Is fasting required to communicate with God?


Regarding fasting: some pastors say that when you want God to communicate with you, you have to fast for three days or more, and if you want to be delivered from certain things fasting has to be involved. Is it really true?

Secondly, in Matthew 17:19-21, may I ask for further clarification? What are those things that can go without fasting?

Thank you. You're blessed.


And what passage will these teachers cite to prove that you have to fast for three or more days before God will communicate with you? I know of none that support the position. It is something of their own imagination. "Thus says the LORD of hosts, 'Do not listen to the words of the prophets who are prophesying to you. They are leading you into futility; they speak a vision of their own imagination, not from the mouth of the LORD'" (Jeremiah 23:16).

You will find throughout history that pagan religions had often claimed that a petitioner had to suffer before the gods would answer. The more urgent the matter, the greater the suffering. This is why you see the prophets of Baal and Asheroth cutting themselves (I Kings 18:28). One of the greatest offenses were those who offered children up to their gods (Jeremiah 7:31). This false idea crept into the Jewish religion. "Why have we fasted and You do not see? Why have we humbled ourselves and You do not notice?" (Isaiah 58:3). God then states that He is not going to answer people who sin while they try to approach Him. It isn't that fasting is wrong. What is wrong is the idea that men can somehow force God to answer them. And the same ideas creep into Christianity. "These are matters which have, to be sure, the appearance of wisdom in self-made religion and self-abasement and severe treatment of the body, but are of no value against fleshly indulgence" (Colossians 2:23).

The third problem is that there is a denial of what God stated. God has said that prophecy would end when the Bible was completed (I Corinthians 13:8-10). See Why is it always brought up that prophecy will cease?

"But this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting" (Matthew 17:21).

Jesus' apostles had been given the power to cast out demons (Matthew 10:1; Luke 9:1). They had been traveling through Israel, preparing the way for Jesus (Luke 9:2). When they returned, they gave an account of what they accomplished (Luke 9:10). About a week later, while Jesus was on the mountain where he was transfigured, the disciples who were left behind were asked to cast out a demon; yet, they failed this time (Matthew 17:16). Jesus does cast out the demon, but the disciples later ask Jesus what they had done wrong (Matthew 17:19). Jesus said they lacked sufficient faith and then noted that this kind of evil spirit required prayer and fasting. The indication is that there are demons of different strengths and some are more stubborn than others. This type required strong faith on the part of the disciples and the disciples needed help from God, so they needed to ask with their full attention.

As I pointed out in Should Christians fast?, fasting is a way to remove distractions and focus on what we are asking God. It doesn't earn us God's attention, it is about our giving God our complete attention.

Matthew 17:21 is not about categories of things that require fasting or don't require fasting. Fasting is never required. It is an option that a person might select when his need is great and he wishes to focus on his prayers to God.


Thank you for the clarification. You're blessed.

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