Bible Studies

What is the Purpose of Fasting?

by Anonymous

Not surprisingly, fasting is one of those Biblical topics that no one really knows that much about. This article, of course, is not intended to have all the answers, but just to get us all started in studying this very important subject.

First of all, most of us are aware of the only commanded Fast day, known as the Day of Atonement. Many of us have been keeping this High Holy Day for many years. Yet, the Bible mentions that believers in Yahshua would be fasting at other times, too.

In many cases, fasting was done during times of national distress and deep grief. We see numerous examples of this in Scripture.

In 2 Chronicles 20:3, we read the following, “Jehoshaphat was alarmed by this news and sought Yahweh for guidance. He also gave orders that everyone throughout Judah should observe a fast.” (NLT) So we see that seeking guidance from Yahweh is a good reason to fast. It is very true that fasting does make us focus on Yahweh.

In times of crisis, it is normal to fast as in 2 Samuel 1:2. It is natural to lose one’s appetite during times of extreme trouble.

Please be aware, however, that certain individuals, due to extreme health conditions, may not be able to safely do a 24 hour fast. Keep also in mind that the importance of fasting is not the act or ritual but our motives before Yahweh. Read Isaiah 58: 3-5 (NLT), which says, “We have fasted before you! They say. Why aren’t you impressed? We have done much penance and you have not noticed!” Then, of course, Yahweh tells them why: they were fasting in a wrong attitude! When we fast, we must remember that our only objective is to draw close to Yahweh. It is not to selfishly try to manipulate Him into giving us what we want. Fasting is between us and Yahweh alone. Make your next fast meaningful by praying first to be in the right attitude.