We should all give some attention to the matter of fasting. We haven’t really called on the Lord so that we can reach him intimately if we don’t fast occasionally, and pray often. Many of our personal problems can be solved by so doing. Do you remember what the Savior said to his disciples who couldn’t cast out the evil spirit, after they had asked why they couldn’t do it when Jesus had done it so easily? He replied, “This kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting.” (Matt. 17:21) — Marion G. Romney, “The Blessings of the Fast,” Ensign, July 1982, p. 4
“Let me promise you here today that if the Latter-day Saints will honestly and conscientiously from this day forth, as a people, keep the monthly fast and pay into the hands of their bishops the actual amount that they would have spent for food for the two meals from which they have refrained . . . we would have all the money necessary to take care of all the idle and all the poor.” [Gospel Standards, comp. G. Homer Durham (1941), 123] — Teachings of the Presidents of the Church, Harold B. Lee, p. 182
Latter-day Saints understand that a proper fast day observance consists of abstaining from food and drink for two consecutive meals once a month, attending the fast and testimony meeting, and making a generous offering to the bishop for the care of those in need. (See James E. Faust, Ensign, August 1984.)
This law entails more than just the abstaining of food for two meals; nor is it just the contributing of monetary or in-kind offerings representative of those meals. It is essential to combine fasting with prayer, and to have an attitude of consecration, purpose and commitment. The laws of the fast renders two-way blessings: the needy receive help and sustenance, but the greater blessings are felt by those who fast and contribute their offerings.
More than providing funds to help care for the needy, fasting brings powerful blessings to our lives. We are counseled to fast and pray when we face trials or seek solutions to problems, or strive for understanding and wisdom, or desire to draw nearer to the Lord. The scriptures and Church history are filled with examples of many who have gained strength or have found peace, comfort and resolution through fasting and prayer. — Church News, January 22, 2005, p. 16
Sometimes we have been a bit penurious and figured that we had for breakfast one egg and that cost so many cents and then we give that to the Lord. I think that when we are affluent, as many of us are, that we ought to be very, very generous. . . .
I think we should . . . give, instead of the amount saved by our two meals of fasting, perhaps much, much more – ten times more when we are in a position to do it.” — President Spencer W. Kimball, Conference Report, April 1974, p. 184
We hope that through the payment of liberal fast offerings there will be more than enough to provide for the needs of the less fortunate. If every member of this church observed the fast and contributed generously, the poor and the needy – not only of the Church, but many others as well, would be blessed and provided for. Every giver would be blessed in body and spirit, and the hungry would be fed, the naked clothed according to need. — President Gordon B. Hinckley, “Rise to a Larger Vision of the Work,” Ensign, May 1990, p. 95
Fast offerings are used for one purpose only: to bless the lives of those in need. Every dollar given to the bishop as a fast offering goes to assist the poor. When donations exceed local needs, they are passed along to fulfill the needs elsewhere.
As an Apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ, I have traveled the world testifying of Him. I come before you today to bear another witness – a witness to the suffering and need of millions of our Heavenly Father’s children. Far too many in the world today – thousands upon thousands of families – experience want each day. They hunger. They ache with cold. They suffer from sickness. They grieve for their children. They mourn for the safety of their families. These people are not strangers and foreigners but children of our Heavenly Father. They are our brothers and our sisters. They are “fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God.” Their fervent prayers ascend to heaven pleading for respite, for relief from suffering. At this very hour on this very day, some members even in our Church are praying for the miracle that would allow them to surmount the suffering that surrounds them. If, while we have the means to do so, we do not have compassion for them and spring to their aid, we are in danger of being among those the prophet Moroni spoke of when he said, “Behold, ye do love money, and your substance, and your fine apparel . . . more than ye love the poor and the needy, the sick and the afflicted.” — Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin, “The Law of the Fast,” Ensign, May 2001, p. 73
We should all give some attention to the matter of fasting. We haven’t really called on the Lord so that we can reach him intimately if we don’t fast occasionally, and pray often. Many of our personal problems can be solved by so doing. Do you remember what the Savior said to his disciples who couldn’t cast out the evil spirit, after they had asked why they couldn’t do it when Jesus had done it so easily? He replied, “This kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting.” (Matt. 17:21.) — President Marion G. Romney, “The Blessings of the Fast,” Ensign, July 1982, p. 4
If Latter-day Saints faithfully fulfilled the law of the fast, and if they prayed in connection therewith as commanded and paid an honest fast offering, they would be blessed more abundantly – both temporally and spiritually – and there would be ample funds in the Church to provide for all our poor, as the Lord has commanded. He has given us the way, but sad as it may seem, we are negligent about the payment of an honest fast offering.
Many of us may sometimes wonder why blessings are seemingly withheld from us. It could well be that the laws on which those blessings are predicated have escaped our attention or that we underestimate the necessity for obedience to those laws. It may well be therefore, that many of our desired blessings are never realized because we do not more faithfully obey the law of fasting and prayer and contribute for the blessing of the poor the full value of the meals not consumed on Fast Day. — Elder Thorpe B. Isaacson, General Conference, April 1962
Every living soul among the Latter-day Saints that fasts two meals once a month will be benefitted spiritually and be built up in the faith of the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ – benefitted spiritually in a wonderful way. — President Heber J. Grant
Pray earnestly and fast with purpose and devotion. Some difficulties, like devils, do not come out save by fasting and by prayer. Ask in righteousness and you shall receive. Knock with conviction and it shall be opened unto you. — Elder Jeffrey R. Holland