Physical Benefits Of Fasting
The benefits of fasting are innumerable. Here is just a partial list of the many benefits of this most powerful of spiritual disciplines.
- The Word of God comes alive
- Addictions and strongholds are broken
- We become more sensitive to God’s presence
- The physical body is purged of toxins
- It becomes easier to trust and obey God
- The sanctifying process is accelerated
- Faith increases
- Doubts and fear vanish
- God reveals to us our sinful attitudes
- Decrease of self-indulgence
- Decrease of self-righteousness
- Emotional scars are healed
Practical Tips for Fasting
- The early church gave themselves to fasting and prayer for a time. If they needed it then, we need it now! Every time you pray and fast for a certain amount of time, you are investing in a powerful kingdom – the kingdom of God.
- Set a definite time for your fast so you know in advance how long you will be fasting. Keep in mind fasting changes your heart. A one-day or one-meal fast can be very powerful when submitted to God as a sacrifice of yourself.
- Since you are denying your flesh and seeking the Lord, you may find yourself in the midst of spiritual warfare and thus becoming irritable or unwilling to pray. Some of these feelings may be physically induced just because of a physical reaction. Plan beforehand to “pray through” the spiritual battle.
- On longer fasts (2 or more days) the body is cleansing itself from physical impurities. Possible side effects from toxins include bad breath, headache, nausea, hunger, weakness, and leg cramps. To help prevent these problems, abstain from caffeine, sugar, and junk food five days prior to your fast. Drink pure water (distilled if possible) throughout your fast, it helps with elimination of toxins. The cleaner your system, the less discomfort. The less waste that is stored in the body when you begin your fast, the fewer toxins will be released.
- Try to rest if you feel weak and get some fresh air every day.
- Spend time in prayer, worship, repentance, and read your Bible. Use the time you would normally spend eating or preparing food for “spiritual exercise”. Many people have noticed that the Bible simply comes alive while they are fasting.
- Have specific spiritual goals that you desire to obtain while praying and fasting. Without prayer and a set purpose, fasting is only a glorified diet.
- Break your fast with grape juice, fresh fruits, and steamed vegetables, adding other foods in a day or two. Avoid meat, bread, and fats for several meals or days depending on the length of the fast. Keep in mind your stomach has been inactive and it takes a while to restore essential digestive enzymes and acids. Fasting is a very healing process for your body so do not undo your efforts with unhealthy foods.
- Some medical conditions are prohibitive to fasting. Get the advice of your physician if you have a medical condition. These conditions include diabetes, hypoglycemia, and heart disease. Pregnant and nursing mothers also should not fast because toxins will be passed on to the baby. Also, some medications need to be taken with food so use discretion. In these cases where you are unable to do a complete fast (water only) consider abstaining from television and dedicating yourself to prayer during this time.
- Other types of fasts include:
- Water, Honey and Lemon – This is considered a cleansing fast. Squeeze 1/2 lemon in a cup of hot water and add honey to taste. Drink water throughout the day. This can be used for an extended fast.
- Juice Fast – This is self-explanatory. No food, coffee, soft drinks, etc. Juice only–fresh carrot juice is excellent.
- Daniel Fast – Fruits, vegetables and water. This is a good fast for those who have physically demanding jobs.
Questions and Answers Regarding Fasting
- Is fasting for everyone?
Fasting is beneficial for anyone who desires to draw closer to Christ. Every Christian should do some sort of fast at least once a month. The Apostle Paul fasted often.
- What if I don’t feel called to fasting?
Fasting is a spiritual discipline, just like prayer and reading the Bible. It is not something we are called to do, rather we choose to obey Christ and sacrifice some of the pleasures of this life in order to please God. Fasting trains us in self-control and produces fruits of peace and righteousness.
- Why is fasting so important?
It reduces our appetite for carnal pleasures and creates a hunger for God’s treasures. We are commanded to walk in the Spirit so we won’t fulfill the desires of the flesh. Fasting helps us to resist the flesh and walk uprightly before the Lord – to live a life which is pleasing to Him.
- How do I get started?
Begin with a one meal fast and go from there. Some of the most powerful fasts can be one or two meals if you enter into it with pure motives and a desire to spend time with the Lord Jesus.
- What should I do while fasting?
Spend as much time with Jesus as possible. This is how we become more and more like Him. Read your Bible, worship with song and thanksgiving, be silent and listen. Silent reverence with repentance is powerful!
- Should I fast if I have dietary restrictions or am on medication?
You should seek the Lord and consult your physician if you have any concerns. Medical science has known for some time that our bodies purge toxins while we fast. Chapter 58 of Isaiah mentions healing as one of the many benefits of fasting. However, use discretion when doing a food fast and consider an alternate fast if you are medically restricted in any way.
- I really enjoy eating; do I have to do a food fast or are there other types of fasts?
The most beneficial fast for your body and spirit is water only. However, God will honor any type of fast if you have a sincere desire for personal revival and holiness. Here are some alternatives to a food fast.
- Daniel Fast
fruit, vegetables and water
- Juice Fast
fruit and vegetable juices only. If you are hypoglycemic, you might want to use a 50% water mix with the juice, especially if using bottled or canned juices. Fresh juices, however, are best. They may be purchased from a health food store or use a juicer.
- TV/Entertainment Fast
God will bless you mightily if you’ll shut your TV off for 40 days to seek Him. You should also set aside newspapers, talk radio, video games and movie theaters. Instead, spend time with your family and the Lord. The purpose is to focus on God and avoid distractions.
- Daniel Fast
- Why do I get headaches when I try to fast?
Your body is purging toxins which have accumulated from years of a poor diet, prescription drugs and bad habits. Headaches are one of the results of this cleansing process (usually the second day). Prepare your system prior to a fast by eating healthier. Avoid red meat, sugar, caffeine and bread. Eat lots of fruit and vegetables three or four days before going on a fast of more than one day.
- How will I benefit from fasting?
The benefits of fasting are many for those who continue faithfully in this discipline. Here are just a few.
- A significant increase of understanding and revelation from the Word of God
- Addictions and strongholds are broken–permanent changes take place
- Recognition of sinful attitudes or conditions of your heart that you haven’t noticed before
- Decrease of self-indulgence and self-righteousness
- An increase of faith; Fear and doubt diminish because of confidence in God rather than your flesh
- Supernatural release from bitterness and an ability to forgive others
- A much greater sensitivity to God’s presence
- The ability to hear God is greatly enhanced
- You increasingly become more like Jesus with a notable increase of love, humility and wisdom.
- Will all of my prayers be answered if I fast and pray the right way?
No, probably not. Fasting does not force God to do something He otherwise wouldn’t do. Your circumstances may actually worsen at first. If you’re fasting for God to change a particular person, it may not happen. However, there is no wasted time or energy when seeking God through fasting, prayer and worship. He will change YOU! He will soften your heart and give you a healthy perspective of your circumstances and relationships.