Fasting verses in the Bible

The following verses on fasting are from the King James Version of the Bible. I 
know diabetics and those with other limiting medical conditions cannot fast. But 
for those of us who can fast, I believe Jesus expects us to fast and pray. Fasting 
has many benefits both physical and spiritual. I encourage you to read some 
Christian books on fasting. Prayer by itself is good. But prayer with fasting seems 
to be a God given way for us to approach God's throne of grace more effectively. 
Fasting is surely for the New Testament period. Jesus said when you fast. He 
expects his followers to fast. The early church clearly fasted. I believe we 
probably miss out on some blessings and answers to prayer if we neglect fasting. 
I am sure if you have a medical condition like diabetics that prevents you from 
fasting that God understands and I really believe in that case God does not want 
you to fast. God gave us doctors and nutritionists for our benefit. I believe 
God expects us to listen to them and to heed their wise advice. Before fasting, I 
suggest you educate yourself about fasting, how to start, the effects, and how to 
end a fast. When you are fasting and reading what's recommended when fasting, 
ask yourself, did Jesus and the people in the Bible have or use this? Is there a 
medical reason for me to follow this writer's recommendation? For instance, 
some books on fasting suggest one should break a long fast with juice. Why? 
Did Jesus or Moses break their fast with juice? How you break a long fast is 
important to your system since your digestive tract won't have handled food 
for several weeks. If you want you can read some things I learned about 
breaking a long fast at Lessons I Learned From My Fasts.

Exodus 24:18 = And Moses went into the midst of the cloud, and gat him up into the mount: and Moses was in the mount forty days and forty nights. (During this 40 days Moses received the stone tables which God had written. Exodus 31:18)
Exodus 34:28 = 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. (During this second 40 day period Moses himself wrote the words on the stones. God must have miraculously sustained Moses so he could stay alive with no water for 40 days. It is not unusual for someone to be able to go without food for 40 days.)
Deuteronomy 9:9 = When I was gone up into the mount to receive the tables of stone, even the tables of the covenant which the LORD made with you, then I abode in the mount forty days and forty nights, I neither did eat bread nor drink water. (See Exodus 24:18 God must have Miraculously sustained Moses during this first 40 day period of no water as well as no food.)
Judges 20:26 = 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.
1st Samuel 7:6 = And they gathered together to Mizpeh, and drew water, and poured it out before the LORD, and fasted on that day, and said there, We have sinned against the LORD. And Samuel judged the children of Israel in Mizpeh.
1st Samuel 31:13 = And they took their bones, and buried them under a tree at Jabesh, and fasted seven days. (Also see 1st Chronicles 10:12)
2nd Samuel 1:12 = 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.
2nd Samuel 12:16 = David therefore besought God for the child; and David fasted, and went in, and lay all night upon the earth.
2nd Samuel 12:21 = Then said his servants unto him, What thing is this that thou hast done? Thou didst fast and weep for the child, while it was alive; but when the child was dead, thou didst rise and eat bread?
2nd Samuel 12:22 = And he said, While the child was yet alive, I fasted and wept: for I said, Who can tell whether God will be gracious to me, that the child may live?
2nd Samuel 12:23 = But now he is dead, wherefore should I fast? Can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me.
1st Kings 19:7 = And the angel of the LORD came again the second time, and touched him, and said, Arise and eat; because the journey is too great for thee.
1st Kings 19:8 = And he arose, and did eat and drink, and went in the strength of that meat forty days and forty nights unto Horeb the mount of God.
1st Kings 21:9-13 - Wicked Jezebel proclaimed a fast as part of a plot to get Naboth's vineyard for her wicked husband King Ahab.
1st Kings 21:27 = And it came to pass, when Ahab heard those words, that he rent his clothes, and put sackcloth upon his flesh, and fasted, and lay in sackcloth, and went softly.
1st Kings 21:28 = And the word of the LORD came to Elijah the Tishbite, saying,
1st Kings 21:29 = Seest thou how Ahab humbleth himself before me? Because he humbleth himself before me, I will not bring the evil in his days: but in his son's days will I bring the evil upon his house.
2nd Chronicles 20:3 = And Jehoshaphat feared, and set himself to seek the LORD, and proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah.
Ezra 8:21 = 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.
Ezra 8:22 = 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.
Ezra 8:23 = So we fasted and I besought our God for this: and he was entreated of us.
Nehemiah 1:4 = 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,
Nehemiah 9:1 = Now in the twenty and fourth day of this month the children of Israel were assembled with fasting, and with sackclothes, and earth upon them.
Esther 4:3 = And in every province, whithersoever the king's commandment and his decree came, there was great mourning among the Jews, and fasting, and weeping, and wailing; and many lay in sackcloth and ashes.
Esther 4:16 = 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.
Psalm 35:13 = 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.
Psalm 69:10 = When I wept, and chastened my soul with fasting, that was to my reproach.
Psalm 109:24 = My knees are weak through fasting; and my flesh faileth of fatness.
Isaiah 58 - The whole chapter deals with acceptable fasting and worship and unacceptable fasting and worship and the results of such.
Isaiah 58:3 = 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 labors.
Isaiah 58:6 = 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?
Isaiah 58:7 = 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?
