What If You Fail At Fasting
Bill Bright put it this way: It takes time to build your spiritual fasting muscles. If you fail to make it through your first fast, do not be discouraged. You may have tried to fast too long the first time, or you may need to strengthen your understanding and resolve. Keep trying until you do succeed. God will honor you for your faithfulness.
Bible Verses On Fasting
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9 Bible Verses on Fasting Scripture to show us the value of fasting, praying, seeking, and longing for closeness with God through biblical
Every Lent, I dive a little bit deeper into the idea of fasting.
- Is fasting still relevant today?
- How does fasting bring me closer to God?
- What should I be fasting for anyways?
Whether you are choosing to fast for Lent or as a regular spiritual discipline in your life, it is so encouraging to look back over the people who fasted in the Bible.
Seeing the reasons they fasted and how God responded to them renews your excitement for this practice and inspires you to deepen your relationship with God in this way.
There are examples of fasting in both the New Testament and the Old Testament to show us the value of this spiritual discipline.
In the Bible, fasting is when people have given up food or drink and spent that time praying, mourning, and seeking Gods will.
Below, youll find 9 Bible verses on fasting and be able to see the different purposes behind their fasts to inspire, motivate, and give you more purpose in your own fasting.
Fasting And Medical Safety
According to The Foods and Nutrition Encyclopedia, For healthy individuals, no harm results from short-term fasting. The average healthy person can go without food between 21 and 40 or more days before the body begins to eliminate vital tissue . Consult your physician before beginning any fast lasting longer than three days.
If you have underlying health conditions such as pregnancy, anemia, behavioral disorders or other chronic health problems, you should never fast without consulting a physician first.
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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.
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!
Do Christians Need To Fast
Fasting might sound sensational today. But in Jesus culture, it was weird for a religious person not to fast.
The disciples of John the Baptist, an important prophet who prepared the way for Jesus ministry, often fasted. So did the Pharisees, a group of religious leaders who opposed Jesus teachings and conspired to kill Him!
During Jesus earthly ministry, His followers didnt fast. But Jesus assumed they would fast after he returned to the Father . In His Sermon on the Mount, Jesus gives His followers instructions on how to fast, specifically telling them not to make a show of fasting like others in their culture .
Jesus may not have commanded his followers to fast, but He expected them to.
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Fasting Is Highly Personal
Christ’s statements concerning fasting are simple and straightforward. His disciples will fast , but He did not specify when, how long or how often. As Paul amplified in Romans, fasting is an individual concern between us and Jesus Christ, who is our judge. Jesus, knowing that His disciples would fast, left ample instruction in both the Old and New Testaments on how to go about it and the purpose of going for a time without food and drink.
In Matthew 6:16-18Matthew 6:16-18 Moreover when you fast, be not, as the hypocrites, of a sad countenance: for they disfigure their faces, that they may appear to men to fast. Truly I say to you, They have their reward. But you, when you fast, anoint your head, and wash your face That you appear not to men to fast, but to your Father which is in secret: and your Father, which sees in secret, shall reward you openly.American King James Version×Christ explains that fasting is not to be a show of our supposed righteousness before men, but that it is a personal affair between us and God and that by all outward appearances no one should be aware of our fasting. Our dress and demeanor should not broadcast to others that we are fasting, which is a matter between us and God and our service to Him.
What Does Fasting Do Spiritually
Before we finish together I want to point out something in most of these fasting and prayer scriptures. Look at the examples in Daniel and Esther specifically? Those people were in a desperate spiritual state as well as a desperate physical state. Their lives were in danger. Life was hard in a way we will never understand in the 21st Century Western Church. When they needed to draw near to God, when they needed answers, when they needed spiritual breakthrough they took prayer to the next level and fasted.
Those are some amazing fasting scriptures for breakthrough! If God showed up for them He can show up for you. Write those verses out, pray over them, remind God of His promises and be strengthened in your faith today!
Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.
What fasting does spiritually is draw your heart in humility nearer to the heart of God. And when you are humble and near the Father, you can hear His voice answer prayers. You can feel his breath move, you can see the future He has for you in hope and joy.
