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What Is Prayer And Fasting According To The Bible

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Prayer For Fasting And Petition

Here’s HOW to Fast and Pray (According to the Bible)

Lord, please forgive us for craving food more than you. Forgive us for craving anything more than you. Lord redirect our hunger. Be our God. Open our eyes to the benefits of fasting. Open our hearts to you like never before. Give us the desire to turn to you with all our hearts, with all our souls, with all our strength. May we no longer live by bread alone but by every word that comes from your mouth Oh LORD. Teach us to fast so that we might hold fast to you. In Jesus Name, Amen.

How To Fast And Pray In A Way That Pleases God

What comes to mind when you think of fasting and prayer? Really, lets do a gut check here My first thoughts are No Way, I cant go all day without eating. Can I be more honest? When I felt God prompting me to dig into How to fast and pray, I sort of freaked out.

Stay to the end to see a video where I go more in-depth about fasting and prayer!

I imagined fasting would be hard and that the Bible would be filled with rules and regulations I could never follow. So imagine my shock when I began to search scripture for all the rules about how to fast -and found grace.

Today we will see how easy it is to begin fasting in a way that will please God, feeds your soul, and leads to spiritual breakthrough!

Seeking The Holy Spirits Guidance

So after they had fasted and prayed, they placed their hands on them and sent them off.

Acts 13:3

It would seem that the church here fasted for guidance from the Holy Spirit. They didnt know what to do next, but they ached for Gods direction.

And this particular instance of fasting happened after Christs coming.

This fasting was not about legalism.

This was a deep hunger in these people searching for guidance of the churchs next steps.

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What Fasting Is Not

Spiritual fasting is not a way to earn God’s favor by getting him to do something for us. Rather, the purpose is to produce a transformation in usa clearer, more focused attention and dependence upon God.

Fasting is never to be a public display of spiritualityit is between you and God alone. In fact, Jesus specifically instructed us to let our fasting be done privately and in humility, else we forfeit the benefits. And while Old Testament fasting was a sign of mourning, New Testament believers were taught to practice fasting with a cheerful attitude:

“And when you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces that their fasting may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, that your fasting may not be seen by others but by your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.”

Lastly, it should be understood that spiritual fasting is never for the purpose of punishing or harming the body.

Fasting In The Bible New Testament Fasting Specifically

Praying And Fasting For Healing: A Definitive Guide  Bible Facts ...

First, we see that Jesus fasted but we dont see examples. Jesus lack of explanation is beautiful because it reinforces the point that fasting is between you and God.

The truth is, you know what you seek for satisfaction. What of that is often apart from God? That thing, or those things, are probably what you need to set aside for a time to re-engage with God.

For me, I turn to junk food when I am hurting or angry, knowing full well that I should turn to God. A partial fast for a period of time is a way that I can intentionally re-engage with God.

What are those things for you?

Also Check: How To Start Fasting For God

How To Do A Biblical Fast

There are two types of fasts commonly practiced by Christians today:

1. A partial fast. This is described in the book of Daniel. For three weeks, Daniel, who was a prophet during a time when Israel lived in exile, abstained only from delicacies like meat and wine .

2. A complete fast. A complete fast means drinking only water or sometimes juice when fasting for an extended period. Juice fasts will provide you with more energy than water-only fasts and still lead you into the humbling experience of denying your desire for solid, chewable food.

If you are new to fasting, start slow. Progressive steps help your body become accustomed to the drop in food intake. You can start by fasting for one meal a day, one day a week or one week a month.

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Although the Bible does not give a direct command on this issue, examples of fasting appear in both the Old and the New Testaments. One of the most telling passages in which fasting is mentioned is Matthew 6:16, where Jesus is teaching His disciples basic principles of godly living. When speaking on fasting, He begins with, When you fast, not If you fast.Jesus words imply that fasting will be a regular practice in His followers lives.Dietrich Bonhoeffer, in his book The Cost of Discipleship, said, Jesus takes it for granted that His disciples will observe the pious custom of fasting. Strict exercise of self-control is an essential feature of the Christian life. Such customs have only one purpose to make the disciples more ready and cheerful to accomplish those things which God would have done.Wesley Duewel, a twentieth-century writer, said, You and I have no more right to omit fasting because we feel no special emotional prompting than we have a right to omit prayer, Bible reading, or assembling with Gods children for lack of some special emotional prompting. Fasting is just as biblical and normal a part of a spiritual walk of obedience with God as are these others.People fast for a number of reasons. Following are seven circumstances in the Bible in which believers sought God through this discipline.

