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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{ 59 comments… read them below or add one }

Clyde July 20, 2017 at 7:51 am

I am fasting to ask God for help in a trial I am going through. I am a NYC Corrections officer and have been for almost 10 years. I was recently placed on modified duty due to allegations made against me. I also helped people out whereas the Dept is saying I went against the rules. I am not perfect and have been a sinner up until this point but life is showing me I can’t make it without God. I am trying to reconnect with my Savior and ask him for his help in this time where my faith will be as strong as ever and I can show God my heart and he can guide me and take me through this storm to victory in his name!!!! Amen!!!!


Jack Wellman July 20, 2017 at 8:19 am

Hello Clyde. please call your pastor and tell him and ask your church to pray for you as we are commanded to do (James 5:14) as we need one another (Heb 10:24-25) and seek to do what Jesus commands us to do (Matt 25:34-39) as we do it to Him (Matt 25:40) or we do nothing for Him (Matt 25:41- and that’s not good (Matt 7:21-23).


Ida L Pinckney August 28, 2017 at 8:32 pm

God bless you Clyde, I am a retired correction officer and know your pain hang n there God will prevail.


James July 20, 2017 at 3:18 pm

I am a NYC corrections officer and I am in the middle of a storm. I have been modified due to allegations made against me and I am fasting to keep my head and eyes towards my savior. Don’t get me wrong I am not perfect and have made many mistakes in my lifetime, even on the job but I have a good heart. However I haven’t been giving God the credit I should’ve been giving him. I have been experiencing fear, anxiety, self doubt, and been second guessing myself and feeling down . But is this God’s way of telling me all a long, look towards me? Is this his way of redirecting my path in life? I see this as a test and I know I must draw closer to him. I was really on a destructive path when I look back!!!! But I thank my savior for rescuing me and opening my eyes!!!!! As I said I am weathering this storm, I have to keep a roof over my family’s heads. Please pray for me… I am fasting to get closer to him and changing my ways!!!! God I thank you for everything you’ve done for me and everything you’re going to do in my future. Amen!!!!!!!


Lea Beckwith October 15, 2017 at 3:31 pm

Dear James, God bless you brother. Please know that if you are aware of your past errors and are sorrowful and have ask repentance, as GOD’s word tells us, the sins are gown once and for all, thrown into the sea of forgetfulness, to be remembered no more! Continue in prayer and fasting and ask him to guide you completely into ” seeking God’s will and the kingdom of God first” when you have done these things all other things you have need off, shall be added unto you! You are HIS child! Remember this and you will and can do each thing He commands. You shall be able to hold your head up in Christ and move on., GOD shall provide your every need dear brother! May you be blessed and in repentance and following Christ in all situatins you have need of. Ask for HIS leadership In any thing of your daily life! May HIS will be done in every life of every follower and believer, according to HIS grace, mercy, tender compassion, and in HIS will not ours dear Father! In your Son’s name Christ Jesus. Amen.


Jack Wellman October 15, 2017 at 4:36 pm

Thank you Lea and I amen your encouraging words to James.


Christy Adams August 3, 2017 at 10:38 pm

I am going to fast ask God to help me with my quick temper. I have always been a very easy going, sweet natured girl, but after five years in a domestic violence relationship, I’ve changed and turned into someone I don’t recognize. I am quick to defend myself to anyone whom I feel is going to hurt me. I don’t like myself when I say bad words that are ugly in God’s eyes. I am trying to understand what fasting is and what it all means, but if it will help me be normal again, and the old me, then I want to try it out.


Jackie August 27, 2017 at 1:29 pm

I’ve been wanting to fast for quite some time. I’m fasting for one day to humble myself before the Lord. I have never had to go hungry, and I know I need to be more grateful for all that I have. I know I have become desensitized to all the suffering that is around the world. I’m hoping my small sacrifice will bring me closer to the Lord and help me to see just how much I have been blessed in my life. I pray for God’s forgiveness for the times when I have been ungrateful. I know that he has blessed me in many ways and I don’t want to ever take that for granted.


Maghanga Mng'ang'u September 20, 2017 at 11:56 pm

How did Jesus fast? Did He go for 40 days without food and drink? Did He avoid solid foods but took water and juice or water only?
What is the best fasting? Can one start small e.g eating only at night and fast during the day or fast he whole day with water and eat in the evening?
Are there specific days one can fast e.g. 1, 3, 7, 9 etc since we are told to avoid numbers 6, 8, 13…..
Thank you and be blessed.


