When we pray and fast, God promises that He will liberate us. He will loose the chains of injustice. He declares that He’ll untie the cords of the yoke and will give the oppressed their long-awaited freedom. He will set us free from the bondage of what others think, making us realize that any comparison we make with others is a guaranteed fast track to misery. When we fast and pray, God steps in and frees us from the perceived alienation with Him that has kept us immobilized, fearful, and disobedient for so long. As you consider God’s call to fasting, perhaps for the first time, you may choose to start slowly, fasting and praying for only one day. Perhaps you’ll decide to fast and pray one day each week throughout the year where you declare that specific twenty-four hours as your time of obedience to be alone in the intimate presence of God. As you do, God will give you grace, comfort, and a new direction in your Christian walk. In the end you will be set free.
Yes, it's a good idea for believers to fast from time to time. Fasting is not required in Scripture, but it's highly recommended. The primary Biblical reason to fast is to develop a closer walk with God. By taking our eyes off the things of this world, we can focus better on Christ. "When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show men they are fasting. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that it will not be obvious to men that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you" (Matthew 6:16-18).
You’ll run out of energy. When you don’t have anything in your system for several hours, your blood sugar will eventually drop below baseline. If you’ve ever had a blood sugar crash, you know how this state feels. Sleepiness, trouble focusing, lightheadedness, intense cravings, and the occasional mood swing typically accompany low blood sugar. Your cells run low on fuel and they start demanding that you give them more carbs.[13]
Another study, this one out of the University of Southern California, discovered that when 71 adults were placed on a five-day fast (eating between 750 and 1,100 calories a day) once every three months, they lost an average of 6 pounds, reduced inflammation levels and their waistlines and lost total body fat without sacrificing muscle mass. (2) If you want to lose weight and lose belly fat, fasting even irregularly could be the key.
Saint Augustine's Prayer Book defines "Fasting, usually meaning not more than a light breakfast, one full meal, and one half meal, on the forty days of Lent."[45] Abstinence, according to Saint Augustine's Prayer Book, "means to refrain from some particular type of food or drink. One traditional expression of abstinence is to avoid meat on Fridays in Lent or through the entire year, except in the seasons of Christmas and Easter. It is common to undertake some particular act of abstinence during the entire season of Lent. This self-discipline may be helpful at other times, as an act of solidarity with those who are in need or as a bodily expression of prayer."[46]

The most common approach to eating less than you burn is to “watch what you eat” or to eat at a low-grade calorie deficit all the time. At every meal, eat about 10 to 20 percent fewer calories than you need in order to maintain that deficit, which requires your body to dip into its reserves and burn excess fat. This can be mentally difficult, because you always have to be restricting calories.


Several animal studies demonstrated that intermittent fasting based on daily circadian rhythms prevents weight gain. Mice given unlimited access to high-fat lab chow ate throughout the day and night which resulted in obesity and type 2 diabetes. Other mice fasted for 16 hours and actually consumed the same amount yet they didn’t gain weight or have negative health consequences. The findings suggest that it was the timing of eating, rather than the amount consumed which determined weight gain.
By the ninth century b.c. fasting had become institutionalized or formalized to the extent that days or other periods of fasting were called as occasions for public worship. The usual way of describing such convocation is "to call for" or "proclaim" a fast. Thus, Jezebel, to provide an occasion whereby Naboth would be unjustly accused and condemned, proclaimed a fast ( 1 Kings 21:9 1 Kings 21:12 ). Jehoshaphat later, and with much nobler motives, called for such an assembly in order to implore God's intercession on Judah's behalf ( 2 Chron 20:3 ). The same formula appears in ezr 8:21 and jon 3:5, in the last instance initiated by the people of Nineveh as an expression of their repentance at Jonah's preaching.
To conduct the study, researchers divided the 150 individuals into three groups: a control group that wasn’t asked to change their diets; a group that followed the 5:2 diet; and a group that followed a more conventional diet of continuously restricting their calorie intake by 20 percent. During the first few months of the experiment, a nutritionist monitored the participants to make sure they adhered to the diets; the next few months saw the participants monitor their own diets.

