Prayer and Fasting are essential disciplines in our walk with God. Prayer opens up a line of communication with God that otherwise we wouldn’t have, it allows us to speak directly to him and slows us down to listen to his voice. Fasting helps us to challenge our spiritual walk by denying physical gratification. Both the Old Testament and New Testament teach the value of fasting, which is abstaining from food or drink in order to focus on prayer and seeking God’s will. Through many examples of people in the Bible who fasted, we can know that God grants supernatural revelation and wisdom through this practice. Scripture tells us that fasting will help us develop a more intimate relationship with Christ and will open our eyes to what He teaches us.
It is probably on this premise that many biblical figures fasted, however, others also fasted for show off. Matthew 6:16-18 talks about how hypocrites would fast to merely appear godly. They would look “sombre” and “disfigure their faces” so that everyone would know they were fasting. They were fasting for attention. Similarly, the same kind of people would love to pray in front of crowds with long and most likely rehearsed prayers. Praying with others and in front of people isn’t bad, often it is helpful to pray in a group because someone else’s prayer might inspire a thought in you to pray about as well. However, these people weren’t only praying in front of an audience, they were praying ‘for’ the audience, to receive acceptance and recognition.