HH, Sir Godfrey Gregg D.Div
The truth about prayer and fasting may make us want to practice these disciplines as often as we can without harming our bodies, but here’s the catch: They only work if you’re acting in service of God and not your ego or pride.
Jesus, Himself, speaks against those who pray and fast for selfish reasons in the Sermon on the Mount:
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. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. 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. (Matthew 6:5)
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. 17 But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, 18 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. (Matthew 6:16-18)
It’s great that you want to pray and fast, but before you do, ask God to check your motives. If you want to pray and fast to feel like a better Christian, stop right there and ask God to purify your intentions. But if you’re approaching these practices with love and respect for God, then you are free to approach the altar and do so.