What Did Jesus Tell His Disciples About Fasting and Prayer?

In the Bible, Jesus often spoke about the importance of fasting and prayer. He taught his disciples that these practices were vital for spiritual growth and closeness with God. Let’s take a closer look at what Jesus told his disciples about fasting and prayer.

The Purpose of Fasting

Jesus fasted for 40 days in the wilderness before beginning his ministry. This act of fasting was not to prove anything to himself or others, but rather to focus on God and seek His will. In Matthew 6:16-18, Jesus tells his disciples that when they fast, they should not do it for show or recognition by others but to focus on God and their personal relationship with Him.

“When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show others they are fasting. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face so that it will not be obvious to others that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.”

The Importance of Prayer

Jesus also emphasized the importance of prayer throughout his teachings. He often went away from the crowds to pray alone or with his disciples. In Matthew 6:5-15, Jesus teaches about prayer in what is commonly known as the Lord’s Prayer.

“And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen.

Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.”

The Benefits of Fasting and Prayer

Fasting and prayer are not just about following religious traditions or rules. They are meant to bring us closer to God and help us focus on His will for our lives. These practices can have many benefits, including:

  • Spiritual clarity: Fasting and prayer can help clear our minds of distractions and allow us to hear from God more clearly.
  • Humility: Fasting and prayer can help us become more humble as we recognize our dependence on God.
  • Closeness with God: Fasting and prayer can deepen our relationship with God as we spend more time focused on Him.
  • Growth: Fasting and prayer can help us grow spiritually as we seek to know God better and become more like Him.

In Conclusion

Jesus taught his disciples the importance of fasting and prayer as a means of drawing closer to God. These practices are not just religious traditions but have many benefits for our spiritual growth and relationship with God. May we seek to follow Jesus’ example in these areas as we seek to know Him more deeply.