This is an excellent question, for “fasting” has been lost sight of by many Christians today. Although it is not COMMANDED by God for believers in this age, it is certainly NEEDED at times. Matthew 9:14-15 reads, “Then came to Him the disciples of John, saying, Why do we and the Pharisees fast oft, but Thy disciples fast not? And Jesus said unto them, Can the children of the bridegroom mourn, as long as the bridegroom is with them? But the days will come, when the bridegroom shall be taken away from them, and then shall they fast.” In these verses the Lord surely implied that now, during the time of His absence, we would need to fast.   Let’s consider some reasons why we should fast.

We should fast for GUIDANCE IN SERVICE. Acts 13:2 says “As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them.” Godly men were assembled together seeking the Lord’s guidance as to service, and they knew that “prayer and fasting” would help them to discern God’s Mind. Another example is given to us in Acts 14:23, “And when they had ordained them elders in every church, and had prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord, on whom they believed.”

We should fast, if married, for MAKING DECISIONS. 1 Corinthians 7:5 states, “Defraud ye not one the other, except it be with consent for a time, that ye may give yourselves to fasting and prayer…” Fasting in this case, would include not only abstaining from food, but from physical pleasure with one’s spouse, all for the purpose of seeking God’s Mind in a certain matter.

We should fast for SPIRITUAL STRENGTH. In Luke 4:1-2 we read, “And Jesus being full of the Holy Ghost returned from Jordan, and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness. Being forty days tempted of the devil. And in those days he did eat nothing…” The Lord Jesus, as our Perfect Example, showed us that in times of special conflict with our enemy, the devil, we can gain spiritual strength through fasting.

We should fast to SHOW HUMILITY. In Psalm 35:13 David said, “But as for me, when they were sick, my clothing was sackcloth: I humbled my soul with fasting; and my prayer returned into mine own bosom.” Like David, we should sympathize with those who are suffering, and be willing to fast, as well as pray, as we sorrow with them. This self-denial is an act of humility that the Lord honors.

This is a partial list of reasons, but they should serve to show us the need for and importance of fasting. When we do fast, let’s be sure we also take into consideration the following words of our Lord Jesus from Matthew 6:16-18, “Whenever you fast, do not put on a gloomy face as the hypocrites do, for they neglect their appearance so that they will be noticed by men when they are fasting. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. But you, when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face so that your fasting will not be noticed by men, but by your Father Who is in secret; and your Father Who sees what is done in secret will reward you” (NASB). (160.8) (DO)