Thanks for the podcast on Fasting and Prayer. Today I was read Neh 1:4. After reading other scriptures about fasting and prayer, I notice that mourning sometimes accompanies fasting (2 Sam 1:12; Esther 4:3, Joe 2:12; Zech 7:3; 7:5). Why is that? I have fasted from time to time in various ways, and have recently grieved in the death of my dad, and so I'm especially intrigued about the connection between mourning and fasting. --Rick
In a time of great tragedy, or national repentance, or imminent threat (like invasion), fasting could be accompanied by mourning. In Nehemiah, we find multiple prayers, as well as the passage you reference: "When I heard these things, I sat down and wept. For some days I mourned and fasted and prayed before the God of heaven" (Neh 1:4).
So this isn’t mourning in general, but grief rising from a significant and urgent circumstance. Fasting is a prostration of the soul, a form of self-denial, for the greater glory of God, so that our spirits are subject to the will of God.