When to Fast?

January 26, 2023

When to Fast?

Fasting is something of a ‘hot topic’ today. Mainly because, some in the wider culture have used fasting as a form of weight control. I’m not interested in ‘weighing in’ on whether that is healthy, mainly due to the fact I do not have the credentials to do so. However, the popularity of fasting does provide an opportunity to think about it from a biblical perspective. Scripture speaks frequently of fasting as a spiritual discipline, especially given its connection to prayer (Neh. 1:4).

For example, the men of Jabesh-gilead fasted after they retrieved the bodies of Saul and his sons from the Philistines (1 Chron. 10:12). David repeatedly fasted. He did it after being confronted with his sin and the impending death of his son (2 Sam. 12:16-22). He fasted when malicious witnesses rose up against him (Ps. 35:13).  Daniel, Ezra, and Nehemiah all fasted in the face of national sin (Daniel 9:3, Ezra 9:5, Neh. 9:1). Esther fasted, when doomed appeared certain for her people.

And of course, Jesus fasted (Mat. 4:2). In fact, Christ spoke about fasting on multiple occasions. He called us to refrain from fasting in an ostentatious way, but to do it humbly, and not for show (Mat. 6:16-18). We see also that fasting carried over into the early church. Twice, the book of Acts speaks about fasting (Acts 13:2-3, 14:23). But an important question to consider is, when do we fast. Here is a helpful article outlining seven occasions for fasting, with some qualifying comments about this spiritual discipline. May it stir us to fast with faith in Christ and faithfulness to God.

 —Pastor Clif