The reward of fasting in the Bible is always a closer walk with God, healing either spiritually or physically and peace even when life is hard.
Fasting and Prayer can change both your heart and a nation’s heart
Fasting does so much for us spiritually but a look at this example of fasting in Nehemiah shows us that it is also powerful enough to heal and unite a nation’s heart to God.
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Biblical Reasons To Fast
The Bible is full of Scriptural references on fasting. Many times, the Bible is clear that it enhances our faith. We see strong Biblical characters who participated in the act of fasting. It is also made known to the followers of Jesus, that there is a reward for those who fast with a humble heart before the Lord. Let us look at why Biblical characters fast, how it strengthens Gods people, and how Jesus is heavily involved in fasting throughout the Bible.
Should Christians Still Fast Today
For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. 2 Corinthians 4:17-18
Jesus did not command fasting, but it was a normal occurrence in His earthly time, and it would have made sense to His followers to take up this practice as a spiritual discipline. Fasting is not just for food, but food is widely used in different types of fasting. Fasting from food should be progressive and can be full or partial. Sam Storms, in his Crosswalk.com article, What Christians Need to Know about Fasting, lists the following different types of fasts: a partial fast, abstaining from a particular food a liquid fast, abstaining from all solid foods an absolute fast, abstaining from all food and liquids, and a supernatural fast, as in Moses refraining from eating or drinking for 40 days.
Fasting could be refraining from Netflix, spending the time it takes to binge a whole season in prayer or dedicate the same amount of time in prayer as our weekly screen time report reveals. Put thought into what you are abstaining from, and your fast can be short, intermittent, or longer. Theres not one type of fast that fits all its important that the fast is between you and God rather than a group fad youre joining.
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A Partial Biblical Fast
A Partial fast can also be called a 3 day spiritual fast. In Daniel, we also see believers who ate fruit, veggies and drank water for 10 days to honor God while in captivity.
Please test your servants for ten days, and let us be given some vegetables to eat and water to drink.
The Daniel Fast is a partial fast that has gotten a lot of attention in the past decade. The basic idea behind this fast is to have no meat, no tasty bread, no wine, no oils for his skin, for 21 days.
I did not eat any tasty food, nor did meat or wine enter my mouth, nor did I use any ointment at all until the entire three weeks were completed.
So I gave my attention to the Lord God to seek Him by prayer and supplications, with fasting, sackcloth and ashes.
These would have been things that satisfied Daniel. The world latches onto the specifics of his fasting because of the power that came and the answers to prayer that he saw but what they miss is that fasting and prayer were his habits. The Daniel fast was not powerful because of what Daniel gave up, but rather because of the humility of Daniel’s life.
What The Bible Says About Spiritual Fasting
- General Biblical Studies, Interdenominational Christian Training Center
In the Old Testament, God commanded Israel to observe several designated times of fasting. For New Testament believers, fasting was neither commanded nor forbidden in the Bible. While early Christians were not required to fast, many practiced prayer and fasting regularly.
Jesus himself affirmed in Luke 5:35 that after his death, fasting would be appropriate for his followers: “The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast in those days” .
Fasting clearly has a place and a purpose for God’s people today.
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Bible Verses About Fasting And Prayer
There is no such thing as a fast without prayer. A fast without prayer is just going hungry and youre accomplishing nothing at all. While fasting is not necessary for salvation it is essential on your Christian walk of faith and highly recommended. In fact, Jesus expects us to fast.
Fasting will help you have a more intimate relationship with Christ. It will help you to overcome sin, bad habits, and help open your eyes to things that are displeasing to God in your life. Fasting and prayer is a time to separate yourself from your regular patterns and from things of the world and come closer to the Lord.
There are so many benefits and reasons for fasting and so many ways to do it. Find out the best way for you. Find out the reason for your fasting and how long you plan on doing it for.
I challenge you today to fast. Dont do it to try to brag and appear spiritual. Make sure your motives are right and do it for the glory of God. Humble yourself before the Lord and commit to Him.
