Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Would you tell me please how, when, and why should we fast? (Matt 6:16) Jesus says ‘When you fast’ not ‘if you fast’. I’ve been a child of God’s for a long time and so has my husband. Neither of us fast nor do we teach our children to fast. Please give us some guidance.


There is lots of writing and speculation in the Christian world about fasting. So I don’t want to offer you anything more than what Scripture says, and let you decide how to apply that to your own life by praying and asking God.

First, there is no “how, when and why” for New Testament Believers. There is a command for one fast a year for Old Testament saints (Lev. 23:28-32, 16:1-34). Other than that we have examples of people fasting, situations where people fasted and accounts of people fasting… but no specific command.

That leads me to believe it is a matter of liberty and conscience. So we should educate ourselves about what the Bible says about fasting, particularly the New Testament since that is the age we live in. Then we should pray, and ask God how He would have us to respond to this issue of fasting.

Here are a few things:

  • Do not flaunt, brag or display your fasting (Matt 6:16-18)
  • Fasting should be for God’s glory (Matt 6:18)
  • Fasting should bring humility (Ps 35:13)
  • Fasting is imitating Christ (Matt 4:2)
  • Fasting is appropriate when the church is persecuted (Luke 5:33-35)
  • Fasting occurred when ministers of the Gospel were chosen (Acts 13:3; 14:23)
  • Fasting is associated with prayer, confession and mourning (Dan 9:3; 1Sam 7:6; Joel 2:12)

And of course we have numerous examples of Godly people fasting all through the Scripture, so there must be something both Godly and beneficial about it.

God chose NOT to dictate reasons, terms and commands about fasting. This does not make it unimportant, but it does make it a LIBERTY that each Christian is free to work out privately with the Lord.

What are your questions about fasting?