10 Compelling Reasons to Fast According to the Bible

In a world buzzing with distractions, one timeless Christian practice often gets overlooked: fasting. Yet, behind its veil of simplicity lies powerful and useful spiritual benefits waiting to be discovered. It’s time to peel back the layers and delve into why fasting is not just a task to check off but a transformative journey worth embarking on.

Now, think about this for a second: in the middle of the hustle and bustle of life, fasting emerges as a beacon of spiritual clarity. It offers a pathway to a deeper connection with our Heavenly Father. While the thought of abstaining from food may seem daunting, the rewards it offers are nothing short of extraordinary.

So, why should you embrace fasting? Let me unveil 10 compelling reasons that will ignite your desire to make fasting a regular part of your spiritual practice.

Biblical Reasons to Fast and its benefits
Biblical Reasons to Fast and its Benefits

Biblical Reasons to Fast Infographic

Here’s an infographic that summarizes the reasons why you should fast according to the Bible:

10 reasons you should fast according to the bible infographic
10 reasons you should fast according to the bible infographic

1. God Commands Us to Fast

Fasting is more than just a religious custom; it’s a direct call from Yahweh the Most High. Think of it as a loving nudge from a caring parent, guiding us toward spiritual growth and closeness with God. Throughout the Bible, from the ancient texts of the Old Testament to the teachings of Jesus in the New Testament, fasting is portrayed not only as a choice but as a sacred duty laid upon believers.

For example, one of the appointed days of God mentioned in Leviticus 23 involves fasting. We read in Leviticus 23:26-29:

26 And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying: 27 “Also the tenth day of this seventh month shall be the Day of Atonement. It shall be a holy convocation for you; you shall afflict your souls, and offer an offering made by fire to the LORD. 28 And you shall do no work on that same day, for it is the Day of Atonement, to make atonement for you before the LORD your God. 29 For any person who is not afflicted in soul on that same day shall be cut off from his people. 

The Day of Atonement is a day of fasting. God tells us that His people are required to fast on the Day of Atonement. Failure to do so would result in being cut off from His people.

In the Old Testament, we see prophets like Joel urging people to fast as a way of reconnecting with God, of seeking forgiveness and renewal. It’s like hitting the pause button on life’s hectic pace to recalibrate our souls.

And then there’s Jesus (Yahshua), our ultimate example, who didn’t just talk about fasting but lived it. He shared with his disciples the importance of fasting, not as a burdensome obligation, but as a pathway to deeper spirituality. It’s as if he’s saying, “Come, walk this path with me. Let’s discover the treasures of the spirit together.”

Notice how our Master expects His followers to fast:

“Moreover, when you fast, do not be like the hypocrites, with a sad countenance. For they disfigure their faces so that they may appear to men to be fasting. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward (Matthew 6:16).

Notice the phrase, “When you fast.” Christ didn’t say, if you fast, but rather, “WHEN you fast.” This is strong proof that we are to fast. It’s not a matter of if, but when.

This is also true when we read Luke 5:34-35. When Yahshua was questioned why His disciples were not fasting, He responded:

34 And He said to them, “Can you make the friends of the bridegroom fast while the bridegroom is with them? 35 But the days will come when the bridegroom will be taken away from them; then they will fast in those days.” 

Yahshua already went up to heaven and seated at the right hand of the Father. Thus, it’s time for us to fast.

So, for Christians, fasting isn’t merely a checkbox on a religious to-do list. It’s a heartfelt response to God’s invitation to draw nearer, to grow in faith, and to align our lives more closely with His will. It’s an act of love, obedience, and surrender, woven into the fabric of our journey of faith.

2. Fasting Gives Us More Time for Spiritual Matters

Fasting is commanded by God (image of a clock with empty plate)

Fasting is like hitting the pause button on life’s chaos, giving us the precious gift of time to focus on what truly matters—our spiritual journey. By abstaining from the usual routines, especially those centered around food and indulgence, fasting creates a sacred space where we can redirect our attention and energy toward matters of the soul.

