According to Paul, we have direct access through the Holy Spirit. Is this not what he is to do for us?
ESV - 2 While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, "Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.
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I would say that the fasting being referred to in the verse cited in the question was not viewed as a required part of the regular religious practices of the Christians involved, or as part of the type of ritualistic or legalistic observance referred to by the Pharisee in Jesus' parable of the Pharisee and the publican (Luke 18:10-14)), but was resorted to on occasions as a means of reducing distractions to their thoughts and attention when the discernment of God's will was being sought on a particularly important spiritual matter. (A similar reference is found in Acts 14:23 as part of the special process of appointing elders for each of the various congregations being discussed.) (I also view this as similar to Jesus' own reference in Matthew 17:21 and Mark 9:29 to the type of demon that could only be exorcised in conjunction with prayer and fasting.) Although (as indicated in the question) we do indeed have direct access to God through the salvation that is ours by grace through faith, fasting can still (in my opinion) be a valid means of attaining greater spiritual and physical discipline, as long as it is not viewed as a means of somehow "guaranteeing" God's favor or the granting of requests that we make of Him.
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