Fasting is a practice observed in many religions, including Christianity, as demonstrated in various Bible verses. It typically refers to abstaining from food, drink, or both for a defined period. Christians view fasting as a way to surrender their will to God and focus on prayer and spiritual growth. The Bible offers multiple reasons for this spiritual discipline, including expressing grief, seeking deliverance or guidance, gaining courage, or strengthening prayer.
Why Christians Fast According to the Bible
The Bible indicates a close connection between fasting and prayer that leads to Christians observing this practice. It symbolizes sacrifice, surrender, and contrition before God. Fasting, according to the Bible, is a way to humble oneself and give up worldly desires to focus on spiritual objectives. It is an act of self-denial for the sake of deepening one’s relationship with God.
What the Bible Says About Fasting In Prayer
The Bible showcases fasting as a companion to prayer, enhancing its intensity and efficacy. It underlines that dedicating time to fasting and prayer can help Christians attune themselves more closely to God’s will. Fasting, according to the Bible, is not a way to manipulate God into doing what we want. Instead, it’s a way to better align ourselves with His will.
Who Participated In Fasting In the Bible
The Bible offers examples of various individuals and groups who engaged in fasting. From Moses, who fasted for 40 days on Mount Sinai, to the early Christian church, instances of fasting are diverse. It not only includes prophets, kings, and leaders, but also ordinary people who sought to deepen their faith and connect with God. These biblical accounts underline that fasting is not restricted to a select few but is a practice accessible to all who seek spiritual growth.
When The Bible Recommends Fasting
There are specific instances in the Bible where fasting is recommended. During times of grief, as exhibited by King David, fasting is used as a form of mourning and expression of deep sorrow. It is also advocated when seeking God’s guidance for critical decisions, much like how the disciples fasted before choosing a replacement for Judas Iscariot. Beyond these instances, the Bible suggests that fasting can be done at any time to strengthen one’s relationship with God. It’s not confined to specific seasons or situations but can be integrated into regular spiritual disciplines.
Where in The Bible Are the Guidelines for Fasting
The Bible provides guidelines on how fasting should be observed. It discourages public displays of fasting aimed at gaining human admiration and encourages sincerity and humility. Fasting, according to the Bible, should be undertaken with a genuine heart, focused on God, not on showmanship. It instructs that when Christians fast, they should not appear to others as if they are fasting. Overall, the Bible emphasizes the importance of a correct attitude, privacy, and purity of intention in fasting.
Below is our full list of bible verses on fasting (King James Version – KJV) provided in ranked order.
Most Popular Bible Verses About Fasting
“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.17 But thou, when thou fastest, anoint thine head, and wash thy face;18 That thou appear not unto men to fast, but unto thy Father which is in secret: and thy Father, which seeth in secret, shall reward thee openly.”
“3 Wherefore have we fasted, say they, and thou seest not? wherefore have we afflicted our soul, and thou takest no knowledge? Behold, in the day of your fast ye find pleasure, and exact all your labours.4 Behold, ye fast for strife and debate, and to smite with the fist of wickedness: ye shall not fast as ye do this day, to make your voice to be heard on high.5 Is it such a fast that I have chosen? a day for a man to afflict his soul? is it to bow down his head as a bulrush, and to spread sackcloth and ashes under him? wilt thou call this a fast, and an acceptable day to the LORD?6 Is not this the fast that I have chosen? to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke?7 Is it not to deal thy bread to the hungry, and that thou bring the poor that are cast out to thy house? when thou seest the naked, that thou cover him; and that thou hide not thyself from thine own flesh?”
“12 Therefore also now, saith the LORD, turn ye even to me with all your heart, and with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning:”
“10 When I wept, and chastened my soul with fasting, that was to my reproach.”
“18 That thou appear not unto men to fast, but unto thy Father which is in secret: and thy Father, which seeth in secret, shall reward thee openly.”
Related Themes: Gold
“3 I ate no pleasant bread, neither came flesh nor wine in my mouth, neither did I anoint myself at all, till three whole weeks were fulfilled.”
Related Themes: Food
“23 And when they had ordained them elders in every church, and had prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord, on whom they believed.”
“6 Is not this the fast that I have chosen? to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke?”
“2 Being forty days tempted of the devil. And in those days he did eat nothing: and when they were ended, he afterward hungered.”
1 Corinthians 7:5
“5 Defraud ye not one the other, except it be with consent for a time, that ye may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again, that Satan tempt you not for your incontinency.”
“4 And it came to pass, when I heard these words, that I sat down and wept, and mourned certain days, and fasted, and prayed before the God of heaven,”
“23 So we fasted and besought our God for this: and he was intreated of us.”
“4 But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.”
“13 But as for me, when they were sick, my clothing was sackcloth: I humbled my soul with fasting; and my prayer returned into mine own bosom.”
Related Themes: Humility
“2 As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them.”
“12 I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess.”
“37 And she was a widow of about fourscore and four years, which departed not from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day.”
“21 Then I proclaimed a fast there, at the river of Ahava, that we might afflict ourselves before our God, to seek of him a right way for us, and for our little ones, and for all our substance.22 For I was ashamed to require of the king a band of soldiers and horsemen to help us against the enemy in the way: because we had spoken unto the king, saying, The hand of our God is upon all them for good that seek him; but his power and his wrath is against all them that forsake him.23 So we fasted and besought our God for this: and he was intreated of us.”
Related Themes: Safety
“16 Go, gather together all the Jews that are present in Shushan, and fast ye for me, and neither eat nor drink three days, night or day: I also and my maidens will fast likewise; and so will I go in unto the king, which is not according to the law: and if I perish, I perish.”
“3 And when they had fasted and prayed, and laid their hands on them, they sent them away.”
“28 And he was there with the LORD forty days and forty nights; he did neither eat bread, nor drink water. And he wrote upon the tables the words of the covenant, the ten commandments.”
“3 And I set my face unto the Lord God, to seek by prayer and supplications, with fasting, and sackcloth, and ashes:”
“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.”
1 Corinthians 10:31
“31 Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.”
“2 And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungred.”
Related Themes: Criticism
“9 And he was three days without sight, and neither did eat nor drink.”
2 Samuel 1:12
“12 And they mourned, and wept, and fasted until even, for Saul, and for Jonathan his son, and for the people of the LORD, and for the house of Israel; because they were fallen by the sword.”
Related Themes: Mourning
1 Corinthians 9:27
“27 But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.”
“26 Then all the children of Israel, and all the people, went up, and came unto the house of God, and wept, and sat there before the LORD, and fasted that day until even, and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings before the LORD.”
“29 And he said unto them, This kind can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting.”