Fasting is not limited to believers the Bible mentions. Most of the church’s reformers – including Martin Luther, John Calvin and John Knox – fasted. Knox fasted and prayed so much that Queen Mary said she feared his prayers more than all the armies of Scotland.
John Wesley, the renown English preacher, missionary and founder of Methodism, fasted twice weekly from sun up until late afternoon. Charles Finney, a revivalist of the 1800s, fasted regularly week and would often go three days without eating when he felt any diminution of spiritual power at his meetings.
Dr. Bill Bright, founder and president of Campus Crusade for Christ, makes it his practice to fast and pray. He believes it plays a vital role in what God does through him and the ministry of Campus Crusade.
Dr. Bright encourages believers to fast, but he also warns of two common pitfalls:
First, we can become legalistic about fasting. It is essential to remember God loves us and is not displeased with us when we do not fast.
Second, we can take pride in our fasting. We can avoid this problem by focusing on God’s character and all He has done for us. Most of us do not need to worry about having the wrong attitude or motive while fasting. A more likely problem is we may not fast at all.
Fasting is a commitment to seeking the Lord. It is not reserved for the self-righteous, but it is a privilege from which each of us can benefit.