The fifth of 5 Fasting Questions that many people have is: WHO? What kind of people should fast?
Is fasting for all believers, or just mature Christ-followers? Nowhere in the bible does it suggest that fasting is part of the advanced manual for especially mature or devout believers. In fact when Jesus teaches on fasting in Matthew 6 he’s giving basic discipleship teaching, placing it alongside basic prayer as he teaches the Lord’s Prayer.
Is fasting for all ages? No. Fasting is normally for healthy adults and should not be imposed on babies or young children or the elderly who are frail. There is evidence that short periods of fasting is not detrimental to pregnant women or their babies, but if in doubt on any medical matter you should consult a qualified doctor.
Is fasting for dieters? Well yes … but dieting shouldn’t be the goal. The main aim of fasting is to help you draw close to God. If you happen to slim down in the process then that might be a great spin-off, but if dieting is your real aim, there are other and often better ways of doing it that fasting!
Is fasting just for Christians? No! There is good medical evidence that fasting is beneficial to your body, whoever you are. Timed periods of fasting gives your digestive system a rest and can energise your metabolism to burn through calories better. It can have a positive effect on insulin sensitivity allowing you to tolerate sugars better. It can help regulate the hormones in your body, improve brain function, the immune system and improve skin condition. The fact that most religions encourage fasting means they know that it has further benefits too – not just for the body but also in sensitising the soul.
For the last two thousand years, followers of Jesus have fasted. So unless you are physically weak or have a medical condition where fasting is not recommended, then fasting is for you.
Lord Jesus, thank you that your call to fast is for ordinary people like me. As you teach me about fasting, may the benefits be many – even if I don’t always see them immediately. Most of all, use fasting to attune me more to your presence for I want to know you more. Amen.