By the ninth century b.c. fasting had become institutionalized or formalized to the extent that days or other periods of fasting were called as occasions for public worship. The usual way of describing such convocation is "to call for" or "proclaim" a fast. Thus, Jezebel, to provide an occasion whereby Naboth would be unjustly accused and condemned, proclaimed a fast ( 1 Kings 21:9 1 Kings 21:12 ). Jehoshaphat later, and with much nobler motives, called for such an assembly in order to implore God's intercession on Judah's behalf ( 2 Chron 20:3 ). The same formula appears in ezr 8:21 and jon 3:5, in the last instance initiated by the people of Nineveh as an expression of their repentance at Jonah's preaching.
Fasts may last for varying lengths of time -- one day, three days, seven days, and more. We should prayerfully seek the Lord about the length of our fast. Fasting should have an object in mind; we should have a clear idea of the need and purpose. One of the most pressing reasons for Christian fasting may be revival -- “Will you not revive us again...” (Psalm 85:6).
In many ways, the devil uses this same tactic today. He calls our attention to how beautiful and refreshing certain foods and beverages appear. It's difficult to go through a day without seeing enticing food and beverage commercials on billboards, on television, and in magazines. Foods are presented in the most tempting ways in stores, restaurants, and on menus. The devil says the same thing to us he said to Eve:"Has God really said you can't have a bite of this?"
Current research on intermittent fasting – the general term for diets like 5:2 – suggests that the approach is at least as effective as ‘normal’ dieting. Further research is investigating potential benefits in terms of blood sugar, and the ‘inflammatory response’ in the body that is a factor in many medical conditions, including cardiovascular disease, cancer and dementia.
It is also considered to be an appropriate physical preparation for partaking of the Eucharist, but fasting is not necessary for receiving the sacrament. Martin Luther wrote in his Small Catechism "Fasting and bodily preparation are certainly fine outward training, but a person who has faith in these words, 'given for you' and 'shed for you for the forgiveness of sin' is really worthy and well prepared."[70]
Although I do not fast like you do (from sunrise to sunset) I do continue to fast not just to maintain my weight but to free the mind and body or the extra weight and burdens that it must carry. You see when your stomach is not full and your mind is not sluggish from trying to digest a heavy meal you start to have more energy think clearer, sleep better and feel better. When you can have this in your life for free why not take it. Some people spend thousands to have access to these feelings when we can experience a little bit of this each week.
Vitousek, the psychologist, has seen this kind of enthusiasm before — and it was for CR. Caloric restriction never reached fasting’s popularity, but it had its share of lay followers in the 2000s, when she got a chance to talk with members of a group practicing it. Initially, they were excited and motivated. Then, like most dieters, the majority began to fall away. Some who had done CR for years simply couldn’t do it anymore. “You can pretty much take that to the bank,” Vitousek says of dieters’ waning enthusiasm. “That’s why we have these cyclical waves.”
Even though you are skipping breakfast, it's still important to stay hydrated. Make sure to still drink enough water. You can also have herbal tea. The catechins in tea have been shown to enhance the benefits of fasting by helping to further decrease the hunger hormone ghrelin, so you can make it until lunch and not feel deprived. Since you’ve increased your fasting period an extra four hours, you need to make sure your first meal (at noon) has enough healthy fats. The burger in the 8-to-6 window plan will work well, and you can add more fats in with your dressing or top with an avocado!

Although CR might be metabolic magic, it’s no magic bullet. Some mice bred to carry certain genes for lab research don’t benefit from it, and it actually shortens life in other genetically modified mice. The deprivation can weaken the immune system of very young and very old animals, making them susceptible to disease. And although cutting calories by 25 percent has been standard, it’s not clear if that’s best for animals and humans.
You can eat out restriction-free five days a week on the Fast Diet. On fast days, however, the inflated portions at many restaurants may be a challenge, given that one serving of fries could possibly add up to your whole day's worth of calories. Choosing restaurants with disclosed calorie counts may take some guesswork out of ordering. Be prepared to stick to the diet plan while other friends are ordering freely.
If you're worried you’ll be starving while fasting, you’ll be pleasantly surprised! Intermittent fasting decreases your hunger hormone ghrelin, which in turn can increase dopamine levels in the brain. (Just another example of the gut-brain axis at work.) Fasting can also help free people from emotional eating and kill cravings by transitioning your metabolism from unstable sugar-burning to steady fat-burning.
Having issues with an eating disorder, I feel equipped to answer your question. The purpose of fasting is to take the focus off of being fulfilled by anything other than God. You can confess your addiction to the Lord and fast with the anticipation that He will free you from this addiction. Fasting and praying can help you gain mastery over your thoughts and behaviors. The enemy will try to attack you with all kinds of nonsense, but if you are prepared for the attack with God's Word, you will stand strong. After breaking the fast, employ the wisdom and self control that you gained during the fast and refuse to accept your former behaviors.

