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‘Fasting and the many questions that assailed my mind’

by Church Times

By Oluwatise Osinaike

Out of curiosity, I try to find the reason behind everything we do in the Body of Christ. I just don’t want to do things because every other person is doing it. I want to know why.

This may not be entirely right as there are some things that one may not get a 100% answer to. But I try as much as I can to get the best reason behind every spiritual rite and practice, especially in Church.

Why fast?

Surprisingly, this attitude has helped me to live right and do things with convictions. I have come to realise that it is always good to know the why and how because that is the only time it is certain one will benefit from every action or practice.

That attitude made me question the reason behind fasting especially when it has become a yearly ritual in so many Churches. Some people fast regularly irrespective of whether it is commanded in their church or not.

Over time, I began to ask and probe into the reason why we fast in this kingdom. I have read the New Testament time and time again and there was never a place Jesus instructed His disciples to fast. The only instance where he mentioned fasting was when they could not cast the dumb spirit out and he said such won’t go without fasting and prayers. Some translations of the Bible do not even have fasting, it only reads some things won’t go without prayers.

Apart from that there is no other instance where Jesus talked about fasting to his disciples. But he told them severally to pray. He told Peter James and John to watch and pray but as regards fasting, He didn’t. But he gave instructions about fasting when he said we should wash our face when we fast.

There was even a time when the disciples of John came to meet Jesus and asked Him the reasons why His disciples were not fasting. Jesus’s reply is amazing. He said it would come to a time when they would fast but that the guests of the bridegroom can’t fast as long as the bridegroom is still with them.

Indeed, by the time Jesus was caught up, the disciples fasted. From the epistles and the Acts of Apostles, we see instances where the apostles and disciples of Jesus fasted. We know Jesus fasted for 40 days, and Moses did the same. The people who have also walked this faith journey and have achieved great results also fasted.

Not against fasting

So, it follows that we should also fast if we want to get outstanding results in our walk with God. This sounds plausible. But it still does not answer the question of why we fast. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not against fasting, as a matter of fact, I also joined in the 50-day fasting of Redeemed Christian Church of God.

But during this period, I had to take time to reflect on the reason behind the supposed punishment of the flesh. Some people fast just to fulfill all righteousness. There were days I didn’t even have the strength to do anything and all I was waiting for was the time to break. There were days I’d be so energized and fired up in the place of prayer.

Yet, there were also days I’d just do 5-10 minutes of prayer after the time of the fasting lapsed and I would be ready to eat. The time of breaking my fast oscillated between 12 and 6 pm depending on how I am led.

The questions

It was in one of those days that these questions began to run through my mind. Does fasting make God answer my prayer faster? Why should I deny myself food just to get God’s attention? Why will a loving God make His child fast just to have time with him?
Some people believe we fast so we can spend more quality time and fellowship with God. That makes some sense. But the question again is, can’t I eat and still spend quality time with God?

I reflected on the Old Testament era. Fasting was a common practice among the Jews when they were in dire situations. But I thought again it was so because the whole ceremony of cooking perhaps took a lot of their time. There wasn’t anything like Gas then and all they ate were cultivated and passed through some process.

I guess the whole process of killing the cow, harvesting tomatoes, plucking leaves, and the rest diverted most of their attention from God to food. So, they needed to stay away from food so they could give full attention to God.

But in the modern day, we have fast food. Why should 10 minutes of 24 hours in a day used in buying food or preparing food determine whether I would have a quality relationship with God?


Amid my thoughts, the Holy Spirit began to speak to me. He reminded me of 1 Cor 10v23 that all things are lawful for me but not all things are beneficial.  He also reminded me of 1 Cor. 6v12-13: I am free to do anything I want but some things are not good for me. I am free to do anything but I will not be a slave to anything. Food is meant for the stomach and the stomach for food and God will destroy both one and the other.

The verse that registered more was: I am free to do anything but I will not be a slave to anything. I then began to realise that fasting is a way of self-control. It has nothing to do with God. It is a training process that helps us to control our appetite and helps us dominate our flesh.

The Holy Spirit also dropped Gal 5v16 in my heart which says, walk in the spirit and you will not fulfil the lust of the flesh. I began to see that the spirit and the body are at variance. And it is good to always put the body in subjection and check its excesses.

Fasting does not help God in any way. But it helps us in all ways in that it makes us to be alert spiritually. We are the receiver; God is the giver. There could be electricity but if the gadgets to receive the light are not configured properly, they may not get the electricity. The fault is not with the electricity provider but the receiver.

So is it with God. I had also wondered why Jesus who is the saviour of the world still had to fast for 40 days. For Jesus staying without food was not the issue, the main thing was that he was consumed in the presence of God and food was not even an option to him. The same thing with Moses who was with God for 40 days. He was so into God’s presence that his biological system was suspended and food wasn’t also an option for him.

The issue is not the fasting, but what we do when we claim to be fasting. It is staying in God’s presence that makes the difference. Think of how blessed you are when you read the word of God for 30 minutes when you do your normal devotion. Now, compare the blessings you would receive when you spend hours on the same word of God.

Sometimes we attribute the secret of miracles, signs, and wonders that happen in the church to corporate fasting. But the truth is that it was not the fasting (lack of food) that birthed those miracles but the activities we carried out during the fasting.

Now you would ask the same question I asked earlier why can’t I eat my food and still enjoy these spiritual activities? I like the way someone put it. He said food, especially when it is heavy weighs you down and does not allow your spirit to be active. You may sleep off while praying and you might not be able to spend adequate time in prayer because of one stomach disturbance or the other.

So, fasting keeps us light and keeps us alive spiritually. Fasting holds a lot of other benefits. Fasting is also advised medically. To support weight loss, blood sugar management, and many more.

Spiritually, Fasting makes us more sensitive to the spirit. It allows us to pick up spiritual signals in good time. It also quickens one’s spiritual growth. It allows one to resist temptation and out of many others it puts the flesh under the authority of the spirit.

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Adedotun Omotayo March 13, 2024 - 9:02 am

This message has greatly blessed me, and just like in the times of old where the process of cooking takes their time and attention from God; phone or let me say social media and other menial activities is a major distraction in today’s world. In addition, fasting is not limited to food alone; for some, we might need to fast other things that compete with the place of God in our lives.

Adedotun Omotayo March 13, 2024 - 9:20 am

This message really blessed me and as you have rightly said, we are not doing God a favor by fasting as this has a lot of benefit to us both physically and spiritually. Just like in the days of old where the process of cooking takes a lot of their time, material things, social media and menial activities seems to be distracting many in today’s world. Fasting is not only restricted to food, as we could fast every other thing that takes the place of God in our lives.


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