Why We Fast

_”Say to all the people of the land, and to the priests: ‘When you fasted and mourned in the fifth and seventh months during those seventy years, did you really fast for Me – for Me?_ Zechariah 7:5

That is a good question. Why should anyone decide to go without food for about twenty-four hours or more at a time? What should be our motives for fasting?

Obviously, the purpose for fasting is not to impress or compete with anyone. Although fasting requires some amount of spiritual and mental discipline, it must not be seen as a test of endurance. Neither is it a way of finding out the most ‘spiritual’ person amongst us. The Pharisees of Jesus’ day fasted on the Market day of Mondays and Thursdays and used the occasion to go to town looking frail and weak to impress the public with their holiness. Clearly, that is not the right approach. When you fast, it is best not to go out of your way to broadcast it to everyone.

Although, there are some health benefits to fasting, but these shouldn’t be our primary motivation. Sometimes people say, “I’ll fast, and I will get closer to God, and maybe I’ll lose some weight in the process.” Maybe so, but experience shows that those who lose weight during a fast tend to put it back on rather quickly after their fast.

So what should be our primary motive for fasting? We fast simply to connect with God on a deeper level. When we fast we abase the flesh and uplift the spirit. This heightens our spiritual perception and our ability to access the power of God by faith. Fasting is also a sign of humility and repentance before God. When we fast we humble ourselves before God to receive His mercy and favour in prayer.
As we fast and pray this month, may we experience the incomparable power of God.

Draw me deeper into Your presence, O Lord.
Scriptural Reading: Zechariah 7:1-13