There are a number of good reasons to fast.
I’ve addressed some of them here.
But there is one you may never of heard of, and it’s found in the Book of Esther.
Esther was the Jewish queen of Ahasuerus, king of Persia, arguably the most powerful man in the world at the time. Many believe Ahasuerus was in fact Xerxes the Great.
If you saw the movie 300, Xerxes the Great was the metro-sexual dude, who was like seven feet tall, and who, bearing much bling, rode in on a platform to the Battle of Thermopylae.
Esther learns that Xerxes had issued to all the provinces an edict that called for his subjects to kill every Jew in the land and seize their property. Esther decides to approach Xerxes to try and persuade him to repeal the edict. This is a gutsy move on Esther’s part because the penalty for entering Xerxes’s inner court without being summoned is death.
Before going to Xerxes, Esther calls the Jews in Susa (the capital) to fast for three days and nights. Esther does the same. (Esther 4:15-17).
As a result, when Esther enters Xerxes court, she obtained favor in his sight. (Esther 5:1-2) Xerxes relents, the Jews are saved, and the bad guy (Haman) meets his end at the end of a rope. The key element to this favorable turn of events is the favor Esther obtained from Xerxes. See Esther 5:2, 8; 7:3; 8:5.
Bottom line: Esther fasted to obtain favor from authority.
As an employment lawyer, I counsel people often about their horrible bosses. They think their bosses don’t like them, are harassing them or are out to get them. They are often correct. There are things in the natural they can do to try to improve the situation. Sometimes they work; sometimes they don’t. But if you are a Christian you have another tool in your arsenal to deal with a bad boss, and that is to fast.
Now this doesn’t mean you have to fast for three days and nights or call it an “Esther Fast” or move to Susa. I don’t believe it is a formula. Fasting is a spiritual discipline, and as the Lord has revealed through his Word, a legitimate reason to fast is to obtain favor with those in authority. GS