Scientific, Political, and Practical Reasons for Fasting
Fasting during the time of Moses, Jesus, and of the Apostles was a habit. There was no need to emphasize or make a rule out of it because it was a way of life. They fasted for God’s answer, blessing, or forgiveness. Even Jesus fasted.
What it’s not
Today, fasting has greatly been misunderstood. Fasting is not opting out on pork and replace it with delicious prawns during the Lenten season. It’s avoiding not just meat, but denying you with anything that tastes good (Daniel 10:3), in order to overcome the hunger pangs of flesh and strengthen the spirit. Fasting should be accompanied by lengthy prayers and reading of God’s word. Without intentional prayers, fasting is simply dieting.
Without intentional prayers, fasting is simply dieting.
Great men of history understood the power of fasting. Scientists are discovering its benefits and some have used this method to help treat cancer, Alzheimer’s, detoxify, and for other illness. Fasting triggers stem cell regeneration of damaged, old immune system. (Valter Longo, Ph.D., USC News)
Using Ramadan as an example, researchers discovered that the practice induces a marked increase in high-density lipoprotein cholesterol and a decrease in low-density lipoprotein cholesterol. (Pubmed)
Fasting is an age-old sacred tradition
Plato: Plato, a philosopher, and founder of the Academy in Athens, the first institution of higher learning in the Western world, practiced fasting. He said, “I fast for greater physical mental efficiency.”
Yom Kippur: Yom Kippur is the holiest day of the year for the Jewish people, it is when they are closest to God and to the essence of our souls. Yom Kippur means “Day of Atonement,” a day of fasting.
Mahatma Gandhi: Mahatma Gandhi, the Father of India, fasted frequently to make a political point. His longest fast lasted 21 days. Fasting was a weapon used by Gandhi as part of his philosophy of Ahimsa (non-violence).
Ramadan: During the entire month of Ramadan, Muslims are obligated to fast, every day from dawn to sunset. Fasting requires the abstinence from food, drink and sexual activity.
Jesus’ forty days of fasting: In the Bible, Jesus fasted for 40 days. During those forty days, when Jesus’ flesh was at its weakest, He endured relentless temptation from Satan. He demonstrated for us that fasting can strengthen us spiritually when we use it to draw closer to God.
* Fasting is a willing abstinence or reduction from some or all food, drink, or both, for a period of time. Breaking your fast should be slow. It’s not recommended for children. Consult your Physician if you have symptoms or concerns.