Posts Tagged ‘Donald S. Whitney’


Why Should We Fast?

February 28, 2012

While Jesus never commands that we fast and fasting is never commanded in the New Testament, Jesus assumes that those who truly follow God will on occasion forsake food to communicate their reliance upon Him.  Following His example, and baring witness that “man does not live by bread alone.”  This was the practice in NT Judaism, and the early church continued His instruction on fasting.  We fast not to lose weight, not to get others attention, not to earn favor with God, and not merely because others fast.  We fast individually order to privately communicate to God that we are setting our entire focus on Him, and that we are seeking Him above our own physical needs and relying on Him to supply our needs during the fast.  We fast corporately  to express the same to God as a group, that we as a church, a Sunday school class, a youth group, etc. are seeking God above our physical needs and relying on Him to sustain us during the time of our fast.  The end should always be greater than the means, that God will receive glory through our weakness and reliance upon Him.  That we might receive a vision of Him high and lifted up above our earthy needs, capable of sustaining us in lean times and times of plenty.

Ten reasons for why one should fast:[1]

A.  To strengthen prayer (Ezra 8:23; Neh. 1:4; Dan. 9:3; Joel 2:12-17; Acts 13:3)

B.  To seek God’s guidance (Judges 20:26-28; Acts 14:23)

C.  To express grief (Judges 20:26; 1 Sam. 31:11-13; 2 Sam. 1:11-12)

D.  To seek from God deliverance or protection (2 Chr. 20:34; Ezra 8:21-23; Esther 4:6; Ps.109:21-26)

E.  To express repentance and the return to God (1 Sam. 7:6; Joel 2:12; Jonah 3:5-8)

F.  To humble oneself before God (1 Kings 21:27-29; Ps, 35:13)

G.  To express concern for the work of God (Neh. 1:3-11; Isa, 58:6-7; Dan, 9:3) Historically Christians       have fasted as they have sought the revival of the Church.

H.  To minister to the needs of others (Isa. 58:6-7)

I.  To overcome temptation and dedicate yourself to God (Mt. 4:1-11)

J.  To express love and worship to God (Lk. 2:37)


Read How Fasting informs our Past, Present and Future… Here.

[1] Adapted from Chapter 9 in Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life (Nav-Press) by Donald S. Whitney, 1991.