Imagine this: instead of rushing through meals or being preoccupied with our next snack, we find ourselves with pockets of time to delve into prayer, immerse ourselves in the wisdom of Scripture, and extend acts of kindness and service to others. It’s as if the noise of the world fades away, allowing the whispers of our spirit to be heard more clearly.

In this quietude, we have the opportunity to deepen our relationship with God, explore the depths of our faith, and cultivate a more profound intimacy with our heavenly Father. It’s a time of reflection, growth, and communion—a journey inward that enriches our connection to the world around us.

Thus, fasting isn’t just about denying ourselves; it’s about opening ourselves to the abundance of spiritual blessings that await us when we prioritize what truly nourishes our souls. It’s a practical reminder that our lives are more than the sum of our material pursuits, and that true fulfillment comes from nurturing the spirit within.

3. Fasting Follows Biblical Examples

Jesus, Moses, and Elijah fasted for 40 days and 40 nights

Fasting has been a cornerstone of our faith journey since ancient times, woven into the very fabric of our sacred texts. Think about Moses, Elijah, and David—spiritual giants of faith who turned to fasting in their times of need, seeking God’s guidance and strength.

And then there’s Yahshua, popularly known as Jesus, our ultimate example. In the New Testament, we read how Jesus fasted for 40 days in the wilderness, grappling with temptation and drawing closer to God. His experience speaks volumes, showing us the power and significance of fasting in our spiritual lives. As Matthew 4:2 tells us, ‘And after fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry.’

This simple verse encapsulates the depth of Jesus’ fast and the human aspect of his experience, reminding us that even our Savior faced hunger and challenges during his fast.

4. Fasting Disciplines Ourselves

Fasting isn’t just avoiding food and drink; it’s a powerful spiritual tool that shapes us from within. It’s like a gym for our soul, where we build strength in self-control and reliance on God. When we deny ourselves food or other comforts, it’s a reminder that our physical desires aren’t the only things that matter.

In those moments of hunger or discomfort, we’re drawn closer to God, focusing more intensely on our spiritual journey. As the Apostle Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 9:27, ‘But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.’ 

Through fasting, we learn to discipline our bodies and align our hearts with God’s will, deepening our relationship with Him in the process.

5. Fasting Helps Us Resist Temptation

Think of fasting as a kind of spiritual training ground where we strengthen our inner resolve against temptation and the lure of sin. When we willingly say “no” to our body’s natural cravings for food or other comforts, it’s like flexing our self-control muscles.

Why should you fast - to fight temptation (image of a Bible on an empty plate)

Remember when Jesus faced off against temptation during his own 40-day fast in the wilderness? It wasn’t easy, but he showed us that it’s possible to resist even the strongest temptations. In our own fasting journeys, we tap into that same strength. It’s about more than just skipping meals; it’s a chance to dig deep, relying on the Holy Spirit’s power to help us navigate life’s challenges with integrity and faithfulness.

As we stay committed to this practice, we find ourselves growing spiritually, gaining victory over our weaknesses, and shining a light in the midst of darkness.

6. Fasting Helps Us to Repent of Our Sins

Have you ever felt the weight of regret or the need for a fresh start? Fasting is like hitting the reset button for our souls. It’s a powerful symbol of repentance and renewal, a tangible way of saying, ‘God, I’m turning back to You.’

When we fast, we’re not just skipping meals; we’re shedding the distractions of this world and refocusing our hearts on what truly matters—living in alignment with God’s will. It’s a journey of humility and surrender, where we acknowledge our mistakes and seek forgiveness.

As the prophet Joel encourages us in Joel 2:12-13, ‘“Even now,” declares the LORD, “return to me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning.” Rend your heart and not your garments. Return to the Lord your God, for he is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love.’

Through fasting, we’re invited into a deeper relationship with a gracious and loving God who offers forgiveness and renewal to all who seek Him.

7. Fasting Makes Prayer More Intense

Have you ever felt the need to quiet the noise around you, to truly listen for the voice of God? That’s where fasting comes in. It’s not just about empty stomachs; it’s about creating space—space for prayer, for reflection, for connection with God.

