“What is the difference between fasting and going without food?” Liahona, Mar. 2010, 45
Going without food will just make you hungry. Fasting, done with a specific purpose and accompanied by prayer, will bring you closer to God and give you blessings and spiritual strength (see Isaiah 58:6–11).
Unlike going without food, when we fast, we choose to do so for a specific, spiritual purpose. You could fast for the Lord’s help in understanding gospel principles or in handling personal decisions and experiences. You may also fast for blessings for others, such as their health or that they’ll accept the gospel (see Alma 6:6). You may even fast to express gratitude to our Heavenly Father.
Prayer is another element that makes fasting different from going without food. A fast should begin and end with sincere prayer, and throughout the fast you could meditate and pray about what you are fasting for. This focuses your attention on why you are fasting rather than on how hungry you may feel. “Thou shalt call, and the Lord shall answer; thou shalt cry, and he shall say, Here I am” (Isaiah 58:9).