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Bible Questions with Michael Pearl
Episode 032: Would you please explain biblical fasting? Why, when and how should a Christian fast?

By Michael Pearl

Episode Transcription:

Michael Pearl:  All right here we are back in this elaborate studio out here in the warehouse to answer your Bible questions. Now if you could actually see, about four feet from me is a big bin of corn I picked during the fall that we're grinding to make chicken feed and corn meal out of it. Over there's a bunch of paint buckets and stuff. I know this looks like Fox News or something setup here, but actually this is just us out in the corner of a warehouse. So we're here to answer your Bible questions and we've got Jared sitting there behind the little camera. It's kind of chilly today, so he's shivering but I'm not, I've got plenty to keep me warm. So, Jared, what's the first Bible question you got for us today?

Jared:  Would you please explain Biblical fasting? Why, when, and how should a Christian fast?
Michael:  You know, there's no commandment in the Bible to fast, but there is an indication of the benefits of it. For instance, one time people came to Jesus and said, "We brought our child to your disciples to cast the devils out and they couldn't do it." And so Jesus cast the devils out. And the disciples kind of in a state of chagrin came to Jesus and said, "Why couldn't we do it?" He said, "This kind cometh out not but by prayer and fasting." And so the indication was that the thing that they lacked was two things: prayer and fasting; not prayer and fasting at the moment in preparation for this particular event, but generally in their lives they had a failure of prayer and fasting. So it appears that fasting is related to prayer, that another verse is related to prayer. Fasting, we're not given a breakdown, where he doesn't tell us, it's kind of assumed like prayer is assumed from the beginning of the Bible all the way to the end that it's something that a spiritually minded person does who wants to get closer to God or get sharper in his spirit in regard to the things of God. We find the prophets fasting when there were great burdens that they had. We find that Jesus, when he was tempted, went up on the mountain and fasted 40 days and 40 nights at the end of which Satan came to him and tempted him.

So if Jesus Christ, the Son of God, needed to fast 40 days and 40 nights in preparation for the great temptation when Satan came to him, then it would appear that we need to fast too when there are great burdens, great needs for prayer. If you look back in history, you'll find too that men and women have fasted and prayed in anticipation of God moving in a great revival and God has responded and answered those prayers.

You know, fasting is not unique to Christianity. It is a universal thing that occurs in all religions, at least all the ancient ones, and it's generally understood that it is a way to focus the mind and spirit and subdue the body, the bodily passions. And if you've ever fasted three or four days, you know that after three or four days, though your body gets weak, your focus gets keen. Your body's no longer digesting food and your spirit and your mental state seems to heighten and intensify. So I would say that fasting is a natural ‑ it's not some sort of spiritual sacrifice we're making ‑ it's a natural function in order to subdue the fleshly passions and allow the spirit to take dominance over the flesh.

Announcer:  If you would like to ask a Bible question, email us at [email protected] or call at 931‑805‑4820.

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One comment on “Would you please explain biblical fasting? Why, when and how should a Christian fast?”

  1. Thank you for that clear, concise answer. I grew up in a false religion that had days that "required" you to fast...but in the sense as you say a sacrifice.

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