Biblical Fasting 101: Answers to your questions

Biblical Fasting 101: Answers to your questions

For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him. – Philippians 2:13 (NLT)

If you ever had a question on fasting, here are some questions that are asked frequently in our Bible Fasting 101 series. If you don’t find the question you desperately want to be answered, leave a comment, and we will add it in the future.

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Fasting Questions

What is the definition/ meaning of biblical fasting?
What is the purpose of biblical fasting?
The first time fasting is mentioned in the bible.
Does biblical fasting have to be food?
Should children fast?
How do you prepare for a spiritual fast?
What are the benefits of Biblical fasting?
Should fasting be a secret?
What are the different types of fasting in the Bible?
What foods do you eat when fasting?
What are the best foods to break a fast?
Body changes during fasting
Fasting period: How long should I fast?
Fasting hours: What time do I start and end my fast?
Does fasting hurt?
Fasting headache/ headache during fasting
Can I do my regular routine during a fast?
Fasting and working out/ exercise
Which fasting is best, or which fasting method is best for me?
What do you do during a fast?
Will fasting help me lose weight?
Fasting where to start?
Where is fasting mentioned in the Bible?
Where is fasting first mentioned in the Bible?
Who are some of the Characters or people that fasted in the bible?
When fasting, what can you eat or drink?
Fasting for healing
Did the disciples fast?
Scriptures to read while fasting
Scripture prayers to pray during fasting
Fasting during menstruation in a biblical way
Biblical Fasting vs intermittent fasting
Biblical fasting rules
Night fasting in the bible
When should Christians fast?
New Testament scriptures on fasting
Corporate fasting in the bible
Biblical Fasting 101. Answers to all of your questions on how to fast according to the Bible. Aloe plant in front of a cream brick wall.
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What is the definition/ meaning of biblical fasting? 

Biblical fasting is defined as the abstinence of food and/or drink for spiritual reasons. The spiritual focus is what separates biblical fasting from other types of popular fasts like intermittent fasting.

What is the purpose of biblical fasting?

The purpose of biblical fasting is to become more in line with the voice and will of God. 1 John 5:14-15 tells us “this is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him”. If you have ever been frustrated that your prayers are going unanswered, then it is time to draw closer to God to understand His will. The critical underlining factor for all ‘unanswered’ prayers is God’s will. Fasting draws us closer to God.

The primary purpose and nature of fasting is humbling oneself. It is submitting our whole self to our Creator, for His will to be done in our lives. Fasting for the wrong reasons will bring God’s disfavour (1 Kings 21:1-9).

Persons in the Bible fasted for guidance, protection, healing, work in ministry, repentance and understanding God’s purpose. God promised us that if we seek Him first, all of our needs will be met (Matthew 6:33). God knows what we need before we ask Him, but the focus is on a relationship. He wants us to come to Him in humility and faith. To build a relationship with Him. Fasting allows us to do this in a supercharged way. And God answers.

The first time fasting is mentioned in the bible

The first mention of fasting in the bible can be found in the Old Testament with Moses, the lawgiver. Moses fasted for 40 days whilst receiving the ten commandments;

Moses was there with the Lord forty days and forty nights without eating bread or drinking water. And he wrote on the tablets the words of the covenant—the Ten Commandments. – Exodus 34:28

Does biblical fasting have to be food?

The Bible doesn’t speak about fasting from anything else but food. It is easy to make an excuse like I did, that technology was not an issue in ancient times, but I felt God reminding me that they also had ‘other temptations’ that they were fighting against. They had other situations that overwhelmed their daily life. But God doesn’t mention any of it.

The deeper I dug into the ‘why’ of it, is the more I realized that I didn’t want to fast from food, because it was the most challenging option. I can easily fast from social media and other technology, as well as other habits, but food; fasting from food is a different kind of suffering.

Billions of dollars are spent every year in the food industry to make food more appealing. So much so that they hire experts to study and bio-engineer foods that will make us crave more. Against the onslaught of choices, faster food options, and delivery of meals right at our doorstep without the need to cook, it is no wonder that we have become slaves to food.

