“To eat sparingly or abstain from some foods.” (Merriam-Webster)
Fasting is not dieting. I repeat, fasting is NOT dieting. Fasting is a multi-faceted action which is done primarily for spiritual reasons, yet has other great benefits. First, let’s take a look at why we fast.
As Christians, we believe the reason for fasting it to pair with our prayer as well as a life of consecration in order to obtain spiritual victories.
This is a spiritual law, therefore it operates for good and for evil such as the numerous accounts we’ve heard of Satanists who fast on a corporate level for the failure of Christian marriages.
We obviously do NOT encourage fasting for anything accept that which is stipulated by the Bible.
Jesus had this to say of fasting.
“Moreover, when you fast, do not be like the hypocrites, with a sad countenance. For they disfigure their faces that they may appear to men to be fasting. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. But you, when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, so that you do not appear to men to be fasting, but to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.” (Matthew 6:16-18)
Some spiritual benefits of fasting are:
- Increased Clarity
- Increased Intimacy with God
- Conquering Numerous Problems
The Bible has several references to fasting:
- Jesus instructing His disciples on assistance in casting out demons: “However, this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting.” (Matthew 17:21)
- Ezra prayed for protection: “Then I proclaimed a fast there at the river of Ahava, that we might humble ourselves before our God, to seek from Him the right way for us and our little ones and all our possessions. For I was ashamed to request of the king an escort of soldiers and horsemen to help us against the enemy on the road, because we had spoken to the king, saying, ‘The hand of our God is upon all those for good who seek Him, but His power and His wrath are against all those who forsake Him.’ So we fasted and entreated our God for this, and He answered our prayer.” (Ezra 8:21-23)
- King David even fasted for his enemies’ restored health: “But as for me, when they were sick, my clothing was sackcloth; I humbled myself with fasting; and my prayer would return to my own heart.” (Psalm 35:13)
- Daniel fasted for guidance in understanding the revelations of God: “Then I set my face toward the Lord God to make request by prayer and supplications, with fasting, sackcloth, and ashes.” (Daniel 9:3)
Most Christians will be able to relay to you their own personal experiences and victories attained through fasting, we definitely can!
Please see How to Fast Effectively by Guillermo Maldonado.
There are also some definite health benefits from fasting.
10 Health Benefits of Fasting:
- Promotes Detoxicification
- Rests the Digestives System
- Resolves Inflammatory Response
- Reduces Blood Sugar
- Increases Fat Breakdown
- Corrects High Blood Pressure
- Promotes Weight Loss
- Promotes a Healthy Diet
- Boosts Immunity
- May Help to Overcome Addictions
(Source: “Ten Incredible Health Benefits of Fasting,” Yahoo Voices)
TYPE OF FASTS
The Daniel Fast
We get this phrase from the Book of Daniel (I know, genius right?) where we see Daniel and his three cousins a.k.a. the “Three Hebrew Boys”, Hananiah (Shadrach), Mishael (Meshach), and Azariah (Abed-Nego) abstaining from the King’s tainted food and drink.
And the king appointed for them a daily provision of the king’s delicacies and of the wine which he drank, and three years of training for them, so that at the end of that time they might serve before the king. Now from among those of the sons of Judah were Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah…. But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king’s delicacies, nor with the wine which he drank; therefore he requested of the chief of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself. Now God had brought Daniel into the favor and goodwill of the chief of the eunuchs. And the chief of the eunuchs said to Daniel, “I fear my lord the king, who has appointed your food and drink. For why should he see your faces looking worse than the young men who are your age? Then you would endanger my head before the king.” So Daniel said to the steward whom the chief of the eunuchs had set over Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, “Please test your servants for ten days, and let them give us vegetables to eat and water to drink. Then let our appearance be examined before you, and the appearance of the young men who eat the portion of the king’s delicacies; and as you see fit, so deal with your servants.” So he consented with them in this matter, and tested them ten days. And at the end of ten days their features appeared better and fatter in flesh than all the young men who ate the portion of the king’s delicacies. Thus the steward took away their portion of delicacies and the wine that they were to drink, and gave them vegetables. (Daniel 1:5-16 emphasis mine)
For the full story, see here.
Now, we do not (in the greater Western world) have to worry about whether or not our food was offered to idols. Neither will we get into the deeper spiritual meanings of what the wine and food represented. (If you’re curious, just email us.) However, we can tell you that there is a lot to be said for detoxing from the chemicals and Lord knows what else in our meat, sweets, etc.