Throughout the Bible, fasting was recommended alongside prayer when the people of God humbled themselves in repentance to see God do a wonderful work in their own lives and in the lives of others (e.g. Nehemiah and Queen Esther). When done correctly, it brings spiritual strength and solidifies resolve to carry out the will of the Lord. If you’ve ever fasted for the Lord, you’ve probably experienced those benefits. Now a study out of the University of Southern California has proven that while we fast, it also provides the added benefit of rejuvenating our bodies.
The study looked at humans as well as mice who fasted 2-4 days. One of the researchers, Valter Longo of USC’s Longevity Institute, found that the bodies of the test subjects recycled excess or damaged immune system cells as a way of creating new, more vibrant immune system cells to shore up the body’s defenses against disease. They believe this can prove beneficial to ward off cancer since it depletes the body’s ability to increase PKA, an enzyme that aids growth hormones linked to cancer and that hampers the renewal of stem cells.
Fasting also has the potential of keeping the immune system stronger as one ages, which could help improve the quality and maybe the quantity of life. It also may have other benefits that have yet to be determined.
All in all, the Holy Spirit’s prompting us to fast shows that he cares about us and wants to see our situation improve, even though from our human, fleshly viewpoint we may wrongly consider it unnecessary suffering.
Moreover when ye fast, be not, as the hypocrites, of a sad countenance: for they disfigure their faces, that they may appear unto men to fast. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. But thou, when thou fastest, anoint thine head, and wash thy face; That thou appear not unto men to fast, but unto thy Father which is in secret: and thy Father, which seeth in secret, shall reward thee openly. Mat. 6:16-18
Source: Lorie Johnson, Hidden Gem: Fasting May Benefit More than Your Spirit, CBNnews.com, May 12, 2016.