How Does Intermittent Fasting Work
There are several different ways to do intermittent fasting, but they are all based on choosing regular time periods to eat and fast. For instance, you might try eating only during an eight-hour period each day and fast for the remainder. Or you might choose to eat only one meal a day two days a week. There are many different intermittent fasting schedules.
Mattson says that after hours without food, the body exhausts its sugar stores and starts burning fat. He refers to this as metabolic switching.
Intermittent fasting contrasts with the normal eating pattern for most Americans, who eat throughout their waking hours, Mattson says. If someone is eating three meals a day, plus snacks, and theyre not exercising, then every time they eat, theyre running on those calories and not burning their fat stores.
Intermittent fasting works by prolonging the period when your body has burned through the calories consumed during your last meal and begins burning fat.
Do Christians Need To Fast
Fasting might sound sensational today. But in Jesus culture, it was weird for a religious person not to fast.
The disciples of John the Baptist, an important prophet who prepared the way for Jesus ministry, often fasted. So did the Pharisees, a group of religious leaders who opposed Jesus teachings and conspired to kill Him!
During Jesus earthly ministry, His followers didnt fast. But Jesus assumed they would fast after he returned to the Father . In His Sermon on the Mount, Jesus gives His followers instructions on how to fast, specifically telling them not to make a show of fasting like others in their culture .
Jesus may not have commanded his followers to fast, but He expected them to.
Benefits Of Fasting And Prayer
Why should we fast? There are many reasons to fast and many spiritual benefits of fasting. We see from the biblical examples that fasting should be used as a means to humble ourselves before God and seek His forgiveness, comfort, help, guidance, strength and His will. Fasting allows us to draw closer to God.
In the Bible there is a strong connection between fasting and prayer.
When Daniel realized that the prophesied 70 years of desolations of Jerusalem were almost completed, he urgently reached out to God. Then I set my face toward the Lord God to make request by prayer and supplications, with fasting, sackcloth, and ashes . And I prayed to the LORD my God, and made confession . What follows in Daniel 9 is one of the most powerful prayers in the Bible.
Jesus also connected fasting and prayer. When His disciples discovered they were unable to cast out an unclean spirit, they asked Jesus, Why could we not cast it out? So He said to them, This kind can come out by nothing but prayer and fasting . Fasting and prayer help us humbly access the awesome power of God.
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Types Of Intermittent Fasting
Intermittent fasting has become very trendy in the past few years, and several different types/methods have emerged.
Here are some of the most popular ones:
- The 16/8 Method: Fast for 16 hours each day, for example by only eating between noon and 8pm.
- Eat-Stop-Eat: Once or twice a week, dont eat anything from dinner one day, until dinner the next day .
- The 5:2 Diet: During 2 days of the week, eat only about 500600 calories.
Then there are many other variations.
There are many different intermittent fasting methods. The most popular ones are the 16/8 method, Eat-Stop-Eat and the 5:2 diet.
Biblical Purposes For Fasting
Throughout the Bible we most often find Gods people turn to fasting as the natural, inevitable response to a grievous sacred moment in life, such as death, sin and tragedy. But other times a fast is not a spontaneous reaction and we have time to prepare to respond both physically and spiritually.
Fasting is not an end unto itself, but a means of focusing our minds and bodies for a spiritual reason. Whenever you fast, do so for a reason that is mentioned or modeled in the Bible. Here are ten primary purposes for fasting mentioned in Scripture:¹
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Fasting To Kill Idols
Here is one more point. I say this largely from experience, and people can test whether they think it has biblical roots or not. I think it does. I think fasting is not only a positive statement saying, This much I want you, or you are more important to me than food. But it is also a negative way of exposing latent idolatries. When I am not being medicated by food, what comes out of my heart? Anger? Lust? The need for television more and more of it? People need to know what is at the bottom.
We fast to express our ache for all the implications of Jesuss power in the present moment.
I think Job was basically a good man. But at the bottom of Jobs life was some latent sin. When God took away his health and his children, a horribly enforced fast from children and from health, Job got bent out of shape. He said some things for which he had to later repent.
I find that if I go without food for 24 hours from supper to supper or breakfast to breakfast, my, oh, my, what is exposed of my heart towards my wife and my daughter. It is a very good discipline. Not only as a positive expression of longing in prayer, but also a negative exposure of the heart so I can deal with these things as they come up.
