The LDS Daily WOOL© Archive - Fasting

Fasting and prayer is a positive experience. It is a form of worship especially commended by the Lord. As we fast with prayer, we demonstrate our deep purpose, commit that we will do all in our power, and consign the outcome to the Lord. Commitment to act is the key to exercising any gospel principle. We must actually do what the principles require. Doing, in conjunction with fasting and prayer, is in itself a prayer of faith. The principle of doing is one of the great messages of the scriptures. Alma did preach with power after fasting and prayer. The Savior, being strengthened by fasting, did reject Satan's every proposition and did rebuke him. When we fast, we must work in appropriate ways to do everything we can to accomplish the purpose of our fast. The fast is most effective when we have done all that is within our power. Often this commitment involves the willingness to change, to put aside feelings and attitudes standing in our path, to forgive, to be strong, to make sacrifices, to exert energy toward our righteous goal. — Bishop Victor L. Brown, General Conference, October 1977

It is evident that the acceptable fast is that which carries with it the true spirit of love for God and man; and that the aim in fasting is to secure perfect purity of heart and simplicity of intention—a fasting unto God in the fullest and deepest sense—for such a fast would be a cure for every practical and intellectual error; vanity would disappear, love for our fellows would take its place, and we would gladly assist the poor and the needy. — President Joseph F. Smith, Teachings of Latter-day Prophets, p. 199

Let me promise you here today that if the Latter-day Saints will honestly and conscientiously from this day forth, as a people, keep the monthly fast and pay into the hands of their bishops the actual amount that they would have spent for food for the two meals from which they have refrained; and if in addition to that they will pay their honest tithing, it will solve all of the problems in connection with taking care of the Latter-day Saints. We would have all the money necessary to take care of all the idle and all the poor. Every living soul among the Latter-day Saints that fasts two meals once a month will be benefited spiritually and be built up in the faith of the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ--benefited spiritually in a wonderful way--and sufficient means will be in the hands of the bishops to take care of all the poor. — President Heber J. Grant, Gospel Standards, p. 123

It seems to me it is a source of strength, a source of power, a source of blessing that perhaps as a people we are not using enough; that it does have tremendous spiritual value to those who observe the law, and who apply it faithfully…. The Saints by fasting and praying can sanctify the soul and elevate the spirit to Christlike perfection, and thus the body would be brought into subjection to the spirit, promote communion with the Holy Ghost, and insure spiritual strength and power to the individual. By observing fasting and prayer in its true spirit, the Latter-day Saints cannot be overpowered by Satan tempting them to evil. — Elder Delbert L. Stapley, General Conference, October 1951

The regularly constituted fast consists of abstinence from food once each month, from the evening meal of Saturday to the evening meal on the following Sunday; that is, it means missing two meals on the first Sunday of each month. The value of those two meals given as a voluntary donation for the relief of those who are hungry or otherwise in distress constitutes the fast offering. Think what the sincere observance of this rule would mean spiritually if every man, woman, and child were to observe the fast and contribute the resultant offering, with the sincere desire of blessing the less fortunate brother or sister or sorrowing child! The great Tolstoy, sensing the need of this bond of sympathetic brotherhood in Christ, once wrote that he had no right to eat his crust of bread if his brother had none. Can you not see associated with this simple act the divine principle of service as expressed in the Master's words: "Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me"? (Matt. 25:40.) — President David O. McKay, Gospel Ideals, p. 210

Our difficulty is that we have not all used the Lord's plan as we should. What ought that contribution, our fast offerings, be, to be the equivalent of two meals? I would like to suggest that there isn't anything that this present generation needs so much as the power of self-control; appetite is stronger than will. Men's passions dominate their lives. If there is one thing that we need to recover, it is the power of self-control over the physical body; to deny it good food . . . for two meals, [is to obtain] a mastery over self; and the greatest battle any of us shall ever fight is with self. — Elder Melvin J. Ballard, Sermons and Missionary Services of Melvin J. Ballard, p. 157

Fast with purpose. We must ever remind ourselves and all members of the Church to keep the law of the fast. We often have our individual reasons for fasting. But I hope members won't hesitate to fast to help us lengthen our stride in our missionary effort, to open the way for the gospel to go to the nations where it is not now permitted. It's good for us to fast as well as to pray over specific things and over specific objectives. — President Spencer W. Kimball, General Conference, April 1976

The Lord has instituted the fast on a reasonable and intelligent basis, and none of his works are vain or unwise. His law is perfect in this as in other things. Hence, those who can are required to comply thereto; it is a duty from which they cannot escape; but let it be remembered that the observance of the fast day by abstaining twenty-four hours from food and drink is not an absolute rule, it is no iron-clad law to us, but it is left with the people as a matter of conscience, to exercise wisdom and discretion. Many are subject to weakness, others are delicate in health, and others have nursing babies; of such it should not be required to fast. Neither should parents compel their little children to fast. I have known children to cry for something to eat on fast day. In such cases, going without food will do them no good. Instead, they dread the day to come, and in place of hailing it, dislike it; while the compulsion engenders a spirit of rebellion in them, rather than a love for the Lord and their fellows. Better teach them the principle, and let them observe it when they are old enough to choose intelligently, than to so compel them. — President Joseph F. Smith, Gospel Doctrine, p. 243

"The personal benefits derived from fasting are substantial. The scriptures tell us that a certain kind of devil goes not out except by fasting and prayer. (See Matt. 17:21.) The supremacy of the spirit over the appetites of the body is affirmed by the mental discipline of fasting. This strength fortifies us in our combat with other temptations prompted by physical appetites that, if uncontrolled, would be destructive to our welfare. While some have physical conditions that preclude fasting, most people are not excluded on this basis. To me, a successfully completed period of fasting from food and drink on fast day brings a degree of self-confidence. Fasting is real evidence to oneself and to his maker of gratitude for the gift of health and strength which permits one to be able to fast. Surely this is a great privilege and blessing."

