And whenever you fast, do not look dismal, like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces so as to show others that they are fasting. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward. But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that your fasting may be seen not by others but by your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

– Matthew 6:16-18 (NRSV)

Several people in my life have been convinced of the importance of renewing the practice of fasting during this Lent. I think part of the conviction came from these verses. Jesus says “whenever you fast,” not if you fast. I am not sure I know anyone who really enjoys fasting (i.e. thinks it is fun to not eat). However, people who do fast typically experience that it is indeed a means of grace.

What has been your experience with fasting?