Jesus also expected that His followers would pray and fast, and that they would do those things, not to be seen by people, but to please their Father. Otherwise they would be no different than the hell-bound scribes and Pharisees, who prayed and fasted only to gain the praise of people, a very temporary reward. Jesus admonished His followers:
And when you pray, you are not to be as the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on the street corners, in order to be seen by men [Jesus’ audience certainly knew of whom He was speaking]. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. But you, when you pray, go into your inner room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees in secret will repay you.
And whenever you fast, do not put on a gloomy face as the hypocrites do, for they neglect their appearance in order to be seen fasting by men [Again, Jesus’ audience certainly knew of whom He was speaking]. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. But you, when you fast, anoint your head, and wash your face, so that you may not be seen fasting by men, but by your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will repay you (Matt. 6:5-6, 16-18).
How many professing Christians have a prayer life that is non-existent and have never fasted? In this regard, how does their righteousness compare with that of the scribes and Pharisees, who practiced both (albeit for the wrong reasons)?
 Later in this teaching, I have included an entire chapter on the subject of fasting.