Suffering from food when it is plentiful is not easy. My first fasting journey felt like hell because I wrestled with God throughout. Why? Why? Why Lord? I will remove anything else, just not food. I then realized the prison I was in; I was a slave to food.

Food controlled my daily thoughts, and the idea of going without was scary. But I knew that what was even more frightening was that I preferred food over submitting and humbling myself before God.

Should children fast?

In reference to whether children should fast, there is one Bible reference for ‘all’ fasting.

Do not let people or animals, herds or flocks, taste anything; do not let them eat or drink. But let people and animals be covered with sackcloth. Let everyone call urgently on God. – Jonah 3:7-8

Even though other verses may speak to the people of Israel, the context of Jonah may be the only one where it could be assumed that even children fasted. The Bible does not provide specific guidance for minors. But a family may choose this opportunity to teach their kids about the discipline of fasting and provide other meal options. An example may be having no sugary foods or fast food on the day.

How do you prepare for a spiritual fast?

You prepare for a spiritual fast by approaching fasting with the right motives. God’s approved fast is calling for the righteousness of the heart (Isaiah 58:6-10). Jesus rebuked the hypocritical fasting done by the Pharisees in Matthew 6:16, and in Joel 2:13, God called for his people to render their hearts and not garments.

When we start a fast, we don’t do it on our strength and will, but God’s. We need to be led by God and be obedient to his choice. Before any personal fast, I encourage you to pray and humbly seek God’s guidance. Be desperate for his wisdom and grace. Leave it all at His feet, and He will guide you to the fast that He wants you to do; the fast that will be pleasing and approved by Him.

Anytime we don’t approach fasting in this manner, we will never get the rewards.

What are the benefits of fasting?

God provides a clear outline of the benefits of fasting. When we do the fasting that God approves (Isaiah 58), the benefits we can expect as written in the Bible:

Then your light will break forth like the dawn,
    and your healing will quickly appear;
then your righteousness will go before you,
    and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard.
 Then you will call, and the Lord will answer;
    you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I.

“If you do away with the yoke of oppression,
    with the pointing finger and malicious talk,
 and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry
    and satisfy the needs of the oppressed,
then your light will rise in the darkness,
    and your night will become like the noonday.
 The Lord will guide you always;
    he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land
    and will strengthen your frame.
You will be like a well-watered garden,
    like a spring whose waters never fail.
 Your people will rebuild the ancient ruins
    and will raise up the age-old foundations;
you will be called Repairer of Broken Walls,
    Restorer of Streets with Dwellings. – Isaiah 58:8-12

(highlights are my own)

If our fasting is according to God’s will, then we will be healed. The Lord will hear our prayer, see our suffering, and he will protect us and answer our cry. God will guide us and give us direction, satisfying our needs, giving us strength, and providing for all of our needs. We will be fruitful for the kingdom and leave great legacies ‘repairer of broken walls, restorer of streets with dwellings’.

Should fasting be a secret?

Fasting should be done in secret. When Jesus taught about fasting, he warned us not to be “obvious to others that [we] are fasting, but only to [our] Father, who is unseen; and [our] Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward [us].” (Matthew 6:18)

Sometimes when fasting, especially if you are in an environment with others, they may ask you multiple questions when they don’t see you eating. The urge is there to say you are fasting; control it. Our rewards won’t come from men’s praise, if done correctly and in secret, God will reward us.

What are the different types of fasting in the Bible?

The Bible highlights four different types of fasts:

  • Corporate/ Community Fasts: Sometimes referred to as public fasts. During these fasts, the times and the length of the fast are chosen by the elders/ leaders. A biblical example is Jonah 3:3-8.
  • Normal Fast: During this fast, persons don’t eat any food but can drink water. A biblical example is Jesus’ fast recorded in Matthew 4:1-11 and Luke 4:1-13. It is recorded that Jesus ate no food; no mention is made that He also abstained from water.
  • Partial Fast: A partial fast is a diet restriction that can be taken in different forms. Biblical examples of this fast include Daniel (Daniel 10:2-3). Other forms of this fast include:
    • Restriction of one meal during the day
    • Eating only one type of food (e.g. only vegetables; John Wesley is understood to have done bread and water fast repeatedly in his early ministry)
  • Absolute Fast: The absolute fast includes not eating any food or drinking any liquids. It is sometimes called the ‘dry’ fast. Moses fasted for 40 days with no food or water… two different times making it the longest in the Bible (Deuteronomy 9:9, 18).


