The purpose of fasting is to spend time before God and get to know God more. Jesus Himself fasted forty days and forty nights in preparation for His ministry on earth. He set an example for His disciples. He also presented God to us in His life on earth. Fasting and praying are an integral part of Christian life.
Matthew 4:2 And when He (Jesus) had fasted forty days and forty nights, afterward He was hungry.
Jesus taught on fasting:
Do not deliberate show it externally; fasting is not for show to man; fasting is not for scoring points with God (no boasting please!)
Matthew 6:16-18 [ Fasting to Be Seen Only by God ] “Moreover, when you fast, do not be like the hypocrites, with a sad countenance. For they disfigure their faces that they may appear to men to be fasting. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. But you, when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, so that you do not appear to men to be fasting, but to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly. (wrong fasting is just for show to other men, not for God)
Luke 18:12 I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I possess.’ (pride and boasting are detestable to God)
There is an appointed time and reason for fasting:
Fasting is for the Lord first
Mark 2:18-20 [ Jesus Is Questioned About Fasting ] The disciples of John and of the Pharisees were fasting. Then they came and said to Him, “Why do the disciples of John and of the Pharisees fast, but Your disciples do not fast?”And Jesus said to them, “Can the friends of the bridegroom fast while the bridegroom is with them? As long as they have the bridegroom with them they cannot fast. But the days will come when the bridegroom will be taken away from them, and then they will fast in those days.
Luke 2:37 and this woman was a widow of about eighty-four years, who did not depart from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day.
Fasting breaks bondages and yokes and delivers a person from the control of Satan
Matthew 17:21 However, this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting.” (In this case, Jesus referred to His disciples who want to heal and deliver others)
Fasting and praying are often linked and done together, leading to spiritual understanding and actions according to God’s will
Acts 10:30 So Cornelius said, “Four days ago I was fasting until this hour; and at the ninth hour I prayed in my house, and behold, a man stood before me in bright clothing,
Acts 13:2 As they ministered to the Lord and fasted, the Holy Spirit said, “Now separate to Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.”
Acts 13:3 Then, having fasted and prayed, and laid hands on them, they sent them away.
Acts 14:23 So when they had appointed elders in every church, and prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord in whom they had believed.
1 Corinthians 7:5 Do not deprive one another except with consent for a time, that you may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again so that Satan does not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.
Fasting can be done during crisis, when supernatural intervention from God is needed
Acts 27:9 [ Paul’s Warning Ignored ] Now when much time had been spent, and sailing was now dangerous because the Fast was already over, Paul advised them,
Fasting is part and parcel of an apostle’s life
2 Corinthians 6:5 in stripes, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labors, in sleeplessness, in fastings;
2 Corinthians 11:27 in weariness and toil, in sleeplessness often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness—