Reasons Why People Fast:
Fasting in the Bible has been done for a wide range of reasons.
Samuel led the people of Israel into a fast to celebrate the return of the ark of covenant, and to pray for deliverance over the sin that had led to it being captured and taken away.
1 Samuel 7:6 – “And they gathered together to Mizpeh, and drew water, and poured it out before the Lord, and fasted on that day, and said there, We have sinned against the Lord. And Samuel judged the children of Israel in Mizpeh.”
Ezra proclaimed a fast at the Ahaza Canal so as to humble themselves before the Lord, ask for his guidance and provision, and for protection against their enemies as they planned on the course of rebuilding Jerusalem.
Ezra 8:21-23 – “Then I proclaimed a fast there at the river of Ahava, that we might humble ourselves before our God to seek from Him a safe journey for us, our little ones, and all our possessions. For I was ashamed to request from the king troops and horsemen to protect us from the enemy on the way, because we had said to the king, “The hand of our God is favorably disposed to all those who seek Him, but His power and His anger are against all those who forsake Him.” So we fasted and sought our God concerning this matter, and He listened to our entreaty.”
Esther, her cousin Mordecai, and her attendants as well as all the Jews in Shushan fasted for 3 days and 3 nights praying for favor and breakthrough before Esther’s ‘illegal’ but divine appearance before the King.
Esther 3:16 – “Go, gather together all the Jews that are present in Shushan, and fast ye for me, and neither eat nor drink three days, night or day: I also and my maidens will fast likewise; and so will I go in unto the king, which is not according to the law: and if I perish, I perish.”
A man came to Jesus and begged him to have mercy on his son since the disciples of Jesus had tried to cure him but they did not succeed. Jesus rebuked the devil and he departed out of the boy. When the disciples asked why they could not cure the boy, Jesus told them that such as that can not be cast out unless by prayer and fasting.
Matthew 17:21 – …this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting.
The most extreme fasts in the bible are the 40 day and 40 night complete fasts (no food or water) undertaken by Jesus and Moses. It is advisable to consult your doctor before going without any water or food for more than 24 hours
“So he was there with the Lord forty days and forty nights; he did not eat bread or drink water. And he wrote on the tablets the words of the covenant, the Ten Commandments.”
“And after He had fasted forty days and forty nights, He then became hungry.”
From the above, we now know that there are different motivations to fasting. Sometimes we fast because we feel like we are in a spiritual wilderness and we need a breakthrough, or because we need God’s leadership as we start the new year, or even for thanking God and praying for divine intervention for situations and for our loved ones. We sometimes fast to provide food for the needy, or to pray for God’s deliverance from the sin we fleshly struggle with and for revival. Some people fast to get healed physically and others to seek God’s direction and will in their lives. You have a number of options on paths of fasting you can take as outlined below.
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