What foods do you eat when fasting?

The foods that you eat when fasting will depend on the type of fast that you are doing.

  • Corporate/ Community Fasts
    • In the Bible, many of these were one-day fasts (except Esther’s which was three days), so the fast may have been abstaining from all food and drinks.
  • Normal Fast
    • No food.
    • Even though liquids are allowed, you would still honour ‘no food’ by not drinking liquified food.
    • 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 reminds us that our “bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit not [our] own; [we] were bought at a price. Therefore we should honour God with our bodies. We know the harm that sugary and processed drinks do to our health. So let us prayerfully consider the type of drinks we should have during this fast.
  • Partial Fast
    • This fast provides many different options. Because it is a diet restriction of either a type of food or removing one meal during the day; the possibilities here are endless.
    • If you are removing one meal for the day, be careful not to double up on other meals.
    • A biblical example of this fast is Daniel (Daniel 10:2-3). Daniel ‘ate no choice food; no meat or wine; and used no lotions’.
      • Choice food could be desserts or the ‘best of the best’. It could have been his regular everyday main items.
      • Pray and ask God what the ‘choice foods’ are that He would like you to abstain from. Hence, I always encourage persons to not review another person’s “Daniel fast food list” because the final choice is between you and God.
      • Note wine would have been the only choice in Daniel’s day. Today, it would mean no ‘alcoholic’ beverage of any kind.
  • Absolute Fast
    • No food and no liquids; this is a dry fast.

What are the best foods to break a fast?

The shorter the fast, the quicker you can return to your regular meals breaking your fast. For example, if you are used to eating meats, you can eat meat at sunset if you do a one day fast. But, if you were doing a 21 day fast with no meat, you would not want meat to be your first meal. A friend of mine decided after her 21 days fast, she would eat pizza with her son; she ended up in the emergency room that night. Her body couldn’t process the oils, fats, and salt that she had omitted during her fast. Ingesting foods that are highly processed or have a lot of fat, fibre, sugar, oils and salt will cause discomfort, and in the case of my friend, it can seriously hurt you.

As I am not a person who love veggies, the idea of breaking my fast with another plate of salad doesn’t excite me, so I usually break my fast with a bowl of soup, mainly broth with some heartier vegetables like a potato.

Foods such as soups, fruits, vegetables, and healthy fats like egg are some of the best choices to break your fast. For liquids, choose water over anything else or natural teas with no caffeine or sugar.

Take care not to overeat when breaking your fast. It can cause indigestion and other stomach issues.

Slowly re-introduce your favourite foods, but take the time to see how your body responds to new items you introduce. You may find that you are allergic to a few things and remove them entirely from your diet. For example, after fasting, I realized that my body didn’t process dairy well.

Body changes during fasting

The first time fasting, I didn’t realize there were going to be changes with my body. I had heard about the headaches and expected the gas pains, but I didn’t think further than that. So you are not surprised like I was, I have included this question but a warning in advance, this is a bit more graphic than my usual pieces.

Here are some of the changes you may expect:

  • Outbreak of pimples
  • Skin rashes
  • Body odour
  • Breath odour
  • Faeces odour change (for the better)
  • PH change in the body (especially to those who are meat lovers)
  • Emotional changes
  • Weight loss

Fasting period: How long should I fast?

When thinking about how long you should fast, scripture notes either 1, 3, 7, 21 or 40 days in length. Even though most fasting scriptures did not include the length (54%), understanding the Jewish culture and customs, the typical fasting length was one day. Even in the scriptures that did provide the length, the one day fast seems to be the most popular at 22% of the Bible instances.

Many persons may look at the number of days and scripture reason classification to decide their fast length. I want to encourage you never to take that route. Seek Christ and let Him guide you in the length of your fast. Remember, we always approach fasting, seeking God’s will, not our own.

Fasting hours: What time do I start and end my fast?

