Unlocking the mystery behind Christian fasting

By Zaninka Umutesi
On 30 January 2023 at 03:14

Fasting has been practiced for physical and spiritual purposes. For the last few years, more and more people have been actively fasting to get in shape but others have been doing it for centuries for a higher calling.

The frontal cortex, the region responsible for decision-making and higher-level thinking that allows you to engage in abstract thought and control your emotions, is activated during this period.

A fast and prayer combination allows communication with God or another higher power.

A few days back, I sat by my grandmother’s bedside in a hospital room because, at 79 years old, she decided to fast for three days, day and night, with no food or water.

When she woke up and realized she was in a hospital with an IV attached to her arm, she immediately fought to remove it with the argument of "God will heal me, these human-made objects have nothing to do with me getting better."

Fasting is something that she has done since her youth that we hopefully thought would be less or stop as she aged.

At first, I thought she was doing it to lose a few pounds since she complained about her weight, the week before this incident.

As she explained her reasons for fasting, I felt inspired to check out her church.

Members of the church, much like herself, looked happy, even energetic as they praised and worshipped. At the end of the service, when I heard there would be a service later in the evening to break their fast, I stayed.

They had been fasting for 14 days, breaking their fast at six in the evening, which my grandmother had disregarded.

The evening of their last fast was of different testimonies from children testifying for their parents’ healing, youth proclaiming their financial problems resolved, and others talking about healing from addiction.

It is inspiring and a little electric to be among people who hold so much faith in something they do not see but believe in with all their beings.

The discipline involved with these fasts helps a person grow upright. Some churches encourage young teenagers to fast for at least a quarter of a day so they can start learning how to develop that thirst to focus on their God alone early.

There is a significant shift in brainwave activity when people fast, which explains the heightened sense of awareness experienced by some when fasting and praying.

The brain works on a higher frequency during prayer and fasting. During this period, avoiding distractions such as social media is fundamental to avoid falling into the rabbit hole of scrolling from one reel to another or answering texts that are not urgent.

An individual gets to reflect on their life, with the stomach on break from digesting and the brain resting from wondering where you are getting your next meal.

Fasting for weight loss or knowing someone who has fasted for this reason has given you an understanding of how on edge someone can be during such a fast.

Christians, however, are required to demonstrate love and compassion during prayer and fasting, whether the person is Christian or not.

Some churches even suggest that they share the food they would have eaten during their fast with people who do not have any.

How can you worry about others’ sufferings if you have suffered? Through fasting, individuals understand firsthand the meaning of temptation and suffering, which allows them to be more compassionate.

As a result, some people have become believers due to this ministry. Attending church will lead you to change your old ways, turn to Christ, and give back to the community.

This makes fasting not only good for Christians seeking to make a connection with God but also for their community.

When Christ’s disciples were being hunted, even he expected them to flee to another city, but to this day, my grandmother still argues that it is better to die for Christ despite what her pastor tells her.

It is crucial to be smart about your fasting. Believing does not mean becoming suicidal.