Biblical Reasons To Fast
The Bible is full of Scriptural references on fasting. Many times, the Bible is clear that it enhances our faith. We see strong Biblical characters who participated in the act of fasting. It is also made known to the followers of Jesus, that there is a reward for those who fast with a humble heart before the Lord. Let us look at why Biblical characters fast, how it strengthens Gods people, and how Jesus is heavily involved in fasting throughout the Bible.
Purpose#: Empathizing With Poor
The blessed month of Ramadan serves multiple purposes in the form of giving Charity known as Zakahfor the less fortunate who are in dire need to receive empathy and who are every moment struggling with hunger, poverty, lack, and insufficiency.
When any Muslim observes fasting, he/ she feels the heart itch of starving to max that many poor people go through this feeling daily.
This then leads to compassion and generating an intrinsic connection with the less privilege human race.
Bible Verses About Fasting
Acts 14:23: Paul and Barnabas appointed elders for them in each church and, with prayer and fasting, committed them to the Lord, in whom they had put their trust.
Daniel 10:3: I ate no choice food no meat or wine touched my lips and I used no lotions at all until the three weeks were over.
Esther 4:16: Go, gather together all the Jews who are in Susa, and fast for me. Do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my attendants will fast as you do. When this is done, I will go to the king, even though it is against the law. And if I perish, I perish.
Exodus 34:28: Moses was there with the LORD forty days and forty nights without eating bread or drinking water. And he wrote on the tablets the words of the covenantthe Ten Commandments.
Joel 2:12: Even now, declares the LORD, return to me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning.
Luke 2:37: and then was a widow until she was eighty-four. She never left the temple but worshiped night and day, fasting and praying.
Luke 4:2-4: where for forty days he was tempted by the devil. He ate nothing during those days, and at the end of them he was hungry. The devil said to him, If you are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread. Jesus answered, It is written: Man shall not live on bread alone.
For the Top 40 Bible Verses about Fasting, click here.
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Prayer To Align With God’s Heart
Lord, I want to get Your Word so deep into my heart that it becomes MY word! I want to see things the way You see them, hear things the way You hear them, and feel things the way You feel them. I want to get so aligned with You that our hearts beat in syncopation together. I thank You that once Your Word gets that deeply rooted in my heart, my spoken words will release rivers of power and authority against the works of the devil that he has designed for my destruction! I thank You that just as Your words created the universe, my spoken words of faith create a change in my atmosphere! I pray this in Jesus’ name!
Insulin Resistance And Glucose Processing
Research suggests that each type of fasting can help improve insulin sensitivity quickly. Data shows that following a two-day fast, insulin sensitivity remained improved through the feeding days.
A standard eating pattern for people not fasting is to eat for more than 15 hours per day and calorie-load at night. Instead, shrinking that window and shifting calorie consumption to the daytime can put your feeding more in line withcircadian rhythms. This shift allows your body to process glucose better.
However, the effects on fasting glucose levels and insulin resistance tend to vary across studies, so its unclear exactly what type of fasting or time-restricted eating might be best. Other factors, like when people choose to fast , may also factor into the results.
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The Purpose Of Spiritual Fasting
While many people fast to lose weight, dieting is not the purpose of a spiritual fast. Instead, fasting provides unique spiritual benefits in the life of the believer.
Fasting requires self-control and discipline, as one denies the natural desires of the flesh. During spiritual fasting, the believer’s focus is removed from the physical things of this world and intensely concentrated on God.
Put differently, fasting directs our hunger toward God. It clears the mind and body of earthly attention and draws us closer to God. So, as we gain spiritual clarity of thought while fasting, it allows us to hear God’s voice more clearly. Fasting also demonstrates a profound need of God’s help and guidance through complete dependence on him.
Fast Offerings Enable The Church To Help Others
The extensive welfare program operated by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is made possible by fast offering funds.
Local efforts by bishops and branch presidents to help the needy within their geographical boundaries also come from fast offering funds.
Unlike similar efforts, fast offering funds are used according to Heavenly Father’s method for assisting people to become self-reliant.
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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.
How To Think About Glucose Levels While Fasting
Paying attention to your glucose intakeeither by wearing a continuous glucose monitor or merely aiming for a low glycemic dietcan help make your fast more successful.
