Why Do Christians Fast?
Christians may choose to fast at various times of the year. Fasting is the practice of abstaining from something you enjoy for a set amount of time — such as food, caffeine, alcohol, watching TV, social media, or even sleep. Fasting is a way Christians, for thousands of years, have reminded themselves that God is the source of life, nourishment, and everything good. Combined with prayer, fasting is a powerful way to be grateful, exercise discipline, depend on God, and listen to Him.
Why Not to Fast
Fasting is not something we do to make God love us more. No action or attitude can change the depth of Jesus’s love for us, so we shouldn’t try to use spiritual disciplines to gain God’s approval. Neither should we use fasting to gain other people’s approval. God wants our commitment to Him. He doesn’t want an intimate spiritual practice like fasting to become an external show of religious pride (Matthew 6:17-18).
Why Extended Fasts?
There are various lengths of fasts in scripture.
- A 1 day fast is in Judges 20:26 to seek direction from the Lord.
- A 3 day fast is found in Esther 4:16 for wisdom, discernment and protection.
- A 7 day fast is in 1 Samuel 31:13 for wisdom, grief and guidance.
- A 10 day fast found in Daniel 10:12 is for favor, strength, wisdom and discernment.
- A 14-day fast in Acts 27:33-34 shows Paul and the men on the ship fasting food for protection and wisdom.
- A 21-day fast in Daniel 10:3 happened for a time of distress and mourning.
- Plus, 40 day fasts are found in Exodus 24 by Moses, 1 Kings 19 by Elijah and Matthew 4 by Jesus.
Christians around the world follow these examples as a way to grow a deeper relationship with God. Fasting is a very personal time of prayer between you and God. The reason you
choose to fast, how long you fast, and which way you fast is between you and God and nobody else. If
you feel led to begin fasting, begin with prayer. Ask God to tell you what you should
do and how you should do it.