2. To seek Gods wisdom. Paul and Barnabas prayed and fasted for the elders of the churches before committing them to the Lord for His service .

Also Check: What Food To Eat To Break Intermittent Fasting

Ezra And The Israelites Fast For A Safe Journey

In Ezra 8:21-23, Ezra proclaimed a fast at the river of Ahava for 220 temple servants that they might humble themselves before God and ask Him for wise guidance and a safe journey for them, the children, and all of their possessions. Ezra was embarrassed to ask the king for a bodyguard because he had just told him that God lovingly looks after those who seek Him and turns away in disgust from those who leave Him, so they fasted and prayed that God would take care of them and He listened.

Fasting Is An Express Of Humility

What Is The Purpose Of Fasting & Prayer?

15. Psalm 35:13-14 Yet when they were ill, I put on sackcloth and humbled myself with fasting. When my prayers returned to me unanswered, I went about mourning as though for my friend or brother. I bowed my head in grief as though weeping for my mother.

16. 1 Kings 21:25-27 When Ahab heard these words, he tore his clothes, put on sackcloth and fasted. He lay in sackcloth and went around meekly.

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Reasons Why Fasting And Prayer Is Important

  • To get answers to our prayers
  • We also pray and fast to get strength from God to fight the devil and every evil arrows that might be thrown at us by the evil ones . Just as we saw in Ephesians 6:12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places, we need the power of Jesus to fight and overcome. Also through the help of the Holy spirit we can overcome.
  • When we pray and fast chains are broken, the captives are free , those who mourn begin to smile and be comforted, for instance we see that when Paul and Silas were in prison they fasted and prayed and they were freed and released.

In one of Jesus preaching on fasting and prayer He said in the book of Matthew 6:16

Moreover when ye fast, be not, as the hypocrites, of a sad countenance: for they disfigure their faces, that they may appear unto men to fast. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.

More Questions About Spiritual Fasting

How Long Should I Fast?

Fasting, especially from food, should be limited to a determined length of time. Fasting for too long can cause harm to the body.

While I hesitate to state the obvious, your decision to fast should be guided by the Holy Spirit. Also, I highly recommend, especially if you’ve never fasted, that you seek both medical and spiritual counsel before embarking on any type of prolonged fast. While Jesus and Moses both fasted for 40 days without food and water, this was clearly an impossible human achievement, only accomplished through the Holy Spirit’s empowerment.

How Often Can I Fast?

New Testament Christians practiced prayer and fasting regularly. Since there is no biblical command to fast, believers should be led by God through prayer concerning when and how often to fast.

Recommended Reading: How Much Weight Can You Lose When Fasting

The Complete Biblical Fast

A complete fast could last from part of a day to an entire day to several days or weeks. This was the most common in the scripture so Ill just list a few fasting and prayer scriptures to help you see the pattern.

Go, assemble all the Jews who are found in Susa, and fast for me do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my maidens also will fast in the same way. And thus I will go in to the king, which is not according to the law and if I perish, I perish.

Yet even now, declares the Lord,Return to Me with all your heart,And with fasting, weeping and mourning

Then I proclaimed a fast there at the river of Ahava, that we might humble ourselves before our God to seek from Him a safe journey for us, our little ones, and all our possessions. For I was ashamed to request from the king troops and horsemen to protect us from the enemy on the way, because we had said to the king, The hand of our God is favorably disposed to all those who seek Him, but His power and His anger are against all those who forsake Him. So we fasted and sought our God concerning this matter, and He listened to our entreaty.

Even the lost saw God move through a Complete Fast

The people of Nineveh observed a fast that turned the hand of Gods wrath away.

These were a people who were far from God, enemies of Gods people. Still, we see God loves people, God cares for us even when we are struggling through sin!

Practical Tips For Fasting

Fasting for Christians According to the Bible  Cure 4 the Soul Ministries
  • Dont enter into a Christian fast casually. If the fast doesnt mean anything to you, it wont mean much to God. Fasting has to be for a specific purpose, combined with prayer and bible reading.
  • Limit your television viewing while fasting. TV shows are loaded with restaurant and food related commercials. Dont put the temptation to eat in front of your eyes. Those food ads can be torture on an empty stomach!
  • Dont pig-out in the days before you begin a longer fast. Your mind will tell you to eat more because you wont be having any food for a while, but in reality that will make the first few days of a fast even harder. You should eat less, and begin tapering off your food intake prior to a fast.
  • Try to drink at least one gallon of purified water the first day of a fast . Purified or distilled water flushes the toxins and poisons out of your system. Water also makes you feel full. Youll quickly realize that water is the fasters best friend!

