As a whole, however, fasting appears to be a private matter in the Bible, an expression of personal devotion linked to three major kinds of crisis in life: lamentation/penitence, mourning, and petition. Without exception it has to do with a sense of need and dependence, of abject helplessness in the face of actual or anticipated calamity. It is in examining these situations that the theological meaning and value of fasting are to be discovered.
In Northern Ireland in 1981, a prisoner, Bobby Sands, was part of the 1981 Irish hunger strike, protesting for better rights in prison. Sands had just been elected to the British Parliament and died after 66 days of not eating. His funeral was attended by 100,000 people and the strike ended only after nine other men died. In all, ten men survived without food for 46 to 73 days.
Refraining from eating food. The Bible describes three main forms of fasting: 1) The Normal Fast, involving the total abstinence of food. Luke 4:2 reveals that Jesus "did eat nothing." Afterwards "He was hungered." Jesus abstained from food but not from water. 2) In Acts 9:9 we read of an Absolute Fast where for three days He "neither did eat nor drink." The abstinence from both food and water seems to have lasted no more than three days (Ezra 10:6; Esther 4:16). 3) The Partial Fast-in Daniel 10:3 the emphasis is upon the restriction of diet rather than complete abstinence. The context implies that there were physical benefits resulting from this partial fast. However, this verse indicates that there was a revelation given to Daniel as a result of this time of fasting.
Is fasting worth the effort? A recent metanalysis combined the results of six studies of intermittent fasting found the average weight loss of 15.4 pounds was equal to continuous dieting but both were significantly better than no treatment. It’s hard to draw definitive conclusions based on the results of six studies. Since fasting is difficult for most people, even if it proved to be effective, it might not be a long-term solution to weight control. The 5:2 diet would be more acceptable than a strict fast but many folks would still be miserable on Mondays and Thursdays if they tried to follow Jimmy Kimmel’s example.
A fast for God doesn't have to be all day. It can be one meal. You could choose to give up sugar or caffeine. Fasting for God is sacrificing something that is important to you. Surrendering to God means giving of yourself for Him. We cry out, "All of you, none of me." Fasting tears down strongholds, fasting causes divine power to loose the chains of injustice and sets the captive free. A fast for God ushers in every ministering spirit to go forth on your behalf bringing solutions to every problem. If you want to see God's power working in your life, then fast.
Through evolution, the body became very efficient at storing energy and handling situations when no food was available. For many centuries, fasting was probably a normal occurrence for most people, and the body adapted to it. It is estimated that even very thin people can survive for 40 days or more without food. The body has a special mechanism that is initiated when no food is eaten. Fasting is not starvation, but rather the body's burning of stored energy. Starvation occurs when the body no longer has any stored energy and begins using essential tissues such as organs for an energy source. Therapeutic fasts are stopped long before this happens.
Intermittent fasting (intermittent energy restriction or intermittent calorie restriction) is an umbrella term for various eating protocols that cycle between a period of fasting and non-fasting over a defined period. Intermittent fasting is under preliminary research to assess if it can produce weight loss comparable to long-term calorie restriction.
The practice of fasting is mentioned numerous times in the Bible as a reaction to various circumstances. Fasting was an act of repentance, as when the king of Nineveh ordered a fast after the preaching of Jonah (Jonah 3:5-9). Fasting was also a reaction to intense grief, as when the bones of Saul and his sons were buried (1 Samuel 31:13). We also find people fasting when God’s deliverance was needed, as when Jehoshaphat was approached by a large invading army (2 Chronicles 20:3).
^ Jacobs, Henry Eyster; Haas, John Augustus William (1899). The Lutheran Cyclopedia. Scribner. p. 110. By many Lutherans Good Friday is observed as a strict fast. The lessons on Ash Wednesday emphasize the proper idea of the fast. The Sundays in Lent receive their names from the first words of their Introits in the Latin service, Invocavit, Reminiscere, Oculi, Lcetare, Judica.
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!
Fasting is often used as a tool to make a political statement, to protest, or to bring awareness to a cause. A hunger strike is a method of non-violent resistance in which participants fast as an act of political protest, or to provoke feelings of guilt, or to achieve a goal such as a policy change. A spiritual fast incorporates personal spiritual beliefs with the desire to express personal principles, sometimes in the context of a social injustice.