God’s Purposes for Fasting

Nehemiah 1

“Why should I fast?” It’s a question many Christians ask, and one the Bible answers. In Scripture, fasting is often associated with seeking God for a specific purpose. Daniel fasted in order to plead for Israel’s release from Babylonian captivity, which God had promised (Dan9:1-3). Nehemiah fasted for a similar reason when he heard of the desperate state of the Jews who had returned to the land after captivity (Neh1:4). 

When we look closer at these two fasts, we notice that both men identified and confessed their nation’s sins. And that is often what happens during this spiritual discipline. We may be seeking God for a certain reason, but in the process, we begin to see ourselves from His perspective and become acutely aware of ungodly thought patterns, attitudes, habits, and misplaced priorities.

The Lord sometimes uses fasting to do “housecleaning” in His children’s lives, and that is a good thing. Sin can hinder our prayers, stunt our spiritual growth, and keep us from a deeper understanding of scriptural truths. As we eliminate distractions during our fast, God is able to show us what needs to be cleaned up so we can become more like Christ.

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