The Concept of Christian Fasting
Christian fasting or religious fasting is a concept that a lot of people are turning to in their search for peace of mind, spirituality and a certain closeness with God. While our busy modern lifestyle takes us away from all things spiritual and religious, we turn to God only when we find ourselves lost in this whole wide world, alone or in dire need of companionship and guidance. Fortunately for us, God does not desert us in bad times the way we desert him in our good times and it is always possible to take solace in the Higher Power. The power of prayer and fasting in bringing subjects closer to God has been proved time and again. It has been documented in all religious and sacred texts and the miracles of fasting and prayer are also evident time and again in our modern lives.
As far as fasting is concerned, it is not an obligation in the Christian religion. While the concept of Biblical fasting is quite clear, fasting is an act that is expected from believers, but it is not something that will incur the wrath of God if it is not carried out or performed. Biblical fasting is a concept where one abstains from food, drink or sex in order to focus on spiritual growth. It refers to the denial of the needs of the flesh in order to enhance our spirit and get closer to God. Fasting is also supposed to increase the power of prayer manifold.
It is mentioned the Book of Acts that believers fasted before they made any important decisions (Acts 13:4; 14:23). Fasting and prayer are generally mentioned together in the Bible and most holy men have been mentioned as fasting at one time or the other. It has been mentioned in the Bible that the only reason one should fast for is to come closer to God.
As far as the concept of religious fasting is concerned, it should be done only as means of coming closer to god , rather than serving a dual purpose as a diet or detoxification. It should also not be done to prove a point to other people or create an image. Fasting, like prayer is concerned only with the disciple or servant and the Master. It has been mentioned in the Bible (Matthew 6:16-18) that, "When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show men they are fasting. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that it will not be obvious to men that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you". Another thing to keep in mind is that fasting is not just a means of starving the flesh, but of feeding the soul, and thus should be supplemented by prayer and deeds of goodwill and kindness.