7 Good Reasons Christians Should Fast

by David Peach · Print Print · Email Email

We previously looked at some fasting tips for Christians. But what are reasons people fast? Is it just to lose weight or show that you are more spiritual than others in your church? The reasons, or purposes for fasting are much more important than those superficial thoughts. The motivation should be centered on God and a relationship with Him, not on our body or our relationship to others.

We live in a very materialistic society today. This is true whether you live in a relatively rich country or a poor one. While some individuals in your country may not be captivated by things, it seems the world today is becoming more and more interested in having what their neighbors have. Even as far back as the 10 Commandments given to Moses, God talked about materialism and being satisfied with what you have.

Materialism, or the Bible often uses the word gluttony, is the enemy of fasting. Denying yourself of food, pleasure and material goods is the avenue that fasting uses to help you re-align your focus on God.

Here are seven reasons a Christian should fast today.

Because Christ Expects it of Christians

Jesus’ words in Matthew 6:16-18 are not words of a command. He does not tell us that we have to fast. However, He expects that we will. He said, “when you fast…” He was making an assumption that a Christian would fast. Moreover, when He said these words He followed it with a bit of explanation that a fast should be personal and private. Your focus should be on your relationship with God and not on letting the world know you are fasting.

In Matthew 9 Jesus is talking with the Pharisees and tells them that the disciples, while not fasting at that time, would fast once the bridegroom (Jesus) was no longer with them. Jesus expected His disciples to participate in fasting.

For Guidance

And when they had ordained them elders in every church, and had prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord, on whom they believed. (Acts 14:23)

We see in the above verse that Paul fasted about some decisions he made in leading the churches he started. The Israelites sought the Lord through fasting when they had been defeated in battle by the tribe of Benjamin. They were asking for guidance on what they should do and how to proceed (Judges 20:26-28).

For Intensity in Prayer

David fasted and prayed for the child that he fathered with Bathsheba. David knew he had sinned, but his fast was not to restore fellowship with God. Apparently restoration was already taken care of. His prayer in 2 Samuel 12 was for the life of the child. Though God did not grant his request, David was satisfied and content after his season of prayer and fasting. He had moved past the point of blaming God to a place of trusting God for the outcome.

Ezra prayed for God’s protection over his countrymen as they journeyed back to Jerusalem. He could have entreated the king for soldiers and cavalrymen, but he had already proclaimed that God would care for them. Now he was asking God to show Himself strong on behalf of the Israelites and to help raise a good testimony before the enemy (Ezra 8:21-23).

As a Sign of Mourning

Nehemiah heard about the destruction of Jerusalem and was moved to fast and weep for his beloved city. This fasting was because of grief over the sin of his people before the Lord. He knew that God was punishing Israel for their sins. Nehemiah mourned and confessed before the Lord. Sin had caused a pain that prayer alone could not express. Fasting was a natural result of his grief:

And it came to pass, when I heard these words, that I sat down and wept, and mourned certain days, and fasted, and prayed before the God of heaven, And said, I beseech thee, O Lord God of heaven, the great and terrible God, that keepeth covenant and mercy for them that love him and observe his commandments: Let thine ear now be attentive, and thine eyes open, that thou mayest hear the prayer of thy servant, which I pray before thee now, day and night, for the children of Israel thy servants, and confess the sins of the children of Israel, which we have sinned against thee: both I and my father’s house have sinned. (Nehemiah 1:4-6)

To Show Humility in the Presence of God

The man after God’s own heart, King David, said that he fasted for the purpose of humbling himself before God (Psalm 35:13). He certainly seems to be the person who could have walked into the throne room of God and made his request boldly as we are invited to do in Hebrews 4:16. There is a difference between boldness and arrogance. David knew how to humble himself in prayer through fasting.

For Worship

"... fasting without the right attitude does not touch the heart of God."

“… fasting without the right attitude does not touch the heart of God.”

Along with humility before God, fasting can be a way to worship God. David said in Psalm 51 that God is more interested in a humble and contrite heart than He is in fasting and sacrifices. This is not saying that we don’t need to fast; rather, it is saying that fasting without the right attitude does not touch the heart of God.

For Spiritual Strength

While Jesus faced the temptation of Satan, He fasted for 40 days. There is a principle of spiritual strength that is demonstrated in fasting in the life of Christ (Luke 4:1-11).

Mark 9:29 shows that the disciples needed a power from God that comes only through fasting. Matthew 17:20 and 21 say that fasting and prayer coupled with faith in God can work spiritual miracles.

Why Do You Fast?

Fasting for biblical purposes should draw us closer to God. It should help us break away from the desire to satisfy our own lusts and materialism.

