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What Does The Bible Say About Fasting?

What does the Bible say about fasting?


Fasting is a spiritual exercise that has been practiced since time immemorial.

From the Old Testament days to the New Testament times and now the present times, Christians in different denominations all over the world fast and pray. However, many still need to fully grasp the spiritual significance of fasting from a biblical point of view.

In this article, we discuss what the Bible says about fasting to help you engage in the practice with spiritual knowledge and understanding.

What is fasting?scripture on fasting

When fasting is mentioned, abstinence from food first comes to mind.

That is correct, but it’s only an aspect of fasting.

Fasting is disconnecting from worldly things and pleasures while fully concentrating on God and righteousness.

It involves denying the body food, sex, and other pleasurable things like social media, movies, music, etc., to fully concentrate on connecting with God on a deeper level. 

Fasting is usually accompanied by praying and Bible study.

That is because while fasting helps us detoxify our bodies and minds of worldly thoughts, spiritual activities help us occupy the void and reactivate our spiritual man.

Not communicating with God or engaging in our daily fasting routines can render it less effective.

Doing that may pass as a hunger strike with little or no spiritual significance. 

Therefore, believers who fast have a purpose or goal they want to achieve.

They do not just choose to abandon food and other enjoyable activities and things. 

What are the Biblical purposes for fasting?

To return to Godscriptures on fasting

“Now, therefore,” says the Lord, “Turn to Me with all your heart, With fasting, with weeping, and with mourning.” (Joel 2:12)

We are all working toward becoming perfect like Jesus Christ, the author and the finisher of our faith.

This journey often involves mistakes or sins as we try to shed our old selves completely and become what God wants us to become. 

Sin drives away God’s presence. It separates us from Him because God’s nature is holiness.

He lives whenever sin enters the equation because He is too holy to behold iniquity.

Being disconnected from God is dangerous because it makes us vulnerable and open to the enemy’s attack. Therefore, we must return to God as soon as possible. 

One way to return to Him is through fasting.

The Bible talks about godly sorrow that brings repentance (2 Corinthians 7:10).

We express this godly sorrow by abstaining from food and other things.

Fasting alongside the prayer of forgiveness and genuine repentance rekindles our relationship with God. It activates mercy and brings back God’s presence into our lives.

Therefore, if you are a sinner, genuinely sorry for your sins, and want to reactivate your faith and relationship with God, fast and ask God for forgiveness. However, do not make this a routine.

Ensure you do not engage in willful sin that leads to judgment (Hebrews 10:26-27)

To ask God for something in prayerfasting bible verses

“So we fasted and entreated our God for this, and He answered our prayer.” (Ezra 8:23) 

Certain requests require an extra push before we get our desires.

Prayer works in different ways. Oftentimes, we only think about something, and it comes to pass.

Other times, we say a short prayer and get our request.

Sometimes, we pray consistently for days before we experience breakthroughs and results.

When our prayers linger without any result, it is a sign that fasting should be added to the equation.

Fasting often adds force and fire to our prayers to ascend into God’s presence for instant response. 

The Bible is filled with instances where God’s people fasted and prayed for supernatural intervention and instant deliverance.

For example, Esther asked that the Jews pray for her as she planned to see flout the king’s rule of seeing him when he did not send for her to plead the cause of her people. 

“Go, gather all the Jews who are present in Shushan, and fast for me; neither eat nor drink for three days, night or day. My maids and I will fast likewise. And so I will go to the king, which is against the law; and if I perish, I perish!” (Esther 4:16).

She succeeded, and God delivered the Jewish people from destruction. Therefore, fasting might be your prayer’s extra push to get the answer you want. 

To seek God’s guidancebible verse about fasting

The church in the New Testament unveiled the power of fasting in seeking God’s guidance when making crucial spiritual decisions and choosing spiritual leaders in the church.

In Acts 14:23, the Holy Spirit instructed the disciples to separate Barnabas and Saul (Paul) for a work God has for them.

Also, Acts 14:23 says Jesus’ disciples fasted when appointing elders in every church.

We need God’s help to make the right decisions every time because one costly mistake can lead to disaster, especially within the church.

People often come as wolves in sheep’s clothing and disguise themselves as angels of light, but they belong to the kingdom of darkness.

They can pretend to be committed to God’s work to win our hearts and get leadership positions in the church before unleashing their evil agenda. As leaders in the church, fasting opens our eyes to see who people truly are. 

Fasting helps us to walk by the Holy Spirit and not emotions and head knowledge when making critical decisions in the church.

So, if you want to appoint anybody to hold any important position within the church, like deacon, elder, Sunday school teacher, pastor, etc., ensure you do not choose based on outward appearance. Instead, ask God for help through fasting and prayer. 

To receive spiritual strengthscriptures about fasting

In Matthew 4:1-11, the Holy Spirit led Jesus Christ into the wilderness on a forty-day and night fasting.

This was done to prepare Jesus for His ministry.

Shortly after completing this fast, the Bible records that Satan tested Jesus, and He overcame him.

This event showed that Jesus’s fasting exercise equipped Him with the spiritual strength to successfully wade off Satan.

Another scenario in the Bible that enforces this truth was when the disciples tried to heal an epileptic boy without success.

When they reported their situation to Jesus, He replied saying. “However, this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting.” (Matthew 17:21)

You will only wield a certain degree of spiritual power if you fast and pray consistently.

Those who fast regularly perform miracles easily.

This is because they are strengthened spiritually.

After all, they focus more on spiritual activities and are not distracted by what many other believers put their time into.

Suppose you desire spiritual strength as a believer to overcome temptations like Jesus and perform miracles, give room for more fasting in your spiritual routines.

To receive revelation from Godbible verses on fasting

“So he was there with the Lord forty days and forty nights; he neither ate bread nor drank water. And He wrote on the tablets the words of the covenant, the Ten Commandments.” (Exodus 34:28)

Moses climbed Mount Sinai to receive the Ten Commandments from God.

While at that, he fasted for forty days and forty nights. That was an incredible sacrifice for the revelation he got. 

Fasting opens our minds’ portals and allows us to gain access to spiritual insights and revelations that can transform our lives. David, Jesus, the Apostle Paul, etc., all fasted and gained divine information others did not get.

Therefore, if you want revelation about your relationship, business, career, etc., fast and pray.

How should we fast according to the Bible?

Cut down on worldly activitiesbible verses about fasting

To fast effectively and get results, you must avoid food, drinks, and things you love and cannot do without.

Daniel avoided pleasant food, meat, and wine while fasting. 

“I ate no pleasant food, no meat or wine came into my mouth, nor did I anoint myself at all, till three whole weeks were fulfilled.” (Daniel 10:3)

You can avoid food, games, social media, movies, etc., to be laser-focused on God and spiritually sensitive to revelation.

Replace all these worldly activities with spiritual activities, like prayer, Bible study, worship, etc.

Remember that anything too difficult for you to sacrifice to build an intimate relationship with God has become an idol. And God frowns against idolatry. 

Fast to be seen by God aloneverses about fasting

Jesus warns us about fasting like hypocrites.

These are those who want everyone to know they are fasting.

According to Matthew 6:16, “they disfigure their faces that they may appear to men to be fasting.” 

Jesus said those who fast this way have already received their rewards on earth because they are only fasting to prove a point and not for any spiritual benefit.

However, Jesus gave a directive on how to fast.

“But you, when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, so that you do not appear to men to be fasting, but to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly” (Matthew 6:17-18).

In other words, do not fast to please anybody but to seek God’s face. Maintain personal hygiene as much as possible, and God will reward you.


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