Prayer, bible study, and occasional fasting bring us closer to God.

When we abstain from food or other comforts, it’s like clearing the clutter from our hearts and minds, making room for what truly matters. We can pour our energy into seeking God’s guidance, examining our spiritual health, and lifting up others in prayer.

What’s more, fasting can give a spiritual boost to our prayer. We read in Matthew 17:20-21:

20 So Jesus said to them, “Because of your unbelief; for assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you. 21 However, this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting.”

Prayer and fasting should come hand in hand. 

As our Master teaches us in Matthew 6:16-18, ‘When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show others they are fasting. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that it will not be obvious to others that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.’

Through fasting, we step into a sacred space where we can encounter God in a deeper way and allow His presence to transform us from the inside out.

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8. Fasting Helps in Building Community and Unity

There’s something incredibly powerful about walking the path of faith together, shoulder to shoulder with fellow believers. In some instances, fasting isn’t a solo endeavor; it’s a communal journey—a shared commitment to seek God’s face and His will as one body.

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When we fast together as a community, we’re not just individuals striving for spiritual growth; we’re a unified force, lifting each other up, encouraging one another, and standing in solidarity. It’s like weaving a tapestry of prayers and petitions, each thread strengthened by the others.

In the book of Acts, we see the early church engaging in collective fasting and prayer, united in purpose and fervency. Acts 13:2-3 says, ‘While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” So after they had fasted and prayed, they placed their hands on them and sent them off.’ 

Through corporate fasting, we not only deepen our bond as brothers and sisters in Christ but also create an atmosphere where God’s intervention and guidance can manifest powerfully in our midst.

9. Fasting Humbles Ourselves Before God

Have you ever felt like you’re running on empty, struggling to keep up with life’s demands? Again, fasting is like hitting the pause button—a moment to acknowledge our limitations and lean into God’s limitless grace.

When we willingly abstain from food or other comforts, we’re confronted with our own vulnerability and neediness. It’s a humbling experience, reminding us that we’re not self-sufficient beings but dependent creatures reliant on the sustenance and strength that God provides.

In 2 Corinthians 12:9-10, Paul writes, ‘But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.’

Through fasting, we embrace our weaknesses and open ourselves up to the transformative power of God’s grace, cultivating a posture of humility and trust in His provision.

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10. Fasting Prepares and Keeps Us Focused

Life is full of moments that demand our utmost attention and clarity of mind. Fasting serves as a sort of spiritual tuning fork, helping us attune our hearts to God’s frequency in preparation for significant events or challenges.

Just as an athlete trains rigorously before a competition, fasting prepares us spiritually for the battles we face. It sharpens our focus and heightens our sensitivity to God’s leading, enabling us to discern His voice more clearly amidst the noise of life.

In Isaiah 58:6-7, we’re reminded of the transformative power of fasting: ‘Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke? Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter—when you see the naked, to clothe them, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?’

Through fasting, we position ourselves to be vessels of God’s grace and instruments of His peace, ready to face whatever lies ahead with faith and resolve.

Final Words

Fasting within the Christian perspective transcends mere abstinence; it’s a sacred journey of the soul. It’s about forging a deeper connection with the Divine, undergoing personal metamorphosis, and aligning our lives with God’s purposes.

Through fasting, we don’t just deny ourselves; we discover ourselves—our strengths, our weaknesses, and our deepest longings. It’s a pathway to intimacy with God, where our hearts are laid bare, and His presence becomes palpable.

Ultimately, fasting is an invitation to dive deeper into the ocean of God’s love, to be transformed by His grace, and to walk in step with His divine purposes for our lives.

Joshua Infantado Author's Bio Image

About the Author

Joshua Infantado is the founder of the Becoming Christians website and the Becoming Christians Academy, an online course. Since 2013, he has been writing Christian articles, and he launched his own YouTube channel. Joshua is deeply passionate about sharing the Word of God and supporting people in their Christian journey.

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