Biblical reasons for fasting:
1) To subject the physical to the spiritual – giving priority to spiritual goals;
2) To disentangle oneself from one’s environment, material things, daily responsibilities, and cares
3) To devote one’s whole spiritual attention to God and prayer.
4) To Strengthen Our Spiritual Appetites & Longings for Him and to Protect us from Becoming Satisfied with Natural and Temporary Things (John Piper, “When I Don’t Desire God”, p. 172)
5) To Bring Our Flesh Under Submission
6) To Humble Ourselves
7) To Combat Temptation and Spiritual Opposition
8) During Times of Repentance and Intercession
9) (Esther’s Need) When Facing a Great Challenge or Obstacle – an overwhelming need, a human impossibility, and your soul hungers to see God intervene by supernatural power
3-Day Fast This fast can be a Full Fast, Daniel Fast or give up at least one item of food.
Partial Fast – from 6:00 am to 3:00 pm or from sun up to sundown
Full Fast No liquid or food – or Drink only liquids (you establish the number of days).
Typically the length and severity of the fast were in keeping with the serious nature of the spiritual intercession, challenge or opposition.
The Fast – Esther decreed as Queen through Mordecai saying “Go, assemble all the Jews who are found in Susa, and fast for me; do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my maidens also will fast in the same way. And thus I will go in to the king, which is not according to the law; and if I perish, I perish.”
When the fast was over and Esther prepared three days later to go to the King I doubt she was lethargic, dizzy, or disoriented. On the contrary, spiritual fasting my experience energizes, and brings a heightened awareness of God’s presence and teachings, a clearer understanding of how to personally apply God’s Word to situations and a willingness – even eagerness or anticipation – to do so.
So Esther dressed in her royal garments and went to make her petition before the king in court.
Picture the court at that moment: many heads of state gasping at the audacity of the Queen standing in the doorway, putting her life on the line. Would this be another Vashti-incident? How would the King react to the second queen challenging his laws? I imagine a great exhale when the scepter raised up and out toward Esther. And can’t you see them all leaning forward to see what she would dare to ask?
We don’t know if God gave Esther the idea to plan dinners for the King and Haman before fasting, while fasting, or if the words came out as unexpected to her as to the king. Whatever way, it had to be done in faith, believing God for the details.
– It is instructive that after the fast, in continuing personal instructions from Esther and The Whole Megilla we see a submitted Esther, stronger and more committed to following God’s instructions to the letter
Fasting is also a wonderful ‘escape route’ to take ourselves out of the focus and allow God to be involved in our lives and decisions in ways that otherwise would not occur. It is a wonderfully freeing experience, lifting life’s burdens and responsibilities and focusing on Christ – the resolution bringer – instead of the problems.
Other types of submission and omission
The most helpful book for me on fasting was Fasting by Jantezen Franklin.