From the beginning of the world true believers have practiced fasting as part of their worship of God. In the book of Joel we read, “Therefore also now, saith the Lord, turn ye even to me with all your heart, and with fasting …” (Joel 2:12.)
Fasting means “to voluntarily refrain from eating or drinking for the purpose of drawing closer to the Lord and requesting his blessings. When individuals and groups fast, they should also pray to understand God’s will and to develop greater spiritual strength. ” (The Guide to the Scriptures, [p. 22 in Spanish].)
Because of the great love our Heavenly Father has for us, He has invited us to fast and pray. When we fast we lift the spiritual above the physical and we feel closer to God. If we really want God’s help to solve problems, ours or those of our loved ones, we can plead for that help through fasting and prayer.
If you need the Lord’s help to be a better missionary, pray and fast like the sons of Mosiah did (Alma 17: 3.) If you seek strength to resist the devil’s temptations, follow the example of Jesus Christ, who fasted before beginning His ministry (Matthew 4: 2.) Are you worried about the health or wellbeing of your loved ones? Fast and pray like the people of Alma did so that Alma the younger would receive his strength (Mosiah 27: 22.) Our Heavenly Father has promised to listen and to bless.
In this dispensation, faithful Church members observe a special fast one Sunday each month (usually the first Sunday of the month.) The Guide to the Scriptures teaches us: “In the Church today, one Sabbath day each month is set aside for the purpose of fasting. During this time, Church members go without food and water for twenty-four hours. They then contribute to the Church the money that they would have spent on food for those meals. This money is called a fast offering. The Church uses the fast offerings to assist the poor and needy.”
Once again, in the October 2013 general conference our leaders have reminded us of our duty to fast each month and to contribute a generous fast offering. As Area Presidency we add our testimonies of the importance of observing this very important commandment individually and as families. Each member of the Church in the Caribbean Area should commit to fully obeying this law.
I know that God loves and blesses His children who faithfully keep the law of the fast and fast offerings. I pray that we will be able to show our faith by obeying that law.