Isaiah 58:8-12 - Details some of the many blessings that shall be those who fast acceptably unto God. The blessings include one shining forth, health or healing, righteousness, the Lord's protection, God's answer. God will guide, satisfy, and strengthen them. They will be like a well watered garden and like a source of water to others. They will be builders, repairers, and restorers.
Jeremiah 14:10-12 - When we fast God will not listen to us if commit sin and wander from him.
Jeremiah 36:6 = Therefore go thou, and read in the roll, which thou hast written from my mouth, the words of the LORD in the ears of the people in the LORD'S house upon the fasting day: and also thou shalt read them in the ears of all Judah that come out of their cities.
Jeremiah 36:9 = And it came to pass in the fifth year of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah king of Judah, in the ninth month, that they proclaimed a fast before the LORD to all the people in Jerusalem, and to all the people that came from the cities of Judah unto Jerusalem.
Daniel 6:18 = Then the king went to his palace, and passed the night fasting: neither were instruments of music brought before him: and his sleep went from him.
Daniel 9:3 = And I set my face unto the Lord God, to seek by prayer and supplications, with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning:
Daniel 10:2 = In those days I Daniel was mourning three full weeks.
Daniel 10:3 = I ate no pleasant bread, neither came flesh nor wine in my mouth, neither did I anoint myself at all, till three weeks were fulfilled.
Daniel 10:12 = Then said he unto me, Fear not, Daniel: for from the first day that thou didst set thine heart to understand, and to chasten thyself before thy God, thy words were heard, and I am come for thy words.
Daniel 10:13 = But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me one and twenty days: but, lo, Michael one of the chief princes, came to help me; and I remained there with the kings of Persia.
Daniel 10:14 = Now I am come to make thee understand what shall befall thy people in the latter days: for yet the vision is for many days.
Joel 1:14 = Sanctify ye a fast, call a solemn assembly, gather the elders and all the inhabitants of the land into the house of the LORD your God, and cry unto the LORD.
Joel 2:12 = Therefore also now, saith the LORD, turn ye even to me with all your heart, and with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning:
Joel 2:15 = Blow the trumpet in Zion, sanctify a fast, call a solemn assembly:
Jonah 3:5 = So the people of Ninevah believed God, and proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth, from the greatest of them even to the least of them.
Jonah 3:6-10 - Tells that God responded to their genuine fasting and praying and decided to not destroy Ninevah.
Zechariah 7:5 = Speak unto all the people of the land, and to the priests, saying, When ye fasted and mourned in the fifth and seventh month, even those seventy years, did ye at all fast unto me, even to me?
Zechariah 8:19 = Thus saith the LORD of hosts; The fast of the fourth month, and the fast of the fifth, and the fast of the tenth, shall be to the house of Judah joy and gladness, and the cheerful feasts; therefore love the truth and peace.
Matthew 4:1 = Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil.
Matthew 4:2 = And when he had fasted fourty days and fourty nights, he was afterward an hungered. (This tells us Jesus went through a complete fast. After the first two or three days one's body will normally go into a keotonic or appetite depressant state. One really isn't hungry. However, once the body has done its house cleaning and used up all its extra fat, as well as a lot of protein, it will begin to consume the vital organs for food. This is true hunger and one should normally begin eating then. If you wait too long to begin eating once true hunger returns your body will consume too much of your heart and you will die!)
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. Notice, Jesus said when you fast he expected and expects his followers to fast.
Matthew 6:17 = But thou, when thou fastest, anoint thine head, and wash thy face;
Matthew 6:18 = 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.
Matthew 9:14 = Then came to him the disciples of John saying, Why do we and the Pharisees fast oft, but thy disciples fast not? (Also see Mark 2:18)
Matthew 9:15 = And Jesus said unto them, Can the children of the bridechamber mourn, as long as the bridegroom is with them? But the days will come, when the bridegroom shall be taken from them, and then shall they fast. (Also see Mark 2:19-20)
Matthew 17:21 = Howbeit this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting. (Also see Mark 9:29)
Luke 2:36 = And there was one Anna, a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher: she was of great age, and had lived with a husband seven years from her virginity;
Luke 2:37 = 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.
Luke 5:33 = And they said unto him, Why do the disciples of John fast often, and make prayers, and likewise the disciples of the Pharisees; but thine eat and drink?
Luke 5:34 = And he said unto them, Can ye make the children of the bridgchamber fast, while the bridegroom is with them?
Luke 5:35 = But the days will come, when the bridegroom shall be taken away from them, and then shall they fast in those days.
Luke 18:12 - The unrighteous and proud Pharisee boasted to God that he fasted twice a week, etc.
Acts 10:30 = And Cornelius said, Four days ago I was fasting until this hour; and at the ninth hour I prayed in my house, and, behold, a man stood before me in bright clothing.
Acts 10:31 = And said, Cornelius, thy prayer is heard, and thine alms are had in remembrance in the sight of God.
Acts 13:2 = 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.
Acts 13:3 = And when they had fasted and prayed, and laid their hands on them, they sent them away.
Acts 14:23 = 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.
Acts 27:33 = And while the day was coming on, Paul besought them all to take meat, saying, This day is the fourteenth day that ye have tarried and continued fasting, having taken nothing.
1st Corinthians 7:5 = 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.
The above comments and verses on fasting were arranged by Wayne Mckellips. Feel free to copy and distribute to others free of charge. Last updated 22 Oct 2002.
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