In terms of your comment regarding water yes millions of people may do this and as you say it has little impact and harm. I however prefer to drink water on a regular basis; it is what the body is primarily made up of and what the cells need for repair and regeneration. That and because many of us often think we are hungry when in fact we are dehydrated and the body is wanting more water – wanting more fluids this is why I encourage people to drink more water during fasting days than do a total fast.


Through the years, I have learned that many people in the church have never been taught about fasting and prayer, and many have therefore never fasted and prayed. As a result, they don't know why fasting and praying are important, what the Bible teaches about fasting, or how to fast. To many, fasting sounds like drudgery -- or a form of religious works. To others, fasting sounds extremely difficult. People tend to stand in awe at reports of those who have fasted for several weeks. When I hear about such fasts, I no doubt think what they think: If I fasted that long, I'd die! I couldn't possibly do that!
The biggest concern most people have is that Intermittent Fasting will lead to lower energy, focus, and the “holy crap I am hungry” feeling during the fasting period and ruin them. People are concerned that they will spend all morning being miserable because they haven’t consumed any food, and thus will be miserable at work and ineffective at whatever task it is they are working on.
Fasts may last for varying lengths of time -- one day, three days, seven days, and more. We should prayerfully seek the Lord about the length of our fast. Fasting should have an object in mind; we should have a clear idea of the need and purpose. One of the most pressing reasons for Christian fasting may be revival -- “Will you not revive us again...” (Psalm 85:6).
6. Are you hungry all the time? A scale of 1 to 10 is helpful in moments like this. One is ravenous, while 10 is extremely full. What is your number before and after meals? What is your number at moments during the fast? While hunger may be part of a fast given the caloric restriction, it shouldn’t be constant, ongoing and terrible. Also, notice portions when eating. If you haven’t created the right balance, you might overeat when breaking a fast, which is hard on your digestion and metabolism. Ideally, once acclimated, you’d stay within the 3 to 7 range at all times, 3 when fasting and 7 after meals.
Although the Bible does not give a direct command on this issue, examples of fasting appear in both the Old and the New Testaments. One of the most telling passages in which fasting is mentioned is Matthew 6:16, where Jesus is teaching His disciples basic principles of godly living. When speaking on fasting, He begins with, “When you fast,” not “If you fast.”
3) A deeper praise. Because the body does not have to do the work of digestion, it has more energy to focus on other things. In the same vein, since we are not consumed by what we are going to eat next and when, we have more energy to devote to God. While we’re experiencing a new desire for Him through fasting, we should also emit a deeper praise as we think about everything God is to us and all He has done. Once we get caught up in our desire for God and our praise for His mighty acts, we won’t have time to be hungry or count down the hours until our fast is over. We’ll be celebrating the whole time!
But here’s something important to note about what we know from science about fasting: Though a lot of the popular interest is in weight loss, many of the key researchers who study fasting aren’t focusing on that at all. In fact, many of the studies on fasting come from institutes of aging, like this one, and the researchers behind the studies actually focus on longevity and disease prevention.
As I began my fast, I was not sure I could continue for forty days. But my confidence was in the Lord to help me. Each day His presence encouraged me to continue. The longer I fasted, the more I sensed the presence of the Lord. The Holy Spirit refreshed my soul and spirit, and I experienced the joy of the Lord as seldom before. Biblical truths leaped at me from the pages of God's Word. My faith soared as I humbled myself and cried out to God and rejoiced in His presence.
Thanks for your insight, there are millions of people throughout the world who fast for religious reasons, it is a part of honoring their faith. If someone is fasting to lose weight, improve their health, improve immunity and decrease their insulin sensitivity (or any of the other many health benefits associated with fasting) then yes I agree we promote and encourage you to drink water throughout your fasting days. Why? Drinking water helps keep the body hydrated which is important since we are made up of more than 70% water, it helps you from being dehydrated, which when people feel dehydrated they often feel hungry and want to eat and lastly water helps flush toxins and waste materials from the body. When fasting you will be breaking down waste and other by products so it is important to flush them out of your body; this will also aid your digestion and improve your overall well being.
Thursday fasting is common among the Hindus of northern India. On Thursdays, devotees listen to a story before opening their fast. On the Thursday fasters also worship Vrihaspati Mahadeva. They wear yellow clothes, and meals with yellow colour are preferred. Women worship the banana tree and water it. Food items are made with yellow-coloured ghee. Thursday is also dedicated to Guru and many Hindus who follow a guru will fast on this day.