After reviewing all fast scriptures in the Bible, the majority does not have a time, but the scriptures that do, provide great context. Fasts usually start at sunrise and end at sunset.

See below an outline of fasting scriptures that provided timing information. If provided in the scripture, the table shows the type, length and timing of the fast. The final column presents a summary classification of why they fasted.

ScriptureType of fastLength of fastTimingReason Classification
2 Samuel 1:12UnknownOne dayStart: Unkown
End: Evening (Sunset)
Grief
2 Samuel 3:35AbsoluteOne dayStart: Unkown
End: Sunset
Grief
Esther 4:16AbsoluteThree daysStart: Sunrise
End: Sunrise of 4th day
Protection
Jeremiah 36:6-10UnknownOne dayStart: Sunrise
End: Sunset
Repentance
Judges 20:26UnknownOne dayStart: Sunrise
End: Sunset
Protection/ Victory
Leviticus 23:27-32AbsoluteOne dayStart: Sunset on the day prior
End: Sunset on the day
Humility/ Repentance
Daniel 6:18NormalOne nightNightDistress

Does fasting hurt?

Some persons have noted that fasting does hurt. We know that when we fast, our greatest enemy will be our mind for all of us. The Devil will tempt and whisper lies; after all, he hates that we are trying to build a closer relationship with God and be obedient to His will. It is important to read God’s Word and pray continually during your fast. You may experience hunger pangs and even headaches (especially if you are a coffee drinker). It all depends on the type and length of your fast; everyone has different experiences. Some persons experience gas pains, exhaustion/ weariness, hunger shakes, and body aches. If you are on a fast for only liquids, I have found that hot tea (non-caffeinated) helps. A personal favourite is ginger tea; my friends love cinnamon tea as well. But the best remedy has always been to pray through it – God hears, and He will help you.

Fasting headache/ headache during fasting

Because of our addiction to sugar and caffeine, many of us may experience a headache during fasting.

Some persons have recommended decreasing the amount of coffee/ caffeine intake weeks before you fast. Others have noted that a strong cup of coffee the day before the fast will help throughout your fast. I have also found that trying to minimize stress, resting, and sleeping will be vital to resisting those headaches.

Can I do my regular routine during a fast?

Fasting is your time to connect with God. As such, during a fast, we are called to pray and read God’s word. Many times our daily routine gets in the way of this objective. We may not be able to do everything, but we should manage our time effectively; guarding the precious time we will be connecting with God should be a focus for us during a fast.

For a forty-day fast, only three people (Moses (twice), Elijah, and Jesus) were recorded in the Bible to have done this fast. For each of them, they went into the wilderness or the solitude of the mountains. According to the Bible, this fast does not allow us to continue with our regular routine but separate ourselves from the world and go into solitude with God.

Fasting and working out/ exercise

Exercising during fasting will be dependent on many factors:

  • The type of fast your doing (i.e. partial, normal or absolute)
  • The length of your fast
  • Your current health
  • Your previous experience with working out
  • The intensity of your workout
  • The length of your workout

If you are fasting with no food or water, working out during your fast would not be recommended as you would need to rehydrate. Even if you are on a normal fast of no food but liquids, you would still want to manage your workout schedule; the number of times and intensity.

This may be an opportunity to instead take a leisure walk with God. As you are walking and looking at His creation, give Him praise and glory along the way. Talk to Him and connect.

Which fasting is best or which fasting method is best for me?

The bible highlights three different types of fast (absolute, normal, and partial). I encourage you not to focus on what type you would like to do but seek God in prayer for wisdom on what He wants. When we do the fast that God wants for us, we will see amazing blessings. 

What do you do during a fast?

Nehemiah 9:1-3 provides a great outline for what we are to do during a fast.

“On the twenty-fourth day of the same month, the Israelites gathered together, fasting and wearing sackcloth and putting dust on their heads. Those of Israelite descent had separated themselves from all foreigners. They stood in their places and confessed their sins and the sins of their ancestors. They stood where they were and read from the Book of the Law of the Lord their God for a quarter of the day, and spent another quarter in confession and in worshiping the Lord their God.”