Break the fast right. Your body may be accustomed to getting fed at certain times of the day, triggering hunger hormones and readying the digestive process for incoming food. That hunger can tempt you to break your fast with foods that will send your blood-sugar levels soaring. Intense swings in blood glucose can leave you with side effects like irritability and food cravings. You might attribute these feelings to fasting when they are actually a reflection of your food choices. Instead, ease into eating with a meal that doesnt send glucose soaring.
Eat well when you do. Similarly, try to avoid high-carbohydrate meals before your fasting window, so youre not packing your body with more glucose to clear before it can switch to fat burning. Also, since fasting may limit the number of calories you take in, its even more critical to maximize the health benefits of fasting during your feeding window. Although studies about fasting typically do not restrict what people eat during the feeding periods, consuming a thoughtful, clean, unrefined diet filled with fiber, protein, healthy fats, and micronutrients will help you feel your best during eating windows and set you up for success.
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Is Intermittent Fasting Safe
Some people try intermitting fasting for weight management, and others use the method to address chronic conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome, high cholesterol or arthritis. But intermittent fasting isnt for everyone.
Williams stresses that before you try intermittent fasting , you should check in with your primary care practitioner first. Some people should steer clear of trying intermittent fasting:
- Children and teens under age 18.
- Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding.
- People with diabetes or blood sugar problems.
- Those with a history of eating disorders.
But, Williams says, people not in these categories who can do intermittent fasting safely can continue the regimen indefinitely. It can be a lifestyle change, she says, and one with benefits.
Keep in mind that intermittent fasting may have different effects on different people. Talk to your doctor if you start experiencing unusual anxiety, headaches, nausea or other symptoms after you start intermittent fasting.
Spiritual Reasons To Fast
Spiritually speaking, fasting is extremely beneficial. How can fasting affect your spiritual life? Well, it brings you closer to Gods presence. When you are able to press into the Lord, without food, you will become more sensitive to His Spirit without the distractions of your desires. Also, in Scripture, we see that God brings us spiritual freedom through fasting. This is yet another reason to fast.
Likewise, when we know that we cannot dwell on our physical needs, it will push us to worship God. Worship is a devotion of our hearts unto the Lord, and we will explain how fasting will help you in the spiritual act of worship. Then, there is the spiritual disciplinary side of fasting, which strengthens the ability to deny our flesh.
Let us delve deeper into the spiritual topics that are enhanced and grown in fasting.
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Fasting And Medical Safety
According to The Foods and Nutrition Encyclopedia, For healthy individuals, no harm results from short-term fasting. The average healthy person can go without food between 21 and 40 or more days before the body begins to eliminate vital tissue . Consult your physician before beginning any fast lasting longer than three days.
If you have underlying health conditions such as pregnancy, anemia, behavioral disorders or other chronic health problems, you should never fast without consulting a physician first.
Purpose#: Appreciate The Allahs Blessings
Normally, people do not realize what they have until its gone, how a single morsel of food feels when one is hungry and what inner satisfaction does a drop of water brings. It is highly necessary to appreciate the Almightys blessings that have been bestowed upon us before it is taken away. In Ramadan, when we refrain from Allahs riches, only then we learn to value them.
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Examples Of Fasting In The Bible
Old Testament Fasting
- Moses fasted 40 days on behalf of Israels sin: Deuteronomy 9:9, 18, 25-29 10:10.
- David fasted and mourned the death of Saul: 2 Samuel 1:12.
- David fasted and mourned the death of Abner: 2 Samuel 3:35.
- David fasted and mourned the death of his child: 2 Samuel 12:16.
- Elijah fasted 40 days after fleeing from Jezebel: 1 Kings 19:7-18.
- Ahab fasted and humbled himself before God: 1 Kings 21:27-29.
- Darius fasted in concern for Daniel: Daniel 6:18-24.
- Daniel fasted on behalf of Judah’s sin while reading Jeremiahs prophecy: Daniel 9:1-19.
- Daniel fasted regarding a mysterious vision from God: Daniel 10:3-13.
- Esther fasted on behalf of her people: Esther 4:13-16.
- Ezra fasted and wept for the sins of the returning remnant: Ezra 10:6-17.
