18 Now John’s disciples and the Pharisees were fasting. Some people came and asked Jesus, “How is it that John’s disciples and the disciples of the Pharisees are fasting, but yours are not?”
19 Jesus answered, “How can the guests of the bridegroom fast while he is with them? They cannot, so long as they have him with them. 20 But the time will come when the bridegroom will be taken from them, and on that day they will fast. Mark 2:18-20
John’s disciples, despite John himself being in prison, still kept to his teachings and that of the Jews. There would be a time and place for Jesus’ followers to fast if they so chose but Jesus wasn’t forcing them to. At the time, the Jews were required to fast four times a year and this was one of them. Some say John’s followers might have been fasting because their leader was in prison.
In any event, Jesus made it clear that “there was a new sheriff in town.” The fasting His disciples would do would be more than a check-the-box, ritualistic fast. Their fasting would be in secret so that the Father sees and hears their words (Matthew 6).
For us the message is similar.
He wants more than ritual prayers and petitions.
He wants heart-felt and meaningful prayers.
He wants “whatever we do we do it unto Him” lifestyles ((Matthew 25:40, Colossians 3:23).
He wants all of us.