Reading the word, confessing sin, worshipping and praising God. If you are working during your fast, use your moments of free time to do this. There will be times when you are hungry, at those times, pray and seek God, worship Him. Staying focus on Christ during those difficult moments will help you win the battle.

Will fasting help me lose weight?

Depending on the length of your fast, fasting will help you lose weight. A Bible fast, though, focuses not on the material benefits but on growing closer in Christ and being aligned to His will. God speaks of fasting that displeases Him; fasting that is done with the wrong motives (Isaiah 58).

Fasting where to start?

Fasting should always start with prayer. Seek God’s guidance on the type of and length of your fast. Pour your heart out to Him and ask Him to help with your motives, that they are pleasing to Him. If this is your first time fasting, read key scriptures to help guide you, such as:

  • Fasting pleasing to God (also what not to do): Isaiah 58
  • How to spend a day fasting: Nehemiah 9:1-3
  • A reminder on why we fast: Matthew 6:16-18

Where is fasting mentioned in the Bible?

Scriptures on fasting are mentioned in the Bible over 58 times. Persons in the Bible fasted for guidance, protection, healing, work in ministry, repentance and understanding God’s purpose. There are many great examples of fasting in the Bible. Here are a few:

  • David fasted for his sick child (2 Samuel 12:14-16)
  • Proper fast for healing (Isaiah 58:1-8)
  • Healing and restoration (Joel 2)
  • To receive spiritual revelation, Daniel fasted (Daniel 9:3-22; 10:2-3)
  • Moses receiving instructions and guidance (Exodus 34:28)
  • The people of Ninevah, after receiving the warning from Jonah (Jonah 3:4-10)
  • The nation was called to render their heart and not their garments in Joel 2:12-17
  • Ezra fasted over the unfaithfulness of the exiles (Ezra 10:6)
  • Daniel on behalf of the people (Daniel 6:18; 9:3,20)
  • Jesus fasted before starting his ministry (Matthew 4:1-2)
  • The Apostles fasted before sending Paul and Barnabas out in ministry (Acts 13:1-3)
  • Ezra returning from Babylon to rebuild the Temple and fasted for protection against enemies on the way. (Ezra 8:21-23)
  • Samuel leading the men of Mizpah to a fast during a war with the Philistine. (1 Samuel 7:5-6)
  • Esther called for a fast for all Jews before she approached the King (Esther 4:16).
  • As a prisoner on his way to Rome, Paul got caught in a storm (Acts 27:13-24).

Where is fasting first mentioned in the Bible?

The first fast was mentioned in the Old Testament. This was Moses’ divine fast where he fasted for 40 days whilst receiving the ten commandments;

Moses was there with the Lord forty days and forty nights without eating bread or drinking water. And he wrote on the tablets the words of the covenant—the Ten Commandments. – Exodus 34:28

According to the Mosaic Law (law given to and shared by Moses), the only requirement to fast was on the Day of Atonement. (Hebrews call this day Yom Kippur).

“The tenth day of this seventh month is the Day of Atonement. Hold a sacred assembly and deny yourselves, and present a food offering to the Lord. – Leviticus 23:27

Who are some of the Characters or people that fasted in the bible?

Some characters or people who fasted in the Bible include:

  • Jesus fasted to prepare for His ministry (Matthew 4:2) and taught His disciples about fasting (Matt 9:14-15; Mark 2:18-19; Luke 5:33-35).
  • The first mention of fasting in the Old Testament is with Moses, the lawgiver. Moses fasted for 40 days, two different times in the Bible. (Exodus 34:28; Deuteronomy 9:7-19)
  • There are only three recordings in the Bible of persons fasting for 40 days. We referenced Moses and Jesus earlier; the final person is Elijah. (1 Kings 19:1-9)
  • David, the man after God’s own heart, worshipped and grieved with fasting. (2 Samuel 12:1-22; Psalm 35:13; 69:10)
  • Esther, the Queen of the nation who was placed “at such a time as this”, led the Israelite into a state of fasting and prayer to save them from evil. (Esther 4:1-17)
  • Daniel, the dream interpreter, fasted and ended spiritual warfare. (Daniel 10:1-3)
  • The first fasting mention in the New Testament was with Anna, a servant of God who continuously fasted and prayed, serving in the temple day and night. (Luke 2:36-37)
  • Jehoshaphat defeats Moab and Ammon armies. (2 Chronicles 20:1-4)
  • Ezrah’s prayer and fasting for protection from enemies. (Ezra 8:21-23)
  • John the Baptist fasted with his disciples many times. (Mark 2:18; Luke 5:33)
  • The fasting and prayers of Paul and Cornelius for spiritual direction. (Acts 9:9; 10:30 KJV)
  • Paul was a strong believer in fasting (2 Corinthians 6:4-10; 11:23-28)

When fasting what can you eat or drink?