Jack Wellman September 21, 2017 at 8:51 am

WE don’t know how Jesus fasted so I cannot say for sure where the Bible is silent, but it was 40 days and nights. What is the best fast? I would start by fasting from one meal and work your way up. Call your pastor about this, but first make sure you don’t have a medical condition like diabetes or have other complications. I have never heard to avoid certain numbers….that is not from the Bible.


Maghanga Mng'ang'u March 15, 2018 at 12:57 am

Thank you so much for conclusive answer


Young September 27, 2017 at 4:16 am

i hv learnt more about why one should fast..am so blessed right now


Young September 27, 2017 at 4:23 am



David Chipeta October 2, 2017 at 4:10 pm

I have been fasting for a supernatural encounter with God and a breakthrough.


Colleen Reicks October 11, 2017 at 11:05 pm

I want to get closer to God. Be in a more spiritual relationship but am not sure if will be seen as humble enough through God’s eyes. I don’t know how to go about this.


Jack Wellman October 12, 2017 at 8:42 am

Hello Colleen. Let me suggest a biblical answer and that is to please call your pastor and tell him and ask your church to pray for you as we are commanded to do (James 5:14) as we need one another (Heb 10:24-25) and seek to do what Jesus commands us to do (Matt 25:34-39) as we do it to Him (Matt 25:40) or we do nothing for Him (Matt 25:41- and that’s not good (Matt 7:21-23).


Janine March 18, 2018 at 3:34 pm

I recently started my own business and it went very well for a while. Then all of a sudden within one month I lost my two biggest incomes and as it stands now I have no guaranteed income from next mont. I feel Iike God has called me to do something more, but I am so torn between trying to put food on my family’s tables versus trying to find what God wants for my life. I am so lost. I need to find income, but I have a passion to pursue a calling that has no income attached. I have two children I have to raise so I my priority is providing for them. I wish I knew where my next pay check was coming from. Or how I could find the balance between my work and my passion.


Marcia Smith March 21, 2018 at 4:53 pm

I find that fasting in my own is rather difficult; I am at home and I find things to do! I am meditating on Scriptures but not focusing on the abstinence from food and beverage! I sometimes have a fruit and tea( no cream or sugar). I feel that I am not truly fasting, even though I say to God in prayer I am dedicating this Fast to so and so.
If I leave home I am generally not tempted to eat and drink, and can walk past restaurants without a care. So, I ask, should fasting be largely personal, or should Christians meet at church or at a home and engage in fasting; involving Bible Study and praying? I have done that latter and I felt I had achieved more strengthening than when by myself!


Jack Wellman March 21, 2018 at 5:18 pm

Hello Marcia. You asked, “should fasting be largely personal, or should Christians meet at church or at a home and engage in fasting; involving Bible Study and praying?” and I say yes…to both. I believe it is a lost way to get closer to God as you see your total and utter dependence on Him and being reminded of that in our weakness and by our stomach! It is humbling, and God gives grace to the humble, not the proud (James 4:6). I like your ideas Marcia.


Mark Perkins April 1, 2018 at 10:42 am

I am going to fast because I am desperate for God to draw people unto Himself. I am an evangelist and find people expressing interest in Christianity. But they hold back often on committing to following Jesus. Or they often excuse themselves from meeting up with myself or the churches I serve to discover more.


D'Andre April 17, 2018 at 11:02 pm

I am starting my fast because I need to hear from God. I have felt so separated from Him. I pray and I hear nothing. I feel like I lost my connection and that depresses me. I need the line of communication open so I can make better decisions in my life and know what he is telling me to do.


Cassie April 30, 2018 at 4:07 pm

I am fasting for a more intimate relationship with God
For deliverance from my bad eating habits and help with my time management
For guidance on exactly what he whats me to do at this time in my life.
And also for help and a miracle in moving into a home for my family


James May 19, 2018 at 6:55 pm

For me, fasting is a training exercise conducted to instill strength and discipline in my life, not so different from any training exercise an Olympic athlete would use to prepare him/herself for the Olympic games. I get this idea from The Apostle Paul, who urges his apprentice Timothy to train for godliness the same way athletes train for competition, regularly and vigorously, in order to become a high-level “spiritual athlete” in the game of life. So as a boxer hits the heavy bag and a soccer player does sprints and as a gymnast stretches all for the sake of conditioning, so I fast to condition not my body but my spirit. I beat my body into submission for the sole purpose of becoming spiritually stronger, because if I can’t overcome a donut how can I possibly hope to overcome a demon?


