Researchers from the Intermountain Heart Institute in Murray, Utah have concluded there are health benefits to fasting.
In particular, they pointed to its benefits with those struggling with diabetes. The researchers said an occasional one-day, water-only fast, can help those in a pre-diabetic stage. This is the stage where people have high glucose or sugar levels, but not high enough to be considered diabetic.
They stated by occasionally fasting a person can lower their glucose levels. It should not surprise us an important spiritual activity comes with a physical benefit.
The group looked at the impact of fasting on a group of people aged 30 to 69 who had at least three of the following conditions:
- Large waistline;
- High triglycerides;
- High blood pressure;
- Low good cholesterol; and
- High blood sugars.
They noticed during a 10 to 12 hour fast — when the body couldn’t find resources through food consumption — it began “scavenging” other areas for energy resources. Bad cholesterol in fat cells, which weaken the body’s ability to deal with high sugar levels, fell by 12% in pre-diabetic people.
In an interview with Medical News Today, lead researcher Benjamin Horne said:
“Together with our prior studies that showed decades of routine fasting was associated with a lower risk of diabetes and coronary artery disease, this led us to think that fasting is most impactful for reducing the risk of diabetes and related metabolic problems.”
Fasting adds power to our prayer
This is not the first time God has packaged physical benefits with a spiritual activity. We also see it in circumcision.
One of the spiritual benefits of fasting is that it adds power to our prayers.
In the book of Isaiah, the prophet said a proper fast can have a powerful impact in the spiritual realm:
6 “Is this not the fast which I choose,
To loosen the bonds of wickedness,
To undo the bands of the yoke,
And to let the oppressed go free
And break every yoke? (Isaiah 58:6 NASV)
But notice the wording, it just loosens the bonds and undoes the bands of the yoke.
This means the control is weakened, but not completely removed. We still need to move in through faith and prayer to finish the task. Those who being delivered need to shake themselves free from their bondage.
Fasting sets the stage for victory.
In Matthew 17, after the disciples were unable to deliver a boy from an evil spirit, the man approached Jesus asking for help. After Jesus delivered the boy, the disciples asked privately why they had failed
But this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting. (Matthew 17:21 NASV)
This is why throughout history, the Israelis would fast when praying during important times in their history:
- Ezra proclaimed fasting and prayer for a safe journey to Jerusalem (Ezra 8:21, 23)
- When Queen Esther was going to approach her husband, King Ahasuerus, to deliver Israel from a planned genocide, she asked Mordecai and other Jews to pray and fast three days before she made her move (Esther 4:16).
- Nehemiah fasted and prayed for Israel when he heard about the desolation in Jerusalem (Nehemiah 1:4-11).
- God gave direction to the early church during times of fasting. They received direction when appointing elders (Acts 14:20-23) and for ministry (Acts 13:2-3).
- Fasting protects against Diabetes: Study: Newsmaxhealth.com