The Sunday Mail
IN the book of Mark, the gospel teaches Christians to fast in order to raise their level of faith and obtain Godly power.
Apart from Christians, Muslims and Hindus also fast for different reasons. In Christianity, fasting is believed to cast away evils and has been embraced by main-line and protestant religious movements.
Yet very little is known about the age old practice. Fasting provides a platform to control the physical body while cultivating mental and spiritual discipline. Non-believers believe fasting, meditation and yoga is good for mental and physical benefits.
Glory Ministries Founder, Apostle Pride Sibiya said Christian fasting could be traced back to Judaic religion.
“Jesus was born a Jew. His religion valued fasting, that’s why at the beginning of ministry, He fasted for 40 days in absolute isolation in the wilderness,” he said.
The cleric said while the number of days one fasts depends on the reasons of partaker, the most common type was absolute fasting in which a person foregoes any food and drink.
“When Apostle Paul met Christ on the road to Damascus, he was struck by light and turned blind. He was then led into Damascus where he spent three days without sight, food or drink.
“Then we have partial fasting also called Daniel’s fast where a person withdraws himself from certain foods, yet for some reasons, partake others.”
Apostle Sibiya argued that fasting is the fastest way to build one’s anointing and the more they fast the more they get anointed.
He said fasting sharpens one’s spiritual man adding that they become highly sensitive in the spirit and they sense things before they happen.
“Fasting raises individual faith to a level higher than ordinary prayers which therefore means there are certain breakthroughs which can only happen through fasting.
“Apart from faith, fasting assures victory, fasting opens one’s spiritual ears and eyes to see the unseen which is how one becomes prophetic.
“Prophecy and fasting work hand in hand.”
Fasting, though aiming at spiritual renewal has benefits that go beyond.
Religious Studies scholar Mr Entrouge Usayi said fasting was a spiritual discipline that should be followed to renew and maintain all aspects of the human life.
“In the Christian fraternity, fasting can be the process of abstaining from food, drink, sleep or sex to focus on a period of spiritual growth and in so doing one humbly denies flesh desires by submitting to God and focusing on prayer life,” he said.
Mr Usayi added that while Christian fasting is not commanded by Christ or the scriptures it remains part of spiritual growth.
“In Acts 13, believers would fast before making important decisions,” he said. Fasting seeks to take our eyes off earthly things and to demonstrate that we are serious about our relationship with God.”
One of the muslim leaders, Sheik Duwa said, “Fasting is one of the pillars of the Islamic religion. It brings self-discipline and spiritual alertness.
“When we fast, especially during the Ramadan, we focus much on prayer and charity giving because we believe when we give, it should be holy and pure.