Jack Wellman May 19, 2018 at 7:08 pm

Hello James. You nor can I overcome anything, even a donut, unless Christ strengthens us (Phil 4:13) since we can’t do anything without Him. Please ask your church to pray for you too, even if it’s unspoken needs, as we need one another (Heb 10:24-25). Demons can harass us but they cannot make us sin. They can influence us, but we do the sinning, so stay in the Word every day, in prayer daily, and in the body of Christ weekly, which is the church.


Pebbles June 29, 2018 at 8:16 pm

I fast for spiritual strength and also when I need an answer from God regarding certain situations— sometimes we can get to a place where we have to go to Him and only Him.


Carrie Schmidt January 2, 2019 at 5:53 pm

Matthew 17:20 and 21 say nothing about fasting?


Ashley January 14, 2019 at 12:36 pm

I’m fasting for two reasons:
1. I’m fasting to break some strongholds in my life. I have some soul ties to be broken and some bad habits to be eliminated. In alignment with Matthew 17:21, because prayer has not been enough, I’m fasting to tap into the deliverance God has already established for me.
2. I’m fasting for guidance. I can feel that this year will bring great opportunities and I want to make sure that I’m choosing God things, not just good things. My fasting is a humbling in faith that I’ll hear His voice.


Afa January 17, 2019 at 11:53 pm

I am fasting because I have been diagnosed with chronic hepatitis B. I want God to heal me and my family completely from this deadly disease. Please can you help me with some biblical passages to read?


margaret January 26, 2019 at 5:17 am

with God everything is possible commit all yours to the lord,trust in him and He will act .


Tod February 5, 2019 at 11:12 pm

Is it ok to fast on behalf of someone else?


Irene February 17, 2020 at 4:46 pm

this is my question too.


Diane Dixon February 9, 2019 at 10:46 am

I loss my Mother a week ago and I’m morning the loss of a wonderful and loving person. I’m fasting today, the 9th her day of birth and I plan to fast on the 25th, the day she departed her earthyly life. I am hoping that this fast will reconnect me with my relationship with God and give me the stength that I need to move forward in fellowship with my Brothers and Sisters in Christ Jesus


Daniel February 10, 2019 at 9:52 pm


Grace to you in this time of loss..
I am reading a book from John Eckhardt – Fasting for Breakthrough and Deliverance- I find it to be exactly what I need and have wanted in my life for many years. God bless you!


fredrick mccoy March 8, 2019 at 9:42 am

just to let u know its a great way to pray for spiritual breakthrough


Rachelle March 8, 2019 at 3:17 pm

I feel that I need to fast because I have sinned against God and now I have an evil spirit tormenting me. I feel a spirit of bitterness against God and I know that it is my fault for not obeying God like I should. I feel that if I fast and pray that this evil spirit will leave me but it is hard because I have a 3 month old baby to care for. I wish I would have done this before my child was conceived but so many bad things kept happening to me and getting in the way. I find it really hard to focus on what God wants and obey Him with all the distractions in the world. I pray that God gives me strength to complete this. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

*[[Matthew 17:21]] KJV* Howbeit this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting.


Jack Wellman March 8, 2019 at 3:39 pm

I will pray with you Rachelle.


MICHAEL March 22, 2019 at 1:19 pm



Nelish kolo April 16, 2019 at 8:51 am

Can I also pray for 6 hours and above?


Jack Wellman April 16, 2019 at 9:37 am

Hello friend. I believe you can pray as long as you like. I love your dedication.


Robert C Evans May 8, 2019 at 7:38 am

How do I truly know If I have been born again according to the Bible? What does it mean to have an experience with God? Can one be saved an not know it? Why do I feel an emptiness/void in my life, although I am seeking God? Is it possible to know that you know that you have been born again, and have no doubts or fears?