What is the reason you are seeking to fast? I am not looking for details of your current spiritual needs, but I would be interested in knowing what your motivation for fasting is. Would it be to worship God? To have the spiritual strength needed to go through a trial? Are you seeking God’s guidance in a decision? Or maybe you are fasting for an equally legitimate and God-honoring reason that I have not mentioned. Share with us in the comments below your reason for fasting.

Here is our collection of other advice and tips for the Christian, take a look:

Advice & Tips for the Christian

Resource – The Holy Bible, King James Version



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{ 54 comments… read them below or add one }

myleda June 4, 2016 at 11:15 pm

I want to fast to help my son heal and gain a connection to God, release me from a food addition.

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Esther June 16, 2016 at 1:35 pm

I am fasting for a satanist I met online to turn to God.

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jerry sarnowski June 17, 2016 at 12:06 pm

I am fasting for the healing of someone very dear to me and I am also fasting for Gods guidance and wisdom on this situation

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KEBITSAMANG LETEANE July 6, 2016 at 8:49 am

I am fasting for a house..I need a house for me and my children, the house I have been renting is not available anymore as my landlord has passed away and the family is fighting over the house, I need a home for me and my children

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Christian July 8, 2016 at 5:20 pm

i am fasting to get closer to god and to recieve the baptism of the holy spirit. also im having some pains in my body and im asking god to heal me.

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Rebecca July 18, 2016 at 4:31 am

Yes I am trying to fast because I need help quitting drugs and also in helping me in a tough decision and also to feel the Holy Spirit of God. Also to heal me in my depression and to be able to help in gods mission to help others get to know God as well.

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April July 21, 2016 at 5:10 am

I am fasting because I want god to know, I believe he can move mountains. I am going to be going through some court stuff soon for my son and I want god to know I trust him. I want god to show me the way and light and to guide me.

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Shanalle July 21, 2016 at 10:05 am

I am beginning a fast today July 21, 2016, because I am losing my passion for God. I want my passion restored.

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Juma July 26, 2016 at 5:57 am

I like such because i have the experience and the testimonies of how God showed and is till doing for me through fasting with sincere spirit through esus Christ Who has poured his blood for us once for all so He is everything for us.

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Roberta Lopez August 1, 2016 at 7:13 am

I am fasting because my daughter has caused so much heartache to the family. I found out that she was pregnant with her second child but had a miscarriage. She blames the family for her miscarriage and decided to not have anything to do with us. We haven’t heard from her or seen her since she ran off with her mentally abusive and controlling boyfriend. At this point, we’re helpless and trusting God that he’ll bring out daughter back home and help her get back in the right path, and that is God.

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Greg August 2, 2016 at 8:33 am

I’m fasting today, for more of a connection with Christ. For brake through for another brother in Christ. For a spiritual fire to be set on me. For a super natural blessing for my business. For perfect health over my family. For this country and it’s leadership, and all these things for friends and family as well. Amen.

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Joseph Mureithi August 2, 2016 at 10:08 pm

I’m fasting this week to draw closer to God and live the life of a true Christian. I’m fasting to seek His guidance on my life at the moment: to break the cycle of debt; to bring a covering on my children’s growth and development; to build a new home for family; to remind myself I am who I am and where I am today because of His love, mercy and grace. Amen

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Joel Nelson August 4, 2016 at 5:33 pm

I am currently fasting as I pray for strength in obeying the voice of God and committing to the things He has called me to.

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A.M. August 10, 2016 at 3:29 pm

Yesterday, for the first time, I began a 3-day fast. I had the honor and privilege of taking a young, homeless, drug addict I met on the street 3 months ago to rehab yesterday. I am fasting and praying for his complete deliverance from all addictions, for his emotional healing, for his relationship with Christ and for the right, post-rehab, long-term living situation for him.

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paul August 15, 2016 at 8:30 am

fasting for increasing of spiritual strength especially performing miracles and healing……Gods way in my ministry

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Jack Wellman August 15, 2016 at 8:52 am

Thank you Paul. Why not pray for lost souls to be saved to eternal life. Healing and miracles are no match for eternal life. That’s God’s way in ministry (Matt 28:19-20), not miracles and healing.

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Nadine Wilkinson August 19, 2016 at 8:17 pm

Yes it’s very important that people get saved and find Jesus Christ.It can happen through diffrents ways like mission telling others what jesus did for us.But also through living how christ showed us they will see the light of christ and through Miracles and healing .
It’s all important!
The word of God leads us to all this things.