Choose The Right Synonym For Fast
fast, rapid, swift, fleet, quick, speedy, hasty, expeditious mean moving, proceeding, or acting with celerity. fast and rapid are very close in meaning, but fast applies particularly to the thing that moves fast horses and rapid to the movement itself. rapid currentswift suggests great rapidity coupled with ease of movement. returned the ball with one swift stroke fleet adds the implication of lightness and nimbleness. fleet runnersquick suggests promptness and the taking of little time. a quick wit speedy implies quickness of successful accomplishment speedy delivery of mail and may also suggest unusual velocity. hasty suggests hurry and precipitousness and often connotes carelessness. a hasty inspection expeditious suggests efficiency together with rapidity of accomplishment. the expeditious handling of an order
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To Express Love And Worship For God
Fasting can show, as John Piper says, that what we hunger for most, we worship.
How should we equip ourselves when God calls us to declare a holy fast? Here are some things to consider as you prepare for fasting:
Pray and confess your sinsA necessary step before fasting is to humble yourself before God and confess your sins . Prayer should be our sustenance throughout the fast, but it is imperative we begin the fast with a contrite heart.
Turn to ScriptureSpend additional time meditating on Gods Word, before and during the fast.
Keep it secretFasting is unbiblical and even spiritually harmful when we do it to show off our spirituality or when we focus more on our own fasting than on the clear needs of others . Dont boast about your fast tell people you wont be eating only if necessary. Fasting should not be done when imposed for false motives .
Prepare your bodyFasting, especially for days or weeks, can have unexpected and even detrimental effects on your health. There is no scriptural warrant for harming yourself to undergo a fast. Be sure to consult a doctor before starting any fasting regimen to make sure you can fast in a healthy manner.
Fasting is an appropriate bodily reaction to the grievous state of our soul. If it is done correctly you can expect many results, including growing closer to God, feeling more solidarity with those who suffer, and increasing self-control.
What Does It Mean To Fast
When the Bible refers to fasting, it refers to abstaining from food and drink for a specific period of time . Fasting is designed to humble us and help us draw closer to God. It is not a form of penance or a way to attain favor with God through self-imposed suffering.
Fasting, by definition, is going without food and/or drink for a period of time. Typically, fasting is done for religious reasons and involves a person refraining from both food and drink . However, there are variations that may be done for health reasons .
Why Do We Use The Term Breakfast
Even English speakers who think theyve never used fast in a sentence are actually frequent users of the word. Youve likely had the aha! moment when you noticed yourself using fast in a very specific setting: breakfast.
Breakfast is a compound made up of the words break and fast, and the meaning is just as straightforward. Its such a familiar word we seldom stop to think about what it means when you take it apart! Quite literally, when you eat in the morning, you are breaking your fast from when you were sleeping the night before, whether that was an eight-hour sleeping fast or a 12-hour fast.
Prayer And Fasting In The Bible
Fasting is mentioned throughout the Bible, in both the Old Testament and the New Testament . However, when Christians discuss fasting, two key passages often come up: one from the Old Testament prophet Isaiah and one from Jesus himself. But neither of these passages gives us specifics on how to abstain from food. Rather, both focus on the heart of the person fasting.
In Isaiah 58, God sees the nation of Israel abstaining from food for a day in order to seek help from God: justice for Israel and judgment on those who have oppressed Israel. However, the help does not come, and the people complain.
God turns the tables on Israel, pointing out how the Israelites are oppressing their own people. Employers withhold pay from the workers, and the people act violently toward each other. Through Isaiah, God tells the people that He doesnt want them to go a day without food He wants them to abstain from the ways theyve oppressed one another.
If you do away with the yoke of oppression,with the pointing finger and malicious talk,and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungryand satisfy the needs of the oppressed,then your light will rise in the darkness,and your night will become like the noonday.
The Israelites were merely putting on a show of fasting for God without truly following Him.
Likewise, when Jesus instructs His followers on how to fast, he tells them not to do so for show.
The Bible is full of examples of people who have abstained from food to seek God:
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What Can You Eat
When you’re not fasting, you can eat the food you normally would. Of course, you shouldn’t load up on lots of french fries and doughnuts. But studies seem to show that your health changes for the better when you fast, even if your diet does not. You should still add more fruits, veggies, and whole grains, too, if you don’t already eat enough of them.
What Is Biblical Fasting And How Does It Work
For thousands of years, biblical fasting has been the practice of abstaining from food for spiritual purposes. If youre used to a routine of three square meals a day, going without food as a spiritual practice may sound strange. But fasting was a very common religious practice when the Bible was written.
In his book Hunger for God, John Piper writes: Christian fasting, at its root, is the hunger of a homesickness for God. Christian fasting is not only the spontaneous effect of superior satisfaction in God, it is also a chosen weapon against every force in the world that would take that satisfaction away.
But how does biblical fasting work and how can someone do it today? In this guide, were going to cover what every Christian should know about fasting: what it is and how it works.
