Jesus was teaching that after His departure, the entire dynamic would change and the disciples would need a different type of preparation and provision. Fasting was to be a vital part of this new preparation. The new covenant is based on the truth that we have received everything in Christ, “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ” (Ephesians 1:3).
The five most common methods of intermittent fasting try to take advantage of each of these benefits. But different methods will yield better results for different people. “If you’re going to force yourself to follow a certain method, it’s not going to work,” says trainer and fitness expert Nia Shanks. “Choose a method that makes your life easier,” she says. Otherwise, it’s not sustainable and the benefits of your fasting may be short-lived.
Biblical fasting brings us into a closer union with God. While our bodies are being deprived for the purpose of drawing near to God, He has promised in return to draw near to us. This is a spiritual certainty. As we decrease, the Spirit increases. As individuals we are strengthened and renewed. “...Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day” (2 Corinthians 4:16).
How It Works: Fast for 14 (women) to 16 (men) hours each day, and then “feed” for the remaining eight to 10 hours. During the fasting period, you consume no calories. However, black coffee, calorie-free sweeteners, diet soda and sugar-free gum are permitted. (A splash of milk in your coffee won’t hurt, either.) Most practitioners will find it easiest to fast through the night and into the morning. They usually break the fast roughly six hours after waking up. This schedule is adaptable to any person’s lifestyle, but maintaining a consistent feeding window time is important. Otherwise, hormones in the body can get thrown out of whack and make sticking to the program harder, Berkhan says.
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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.
Fasting ramps up your stem cell production. Stem cells are like biological playdough — your body turns them into any kind of cell it needs and uses them to replace old or damaged cells, keeping you younger on a cellular level. Stem cells are great for your skin, joints, old injuries, chronic pain, and more. You can try stem cell therapy…or you can just fast.
A systematic review of 40 studies found that intermittent fasting was effective for weight loss, with a typical loss of 7-11 pounds over 10 weeks.  There was much variability in the studies, ranging in size from 4 to 334 subjects, and followed from 2 to 104 weeks. It is important to note that different study designs and methods of intermittent fasting were used, and participant characteristics differed (lean vs. obese). Half of the studies were controlled trials comparing the fasting group to a comparison group and/or a control group (either continuous calorie restriction or usual lifestyle), with the other half examining an intermittent fasting group alone. A brief summary of their findings:
For charismatic Christians fasting is undertaken at what is described as the leading of God. Fasting is done in order to seek a closer intimacy with God, as well as an act of petition. Some take up a regular fast of one or two days each week as a spiritual observance. Members of holiness movements, such as those started by John Wesley and George Whitefield, often practice such regular fasts as part of their regimen.
Fasting or intermittent calorie restriction may affect cancer and tumor development, but are not currently used as a form of treating cancer. In 2011, the American Cancer Society recommended that people undergoing chemotherapy increase their intake of protein and calories, but provided evidence that a short-term period of fasting may have benefits during chemotherapy. Chronic fasting is not recommended for people with cancer at risk for weight loss or a suppressed immune system.