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A Spiritual Discipline: Bible Verses about Fasting

As we walk through the Bible, we encounter wisdom and God's guidance on the spiritual discipline of fasting. The scriptures show us the significance of this discipline, providing a greater understanding for believers seeking a deeper relationship with God. In this post, we will dig into bible verses about fasting, particularly Matthew 6:16-18, where Jesus imparts crucial insights. This post not only highlights scriptures but will also offer some practical thoughts to apply. Fasting in the Bible goes beyond merely abstaining from food; it is a powerful practice for private devotion, denying self, dependence upon God, faith, repentance, and seeking God's guidance. Join us as we uncover the practical applications rooted in these scriptures, guiding us in embracing the transformative power of fasting as a vital aspect of our spiritual walk with God.

fasting scriptures

A Spiritual Discipline: Bible Verses about Fasting

Matthew 6:16-18 - 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.

Practical Thought: Fasting is a private act of devotion. Seek God in sincerity, not looking for attention or approval from others.

Isaiah 58:6-7 - Is not this the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the straps of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke? Is it not to share your bread with the hungry and bring the homeless poor into your house; when you see the naked, to cover him, and not to hide yourself from your own flesh?

Practical Thought: Fasting involves justice and compassion. Combine fasting with acts of kindness; don't turn away from those in need.

Joel 2:12 - "Yet even now," declares the Lord, "return to me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning."

Practical Thought: Fasting often accompanies repentance. Use fasting to turn the heart back to God; let it be a genuine expression of remorse and repentance.

Acts 13:2-3 - 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.' Then after fasting and praying, they laid their hands on them and sent them off.

Practical Thought: Fasting can lead to spiritual discernment and direction. Combine fasting with prayer for God's guidance; be open to the Holy Spirit's leading.

Ezra 8:21-23 - Then I proclaimed a fast there, at the river Ahava, that we might humble ourselves before our God, to seek from him a safe journey for ourselves, our children, and all our goods. For I was ashamed to ask the king for a band of soldiers and horsemen to protect us against the enemy on our way, since we had told the king, 'The hand of our God is for good on all who seek him, and the power of his wrath is against all who forsake him.'

Practical Thought: Fasting expresses reliance on God in times of need. During a fast look, have faith in God's strength and protection during challenges; boldly proclaim God's faithfulness.

Daniel 9:3 - Then I turned my face to the Lord God, seeking him by prayer and pleas for mercy with fasting and sackcloth and ashes.

Practical Thought: Fasting accompanies fervent prayer. Combine fasting with genuine prayers for mercy; approach God with humility.

2 Samuel 12:16-17 - David therefore sought God on behalf of the child. And David fasted and went in and lay all night on the ground. And the elders of his house stood beside him, to raise him from the ground, but he would not, nor did he eat food with them.

Practical Thought: Fasting can be a form of seeking God in times of crisis. Take time to fast and seek God's intervention; be persistent in prayer.

Esther 4:16 - Go, gather all the Jews to be found in Susa, and hold a fast on my behalf, and do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my young women will also fast as you do. Then I will go to the king, though it is against the law, and if I perish, I perish.

Practical Thought: Fasting can precede courageous actions. Take time to fast before taking bold steps of faith; trust in God's providence even in risky situations.

Psalm 35:13 - But I, when they were sick—I wore sackcloth; I afflicted myself with fasting; I prayed with head bowed on my chest.

Practical Thought: Fasting can be an expression of empathy and intercession. Combine fasting and intercessory prayer, standing with others in their difficulties

Nehemiah 9:1-2 - Now on the twenty-fourth day of this month the people of Israel were assembled with fasting and in sackcloth, and with earth on their heads. And the Israelites separated themselves from all foreigners and stood and confessed their sins and the iniquities of their fathers.

Practical Thought: Fasting can be a corporate act of repentance. Unite with others fasting for corporate repentance; confess sins and seek God's grace and mercy together.

Luke 2:36-37 - And there was a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was advanced in years, having lived with her husband seven years from when she was a virgin, and then as a widow until she was eighty-four. She did not depart from the temple, worshiping with fasting and prayer night and day.

Practical Thought: Fasting can be a lifelong commitment. Embrace fasting as a consistent part of a life dedicated to worship and prayer; let it be an ongoing spiritual discipline.

Acts 14:23 - And when they had appointed elders for them in every church, with prayer and fasting they committed them to the Lord in whom they had believed.

Practical Thought: Fasting can accompany significant decisions. Combine fasting with prayer when making important decisions; seek God's guidance and commit your plans to Him.

Matthew 17:21 - But this kind never comes out except by prayer and fasting.

Practical Thought: Fasting can strengthen spiritual authority. Seek God in fasting and prayer for spiritual breakthroughs; recognize the need of fasting in specific spiritual battles.

1 Corinthians 7:5 - Do not deprive one another, except perhaps by agreement for a limited time, that you may devote yourselves to prayer; but then come together again, so that Satan may not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.

Practical Thought: Fasting can be a mutually agreed-upon discipline, especially in marriage. Engage in mutual fasting for spiritual purposes; maintain communication and agreement during such times.

Acts 10:30 - And Cornelius said, 'Four days ago, about this hour, I was praying in my house at the ninth hour, and behold, a man stood before me in bright clothing.'

Practical Thought: Fasting can accompany seeking God's guidance. Participate in fasting to seek God's direction; be expectant and attentive during prayer.

Matthew 9:14-15 - Then the disciples of John came to him, saying, 'Why do we and the Pharisees fast, but your disciples do not fast?' And Jesus said to them, 'Can the wedding guests mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them? The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast.'

Practical Thought: Fasting can be a response to specific seasons. Principles: Recognize the appropriateness of fasting during certain seasons; be sensitive to the leading of the Holy Spirit.

Zechariah 7:5 - Say to all the people of the land and the priests, 'When you fasted and mourned in the fifth month and in the seventh, for these seventy years, was it for me that you fasted?'

Practical Thought: Fasting must be done with the right motives. Examine the motives behind fasting; ensure it is done for the glory of God, in faith, and seeking Him and not merely as a ritual.

Conclusion: Embracing the Transformative Journey of Fasting

As we see above, fasting in the Bible transcends mere ritual; it is an invitation to a transformative journey of faith and relationship with God. Let us be encouraged to incorporate these practical applications into our lives, embracing fasting as a devotional discipline that draws us closer to God and becomes a source of strength and life. May we embark on this fasting journey with sincerity, compassion, and a steadfast commitment to the work God does within us as we fast and look to Him.

What has been your experience in fasting and your relationship with God? How has it deepened your relationship with God and influenced your walk of faith?

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