What you can eat or drink during a fast depends on the type of fast that you will be doing. The Bible highlights four different types of fasts:

  • Corporate/ Community Fasts: Sometimes referred to as public fasts. During these fasts, the times and the length of the fast are chosen. The nation of Israel regularly participated in such public fasts. Their elders guided the nation on the type and length of the fast, depending on the occasion.
  • Normal Fast: During this fast, you would not eat any food but can drink water.
  • Partial Fast: A partial fast is a diet restriction that can be taken in different forms. Biblical examples of this fast include Daniel (Daniel 10:2-3). Other forms of this fast include:
    • Restriction of one meal during the day
    • Eating only one type of food (e.g. only vegetables; John Wesley is understood to have done a bread and water fast repeatedly in his early ministry)
  • Absolute Fast: The absolute fast includes not eating any food or drinking any liquids. It is sometimes called the ‘dry’ fast.

Fasting for healing

There are several instances in the bible where persons fasted for healing. Examples include:

  • Demons can only be cast out by fasting (Mark 9:17-29)
  • David fasted for his sick child (2 Samuel 12:14-16)
  • Hannah’s barren womb (I Samuel 1:5-8, 18-20)
  • Proper fast for healing (Isaiah 58:1-8)
  • Healing and restoration (Joel 2)

Did the disciples fast?

Yes, the disciples did fast. In Matthew 9:14-17, Jesus answered the question of why His disciples did not fast. The disciples heard Jesus state that they wouldn’t fast while He was with them, but would after. They were also witnesses to Jesus’ sermon on the mount where Jesus proclaimed ‘when you fast’ (Matthew 6). The disciples were also all Jews. It is a requirement of the Mosaic Law passed down by God that all Jews fast on the Day of Atonement (Leviticus 16:29-34; 23:27-32). They would have honoured that. There is also a reference of the Apostles fasting and praying before sending Paul and Barnabas into Ministry (Acts 13 & 14).

Scriptures to read while fasting

There are a wealth of scriptures to read while fasting. Here are some categories and examples of scriptures to read:

  • Scriptures to draw closer with God
    • Psalm 42:1-2; 119
    • James 4:1-10
    • Jeremiah 29:11-13
  • Scriptures for healing
    • Isaiah 58:8
    • Psalm 107:19-20
    • James 5:13-16
    • Proverbs 4:10, 20-22
  • Scriptures for wisdom
    • Ephesians 1:17-23
    • Proverbs 3; 4
    • Jeremiah 33:3
  • Scriptures for grief
    • Matthew 5:4
    • Psalm 6; 42; 147:3
    • Revelation 21:4
  • Scriptures for unforgiveness
    • Matthew 6:14-15; 18:21-35
    • Ephesians 4:31-32
    • Mark 11:25
  • Scriptures for guilt
    • Psalm 103
    • 1 John 1:9
    • 2 Corinthians 5:17-19
  • Scriptures to overcome fear or anxiety
    • Psalm 23:4; 34:4; 91
    • Matthew 6:25-34; 10:28
    • 1 Kings 19:1-18
    • Isaiah 41:10
  • Scriptures for protection
    • Psalm 27; 34; 91; 103
    • Isaiah 54:15-17
    • 2 Thessalonians 3:2-3
  • Scriptures for guidance
    • Proverbs 3:5-35
    • Acts 14:23
    • Psalm 25:4-5; 32:8
    • Isaiah 58:1-11
  • Scriptures for answers
    • Hebrews 4:12
    • James 1:5; 4:1-11
    • Psalm 66:18
  • Scriptures for success/ provision of needs
    • James 4:1-10
    • Psalm 23; 79:8
    • Hebrews 13:5-8
  • Scriptures for anger
    • James 1:19-27
    • Romans 12:19-21
    • Ephesians 4:31-32
  • Scriptures for hopelessness
    • Matthew 17:14-21; 19:26
    • 1 Kings 19:1-1
    • Psalm 143
  • Scriptures for strength
    • Isaiah 40:28-31; 41:8-13
    • Exodus 15:2
    • 1 Chronicles 16:11
  • Scriptures for faith
    • Hebrews 11
    • James 5:13-20
    • Mark 11:20-25
  • Scriptures for worry
    • Matthew 6:25-34
    • Psalm 30
    • Philippians 4:5-7

