John Calvin, the figurehead of the Reformed tradition (the Continental Reformed, Congregational, Presbyterian, and Anglican Churches) held that communal fasts "would help assuage the wrath of God, thus combating the ravages of plague, famine and war."[63] In additional, individual fasting was beneficial in that "in preparing the individual privately for prayer, as well as promoting humility, the confession of guilt, gratitude for God's grace and, of course, discipling lust."[63] As such, many of the Churches in the Reformed tradition retained the Lenten fast in its entirety.[36] The Reformed Church in America describes the first day of Lent, Ash Wednesday, as a day "focused on prayer, fasting, and repentance" and considers fasting a focus of the whole Lenten season,[71] as demonstrated in the "Invitation to Observe a Lenten Discipline", found in the Reformed liturgy for the Ash Wednesday service, which is read by the presider:[72]


Prayer and fasting is defined as voluntarily going without food in order to focus on prayer and fellowship with God. Prayer and fasting often go hand in hand, but this is not always the case. You can pray without fasting, and fast without prayer. It is when these two activities are combined and dedicated to God's glory that they reach their full effectiveness. Having a dedicated time of prayer and fasting is not a way of manipulating God into doing what you desire. Rather, it is simply forcing yourself to focus and rely on God for the strength, provision, and wisdom you need.
If we are to learn the lost art of fasting and enjoy its fruit, it will not come with our ear to the ground of society, but with Bibles open. Then, the concern will not be whether we fast, but when. Jesus assumes his followers will fast, and even promises it will happen. He doesn’t say “if,” but “when you fast” (Matthew 6:16). And he doesn’t say his followers might fast, but “they will” (Matthew 9:15).
Fasting has been found to have positive effects on body mass as well as other health markers in professional athletes. This is because, as previously mentioned, fasting can effectively shed excess fat, while optimizing muscle growth, because of HGH production. Traditionally, athletes are advised to consume high-quality protein half hour after finishing their workouts (post-workout nutrition) to simultaneously build muscle and reduce fat. Fasting is advised for training days, while eating is encouraged on game days.
How It Works: Not completely satisfied with the IF diets listed above? This method takes the best parts of Eat Stop Eat, The Warrior Diet and Leangains, and combines it all into one plan. You also get one cheat day each week (yay!) — followed by a 36-hour fast (which may be not-so-yay for some). After that, the remainder of the seven-day cycle is split up between the different fasting protocols.
“There’s really no conclusive evidence that there’s any benefit,” Sasson says. The German Cancer Research Center study qualified its findings by noting that the positive results weren’t noticeably better than those experienced by subjects who adopted a conventional calorie-reduction diet. In other words, it works, but not notably better than the alternative. (Sasson also offered a helpful list of individuals who should not give intermittent fasting a try: pregnant women and anyone with diabetes, cancer, or an eating disorder.)
Cons: Going 24 hours without any calories may be too difficult for some — especially at first. Many people struggle with going extended periods of time with no food, citing annoying symptoms including headaches, fatigue, or feeling cranky or anxious (though these side effects can dimish over time). The long fasting period can also make it more tempting to binge after a fast. This can be easily fixed… but it takes a lot of self-control, which some people lack.
Fasting helps you build a better brain, too. Intermittent fasting increases a protein in your brain called BDNF that researchers have nicknamed “Miracle-Gro for your brain.”[7] BDNF improves learning and memory and can help you forge stronger neural pathways, making your brain run faster and more efficiently, which is especially important as you age.
Add fasting to your church’s calendar. Throughout each year, schedule some time for your church’s congregation to fast to respond to different purposes, such as commemorating the major events in Jesus’ life or dealing with serious issues facing the world (poverty, abuse, the environment, the economy, wars, etc.). Encourage people in your church to fast before they’re baptized, and join with others in your congregation to fast before celebrating Communion. Also, remember to fast together regularly for repentance whenever God leads you all to do so.
As we prepare to celebrate the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, many people will use this time to fast and pray as a way to draw closer to Jesus. Fasting is a powerful way to eliminate distractions so we can gain clear guidance from God for our work any time of the year. We hope that this blog helps you understand the point of fasting and ways you can get the most out of this important spiritual practice for your work as well as your life.

