasting and its relation to casting of devils:

"However, this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting." (Matt 17:21). Such is the power of fasting, in terrorising devils.

Fasting was not only confined to individuals, but also for whole nations.

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