Jack Wellman May 8, 2019 at 10:23 am

Mr. Evans. Please call your pastor and see where you can serve others in the church…some have prison ministries, nursing home ministries, and outreach to the poor. You will know you are His if you do these things (Matt 5:35-36) you are doing them to Jesus (Matt 25:40), or nothing, and that’s bad new (Matt 25:41- )…You can be sure, but the Christian walk is not to be done in isolation. We need one another (Heb 10:24-25).


Rowena Langley May 27, 2020 at 9:17 pm

Romans 10:9 If you confess with your mouth and believe with your heart that Jesus raise from the dead you can be save.
As long as you ask Jesus into your heart you are save. all you got to do is believe that God save you.
start reading the word of God to build up your faith and attend Church regular.


Tom Grubbs May 23, 2019 at 6:52 pm

I have started a 2 day fast as a way to says thank you to God. He have rescued me in a great way recently and I just wanted an acceptable way to thanks him. I haven’t found anywhere in the word if there is such a thing as a thank you fast but there it is. What do you think?


Jack Wellman May 23, 2019 at 7:55 pm

Hello Mr. Grubbs. Yes sir, that’s a new one to me. Great use of fasting thought. What a pleasing thing this will be to God. Thank you for your comment.


Richard Harrison June 9, 2019 at 9:26 pm

I’m fasting to worship God for helping through some.tough times I’m still struggling but not.as bad i know God it’s finished with me yet. I’m just barely learning these things never been to church or read the bible just started church and reading the bible last year So in am trying to grow closer to God spiritually


Nuhu Yusuf June 11, 2019 at 1:52 pm

Hello Sir.
I would like you to seriously pray for me for God to rescue me from the sin of masturbation. I tried to leave it, but before I know, I used to find myself indulging into it again. That this sin of masturbation has totally disconnects my relationship with God (I don’t feel the presence of God in my life anymore, I don’t have a good sense of reasoning, I don’t have the courage to pray and to read the word of God as I used to, I am living a purposeless and meaningless life as I am feeling within me…). Please pray for me.
That’s the reason why I’ve made up my mind to fast and pray so that the Lord will helps me to live a pure, purposeful, meaningful and rationale life! I want to fast and pray so that the Lord will renew my mind and grants me wisdom and understanding regarding His word and the wisdom to read and understand what my lectures are teaching us because I am a student.
May the Lord bless you sir, thank you!


Jack Wellman June 11, 2019 at 2:05 pm

Hello my friend, and yes, I will be glad to pray. I remember how hard college was. I am so happy you care about pleasing God and I see that is a big postive in your life. God bless you richly….praying….


Clarence Weesaye August 10, 2019 at 5:52 pm

I am fasting now a day because am being faced with too many problems. I just can’t find my way out in life, the only solution in my mind is to seek God.


Jack Wellman August 10, 2019 at 5:59 pm

I will pray for you sir.


william September 21, 2019 at 3:45 am

Is there not any biblical health reasons to fast?


Jason January 24, 2020 at 3:24 am

For direction and prayer.


Godman musa February 4, 2020 at 2:34 am

I’m into fasting because am having spiritual challenges from my family evil altar, I want to meet up in life to destroy and break myself out from that evil altar and gain my freedom in this year 2020


Vera Wilson February 10, 2020 at 7:18 pm

I believe I am being prompted to fast, has not been a part of spiritual discipline in my life. I am choosing to fast to seek a closer walk with Him


Irene February 17, 2020 at 4:48 pm

Can I fast for my son or just anyone else?


Jack Wellman February 17, 2020 at 4:51 pm

I see no reason why not. It’s happend in the Bible when others have fasted for others.


irene February 17, 2020 at 4:57 pm

Thank you.


ANNALINE May 4, 2020 at 4:29 pm

Im fasting as I recently found out my fiance is cheating..i asked God if he was my husband that he has chosen for me and that night I had a revelation of my fiance asking me to pray for him…im not sure of the meaning but need to know from God as we are not married yet if I should stay or walk away…i need Gods intervention am so confused.


Jack Wellman May 4, 2020 at 4:32 pm

Hello friend. Time will tell if this man is right for you. God has already chosen the one meant for you, but if this man is cheating, it does not sound like a man God would bring to you as a husband. I would walk away. I will pray for God to strengthen you thru this.


Celline Hildah Atieno November 20, 2020 at 12:51 am

Am fasting to carry the burden of our home my brother is drinking heavily until his wife decide to leave him. also I want God to help me be able to teach others the word of God


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