The first purpose for fasting is to spend time with God. In the hustle and bustle of everyday life, it is often difficult to set aside quality time with our Creator. During the daily grind there are people to see, places to go, and things to do. An amazing amount of time is spent doing mundane things like eating. By fasting, we carve out extra time in our schedules to read the Bible, pray, and to worship God. This directly enhances our spiritual life by putting us in contact with the Heavenly Father. The best steaks are marinated for hours in seasoning sauces. A fast allows you to spend time soaking in God’s presence.
Here are three examples of how fasting allowed Biblical characters to meet God.
- When Moses fasted for forty days on top of the mountain, he experienced the tangible glory of God. For forty days he met with God and never even thought about eating. When he came back down the mountain, his face was radiant because of the presence of God (Exodus 34:29). Fasting allows us to spend time in God’s presence and to experience the glory of God.
- Anna the prophetess prayed and fasted regularly for eighty-four years, she never left the temple but worshiped day and night. Simeon the prophet was righteous and devout. Together, these two ancient people looked for the coming of the Messiah. God told Simeon he would not die until after he laid eyes on the one who would save Israel. For many years, they fasted and prayed for the opportunity to see the Christ, until one day Mary and Joseph arrived at the temple with the baby Jesus. Simeon, led by the Spirit of God, recognized the baby and praised God that he had seen“the salvation of the world.” When Anna saw the baby, she also gave thanks to God. (Luke 2:25-39).
What were these old people praying for? They wanted to see the Messiah. Because of their prayers, they had the opportunity to meet Jesus. Spending time in fasting and prayer is also a way for you to meet God.
- Cornelius was a Roman centurion, a Gentile, who wanted to meet the God of Israel in a time when only Jews were allowed to know God. Cornelius and his family were known as to be devout and God-fearing. Because he wanted to meet God he regularly fasted, prayed, and gave money to the poor.
One day, at about three o’clock in the afternoon, an angel appeared to him and said, “Cornelius, your prayers and your giving have caught God’s attention. Send for the Apostle Peter who is staying in Joppa.” The angel proceeded to give precise instructions where to find Peter. Cornelius immediately sent his servants to find Peter.
Meanwhile, God showed Peter a vision to convince him Gentiles could be saved. When the servant arrived, Peter returned with them to visit the centurion. Cornelius had gathered all his friends and relatives to listen to Peter. When Peter began preaching to them, they were all filled with the Holy Spirit. They were the first Gentiles in history to be saved (Acts 10:1-48). The centurion’s combination of fasting, prayer, and giving impressed God and allowed him to become the first Gentile to meet God. Your fasting will help you meet God too.