But as for me, when they were sick, my clothing was sackcloth; I humbled myself with fasting; and my prayer would return to my own heart.
In Psalm 35 David prayed for God’s protection from his enemies. In verse 13 David explained that they were not enemies because David mistreated them. In fact, David prayed, mourned and fasted for these people who turned around and mistreated him in return.
This verse simply states a principle about godly fasting shown throughout the Bible: Fasting is designed to humble us. Biblical fasting means to “neither eat nor drink” (Esther 4:16). When we go without the food and drink that sustain our lives, we soon realize how fragile our lives are. We see how weak we are physically, which can help us recognize our spiritual weaknesses as well. Getting a clearer perspective of how great God is and how small and sinful we are can help us fight against pride and grow in humility.
For more about fasting, see our article “What Is Fasting?”