8 Good Reasons to Fast

Don't let the temporary discomfort of abstaining from food keep you from missing out on the spiritual blessings of fasting. Eating as usual can never accomplish what fasting and prayer does! In this devotion I include many Scripture quotes and 8 good reasons to encourage you to learn the art of a spiritual fast. If you are seeking wisdom, healing, or a richer prayer life, consider this important discipline!

I fast every January because I’m a knucklehead (thanks to my Pastor, Steve Coad for the brilliant phraseology) in desperate desire of God’s intervention in my life. 

Seriously, fasting sets the course and tone for the rest of my year—and eating as usual can never accomplish what fasting and prayer does.


  1. Shifts our focus. Distractions abound and fasting is a good opportunity to focus in on God and spend time in prayer. (Remember, fasting without prayer is just a really strict diet.) Fasting at the beginning of each year helps us to “seek first His kingdom” (Matthew 6:33) and places Jesus front and center of all we do. We move forward with fresh, renewed focus.
  2. Recalibrates our hearts. Throughout the year my attitude and heart like to wander off like a misbehaving toddler. Fasting and prayer brings my heart back into proper alignment. This helps me to hear God’s gentle whispers more clearly, perceive His will more accurately, and start the year on course.
  3. Draws us closer to God. James 4:8 says “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.” Fasting is a way of humbling ourselves (see Isaiah 58:5), and God resists the proud. When I miss the foods I’m accustomed to eating, I direct that longing toward the Lord and enjoy the pleasure of His company, instead.
  4. Magnifies the strength of our prayers. God’s power works best in weakness (see 2 Corinthians 12:9), and never is that more true than when we fast and pray. And there are some situations that absolutely require fasting. Read Mark 9:17-29, where Jesus explains that certain types of demons could only be cast out with prayer and fasting. When we want strong, effective prayers, fasting is the answer.
  5. Reveals our God-given destiny. Ecclesiastes 5:3 says a dream comes with much business and painful effort. (Sounds like fasting to me.) Pray about the dreams God has placed in your heart, then watch God move, because when we fast, God reveals our calling. in Acts 13:2, Barnabus and Saul received direction and a divine opportunity.
  6. Brings healing. Isaiah 58 lists many of the conditions and benefits of fasting. Verse 8 gets specific: “Then your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear; then your righteousness will go before you, and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard.” Fasting and prayer gives God the opportunity to bring healing (both physical and mental/emotional).
  7. Gives us wisdom. We need wisdom like never before—for our lives, our families, and our nation, and wisdom comes from God. In the book of Daniel chapters 1 and 2 we see that Daniel had great wisdom—and he regularly fasted. He proclaimed “Blessed by the name of God forever and ever! For wisdom and might are His!” And God shares His wisdom with us like crazy when we fast.
  8. Strengthens our faith. It opens our eyes to spiritual truths, enables us to believe the One who can do all things, and helps us to “set our minds and keep them set on things above" (Colossians 3:2). It is spiritual training that is useful in every way (see 1 Timothy 4:8).

If you haven’t ever fasted, you’re missing out on a spiritual discipline that will bless you far more than the temporary discomfort of abstaining from food. You can fast certain foods (a Daniel fast), all foods (complete fast), or, if for medical reasons you cannot do those fasts, you can still give up caffeine, sugar, desserts, or bread. God will honor that. And we can all live without those goodies. J

(For more on fasting, read my post What I Learned on a 21-Day Daniel Fast.)

Through my books I love to help readers know God, know Scripture, and know how to pray. Click on the images below to learn more about each book.



Hester's Heart said...


This is a great post. I think Christians are uneducated about the benefits of fasting and don't realize the connection to greater intimacy with God. Thank you for sharing these eight points with us. Very good indeed.

God bless you,
ps. I know you would want to know this: #4, last sentence, "prayer" is misspelled. I chuckled when I read, 'payers,' in the context of the sentence. :)

Susan said...

I agree with Hester, Julie. There's not enough good teaching about it, and I can't figure out why. It's such a powerful discipline, especially when you're seeking the Lord's will about something specific.

I'm tweeting this, and later this week will check out your post on the Daniel fast. Good stuff!

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