3 Things Fasting Does
Fasting declares three realities.
- Fasting says to God, “I need you” (2 Samuel 12:16-23). Can we pray without fasting? Of course, but we pray in the midst of need when we fast and pray. Our bodies are weakened, feeling the effects of lack of nutrition, and we are physically reminded of our need for God that is so significantly greater than our physical need for food. Offered in the midst of fasting, prayer is saturated in utter dependence. Praying and fasting, then, becomes longing for God’s presence more than making requests. More than asking for this or that, we are asking for You.
- Fasting says to our bodies, “You're not most important” (Matthew 4:2-4). No doubt our earthly bodies have real physical needs. Food is one of those needs; God created us that way. Our bodies depend on sustenance to function, but fasting reminds us that one of our most important recurring and voluntary needs - food - is not most important. Our souls need God more than our bodies need food. This position of humility rightly situates our prayers before an infinite and all-wise God. Indeed, he is the sovereign Creator and beneficent Sustainer; we are not most important.
- Fasting says to our circumstances, “I need my heavenly Father more than I need you” (Daniel 9:3ff). Fasting gives us perspective. Our circumstances might be significant; they might even be dire; but our need for God is greater, even more dire. When we pray and fast, we create a context of need from which we cry out to God not primarily for our circumstances but for his presence. And when we look beyond our circumstances to our heavenly Father, then we are most ready to receive from him.
Fasting influences many factors as simple as attitude and as deep as repentance. However, we have considered only three. Fasting reminds us of our need for God; fasting reminds us we're not most important; and fasting creates the most appropriate context for making petition.