Jesus' Precepts and Deeds through His Three Years of Teaching

The Lord on the Mount of Olives. (cont.) Gospel of John, Chapter 8

- Chapter 85 -
Proper fasting and prayer.

s the tax collectors had left us soon after the morning meal, it is self-evident that there was more space now in the hall, and therefore also a few of the somewhat older and more serious young slaves in our hall could be accommodated and consume their midday meal in our crowded company. Thirty of them were eating in our hall, and they received the ability to understand our languages and also to speak them, with the purpose to understand for themselves and for their companions what was said among us during the midday meal.
We were eating and drinking cheerfully, and when the wine was making the tongues of the guests more loose, the known Jewish Greeks begun to speak among themselves about the Jewish laws of fasting, and one of them made the following remark: "Since the time of Moses every year the Jews kept certain days and also whole weeks wherein they had to fast. The prophets had to fast many times, for in this way their body received less attention and their spirit became more open and clear. Also the seers had to fast a lot and often in order to receive clear dreams and insights. The one who wanted to receive a special grace from God had to make a vow to God, that he, during a specific time, would fast and pray until God would hear him, and the one who made this vow to God, keeping and fulfilling it, always received also the grace from God that was asked for. This is what we know from the Scripture.
But now, under these new circumstances, this is now no more relevant among us. It seems that the Lord and Master wants to abolish the old commandment of fasting now completely, as well as the making of vows. Since we have been with Him and around Him continually now for a long time, and we already have received many pure divine teachings from Him and have seen many wonders that He performed, but about the old commandment of fasting He still did not make any special announcement, and we and also His first disciples did never fast anywhere and also have never had any special prayers. So it would be a good thing to know from His mouth what is the case with the old commandment of fasting."
After this remark, one of them turned to Me and asked about the old commandment of fasting.
I looked at him and said: "At some other time I also have told you something about it. Only, you have already forgotten it - like so many other things - and so I am saying it once more to you. I do not abolish the old commandment of fasting. The one who fasts with the right attitude is indeed doing a good work in itself, for by sincerely fasting and praying to God, the soul becomes more free and spiritual. But only fasting and praying will save nobody, but only by believing in Me and doing the will of the Father in Heaven, just like I am announcing and have announced it to you. But this, everyone can also do without the mentioned fasting and without the abstinence of certain foods and drinks.
The one who possesses a lot and practices true neighborly love is truly fasting, and that fasting is pleasing to God and is useful for the eternal life of man. He who has much, let him also give much, and he who has little, let also him share the little he has with his fellowman who is still poorer than he is. Then he will gather for himself treasures in Heaven. Giving in itself is already better than taking.
However, the one who truly wants to fast for God, so that it is useful for the eternal life of his soul, should, out of love for God and his fellowman, refrain from sinning, for sins are burdening the soul, so that it can only raise itself to God with difficulty.
The one who - like the Pharisees and other rich men - celebrates revelries and orgies, and who is deaf for the voice of the poor, is sinning against the commandment of fasting, and so also does every fornicator and adulterer.
If the sensuous forms of a young girl, or even of the woman of another person, is attracting you and brings you into temptation, then turn away your eyes and restrain from the lusts of the body, then by this, you have truly fasted.
If someone has offended you and made you angry, then forgive him. Go to him and agree with one another, then you have validly fasted.
If you do good to the one who has done wrong to you, and bless the one who curses you, then you have truly fasted.
What goes into the mouth to feed and to strengthen the body does not defile man, but that what often comes out of the mouth, like calumny, slander, dirty talks, backbiting, cursing, false witnesses and all kinds of lies and blasphemy, are defiling man. And whoever does that, is actually breaking the true fasting.
For truly, fasting means to deny oneself in everything, to take the appointed load on his shoulders with patience and to follow Me, for I Myself am humble and patient with all My heart.
But if someone is eating now this or that to satisfy his hunger is not important. Of course he has to take care that the foods are clean and also very well eatable. Especially with the eating of meat you should be careful if physically you want to stay for a long time and continuously healthy. The meat of suffocated animals is not healthy for any human being, for it stimulates bad spirits in the nerves of the body. The meat of the animals that are defined as unclean should only be eaten when they are prepared in the way that I have already shown to you.
When you will go out into the world in My name and will live among all kinds of foreign nations, then eat whatever will be set before you. But never eat and drink immoderately. Then you will fast the right way. All the other things are only superstition and a great foolishness of the people from which they have to be liberated, if they want.
Now concerning prayer, the way the Jews are doing it, this has not only no value for God, but is an abomination to Him. To what purpose are those long prayers for God, the all wise One, especially when they have to be paid to certain privileged praying men who pray for others, for only their prayer is supposed to be strong and effective enough? I say to you: If a 1,000 of such praying men would pray during a 1,000 years, rattling off their prayers to God, then God would answer those even less than the braying of a hungry donkey, because such a prayer is no prayer but only the quacking of frogs in a swamp, for it has no purpose and no meaning, and will also never have one.
God in Himself is a Spirit of the highest wisdom and He has the very deepest and clearest mind, and is the eternal Truth Himself. So he who wishes to pray to God effectively, must pray in spirit and truth. However, only the one who is going into the quiet love chamber of his heart, and in it, will be worshipping and invoking God, will be praying in spirit and truth. And God, who perceives all hearts and kidneys, will surely also see into your heart and recognize for sure how and for what you are praying and asking, and He will give you what you have so truly prayed for in spirit and in truth.
The complete true prayer however, consists in keeping God's commandments and, out of love for Him, acting according to His will. Whoever will pray like this, prays truly and prays without ceasing. So also, all the heavenly angels are praying to God without ceasing, because they always are doing the will of God.
God does not want to be worshipped, honored and praised with psalms and psaltery, with harps, cymbals and trumpets, but only by your dynamic, fully zealous activity according to His word and His will.
If you look at God's works and you will continuously discover and recognize His love and wisdom in it, growing in love for Him by that, and will become continuously wiser within yourself, then you also are truly praying, and you are giving true glory to God. All the other things, what you have understood until now by praying, are totally empty, void and without value for God.
Now you know what it means to truly fast and pray. Then do not ask anymore why Me and My disciples are not fasting and praying in the manner of the blind Jews and Pharisees. However, we pray and fast unceasingly in spirit and in truth. And so, it is very foolish to ask Me why we are refraining from praying and fasting according to your old useless manner.
My disciples will also not fast as long as I, as the true bridegroom of their souls, am in their midst and with them. However, once that I will be no more in their midst and with them, they also will fast with their stomach, when the lack of love of the people will give them little or often also nothing at all to eat. But as long as they are with Me now, they will not suffer hunger nor thirst. Did you all understand this well now?"
All said: "O Lord and Master, we thank You forever for such a wise teaching. We all have understood it well. May Your name be honored and sanctified."
Then I said: "Then do act accordingly, then you will live. Eat and drink now, and refresh and strengthen your limbs."
Then they all served themselves considerably and they ate and drank very cheerfully.