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When You Are Hungry For More Of God Pray And Fast

The amazing thing about the gospel is when you receive Jesus, you are satisfied like you have never been before, and yet you will always be hungry for even more of God.

Paul said, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord . He had a hunger to know God more every day. Sometimes we are so hungry for God we will fast if it means we can experience Him more.

There is something about that experience that opens our hearts to receiving more of Gods presence in our lives. It might not happen in the middle of the fast, because we will probably feel weak and frail. But either during or after fastingeven in the months or years following a time of fasting, we will see the strong results of seeking more of God.

What Is Biblical Fasting

First and foremost, biblical fasting is NOT a diet. Oh sure, youll receive some of the same great benefits as dieting, but its not the same thing. A true fast according to the bible is always accompanied by prayer and seeking the Lord. If youre not going to pray while fasting, well then youre simply dieting. A diet is usually for physical reasons . But biblical fasting is for spiritual reasons. When you fast and pray you are refraining from food for a spiritual purpose. Fasting is a secret source of power that is overlooked by many Christians. Fasting and prayer is the secret key that opens the windows of heaven and slams shut the gates of hell. Fasting releases the anointing, favor, and blessing of God.

In the Gospel of Matthew fasting is mentioned as one of the three duties of every Christian , along with giving and praying . When you read this scripture regarding fasting, its important to note that Jesus said when you fast, not if you fast. The word when indicates fasting should be a regular part of the Christian lifestyle. In these bible verses Jesus was speaking to His disciples, so clearly we see that the practice of fasting is not limited only to pastors or priests or spiritual leaders. Fasting was meant to be a normal part of a relationship with God. In the bible, virtually every major character fasted.

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New Wine Into New Wineskins

Then Johns disciples came and asked him, How is it that we and the Pharisees fast often, but your disciples do not fast?Jesus answered, How can the guests of the bridegroom mourn while he is with them? The time will come when the bridegroom will be taken from them then they will fast.No one sews a patch of unshrunk cloth on an old garment, for the patch will pull away from the garment, making the tear worse. Neither do people pour new wine into old wineskins. If they do, the skins will burst the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined. No, they pour new wine into new wineskins, and both are preserved.

Matthew 9:14-17

The entire purpose of the disciples and the Pharisees fasting was to show a longing for the day God would show up and show favor to Israel again.

But Jesus was right there with them! There was no need for fasting at that moment.

But immediately afterward, Jesus said, the time will come when the bridegroom will be taken from them then they will fast.

He wasnt putting an end to all fasting.

He specifically said the time to fast would be coming again!

But now, our fasting isnt filled with mourning as it was for the Pharisees. Instead, its filled with longing because we know Jesus came and will come again!

How Many Different Types Of Biblical Fasting Are There


The answer is countless. Ive read books touting the 9 types of Biblical fasting, the 5 types of prayer, the 20 ways to fast and pray. The truth is, there are countless types of Biblical fasting hidden within the pages of scripture.


Why can I say there are limitless fasting options?

Because every person is different, the things we are fasting from will differ. Therefore, there are countless different types of Biblical fasting.

Fasting, at its heart, is about giving up something that satisfies you in order to intentionally pursue satisfaction in God alone. ~A Beginners Guide to Pray and Fast: Taking Spiritual Warfare to the Next Level by Tiffany Montgomery.

Every single time I study the topic of fasting I am awed by the wonder of a God who cares more about our heart than the rules of Christianity.

Every time I see God show up through a different type of fasting I am reminded that Gods desire is not primarily to enforce rules but to encourage THE relationship.

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Fasting Is A Spiritual Weapon

Jehoshaphat was afraid and turned his attention to seek the Lord, and proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah.

Fasting is a spiritual weapon when we need the Lords help. When enemies are approaching or are surrounding us, we must seek the Lord through prayer and fasting. We don’t have to run and hide from the enemy. We don’t have to let our fear get the best of us. Indeed, fasting brings God’s protection, provision, and help. Fast your way through afflictions, hardships, obstacles, and opposition.

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