What Are Three Biblical Reasons To Fast
While there is a number of reasons for Christian fasting, the three primary categories fall under Biblical mandates, spiritual disciplines, and health benefits. Reasons for Christian fasting include nearness to God, spiritual freedom, guidance, waiting for Jesus return and of course, a healthy body.
Misconceptions About The Bibles View Of Fasting
Misconception: The apostle Paul recommended fasting to Christian married couples.1 Corinthians 7:5, King James Version.
Fact: The oldest Bible manuscripts do not mention fasting at 1 Corinthians 7:5. * Evidently, Bible copyists added a reference to fasting, not only to this verse but also to Matthew 17:21 and Acts 10:30. Most modern Bible translations omit these spurious references to fasting.
Misconception: Christians should fast in commemoration of the 40 days that Jesus fasted in the wilderness after his baptism.
Fact: Jesus never commanded such a fast, nor are there any Scriptural indications that early Christians observed it. *
Misconception: Christians should fast when commemorating Jesus death.
Fact: Jesus did not command his disciples to fast when commemorating his death. While Jesus said that his disciples would fast when he died, he was not issuing a command but merely stating what was going to happen. The Bible instructed Christians who were hungry to eat at home before observing the Memorial of Jesus death.1 Corinthians 11:33, 34.
^ par. 5 God told the Israelites: You should afflict yourselves, or afflict your souls, on Atonement Day. This expression is understood to refer to fasting. Thus, the Contemporary English Version uses this rendering: You must go without eating to show sorrow for your sins.
^ par. 13 See A Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament, by Bruce M. Metzger, Third Edition, page 554.
Why Do Christians Fast What Does Biblical Fasting Accomplish
Biblical fasting is not a hunger strike between you and God. It can be easy to think of fasting as a way to add an extra oomph to your prayers. But biblical fasting isnt so much about how God responds to your prayers: its more about how you bring your prayers to Him.
God opposes the proud, but shows favor to the humble . Fasting is a means of humbling ourselves before God. In the Old Testament, fasting was often accompanied by other signs of humility and brokenness, such as weeping, mourning, and lamenting, as well as wearing sackcloth and sitting in ashes.
Bill Bright, Crus co-founder, made it his practice to fast and pray. He believed it played a vital role in what God did through him and through Cru as a ministry. He listed several benefits he gained from fasting:
- Fasting is a biblical way to truly humble yourself in the sight of God. King David said, I humbled myself with fasting .
- Fasting enables the Holy Spirit to reveal your true spiritual condition, resulting in brokenness, repentance and a transformed life.
- Your confidence and faith in God will be strengthened. You will feel mentally, spiritually and physically refreshed.
Its important to understand that fasting is not a way to get a better response to prayer. Rather, true fasting is a means of fostering a better approach to prayer.
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Spiritual Preparation For Fasting And Prayer
In preparation for this special time with God, cru.orgs guide to fasting urges that you examine your heart. Ask God to help you see your brokenness clearly so that you can confess your sins and repent. In Scripture, God frequently calls upon people to repent of their sins before listening to their prayers.
You can look to King Davids example in Psalm 66:16-20:
Come and hear, all you who fear God, and I will tell what he has done for me. I cried aloud to him, and he was extolled with my tongue.If I had cherished iniquity in my heart, the Lord would not have listened.But truly God has listened he has given heed to the words of my prayer.
Blessed be God,
Fasting Important In Seeking Help
Fasting can be invaluable in a time of serious trouble, when we desperately need God’s help. Jehoshaphat and the nation of Judah used fasting under these circumstances as recorded in 2 Chronicles 20:3-42 Chronicles 20:3-4 And Jehoshaphat feared, and set himself to seek the LORD, and proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah. And Judah gathered themselves together, to ask help of the LORD: even out of all the cities of Judah they came to seek the LORD.American King James Version×: “And Jehoshaphat feared, and set himself to seek the LORD, and proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah. So Judah gathered together to ask help from the LORD and from all the cities of Judah they came to seek the LORD.”
Jesus made use of fasting to prepare for a time of testing recorded in Matthew 4:1-2Matthew 4:1-2 Then was Jesus led up of the spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil. And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungered.
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