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Tee August 20, 2016 at 8:49 am

Paul, seek the Father for it all. Healing and miracles are indeed God’s way in ministry! Keep seeking the Father, because healing comes along with salvation. As for miracles, the scripture does say, that signs and wonders will follow them that believe. So go forth Paul, stay humble and let the Father use you for His glory. Amen!!!

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Nthuseni August 23, 2016 at 8:03 am

I am fasting as a sort of worshiping God.

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Melissa September 1, 2016 at 9:47 pm

I am fasting for God’s provision in my family; for many different situations going on at the same time. I want to worship God and grow closer to Him during this fast. I have found day 3 and 7 significant when I fast; breakthroughs seem to come on those days.

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Sawacchi September 19, 2016 at 6:22 am

you said that fasting is not for relationship with other. Is it right a right motivation if I wanna fast for my friend? She’s in a very horrible trouble now. It’s too painful for me to see her like that. Is it ok to fast so God will help her get through all the situation she is facing right now? Thankyouu

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Jack Wellman September 19, 2016 at 9:16 am

Hello Sawacchi. What a compassionate and caring thing to do. Great reason to fast.

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Beatrice October 3, 2016 at 2:33 am

Beatrice,am fasting to pray for my bosses so that God would creat in them a clean heart en that they will know that God is the only one to be worshipped.

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Carol October 6, 2016 at 2:06 pm

Take me to spin with the Lord to draw closer to him be set free from the bondage as I feel is preoccupied in the Lord to get out of myself and more into the Lord he is my source and I want to draw from now I don’t like the person I am is the only one that can set me free

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Derek Daniel October 7, 2016 at 1:33 am

I am fastingfor allthepeaple who are fasting that they will see there answers

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robertson October 10, 2016 at 8:39 pm

I’m fasting to find out the will of God for my marriage, and my finacial situation, and healing in my body. I’m humbling my self to the will of God. In spite my desires I trust that he will guide me to his will. Rather for my marriage are another person I’ve falling more in love with. I know it was wrong to fall in love, but it’s my first love and if it’s and illusion only God can deliver me.

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Dorothy Rupere October 20, 2016 at 4:24 am

Iam fasting for Gods guidance in an exam l will be writing nextweek and for God to restore my first love for him and for protection of my family. Am on a 3day fast, today being day 2. I fought this page encouraging, thank you.

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GN October 23, 2016 at 7:18 pm

I am fasting because I am in need of God’s guidance, wisdom, and freedom from doubt, resentment, fear, health, loneliness, family, and financial help.

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Melissa October 29, 2016 at 10:32 am

I am fasting along with my church plant who is going through attacks bc we want to reach the outcasts in our community for Christ. We are praying for strength and endurance in spite of circumstances as well as unity and praying for those in need.

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Angel Gaillard November 1, 2016 at 10:07 am

I am fasting to get much closer to God for my family, a financial breakthrough and to gain strength and courage to continue my education and obtain a college degree. NO SOCIAL MEDIA for 60 days

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Alexander George November 13, 2016 at 5:29 am

I want to fast,so that one day my parents will be saved,and will taste the eternal life in Jesus Christ,just as I had!

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Peter November 15, 2016 at 7:14 pm

I am fasting for my financial situation. I’m asking God to bless my business. Reading His Word, praying and fasting from food, social media, tv and basically any form of entertainment.

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Nelda Mason November 28, 2016 at 9:32 am

I am learning about the necessity of fasting to be strengthened and motivated to do a 2q day fast to hear from God clearly so that I can do what God has called and assigned me to do authentically and acurately.

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renju December 2, 2016 at 6:37 am

I am fasting as I need to get my lover back as I we broke without any reason.

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James December 11, 2016 at 7:54 am

I am scared to fast. If I miss a meal I begin to feel very bad. I feel sick and feel like I am going to pass out. I want to fast for my daughter. I want her to find salvation. I just started to think about fasting and I am praying about it. I would like to request prayers for me to figure this out and to help me understand God’s will.

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Jack Wellman December 11, 2016 at 4:21 pm

Hello James. I was like you and worried that I can even fast at all…but, here’s what I did. I started by fasting for one meal. That’s it! I drank water though. The next time I fasted, I skipped two meals but still drank water. You can fast and still drink water. It’s okay. Later you will find it easier to fast when you work your way up to fasting very slowly….like half a day…then 2 meals a day….and in time, a whole day. There is no time limit to tell us how long we must fast in the Bible. I hope I have helped you James. May God richly bless you. The sick feeling in your stomach will pass….and believe me, it won’t kill you. If you’re a diabetic, consult your doctor first.

