Throughout the Bible, there are many reasons given for fasting, from personal spiritual renewal to community repentance before God.
Some churches will take focused times of prayer and fasting based on times in the Bible where God’s people pray and fast in order to express deep needs before God. As a community, churches will stand together by praying and fasting to say to God in a very tangible way that we need to hear from Him.
In the Old Testament, we see this when Ezra, the spiritual leader of the people, gathered the entire nation together to pray and fast in the face of a desperate need. They were returning to their homeland after an extended exile in Babylon. “There, by the Ahava Canal, I proclaimed a fast, so that we might humble ourselves before our God and ask Him for a safe journey for us and our children …we fasted and petitioned our God about this [need for protection on the journey] and He answered our prayer” (Ezra 8:21-23).