Fasting in the Old and New Testaments was a Jewish way of life. They fasted for God’s answer, blessing, forgiveness, or spiritual intimacy. Jesus and His disciples frequently combined prayer and fasting.
Biblical references for fasting
In the Bible, people fasted on the day of atonement or when someone was sick. Jesus rebuked the scribes and Pharisees because they were doing it for political reasons.
They disfigured their faces and moved around so people could see them. The habit of fasting made them appear “righteous leaders,” but their hearts were wicked. Jesus called them “hypocrites.”
Scientific Benefit of Fasting
Scientists have linked intermittent fasting with aiding the treatment of certain diseases, common illnesses, and even depression.
Fasting can trigger stem cell regeneration and immune responses
Food supplements like Laminine are known to activate stem cells to promote homeostasis. Fasting can also trigger it and renew cell tissues, muscles, or weak nerves. Provided that the body has enough amino acids and nucleotides to sustain it.
Fasting can deprogram the immune system to induce it to regenerate—shifting stem cells from a dormant state to a state of self-renewal. [Valter Longo, Ph.D., USC News]
Regular fasting can also induce a marked increase in high-density lipoprotein (good cholesterol) and a decrease in low-density lipoprotein (bad cholesterol). [Pubmed]
Max Lugavere, the author of “Genius Foods,” said that fasting increases wakefulness and alertness when Orexin neuron-a, a neurotransmitter in the brain, increases during intermittent fasting.
Intermittent Fasting: An effective weight loss management?
Interestingly, a systematic review of 40 studies found that intermittent fasting was effective for weight loss, with a typical loss of 7-11 pounds over ten weeks (Harvard). However, fasting without “intentional prayer” is simply dieting.
Fasting without intentional prayer is dieting.
Age-old Fasting Tradition
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 is the holiest day of the year for the Jewish people. It is when they are closest to God and the essence of our souls. Yom Kippur means “Day of Atonement,” a day of fasting.
Mahatma Gandhi, the Father of India, frequently fasted to make a political point. His most extended fast lasted 21 days. Fasting was a weapon used by Gandhi as part of his philosophy of Ahimsa (non-violence).
During the entire month of Ramadan, Muslims are obligated to fast every day from dawn to sunset. Fasting requires abstinence from food, drink, and sexual activity.
Jesus’ forty days of fasting
In the Bible, Jesus fasted for 40 days. When Jesus’ flesh was at its weakest, He endured relentless temptation from Satan. He demonstrated that fasting could strengthen us spiritually when we use it to draw closer to God.
When Kings Pray and Fast
Kingsley Fletcher, a North Carolina preacher, also known as HRM King Adamtey I, saw the power of praying and fasting. In his book “When Kings Pray and Fast,” Pastor Kingsley relates stories of miracles after they prayed and fasted.
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