Why is it 40 Days?
Historically in the early church, there was a time of prayer and fasting leading up to Easter. Nowadays, some Christians follow a Bible reading plan, pray for specific things, or fast for a period of days; some as long as 40 days. The six Sundays during this season are days to celebrate Jesus' resurrection in anticipation of Easter Sunday. The dates change every year, but the celebrations are based on events in the Bible. Some Protestants follow these traditions as a way to grow a deeper relationship with God.
The 40 days reflect the importance of 40-day events in the Bible, like Moses on the mountain with God (Exodus 24:18), Elijah’s travel to meet with God (1 Kings 19:8), and Jesus’ time facing temptation in the wilderness (Matthew 4:2).
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).