The 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. Although a few people in history fasted for long periods of time, intermittent fasting was a common practice in many religions.
What it’s not: Fasting is misunderstood. It’s 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). As you overcome the hunger pangs of the flesh, the spirit is strengthened. However, fasting should go with intentional prayer and God’s word. Otherwise, it’s a slimming diet.
Scientific benefit of intermittent fasting
Intermittent fasting in the Bible was a common practice. Great men of history understood its power. Scientists are discovering its benefits and some have used this method to help treat cancer, Alzheimer’s, detoxify, and other illness. Fasting triggers stem cell regeneration of damaged, old immune system (Valter Longo, Ph.D., USC News).
In fact, Max Lugavere, author of “Genius Foods,” found a new study that showed fasting increases wakefulness and alertness. Orexin neuron-a, a neurotransmitter in the brain increases. 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).
In the Bible, people fasted on the day of atonement or when someone was sick or someone had a problem. Jesus rebuked the way some fasted. The scribes and Pharisees made sure people knew they were fasting. They disfigured their faces and moved around so people can see them. Fasting was their way to be acknowledged as “godly men” so they can be revered and their leadership unquestioned because of their devotion.
An age-old practical and sacred 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 to the essence of our souls. Yom Kippur means “Day of Atonement,” a day of fasting.
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).
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.
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 several stories of miracles after they prayed and fasted.
The Master Cleanse
Master Cleanse* is a 75 years old recipe that non-religious people practice for better health and mental acuity. A person who wants to feel good, among other health concerns, should fast for seven days and take only this concoction: 1 part water, 1 part Lemon, a dash of Cayenne, and real Maple syrup to sweeten.
What happens if you do the master cleanse?
The first day is always difficult. On the third day, all junk that sits on your intestines gets flushed. Day four & five may become even more difficult as the hunger pangs try to inch its way out. The struggle is mental but should you survive it, after six days, it’s a breeze and you will begin to feel its positive result. (TED X Beacon)
* 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.