- Nehemiah fasted and mourned over the broken walls of Jerusalem: Nehemiah 1:4-2:10.
- The people of Ninevah fasted after hearing the message of Jonah: Jonah 3.
Fasting In The Torah: Returning To The Sustaining Presence Of God
The Torah does not regulate or enjoin fasting per se on the people of the covenant.30 But several key points emerge that contribute to and set the foundation for the rest of the biblical theology of fasting. Of the greatest significance are the nature of the food prohibition in the Garden of Eden, the supernatural fasting of Moses on Sinai, the injunction of personal affliction on the Day of Atonement, and the various dietary restrictions of the law. As seen in the following section, together these metathemes associate fasting with living in or returning to the sustaining presence of God.
The Prohibition in the Garden: Abstinence as a Condition of Life with God
Then the Lord God commanded the man, You may freely eat fruit from every tree of the orchard, but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will surely die.
Gen 2:16-17, NET Bible
The first sin in the Bible was a violation of a dietary restriction. Even in the Garden of Eden, a restriction on dietary behavior was imposed. As Nahum Sarna comments, Unrestricted freedom does not exist. Man is called upon by God to exercise restraint and self-discipline in the gratification of his appetite. This prohibition is the paradigm for the future Torah legislation relating to the dietary laws.31
Food as a Tool of Divine Discipline
Hope for Deliverance
The Body as Material
All of this sets up the tension inherent in theological anthropology. Von Rad writes:
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How To Start Fasting
There are many different types of fasts, making it easy to find a method that fits your lifestyle.
Here are a few of the most common types of fasting:
- Water fasting: Involves drinking only water for a set amount of time.
- Partial fasting: Certain foods or drinks such as processed foods, animal products or caffeine are eliminated from the diet for a set period.
- Calorie restriction: Calories are restricted for a few days every week.
Within these categories are also more specific types of fasts.
For example, intermittent fasting can be broken down into subcategories, such as alternate-day fasting, which involves eating every other day, or time-restricted feeding, which entails limiting intake to just a few hours each day.
To get started, try experimenting with different types of fasting to find what works best for you.
Summary There are many different ways to practice fasting, which makes it easy to find a method that fits into just about any lifestyle. Experiment with different types to find what works best for you.
We Need To Fast And Pray
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Spiritual Benefits Of Fasting
Refraining from eating or drinking for a period of time is an act of spirituality and worship that is good for your soul.
by Brooke ObiePosted in Health and Wellness
Many of us think of fasting as a spiritual duty to God, depriving ourselves of food and drink for a period of time in order to prove our love for Him. While long-suffering is a part of being human and certainly a part of being Christian, fasting should not be included when we think about suffering for Christ.
On the contrary, fasting is less about what were giving up and much more about what were making room for. When we fast, we exchange what we need to survive for what we need to livemore of God. Here are five spiritual benefits of fasting:
2) A new desire for God. When we acknowledge through fasting that we need God to live, and to live more abundantly, we can begin to desire God in a new way. When we realize we need God more than we need food, we can start to understand what the Psalmist meant when he wrote, Like the deer that pants after water, my soul longs for You. God, the sustainer of all life, wants nothing more than a closer connection with us, and through fasting we can quench that new desire for more of Him in our lives.
Prayer And Fasting Actually Works
From a purely practical standpoint, the combination of prayer and fasting can lead to staggering results. Lets break down the examples given above to see how God worked through each of those instances:
God welcomed Israel back into His arms .
King Xerxes not only spared Esther when he had every right to kill her for approaching the throne uninvited but also listened to her and helped her rescue Israel from Haman .
David doesnt materially gain from praying and fasting for his enemies quite the opposite, actually but he reveals to the world that he truly is a man after Gods own heart .
God hears Daniels pleas and sends an angel to prophesy to him .
Anna gets to meet her Savior in person .
Paul and Barnabas found the men God wanted them to appoint as elders .
We should be praying and fasting whether or not we get the results we want the hardships David faced in his life werent enough to stop him, so why are our hardships enough to stop us?
Seeing that those results are possible should be more than enough to encourage us to make prayer and fasting part of our lives the same way the heroes of the Bible did.
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