Russell M. Nelson 
"I Have a Question," 
"Ensign," Apr. 1976, p. 33

"Periodic fasting can help clear up the mind and strengthen the body and the spirit. The usual fast, the one we are asked to participate in for fast Sunday, is for 24 hours without food or drink. Some people, feeling the need, have gone on longer fasts of abstaining from food but have taken the needed liquids. Wisdom should be used, and the fast should be broken with light eating. To make a fast most fruitful, it should be coupled with prayer and meditation; physical work should be held to a minimum, and it’s a blessing if one can ponder on the scriptures and the reason for the fast."

Ezra Taft Benson 
"Do Not Despair," 
"Ensign," Nov. 1974, p. 66–67

"When your stomach begins to growl halfway through fast and testimony meeting, you probably do not think of fasting as rejoicing, yet this is the way fasting has been scripturally defined: 'Verily, this is fasting and prayer, or in other words, rejoicing and prayer.' (D&C 59:14.) Rejoicing means to express joy, and joy is the reason for man’s existence. (2 Ne. 2:25.) Fasting, then, is an activity that brings us back to the state of being for which we were created."

Robert J. Matthews 
"What the Scriptures Say About: Fasting," 
"New Era," Sept. 1972, p. 32

"Commitment to act is the key to exercising any gospel principle. We must actually do what the principles require. Doing, in conjunction with fasting and prayer, is in itself a prayer of faith. The principle of doing is one of the great messages of the scriptures. Alma did preach with power after [page 84] fasting and prayer. The Savior, being strengthened by fasting, did reject Satan’s every proposition and did rebuke him."

Victor L. Brown 
"A Vision of the Law of the Fast," 
"Ensign," Nov. 1977, p. 83–84

"Sometimes it’s easier to try to work on our relationship with God through fasting, prayer, and scripture study than to love and serve his other children or to repair broken human relations. Just as we can sometimes avoid confronting our real spiritual need to change and repent by intellectualizing about gospel principles, so also can we escape dealing with pulsating spiritual needs and service hungers by theatrical and/or excessive fasting. Unless otherwise directed by the Spirit to fast more frequently, we can gain the blessings of fasting by following the Church practice of fasting for two consecutive meals once a month on the designated fast Sunday."

Stephen R. Covey 
"Q&A: Questions and Answers," 
"New Era," Sept. 1974, p. 15

"We should all give some attention to the matter of fasting. We haven't really called on the Lord so that we can reach him intimately if we don't fast occasionally, and pray often. Many of our personal problems can be solved by so doing. Do you remember what the Savior said to his disciples who couldn't cast out the evil spirit, after they had asked why they couldn't do it when Jesus had done it so easily? He replied, 'This kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting.' (Matt. 17:21.)" - Marion G. Romney, "The Blessings of the Fast," Ensign, July 1982, 4

"Fasting and prayer go hand in hand. An old Islamic proverb states that 'prayer gets us halfway to heaven, fasting gets us to the door of heaven, and generous alms open the door.' Fasting for spiritual purposes goes together with charitable giving for the benefit of the poor. This is an inspired concept. It is designed as a system to take care of the poor and needy. Very few people today, aside from the Latter-day Saints, combine fasting with giving to the poor. We have our monthly fast of two meals (twenty-four hours), and we give to the poor the money that is saved by forgoing those meals. Then we add even more so we can do what President Spencer W. Kimball asked: Give generously several times more than the value of two meals—'much, much moreten times more.' (See Conference Report, April 1974, p. 184.) 
" - Robert E. Wells, "The Mount and the Master," p.145

“Throughout the scriptures the term fasting is usually combined with prayer. ‘Ye shall continue in prayer and fasting from this time forth’ is the Lord's counsel (D&C 88:76). Fasting without prayer is just going hungry for 24 hours. But fasting combined with prayer brings increased spiritual power.” - Carl B. Pratt, “The Blessings of a Proper Fast,” Ensign (CR), November 2004, p. 47

"To discipline ourselves through fasting brings us in tune with God, and fast day provides an occasion to set aside the temporal so that we might enjoy the higher qualities of the spiritual. As we fast on that day we learn and better understand the needs of those who are less fortunate." - Howard W. Hunter, "Fast Day," Ensign (CR), November 1985, p. 72

Our prayers and desires thus come closer to being like the prayers and desires of the Savior as we fast to become more meek, teachable, and loving. And as He did, we pray to know the Father’s will for us and to do it. - Henry B. Eyring, “The Prayer of Faith,” Ensign, October 2014

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