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Bethany December 18, 2016 at 10:03 am

I’m wanting to fast for Spiritual strength and wanting to be closer to the Father

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carol December 18, 2016 at 11:38 am

Im fasting to invite God into a situation where I need guidance to humble myself .. my son recently went to jail he is addicted to drugs and nicotine I want to boldly go before God and ask him to lift his addiction so his detox is easy plus the decisions I’m making for him would be without worry

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Erne December 19, 2016 at 9:48 pm

I have just started my fast to reveal the potential that God has given me and put them in God’s work. I am surrounded with things which can earn me money and yet I am in deep debts. My children are going to college next year and yet I have no school fees. I trust that God will hear my plea.

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Ana December 23, 2016 at 11:10 pm

I want to begin a fast so I can draw closer to God spirituality and understand more about him.I want him to be first in my life, before anything. Especially food and tech toys. I also, want to be released permanently from an addiction.

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Alexia Davis December 31, 2016 at 9:34 pm

I am fasting to help heal my daughter and bring me closer to God and reconnect me to him .

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Kris January 8, 2017 at 9:09 pm

I’m fasting ,with the exception of water, to give the Lord my full attention so I can express gratitude and to receive direction for my life, as many doors of employment are slammed shut, not sure of my role in life. I am also fasting for my son who has stage 4 colon cancer with mets to the liver, for his healing to give the Glory to the Lord and to draw family members to Jesus, and to improve my own relationship with Him.

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Richard January 10, 2017 at 8:28 pm

My church is going thru a 21 days of prayer and fasting. I have not eaten anything for 2 days and to be honest, I’m concerned that it’s all in vein. I pray and read my bible daily. But i have my doubts about fasting. Interesting thing is, I’m hungry but I just won’t allow myself to eat. I guess I’m confused. I love God with all my heart and I want to be as close to him as possible. We also need help from him with our finances. But I’m not sure when I should eat again

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Siphesihle February 9, 2017 at 6:49 am

I am fasting and declaring that God reveals to me the abundant treasures that He has for me. I have prayed asking and asking. Now I am on this journey of fasting and I am no longer asking, this time I am just receiving my blessings… I’m dry fasting with no food or water for today, I’ll do it 3 times a week. I know that my prayers, worship sessions will NOT go in vain. Im charging my faith because I believe through this God is going to guide me… I’m tired of figuring things out myself. He is my Father, he must help me sort out my life… The more I learn about His love for me and the blessings that seem hidden through my problems is the more I want to seek Him and know Him first and get to blessings. I am grateful for this journey

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Gail Horton February 18, 2017 at 2:06 pm

I am going to fast for guidance and I want to get closer to God. For wisdom and understanding. And for God to help me in a matter to be wise and not blabbermouthy.

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Jack Wellman February 18, 2017 at 6:00 pm

Great reason to fast Gail. Love it. Thank you.

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Anthea Triegaardt February 23, 2017 at 7:30 am

Is it wrong to fast and ask or expect something from God in return?

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Jack Wellman February 23, 2017 at 9:29 am

Hello Anthea. No, it’s not wrong to fast and ask God for something in return, but that’s not why we fast. We fast to undo the bonds of addictions or to draw closer to God, but we can’t fast to make God do something. God doesn’t conform His will to ours, even by fasting, but we are to conform ourselves to His will. Great question my friend. Many do say they fast so that God will do this or that.

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Jack Wellman February 23, 2017 at 9:31 am

Hello Anthea. No, it’s not wrong to fast to ask God for something, but not “in return” because God cannot be made to do something by our fasting. We fast to break addictions, break free of sinning, and to draw closer to God, so you ask a great question, but we cant’ fast just to make God do something “in return.” Thank you for your good question.

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Lawrence Fosu March 4, 2017 at 11:18 pm

Would fasting help me breakthrough in my education?

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Jack Wellman March 5, 2017 at 7:59 am

Fasting is intended to draw closer to God and perhaps it is good to fast and pray about this but fasting doesn’t change God’s mind as much as it changes us to seek His will over our own.

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mercy March 19, 2017 at 6:04 pm

I am fasting for revival of my relationship with God.I feel so deep in sin that even when I pray I feel like am just reciting a poem.I cant feel his presence even as i worship or pray.I just want the intimate relationship we had with my heavenly daddy.
Also is it ok to fast so you can start talking in tongues

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Jack Wellman March 19, 2017 at 6:17 pm

Hello Mercy. Fasting is not intended to make us speak in tongues better but in seeing our own sinfulness and total dependence upon God. Isaiah the Prophet writes about fasting as something we can use to help us break certain bonds, perhaps meaning strongholds in our life that are sin. We all have them. To be able to speak in tongues is not a biblical reason for fasting.

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Jack Wellman March 19, 2017 at 7:30 pm

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