Almost all beliefs across the globe practice fasting in one way or another. As stipulated in other passages of some of the holy books, fasting is a recommendation and also a commandment by God. It is also a way of proving oneself how committed an individual is with the Word of God. PAIDA MPASO asks how partakers of this sacred activity can sustain themselves and remain focused at all times.
Science says the brain and the stomach are in constant communication such that when the stomach is empty, the brain quickly produces chemicals that make human beings feel hungry and people respond by eating. In other words the feeling of hunger and tiredness are normal and natural.
Fasting which is primarily the act of willingly abstaining from some or all food, drink, or both, for a period of time, is one activity the body is likely to respond to with signs of hunger and fatigue.
The Bible in Mathew says as soon as Jesus was baptised in the River Jordan by John the Baptist the Spirit let him into the desert to be tempted however before the temptations he stayed for forty days and night without eating any food. At the end of the forty days and night he was hungry and tired and the devil came. He however did not succumb to the devils temptation.
So all in all fasting is bound to make the partaker feel some sort of hunger and fatigue. But the big questions still remains, how people should remain focused and determined to succeed that which they are fasting and praying for.
Generally there are many kinds of fasting, you can fast for a day, two days and more it all depends on the occasion and the reasons behind the fasting. Other fasts may be only partially restrictive, limiting particular foods or substance. The fast may also be intermittent in nature. Fasting practices may preclude sexual and other activities as well.
Word Alive Ministries International, Pastor Towera Masiku says fasting can only be properly sustained when the individual partaking the exercise is fully convinced and becomes aware of the power of fasting and prayer.
“Your sustaining the fasting period depends on how serious you are to achieve your goal, and by keeping yourself in prayer chances of you succeeding are very high,” she says.
Fasting was an expected discipline in both the Old and New Testament eras. For example, Moses fasted at least two recorded forty day periods. Jesus fasted 40 days and reminded His followers to fast.
According to church leaders fasting and prayer can restore the loss of the first love for your Lord and result in a more intimate relationship with Christ.
Fasting is a biblical way to truly humble yourself in the sight of God, the Bible says fasting enables the Holy Spirit to reveal ones true spiritual condition, resulting in brokenness, repentance, and a transformed life.
“Once you start fasting and praying, believe in your heart that whatever it is that you are praying for has been answered because the when the Word of God comes it always lives an effect, it is never empty. Believing that you have received your miracle will not only strengthen you, but also keep you going hence seeing yourself to the end,” adds Masiku.
According to the Bible, fasting and prayer are the only disciplines that fulfill the requirements of II Chronicles 7:14: “If my people, who are called by My name, will humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”
“If you fast, you will find yourself being humbled. You will discover more time to pray and seek Godâ€™s face. And as He leads you to recognise and repentance of unconfessed sins, you will experience special blessings from God,” said Sheikh Jafaar Kawinga
Muslims have the Ramadhan festival in which among others, they are commanded to fast for thirty days. In addition, the Muslim calendar has Zulhijjah in which they are required to fast, even though it is not mandatory.
“The only way one can be true to God is through the devotion that is shown when you fast, maintain the steam by continuous prayer and sticking to what Allah is saying,” says Kawinga.
According to Kawinga, there are certain things that must not be done when fasting including having sex.
“For instance, when you are fasting during the day, there is no way you would want to sleep with your wife, much as this is allowed in marriages but during fasting it is prohibited,” he says.