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).
Thanks for bringing this to our attention, I believe Muslims are urged to fast entirely, whereas the fasting diet plan or 5:2 diet allows people to eat and drink a small amount of food throughout the day. Having said this if this is something you have been doing your entire life perhaps you have some great tips you can share that makes fasting easier?
The Armenian Apostolic Church (with the exception of the Armenian Patriarchate of Jerusalem) has followed the Gregorian Calendar since 1923, making it and the Finnish Orthodox church the only Orthodox churches to primarily celebrate Easter on the same date as Western Christianity. As a result, the Armenian church's observation of Lent generally begins and ends before that of other Orthodox churches.
Lacy Enderson is an Addictions and Recovery Counselor. She is Certified with the American Association of Christian Therapists and holds a Master's Degree in Biblical Counseling. She is currently enrolled in Liberty University's Master of Divinity Degree program with Chaplaincy. Lacy is a graduate of Rhema Correspondent Bible School and has completed the first section of Berean School of the Bible. Lacy is the author of, "Addiction: A Personal Story" and "So You Want to Lose Weight But You Can't Stop Eating." Her newest novel is a teenage Christian fiction titled, "Honey Sweetheart."
There are many promises God makes in His Word in regard to the blessings we will receive through prayer and fasting. In my book The Power of Prayer and Fasting, I talk about seven specific promises. I want to mention three of them here that I trust will bless you as you read. I have seen each of these promises come true in my walk with God, and I’m confident they also can live in you, through you, and will be yours as you call on God to do His will in your life.
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.
The other factors to consider with this diet are more concerned with your current weight. Lower calorie intake for most people will equal less fat. This is because, unless you’re a full-time athlete, most people do not need the number of calories they consume each day. They don’t burn that energy away, and as a result, it turns into fat. The 5:2 diet promotes lower calories on a weekly basis and high nutrient foods during the fasting days.
Confront injustice through fasting. Fast as a way of expressing poverty in your body, to show solidarity with those who are impoverished by injustice in our fallen world. Divest yourself of some resources – food – for the good of others. Convert what you give up in food when you fast into gifts for the poor by estimating the cost of the food you would have eaten if you hadn’t fasted and giving that amount to charities that help poor people. Use the time you would have spent eating to serve people in need and help bring more justice to the world. Use your fasting to call attention to other people’s needs, such as when you’re working to find solutions to the problems causing injustice and want to inspire others (like government leaders) to take action as well. However, be sure not to call attention to yourself, simply to try to impress others with your fasting. Use fasting to confront injustices in our own attitudes and behaviors, as well – to break the hold of unhealthy habits in your life and help you grow in holiness. Ask God to give you a clear vision of what He would like your life to look like. Then, through fasting, express your complete surrender to that vision.
Now, intermittent fasting isn’t magical—your calories still count. It’s just an alternate way to reach that same calorie restriction, says Grant Tinsley, Ph.D., C.S.C.S., an intermittent fasting researcher and assistant professor of exercise physiology at Texas Tech University. “With traditional calorie restriction, you’re following a normal, healthy eating pattern but eating less at each meal. With intermittent fasting, you’re eating roughly the same number of reduced calories, just in a confined time frame. You’re just giving yourself different parameters to live within.”
Adam and Eve had a choice to make about this one tree. God told them to abstain from eating from its fruit because He did not want His beloved creation to have a knowledge of evil. He had already given them a full knowledge of everything He called "good."He wanted to spare them the heartache of knowing evil. That's true for us today as Christians. God calls us to pursue only what is good. Paul wrote to the Philippians: "Whatsoever things are true . . . honest . . . just . . . pure . . . lovely . . . of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things" (Phil. 4:8). God desires only good for His children. He tells us in His Word, "Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good" (Rom. 12:21).
We tend to think of fasting as going without food. But we can fast from anything. If we love music and decide to miss a concert in order to spend time with God, that is fasting. It is helpful to think of the parallel of human friendship. When friends need to be together, they will cancel all other activities in order to make that possible. There’s nothing magical about fasting. It’s just one way of telling God that your priority at that moment is to be alone with him, sorting out whatever is necessary, and you have cancelled the meal, party, concert, or whatever else you had planned to do in order to fulfil that priority. [James I (J. I.) Packer].
Fasting has been used in Europe as a medical treatment for years. Many spas and treatment centers, particularly those in Germany, Sweden, and Russia, use medically supervised fasting. Fasting has gained popularity in American alternative medicine over the past several decades, and many doctors feel it is beneficial. Fasting is a central therapy in detoxification, a healing method founded on the principle that the build up of toxic substances in the body is responsible for many illnesses and conditions.
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.
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." 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." As such, many of the Churches in the Reformed tradition retained the Lenten fast in its entirety. 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, 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:
The general idea behind the 5:2 diet is calorie restriction on the two (non-consecutive) given days. That is, for two of the 7 days in each week, you eat very low calorie (but high in nutrition) foods, while the other 5 days you can eat what you would usually eat. This diet isn’t a full fast (as in water only), but is a carefully planned eating plan for a couple of days each week.
On weekdays of the first week of Great Lent, fasting is particularly severe, and many observe it by abstaining from all food for some period of time. According to strict observance, on the first five days (Monday through Friday) there are only two meals eaten, one on Wednesday and the other on Friday, both after the Presanctified Liturgy. Those who are unable to follow the strict observance may eat on Tuesday and Thursday (but not, if possible, on Monday) in the evening after Vespers, when they may take bread and water, or perhaps tea or fruit juice, but not a cooked meal. The same strict abstention is observed during Holy Week, except that a vegan meal with wine and oil is allowed on Great Thursday.
Physician Roy Walford was one of the scientists. He also happened to be a CR devotee and had recently written a book on living to the age of 120 by following the regimen. Soon after entering, the team realized the food they raised in the dome wouldn’t be enough to sustain them. So Walford implemented an impromptu CR experiment. The four men and four women reduced their approximate calorie intake by up to 30 percent. It was essentially the first human study of CR and its effects.
Pope Pius XII had initially relaxed some of the regulations concerning fasting in 1956. In 1966, Pope Paul VI in his apostolic constitution Paenitemini, changed the strictly regulated Roman Catholic fasting requirements. He recommended that fasting be appropriate to the local economic situation, and that all Catholics voluntarily fast and abstain. In the United States, there are only two obligatory days of fast – Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. The Fridays of Lent are days of abstinence: eating meat is not allowed. Pastoral teachings since 1966 have urged voluntary fasting during Lent and voluntary abstinence on the other Fridays of the year. The regulations concerning such activities do not apply when the ability to work or the health of a person would be negatively affected.