I'm Hungry! Why Should I Fast?

Fasting Helps Build Self-Discipline and Spiritual Power

Girl_Paying_Tithing.jpg
Tithing and fast offerings are usually paid to a member of the bishopric by handing him a sealed envelope. © 1996, Steve Bunderson. Photo courtesy of Mormon Newsroom.

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Fasting is more than not eating. It has a spiritual purpose. Fasting helps us draw away from physical things, like our hunger. By fasting we can embrace spiritual things and grow closer to Jesus Christ.

If you struggle with this commandment, or just want to solidify your resolve to fast, then read below.

Why Fasting is Important

Jesus Christ fasted and He is our example of how we should conduct our own lives.

In addition, scientific learning tells us that occasional fasting can be good for our health. What is more, we have been commanded to fast. The commandment to fast should be enough for us to do so.

The Purpose of Fast Sunday and Fast Offerings

The first Sunday of every month is designated as Fast Sunday. On Fast Sundays, all members of the Church everywhere are invited to fast for two consecutive meals. We should abstain from and food and water.

Also on that day, Sacrament Meeting consists of individual members sharing their testimonies with other members. This helps to spiritually strengthen us all.

We are invited to donate what we would have spent on food to the Church as fast offerings. These fast offering funds are collected and compiled by the Church. Proceeds are used to help those in need, all over the world as well as at home.

Learn to Fast Properly

In a lesson on fasting by the Apostle, Elder David A. Bednar, he describes a visit to Africa and attending a local Relief Society lesson.

This was a part of Africa where people were not necessarily starving, but always hungry.

The teacher had only been a member for eight months. Although Bednar was a lifetime member and Apostle for two years at that time, she gave him a crucial understanding of fasting when she advised the sisters thus:

There are many days when we do not have food and we do not eat. That is not fasting. It is only fasting on a day when we have food and we can choose not to eat it.

Review the three components of proper fasting:

  1. Fast with a purpose
  2. Pray
  3. Keep it to yourself

There are many reasons to fast, so there are many purposes to fasting. Consider the following major reasons:

  • Overcome our weaknesses.
  • Help break addictions we are suffering from.
  • Find solutions to problems.
  • Seek guidance.
  • Find comfort.
  • Know truth.
  • Help others find truth.
  • Become more humble.
  • Feel closer to Heavenly Father.

Prayer should always accompany fasting. It should both begin and end our fast, as well as be an important component throughout our fasting.

No one needs to know that you are fasting. In fact, you should not make it evident. Fasting is personal to you. Righteous fasting does not involve telling others about your fast. However, Heavenly Father has promised to bless us, both secretly and openly, even though we should fast privately.

What Blessings Come from Fasting?

Naturally, following commandments results in blessings. So, what blessings result from fasting? Consider the following:

  • Peace
  • Improved health
  • Spiritual guidance
  • Increased righteousness
  • Success in missionary efforts

Besides the above, self-control and spiritual power should both be included as important physical and spiritual blessings.

Fasting allows us to develop our ability to control ourselves, especially our appetites and passions. Self-control and its resulting self-discipline allows us to truly be agents of our own happiness, rather than victims of forces we cannot control.

Spiritual power comes because we have been obedient and sought things of the spirit, instead of tangible things. Our ability to pursue the important things in life is increased when our spiritual power increases.

Fast Offerings Enable the Church to Help Others

The extensive welfare program operated by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is made possible by fast offering funds.

Local efforts by bishops and branch presidents to help the needy within their geographical boundaries also come from fast offering funds.

Unlike similar efforts, fast offering funds are used according to Heavenly Father's method for assisting people to become self-reliant.

How Should Knowing All This Change My Life?

You should want to fast, now that you know the reason and purpose behind it.

You should want to fast righteously.

You should want to donate your own personal fast offerings.

You should want to teach the wisdom of fasting to others.

Next: The Law of Sacrifice is Still in Force!