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The Times for Fasting (Ecclesiastes 3:1)

Introductory Thoughts

Fasting, similar to other actions in life, has specific purposes and appointed times. The Bible offers various reasons why people might fast: an immediate need in prayer (2 Samuel 12:16), a need to loosen the bands of wickedness or undo heavy burdens (Isaiah 58:6), during times of elevated conflict or duty in service (Matthew 17:21; Acts 13:3), as a symbol of mourning (2 Samuel 1:12), and as an outward manifestation of true repentance (Jonah 3:5). This list is not exhaustive, but simply demonstrates that God’s people have many good reasons for fasting. Even if none of these circumstances surfaces in our lives, we should fast because we know that the Lord expects us to do so.

Devotional Thoughts

  • (For children): Notice these many examples of real people who fasted for certain reasons. Hannah prayed and fasted for God to give her a son. (Note the wording in 1 Samuel 1:8-10, 18.) Jehoshaphat and all Judah fasted and prayed when afraid of a powerful enemy (2 Chronicles 20:1-4). David fasted for sick people (Psalm 35:13).
  • (For everyone):  What are some reasons why you might fast? Do you have some particular sin that constantly troubles you? Do you have an immediate need in prayer? If so, are you willing to fast?
  • Fasting is a very real way to deny our flesh and show the Lord how serious we are about Him and His word. In what ways could fasting increase our strength for service?

Prayer Thoughts

  • Ask God to show you reasons why you should fast.
  • Ask the Lord to give you the strength to obey Him.