The combination of fasting and praying is not a fad or a novelty approach to spiritual discipline. Fasting and praying are not part of a human-engineered method or plan. They are not the means to manipulate a situation or to create a circumstance. Fasting and praying are Bible-based disciplines that are appropriate for all believers of all ages throughout all centuries in all parts of the world.
On the other five days of the week, there's no calorie cap, and no food is off-limits. This freedom isn't permission to binge and make up for your two fast days, but it does mean you shouldn't feel guilty about eating a slice of cake. U.S. News experts evaluate the Fast Diet poorly in all rankings, mostly due to its tough-to-follow nature and health risks in some populations.
The purpose of fasting is never explicitly stated in Scripture but its connection to penitence, mourning, and supplication suggests a self-denial that opens one to God and to the immaterial aspects of life. Inasmuch as food and drink typify life in the flesh and all its demands and satisfactions, their absence or rejection speaks to the reality of a higher dimension, one in which the things of the spirit predominate. The theology of fasting, then, is a theology of priorities in which believers are given the opportunity to express themselves in an undivided and intensive devotion to the Lord and to the concerns of the spiritual life.
Body mass index, or BMI, uses height and weight to determine how healthy a person’s weight is. (To calculate, multiply weight in pounds by 703, divide by height in inches, then divide again by height in inches.) Though it doesn’t measure body fat, BMI has been shown to correlate closely with metabolic and disease risks. In general, health risks rise for people with BMIs of 30 and above or below 18.5.

All three types offer the same fat-burning benefits of intermittent fasting. The real differences are just in how long you’re fasting and what you’re allowed to eat during the fast, Varady says. On both whole-day fasting and alternate-day fasting, for example, you consume 500 calories per fast day to spark fat loss but maintain muscle. During time-restricted feeding, however, you’re consuming zero calories during your fast period (water and tea, for example, are allowed). In all types, you’re free to go hog-wild during the feeding window—though, obviously, all nutritionists would recommend you ditch the junk and stick to healthy fare.
I sometimes hear people say, "I'm giving up chocolate" and they regard this as a type of fasting. I think this is a rather frivolous approach. The first and foremost purpose of a biblical or spiritual fast is to get a breakthrough on a particular matter that one lifts up to the Lord in prayer. A spiritual fast involves our hearts and the way in which we relate to and trust God. It relates to discerning and receiving strength to follow through on what God might reveal to us about circumstances in our lives or a direction we are to take.
Expect funny looks if you spend a lot of mornings with breakfast eaters.  A few weeks back I had a number of friends staying with me, and they were all completely dumbfounded when I told them I didn’t eat breakfast anymore. I tried to explain it to them but received a bunch of blank stares. Breakfast has become so enGRAINed (zing!) in our culture that NOT eating it sounds crazy.  You will get weird looks from those around you…embrace it. I still go to brunch or sit with friends, I just drink black coffee and enjoy conversation.

Thank you very much for the great article. As a Muslim, we are encouraged to fast two days a week (Monday and Thursday)! It is not a must, just preferred. We fast from sunrise to sunset. No food or drink is allowed during this period (no water). As you mentioned a true fast can be a mental and physical cleansing time. From a personal experience, fasting is really great. I strongly believe it has many benefits on the mind and body as well if done correctly.
Fasting is not a way to be forgiven of your sins, but rather a way to grow closer to God after he has already forgiven your sins. For your sins to be forgiven, cry out to God and ask him for forgiveness. Jesus (God) took the punishment for your sins - past present and future. Ask God to forgive you because of Jesus' sacrifice on the cross and realize you cannot save yourself by fasting or any other way. Only God can save you. Salvation is mercy. It is a free, undeserved gift of grace and love. Meditate on that and on the Bible. Read the book of John.
Do you have a hunger for God? If we don’t feel strong desires for the manifestation of the glory of God, it is not because we have drunk deeply and are satisfied. It is because we have nibbled so long at the table of the world. Our soul is stuffed with small things, and there is no room for the great. If we are full of what the world offers, then perhaps a fast might express, or even increase, our soul’s appetite for God. Between the dangers of self-denial and self-indulgence is the path of pleasant pain called fasting. [John Piper].
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.[citation needed] A spiritual fast incorporates personal spiritual beliefs with the desire to express personal principles, sometimes in the context of a social injustice.[17]
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