Liahona
Why We Fast


“Why We Fast,” Liahona, Oct. 2022.

Gospel Basics

Why We Fast

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Compassionate service

Photograph by Scott Law

Fasting means to go without food and drink in order to come closer to God. If their health allows it, members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints fast on the first Sunday of each month. But we can fast at other times as well, such as when a family member or ward or branch member is very sick.

Christ’s Teachings

In Old Testament times, Moses and Elijah fasted (see Exodus 34:28; 1 Kings 19:8). In New Testament times, Jesus Christ fasted and prayed to prepare for His ministry (see Matthew 4:1–4). He taught His disciples about the power and importance of fasting. The commandment to fast continues today.

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Jesus Christ. Public Ministry

Purpose

Fasting is a way for us to come closer to God. We may want to fast when we are seeking revelation or a specific blessing. We can fast to express thanks to God. Fasting also provides a way for us to serve others through fast offerings.

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Mongolia: Family Prayer

Fasting and Prayer

Prophets have taught that fasting without prayer is just going hungry. We can start and end our fast with a prayer, and we can have a prayer in our hearts while we fast. We can pray for strength and inspiration and to understand God’s will. We can also ask God for blessings for ourselves or our loved ones.

Fast Sunday

The first Sabbath of the month is usually a fast day. On that day, we fast for a 24-hour period if we are able to. We also pray, attend our Church meetings, and give a fast offering to the Church.

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Coming to Church

Photograph by Shirlene Stoddard

Fast Offerings

A fast offering is a donation to help care for those in need. This is part of the law of the fast. When we fast on fast Sunday, we are invited to give an offering that is at least equal to the value of the meals we didn’t eat. We give the donation, like tithing, to a member of our bishopric or branch presidency or submit it on the Church website.

Fast and Testimony Meeting

On fast Sunday, sacrament meeting is a fast and testimony meeting. During this meeting, we sing, pray, and partake of the sacrament like we do every Sunday. Then members of the congregation are invited to bear their testimonies of Jesus Christ and his gospel.

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Portland: Family Prayer

Blessings of Fasting and Prayer

When we fast and pray, we grow closer to the Lord and increase our spiritual strength. We also strengthen our self-reliance, gain greater compassion, and become more humble.