What is fasting and why should I do it?

Some call fasting a spiritual discipline. It is often connected with prayer, Bible study and meditation. What is fasting and why does the Bible encourage us to fast?


Answer:
What is fasting and why should I do it?
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What is fasting?

Unger's Bible Dictionary explains that the word fast in the Bible is from the Hebrew word sum, meaning "to cover" the mouth, or from the Greek word nesteuo , meaning "to abstain." For spiritual purposes, it means to go without eating and drinking (Esther:4:16).

The Day of Atonement—also called "the Fast" (Acts:27:9)—is the only fast day commanded by God (Leviticus:23:27), though other national fast days are mentioned in the Bible. Also, personal fasts are clearly expected of Christ's disciples (Matthew:9:14-15).

We encourage those with health problems to consult a qualified medical practitioner before fasting.

Why do we fast?

The Bible gives examples of God's people occasionally combining fasting with their prayers so as to stir up their zeal and renew their dedication and commitment to Him. King David wrote that he "humbled [him]self with fasting" (Psalm:35:13). Fasting is a means of getting our minds back on the reality that we are not self-sufficient. Fasting helps us realize just how fragile we are and how much we depend on things beyond ourselves.

The Bible records that great men of faith such as Moses, Elijah, Daniel, Paul and Jesus Himself fasted so that they might draw closer to God (Exodus:34:28; 1 Kings:19:8; Daniel:9:3; Daniel:10:2-3; 2 Corinthians:11:27; Matthew:4:2). Jesus knew that His true disciples, once He was no longer there in the flesh with them, at times would need to fast to regain and renew their zeal to serve Him (Mark:2:18-20).

James tells us, "Draw near to God and He will draw near to you" (James:4:8). Constant prayer and occasional fasting help us to do this.

We are not to fast to have people feel sorry for us or to think we're pious (Matthew:6:16-18). Isaiah 58 gives both bad and good examples of fasting, contrasting wrong attitudes and actions (Isaiah:58:3-5) with the right approach of outgoing love (Isaiah:58:6-10). Daniel and Nehemiah set the example of having a repentant frame of mind (Daniel:9:3-4; Nehemiah:9:1-2).

You Can Have Living Faith Fasting also helps us learn the lessons of the Day of Atonement : forgiveness, reconciliation to God and the need to resist Satan and pray for the time of his removal (Revelation:20:1-3), which was portrayed in type by the Azazel goat on Atonement (Leviticus:16:20-22).

For more insight, please read our Bible study aid booklet You Can Have Living Faith .


SCOTT

SCOTT's picture

REVELATION 20 V 1>3 DOSE NOT APPEAR ABOVE.

I BE LEAVE THAT FASTING IS A VERY IMPORTANT PART OF BELIEVING
AND UNDERSTANDING THE BIBLE [GODS HOLY WORD]. IT PUTS ONE IN A SPECIAL FRAME OF MIND, TO READ THE BIBLE AND PRAY, THUS UNDERSTANDING GODS WORD.




Tickler

Tickler's picture

According to Isaiah 58:5 the true meaning of a fast is one the Lord sees as "an acceptable day to Him."




dellasoholy

dellasoholy's picture

i can't wait to start my fast for our Father




pitchblack626

pitchblack626's picture

Can somebody tell me where in the Bible when its ok to change how you can change fasting to what you want to. Looks like you and not suppost to eat or drink for three days?




Makani George K...

Makani George Kasinze's picture

Fasting, basically, draws us nearer to God's Glory




macnana

macnana's picture

I fasted for 2 days and guess the kind of feeling i have. Aside the physical benefit that i have, i could also see that am really close to Jehovah(God). Fasting truly helps to keep your mind on most important things in life.




kashefmushtaq

kashefmushtaq's picture

we must fast to get clear answers from GOD about our daily routine and in particular life matters.




Psalms

Psalms's picture

Can anyone please tell me how to fast exactly?



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