WHAT IS FASTING? WHY FAST?
Fasting is a willing abstinence or reduction from some or all food, drink, or both, for a period of time. An absolute fast or dry fasting is normally defined as abstinence from all food and liquid for a defined period, usually a period of 24 hours, or a number of days.
Christians and non-Christians fast not only for physical benefits of a good, healthy and longer life but also for spiritual benefits.
Fasting experts all over the world agree that fasting is one of the natural methods for attaining and retaining health and vitality. Fasting has been acclaimed for its curative as well as its therapeutic value. People can live longer if they are able to practice disease prevention by fasting periodically. Reverend Canon Kwaku Dua-Agyeman in his book Joy of Fasting elucidates on the physical and spiritual benefits of fasting.
The Reverend Canon Kwaku Dua-Agyeman is an ordained Minister of the Church of the Province of Anglican West Africa and is the immediate past Director of the Anglican Retreat and Conference Centre. He has vast experience in the art and science of spiritual living. In his retirement he has authored several books aimed at educating the populace on living a spiritual life. We have reviewed previously two of his books Deliverance from Ungodly Soul-ties and Covenants, Curses & Cure and here we review a third, the Joy of Fasting. The book attempts to throw light on the subject of fasting and removes the fears surrounding it. It seeks to inspire, motivate and encourage individuals to start their own personal fasting program. He notes that fasting has become a forgotten and neglected discipline and that many sincere persons have not fasted a day in their lives probably because of ignorance and certain irrational fears.
This book of nine chapters elucidates the joy to be derived from fasting. The book begins by answering the question: Why fast? The use of excessive alcohol and caffeinated drinks and stimulants, drugs and tobacco are some of the ways we unconsciously abuse the body. Fasting sets out a process of cleansing and rejuvenation because accumulated poisons and chemical residues are removed, unneeded fat is burned up and eliminated during the process; thus the blood is purified, clogged arteries are cleansed resulting in an improvement in blood pressure and general health. Impure blood causes the arteries to degenerate and weaken thus bringing premature death. Obesity, a rising health challenge in the world today can be cured by fasting and eating proper foods.
BENEFITS OF FASTING
Because people fast for various reasons the writer outlines the various types of fasting. Three kinds of fasting are outlined in the book: Absolute, Normal and Partial, depending on your objectives.
Fasting can Prolong Life and give more Vigour and Vitality
The core of the book outlines the physical and spiritual benefits of fasting. You can fast for physical benefits as well as for spiritual advantage. The discipline of fasting offers tremendous benefits. Studies around the world support the prophylactic, therapeutic and rejuvenating effects of fasting. Fasting as a natural cleansing agent can be used to maintain health as controlled fasting leaves the participant stronger with more vigour and vitality and therefore healthier. Fasting can help not only improve health, prevent and even cure some ailments; it can also prolong one’s lifespan as it can slow down old age and cure premature wrinkles.
Fasting aids in Weight loss and control.
The fasted life programme is good for people with weight problems who want to shed off some excess weight and reduce overstretched protruding stomachs or the ‘ugly tyres’ of middle aged women and men. Many people dig their own graves with their own forks and knives because they many times eat the wrong foods. Obesity is the medical term for those who are overweight. Worldwide obesity is a serious health problem and a major contributor to many premature deaths. This book confirms that fasting can be the most effective and dependable dieting method for man to rid the body of excess weight. Excess weight is due to largely unneeded fat and this is readily burned up in the course of fasting. It is known that the obese and overweight are in great danger of high blood pressure, stroke, heart failure, poor circulation, diabetes, gall bladder trouble, shortness of breath, stomach problems, burping and indigestion issues, headaches, fatigue, nervousness and a shorter lifespan.
Fasting is the fastest way to lose weight though it is not so easy as determination or steadfastness as well as discrimination in what you eat and drink are all essential.
Hippocrates, the Father of modern medicine, living in the fourth century before Christ, prescribed fasting as part of the healing process for his patients. He counseled: “The more you nourish a diseased body, the worse you make it”. He suggests that fasting can be employed to cure certain diseases. Therapeutic fasting can be most beneficial to those who are sick and want to get well without drugs and doctors. No doubt fasting is the safe way of cleansing and rebuilding the bloodstream and the body in general. Regular fasting can systematically reduce toxic waste considerably.
But What are the Spiritual Benefits of fasting?
Reverend Canon Kwaku Dua-Agyeman points out that fasting does not only belong to Christians alone, for fasting is practiced among the major religions of the world. Satanists, occultists, witches and wizards, fetish priests, practitioners of oriental sciences and mysticisms, and of transcendental meditation all fast as they know that spiritual powers are released through fasting and prayer.
Fasting can be used as an act of worship. The writer counsels that men and women should not only fast when they want something from God, but they should also fast as an expression of their devotion to God. Fasting then becomes a living sacrifice, pleasing and acceptable to the Lord who in Isaiah 58 offers great promises to those who fast assiduously. He espouses collective worship-fast which can open the heavens for the glory of the Lord to descend not only for the individual but also for the community.
Fasting for release of Spiritual Power
It has been observed that man becomes spiritually more powerful during periods of regular fasting with prayer as he can become indescribably effective and efficient at soul-winning and can demonstrate more power over the host of demonic forces lurked within. Christians, Buddhists, Hindus, Muslims all pray and fast to train the spirit. The awakened spirit of man can demonstrate supernatural abilities and effect healings, with signs and wonders. Prayer and Fasting not only releases spiritual power, but also increases one’s faith in the good and one can become a channel for divine revelation. Fasting brings purification and empowerment as well as liberation from negative mindsets and desires.
Our Reverend Father enunciates from his experience that fasting generates prayer stamina, promotes revival of the spirit as it humbles the soul whilst it restores and prepares you for greater blessing.
Genuine fasting can bring tremendous benefits spiritually and psychologically and above all enhance your quality of spiritual life by restoring fellowship with God and bringing His favour and mercy.
That prayer and fasting releases spiritual power and when practiced fervently can not only change individuals or families but also liberate cities, nations from demonic influences.
But what are the great promises the Lord bestows on those who seek God’s face in fasting-prayer? There are many amongst which are enabling your light shine even in darkness, you will have answers to your prayers speedily, you become fruitful in your work or ministry, you become a channel of restoration for others etc. The benefits of prayer and fasting are enormous and you should get a copy of the book to afford you the opportunity to learn more of the spiritual benefits of prayer and fasting.
The rest of the book addresses common problems during fast and guides the reader on how to prepare for a fast, breaking the fast and keeping the benefits of fasting. The book ends with a chapter on aggressive prayers to assist and guide those who may not know what to pray about or how to pray during a fast. A most valuable book if you wish to begin to tackle your weight problems and lead a healthy long life as well as enhancing your innate spiritual powers.