If you want to jump ahead, heres what were going to look at:
Some Christians use the word fast when abstaining from pleasures besides food, like TV, internet or, for married couples, sex. You might know people who have gone on a social media fast or a screen fast for spiritual reasons. For the purposes of this article, were going to focus on traditional Christian fasting: abstaining from food.
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What Does The Word Fasting Mean In Greek
asitos- without taking food.
This term is used to describe the voluntary absence of food. This can be found in Matthew 17:21, Mark 9:29, and Acts 14:23.
Now there was one, Anna, a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was of a great age, and had lived with a husband seven years from her virginity and this woman was a widow of about eighty-four years, who did not depart from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day.
nesteuo- to abstain from food.
Christ and His followers observed such fasts as that on the Day of Atonement. However, He didnt impose frequent fasts. He taught mainly what was suitable for the change of character and purpose which He designed for His disciples.
Also, His claim to be the Bridegroom in Matthew 9:15 and the reference to the absence of fasting involved a claim to be the Messiah.
And Jesus said to them, Can thefriends of the bridegroom mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them? But the days will come when the bridegroom will be taken away from them, and then they will fast.
What The Bible Says About Spiritual Fasting
- General Biblical Studies, Interdenominational Christian Training Center
In the Old Testament, God commanded Israel to observe several designated times of fasting. For New Testament believers, fasting was neither commanded nor forbidden in the Bible. While early Christians were not required to fast, many practiced prayer and fasting regularly.
Jesus himself affirmed in Luke 5:35 that after his death, fasting would be appropriate for his followers: “The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast in those days” .
Fasting clearly has a place and a purpose for God’s people today.
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Why Do Christians Fast What Does Biblical Fasting Accomplish
Biblical fasting is not a hunger strike between you and God. It can be easy to think of fasting as a way to add an extra oomph to your prayers. But biblical fasting isnt so much about how God responds to your prayers: its more about how you bring your prayers to Him.
God opposes the proud, but shows favor to the humble . Fasting is a means of humbling ourselves before God. In the Old Testament, fasting was often accompanied by other signs of humility and brokenness, such as weeping, mourning, and lamenting, as well as wearing sackcloth and sitting in ashes.
Bill Bright, Crus co-founder, made it his practice to fast and pray. He believed it played a vital role in what God did through him and through Cru as a ministry. He listed several benefits he gained from fasting:
- Fasting is a biblical way to truly humble yourself in the sight of God. King David said, I humbled myself with fasting .
- Fasting enables the Holy Spirit to reveal your true spiritual condition, resulting in brokenness, repentance and a transformed life.
- Your confidence and faith in God will be strengthened. You will feel mentally, spiritually and physically refreshed.
Its important to understand that fasting is not a way to get a better response to prayer. Rather, true fasting is a means of fostering a better approach to prayer.
Hold Fast On The Struggles Of Life
When life hits you down, you need to hold fast to your beliefs and values to overcome the struggles that will come. Science has done a lot to uncover the secrets of nature, but the puzzle of life remains unresolved. So how did life come to this country that was once lifeless? But if the origin of life is shrouded in darkness, its character is not. Its essential characteristic is struggling. If there is a common element between all forms of life, high and low, it is this continuous struggle.
In our human life, we at Hold Fast believe the same struggle is observed from when we are young to our graves: the fetus in the belly grows up against unfavorable conditions. A newborn announces the next fight of life. Fear, crying, reprocessing and childbirth are nothing more than a maneuver in a long run. Then when we grow up we will continue to find struggle throughout our lives. We need to continue to push forward and hold fast to be the person we know we can be.
What You Need To Know About Fasting From Food And Drink
a progression should be observed in your fasting, especially if this discipline is new to you and you are unfamiliar with its physical effects. Dont start out with a weeklong water fast! Begin by skipping one meal each day for two to three days and setting aside the money it would have cost to give to the poor. Spend the time praying that you would have used for eating.”
“If youve never fasted before, be aware that in the early stages you may get dizzy and have headaches. This is part of the bodys cleansing process and will pass with time. Be sure that you break the fast gradually with fresh fruit and vegetables. Do not overeat after the fast. Chili and pizza may sound good after several days of not eating, but please, exercise a little restraint and say no! What Christians Need to Know about Fasting by Sam Storms
When starting your fast, consider possible dietary restrictions. Pastor Brian Croft writes, Be mindful of any health issues that could make a fast unwise. For example, if you are a diabetic or have any other physical condition that requires a strict diet, be especially mindful not to put yourself in a compromised position as a result of a fast.”
For more Practical Guidelines for Fasting, click here.