Classical Pentecostalism does not have set days of abstinence and lent, but individuals in the movement may feel they are being directed by the Holy Spirit to undertake either short or extended fasts. Although Pentecostalism has not classified different types of fasting, certain writers within the movement have done so. Arthur Wallis writes about the "Normal Fast" in which pure water alone is consumed.[75] The "Black Fast" in which nothing, not even water, is consumed is also mentioned. Dr. Curtis Ward points out that undertaking a black fast beyond three days may lead to dehydration, may irreparably damage the kidneys, and result in possible death.[76] He further notes that nowhere in the New Testament is it recorded that anyone ever undertook a black fast beyond three days and that one should follow this biblical guideline. Dr. Herbert Shelton advises that one should drink water according to natural thirst.[77] In addition to the Normal Fast and the Black Fast, some undertake what is referred to as the Daniel Fast (or Partial Fast) in which only one type of food (e.g., fruit or fruit and non-starchy vegetables) is consumed.[75] In a Daniel Fast, meat is almost always avoided, in following the example of Daniel and his friends' refusal to eat the meat of Gentiles, which had been offered to idols and not slaughtered in a kosher manner. In some circles of Pentecostals, the term "fast" is simply used, and the decision to drink water is determined on an individual basis. In other circles profuse amounts of pure water is advised to be consumed during the fasting period to aid the cleansing of internal toxins. Most Pentecostal writers on fasting concur with Dr. Mark Mattson who says that sensible intermittent fasting with a sensible water intake can strengthen the organism and assist thwarting degenerative diseases.[78]
Many physiological changes occur in the body during fasting. During the first day or so, the body uses its glycogen reserves, the sugars that are the basic energy supply. After these are depleted, the body begins using fat. However, the brain, which has high fuel requirements, still needs glucose (sugars converted from glycogen). To obtain glucose for the brain, the body begins to break down muscle tissue during the second day of the fast. Thus, during fasting some muscle loss will occur. To fuel the brain, the body would need to burn over a pound of muscle a day, but the body has developed another way to create energy that saves important muscle mass. This protein-sparing process is called ketosis, which occurs during the third day of a fast for men and the second day for women. In this highly efficient state, the liver begins converting stored fat and other nonessential tissues into ketones, which can be used by the brain, muscles, and heart as energy. It is at this point in the fast that sensations of hunger generally go away, and many people experience normal or even increased energy levels. Hormone levels and certain functions become more stable in this state as well. The goal of most fasts is to allow the body to reach the ketosis state in order to burn excess fat and unneeded or damaged tissue. Thus, fasts longer than three days are generally recommended as therapy.
Fasting can be used for nearly every chronic condition, including allergies, anxiety, arthritis, asthma, depression, diabetes, headaches, heart disease, high cholesterol, low blood sugar, digestive disorders, mental illness, and obesity. Fasting is an effective and safe weight loss method. It is frequently prescribed as a detoxification treatment for those with conditions that may be influenced by environmental factors, such as cancer and multiple chemical sensitivity. Fasting has been used successfully to help treat people who have been exposed to high levels of toxic materials due to accident or occupation. Fasting is thought to be beneficial as a preventative measure to increase overall health, vitality, and resistance to disease. Fasting is also used as a method of mental and spiritual rejuvenation.
Side effects of fasting include dizziness, headaches, low blood sugar, muscle aches, weakness, and fatigue. Prolonged fasting can lead to anemia, a weakened immune system, liver and kidney problems, and irregular heartbeat. Fasting can also result in vitamin and mineral deficiencies, muscle breakdown, and diarrhea. When you drink laxative concoctions during a fast, there is an increased risk of fluid imbalance and dehydration.
We begin this holy season by acknowledging our need for repentance and our need for the love and forgiveness shown to us in Jesus Christ. I invite you, therefore, in the name of Christ, to observe a Holy Lent, by self-examination and penitence, by prayer and fasting, by practicing works of love, and by reading and reflecting on God's Holy Word.[72]
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