American King James Version×). Daniel and Nehemiah set the example of having a repentant frame of mind (Daniel 9:3-4 Daniel 9:3-4 3 And I set my face to the Lord God, to seek by prayer and supplications, with fasting, and sackcloth, and ashes: 4 And I prayed to the LORD my God, and made my confession, and said, O Lord, the great and dreadful God, keeping the covenant and mercy to them that love him, and to them that keep his commandments;
Martin Luther, founder of the Lutheran Churches, held that fasting served to "kill and subdue the pride and lust of the flesh". As such, the Lutheran churches often emphasized voluntary fasting over collective fasting, though certain liturgical seasons and holy days were times for communal fasting and abstinence. Certain Lutheran communities advocate fasting during designated times such as Lent, especially on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. A Handbook for the Discipline of Lent delineates the following Lutheran fasting guidelines:
From a Christian perspective, there are many options. One may go on only fruits and vegetables for a day or more. One may do a complete fast, involving only water and no food for a specific period of time. One may skip breakfast intentionally to pray and focus on God, and then eat lunch. Caloric restriction, especially when one is not doing complete food fast, offers the opportunity to live what some have described as a “fasted life.” The key is to choose a plan that works for you at that time and to start small. In all cases, the important thing is to intentionally focus on God in prayer.
In a physiological context, fasting may refer to the metabolic status of a person who has not eaten overnight, or to the metabolic state achieved after complete digestion and absorption of a meal. Several metabolic adjustments occur during fasting. Some diagnostic tests are used to determine a fasting state. For example, a person is assumed to be fasting once 8–12 hours have elapsed since the last meal. Metabolic changes of the fasting state begin after absorption of a meal (typically 3–5 hours after eating).