Several years ago I was asked to enter into a time of fasting and prayer for a breakthrough in ministry. My initial thoughts, “Prayer-fine. Fasting -are you kidding me-why would anyone do that voluntarily?” I felt like I needing to do this. Everyone else was readily on board. I was succumbing to peer pressure. The person in charge went through a variety of ways we could fast. My thought was, “Thank you God, I can do a liquid fast not a water fast.” My commitment was one day a week for a couple of weeks.
I had known fasting was in scripture, but I assumed it was bad for the body and therefore something they did “back then” and not today. Oh, I was so wrong. Johns Hopkins chief of the Laboratory of Neuroscience says this, “Cutting your energy intake by fasting several days a week might help your brain ward off neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s while at the same time improving memory and mood.” A study conducted at Harvard and published in Cell Metabolism shows that fasting can lead to a longer healthier life. Unfortunately, I could go on. New research continues to be done on the benefits of fasting including benefits for cancer patients.
It really shouldn’t surprise me that something that is practiced in scripture repeatedly is actually good for me.
33 They said to him, “John’s disciples often fast and pray, and so do the disciples of the Pharisees, but yours go on eating and drinking.” 34 Jesus answered, “Can you make the friends of the bridegroom fast while he is with them? 35 But the time will come when the bridegroom will be taken from them; in those days they will fast.” (Luke 5:33-35 NIV).
2 While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” 3 So after they had fasted and prayed, they placed their hands on them and sent them off. (Acts 13:2-3 NIV)
I survived my previous fasting experiences, but I’m not sure they accomplished what was intended. I struggled to focus my prayer time while focusing on the clock and when I could eat. I have taken up a weekly fast again. This time with a better understanding of blood sugar and ketones for energy. (I suggest Googling it for information if you are interested). Now I am able to do it with minimal hunger and have a focused time of prayer that goes beyond, “God, please get me through this.” :0) I am embracing the health and spiritual benefits of a fast. I believe I’m growing through it.
Have you experienced fasting? What works for your? Share your experience here and breathe life and bring hope to others.