I’ve been doing a lot of research lately on Fasting, and what the Bible says about it. It is very interesting, since I don’t believe I have ever hear a pastor preach on the topic.
The last time, I explained what Fasting was, if we were required to do it, and how long we should do it. If you want to read that, click here.
So why do people fast? The motive should always be to get you closer to God, and should be combined with prayer and reading scripture.
Here are the Biblical reasons to Fast:
1) Contrition – You are sorry for your sins
On October 31 the people assembled again, and this time they fasted and dressed in burlap and sprinkled dust on their heads. Those of Israelite descent separated themselves from all foreigners as they confessed their own sins and the sins of their ancestors. Nehemiah 9:1-3 NLT
When I weep and fast, they scoff at me. When I dress in burlap to show sorrow, they make fun of me. Psalms 69:10-11 NLT
So I turned to the Lord God and pleaded with him in prayer and fasting. I also wore rough burlap and sprinkled myself with ashes. I prayed to the Lord my God and confessed: “O Lord, you are a great and awesome God! You always fulfil your covenant and keep your promises of unfailing love to those who love you and obey your commands. But we have sinned and done wrong. We have rebelled against you and scorned your commands and regulations. Daniel 9:3-5 NLT
2) Trials and Tribulations – Seeking God’s comfort and peace
And as news of the king’s decree reached all the provinces, there was great mourning among the Jews. They fasted, wept, and wailed, and many people lay in burlap and ashes. Esther 4:3 NLT
They mourned and wept and fasted all day for Saul and his son Jonathan, and for the Lord’s army and the nation of Israel, because they had died by the sword that day. 2 Samuel 1:12 NLT
They said to me, “Things are not going well for those who returned to the province of Judah. They are in great trouble and disgrace. The wall of Jerusalem has been torn down, and the gates have been destroyed by fire.” When I heard this, I sat down and wept. In fact, for days I mourned, fasted, and prayed to the God of heaven. Nehemiah 1:3-4 NLT
But deal well with me, O Sovereign Lord, for the sake of your own reputation! Rescue me because you are so faithful and good. For I am poor and needy, and my heart is full of pain. I am fading like a shadow at dusk; I am brushed off like a locust. My knees are weak from fasting, and I am skin and bones. Psalm 109-21-24 NLT
3) In Sickness
Yet when they were ill, I grieved for them. I denied myself by fasting for them, but my prayers returned unanswered. Psalms 35:13 NLT
David begged God to spare the child. He went without food and lay all night on the bare ground. 2 Samuel 12:16 NLT
4) Seeking an answer from God
So we fasted and earnestly prayed that our God would take care of us, and he heard our prayer. Ezra 8:23 NLT
Among the prophets and teachers of the church at Antioch of Syria were Barnabas, Simeon (called “the black man”), Lucius (from Cyrene), Manaen (the childhood companion of King Herod Antipas), and Saul. One day as these men were worshipping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Appoint Barnabas and Saul for the special work to which I have called them.” So after more fasting and prayer, the men laid their hands on them and sent them on their way. Acts 13:1-3 NLT
5) Demonic Possession – A Christian cannot have a demon because the Holly Spirit is inside of him
Then the disciples came to Jesus privately and said, “Why could we not cast it out?” So Jesus said to them, “Because of your unbelief; for assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you. However, this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting.” Matthew 17:19-20 NKJV
And when He had come into the house, His disciples asked Him privately, “Why could we not cast it out?” So He said to them, “This kind can come out by nothing but prayer and fasting.” Mark 9:28-29 NKJV
Paul and Barnabas also appointed elders in every church. With prayer and fasting, they turned the elders over to the care of the Lord, in whom they had put their trust. Acts 14:23 NLT
7) For Temptation
The wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. And likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does. Do not deprive one another except with consent for a time, that you may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again so that Satan does not tempt you because of your lack of self-control. 1 Corinthians 7:4-5 NKJV
Some view this last passage as a command for couples to pray and fast when they are apart, so they would not be tempted into sexual sin. This is not a bad idea, since it is easier to fall into the temptation of sexual sin when your spouse is not around.
As parents, it is out job to train our children on what the Bible says about everything, including Fasting. There are a lot of misconceptions and falsehoods about Fasting, mainly coming from non-Christians or Christians who have never researched what the Bible says.
This week, spend sometime with your children discussing what the Bible says about Fasting.