Although men seem eager to fast for their brides, many have never fasted before and may wonder what's it all about. They may be pondering questions like: What does the Bible say about fasting? Why have men fast for their brides? Why fasting specifically, instead of other types of prayer?
Simply answered, fasting is biblical, powerful, and Christlike.
Fasting Is Biblical
Fasting has played a significant part in my life. Although I only fasted a dozen or so times before I got married almost all my petitions were answered immediately. When I really wanted something in mine or another's life to change I decided not to pull any punches and went right to the sledgehammer of prayers - fasting. The scripture that influenced me to go directly to fasting for a serious or difficult situation was Mark 9:14-29, in which Jesus heals the a boy with an unclean spirit:
25 And when Jesus saw that a crowd came running together, he rebuked the unclean spirit, saying to it, "You dumb and deaf spirit, I command you, come out of him, and never enter him again." 26 And after crying out and convulsing him terribly, it came out, and the boy was like a corpse; so that most of them said, "He is dead." 27 But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him up, and he arose. 28 And when he had entered the house, his disciples asked him privately, "Why could we not cast it out?" 29 And he said to them, "This kind cannot be driven out by anything but prayer and fasting."
It always struck me how Jesus told his apostles how to ratchet up the pray power by adding fasting.
I can personally say that fasting has played a significant role in the healing of my bride before we even started dating. She didn't know I was fasting for her yet the week after I fasted she asked me "Did you pray for me?" She was healed of a serious problem and I was the only one she had told. It was from this experience of fasting for her and seeing immediate results that led me to counsel men that this is a powerful prayer in regards to healing the relationship between man and woman.
If you know any man that is having difficulty in his marriage ask him to join the e5. He will see changes in him and his wife. I can honestly say that since fasting for my wife I have seen steady growth in those areas of my marriage that just seemed to stagnate. I am more patient and it seems more understanding. I often regretted my temper and jumping to conclusions. My wife mentioned to me the other day that these seemed to have greatly decreased and I apologize much more often for any poor behavior. She also says that I am just a lot less picky about things.
Fasting Is Masculine
Besides its power, what also attracted me to fasting was its simplicity. I have found in speaking with e5 men that this too is an attraction for them. Fasting does not take one out of one's normal routine and takes zero extra time. Men can work and fast at the same time. This powerful yet non-time consuming act is appealing.
I have found that many men, like myself, would do anything to help their wife grow and heal. However, the confusion that often accompanies contemplative prayer and the time needed is often a stumbling block to actually getting the prayer done. Fasting calls on the man to make a heroic act of prayer in a way that fits his nature and situation quite well.
Fasting is also perhaps the best aid to prayer I know. Every time I feel a hunger pain or desire a snack I am reminded of our mission. I often reflect upon Christ and his mission of suffering even if only for a few seconds. These "few seconds" happen often enough to keep me focused on Christ the whole day through.
After Jesus fasted in the desert for 40 days and was tempted by Satan to turn a stone into bread Jesus said "'Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.'" (Mathew 4:4) I think it is clear that when we fast we are in a sense dying and our body and soul naturally turn to God in response. We recognize through fasting our mortality and therefore our need for God.
Fasting Is Christlike
Besides the fact that Christ fasted, even more importantly Christ gave his very body up for his bride, the Church, on the cross. This idea of a groom giving his body for his bride is found as a basic tenant of married love. Ephesians Chapter 5 calls a husband to be like Christ in giving his body up for his bride "Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her" (Eph 5:25) Fasting allows us in a mystical way to "give up our bodies" for our brides so that we too can make our brides "without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish." (Eph 5:27)
Fasting is a bodily act and hence a bodily gift. A husband can now say like Jesus, "This is my body which is given for you." (Luke 22:19)
How many women have been screwed up by the selfish bodily acts of men? Fasting for a woman then becomes the exact opposite of the sexual indulgence of many men. Instead of a selfish bodily gift - which is no gift at all - fasting allows a man to make a pure selfless bodily gift of himself. This type of bodily gift then can also be given to other women besides one's wife. In unison with Christ we are able to make a pure selfless bodily gift for many women. This is especially helpful to those women that have never received any bodily gift from a man that was not seriously impure. This gift can also be given in silence and over great distances and even outside of time because of its mystical union with Christ's bodily gift on the cross.
It is for this reason that I have recommended, and done myself, adding extra fast days for the healing of ex girlfriends. Especially those that we may have regrets in how we treated them. With Jesus we need not hold onto those regrets. We can now give them to The Redeemer so he can wipe away every tear. God has a way of making even a greater good out of an evil situation. We can again rejoice with the Church as on Holy Saturday "Oh Happy Fault!"