Scripture prayers to pray during fasting

Some great scriptures to pray during fasting include:

  • Matthew 6:9-13
  • Proverbs 3
  • 1 Chronicles 4:10
  • Psalm 3; 19; 23; 25; 27; 34; 38; 51; 138
  • 1 Samuel 2:1-10
  • 2 Chronicles 6:14-42
  • Daniel 9:4-19
  • Nehemiah 1:5-11
  • Ephesians 1:15-23; 3:14-21

Praying the Word leaves me feeling filled. Every time I quote the Word in my prayer, I am left with confidence, and a feeling of power flows through me. Sometimes I may pray a chapter in the book of Psalms or Proverbs. I remember the first time I heard someone saying to pray the Word. I didn’t understand what they meant! So let’s put it into practice here.

Let’s take Psalm 43 as an example. The first step is to read the Psalm in its entirety. Here is the printout from the Bible (NIV):

Vindicate me, my God,
    and plead my cause
    against an unfaithful nation.
Rescue me from those who are
    deceitful and wicked.
 You are God my stronghold.
    Why have you rejected me?
Why must I go about mourning,
    oppressed by the enemy?
 Send me your light and your faithful care,
    let them lead me;
let them bring me to your holy mountain,
    to the place where you dwell.
 Then I will go to the altar of God,
    to God, my joy and my delight.
I will praise you with the lyre,
    O God, my God.

 Why, my soul, are you downcast?
    Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God,
    for I will yet praise him,
    my Savior and my God.

Now, here is an example of a prayer that I may pray after reading this Psalm:

Abba Father, my strength and my rock. Greater than all, with a name above all names, praise, glory and honour. I come before You today on bended knees begging for vindication against my enemies. There are those that I know, but Lord, You are omniscient (all-knowing), and You know the enemies that are seen and unseen. Rescue me, Father, from those who are deceitful and wicked. From those whose plans are to shame and ridicule me. They set traps for me, Lord. I know that You will never leave nor forsake me and that Your promises are true. I am holding on to Your promises right now. You, O Lord, are my stronghold. My ever-present help in times of trouble. Have you rejected me, Lord? No! It cannot be. Why must I go about downcast or in fear? Why are You allowing my enemies to oppress me? Joy comes in the morning, and I eagerly await the sunrise. Send me Your light and Your faithful care, let them lead me; let them bring me to Your holy mountain, to the place where You dwell. That place of justice and beautiful promises. I will bow down at Your feet, my God, my joy and my delight. I will praise You with singing, O God, my God. May the sound of my voice and the melody of my heart be pleasing to Your ears. Grant me the strength Lord to face what is to come. My heart is so heavy, and everything within me is trembling. But I lean on You, Lord, knowing that no one and nothing is greater than You. Lord, I need You. You are my only hope. I will praise You forevermore, my Savior and my God. Amen

Fasting during menstruation in biblical way

If you have your menstrual cycle, taking any medications, or other health concerns, you should go to God in prayer before any fasting. He will tell you whether He wants you to fast, at what time, for how long and what type. As Creator, He knows exactly what your body can handle. As much as He loves our heart, wanting to come before His throne in humility and suffering, He wants us more to be obedient and fast in the way that He approves.

Biblical Fasting vs intermittent fasting

The difference between biblical fasting and intermittent fasting is the motive behind the fast. The purpose of a biblical fast is to grow closer to God, and in line with His will. An intermittent fast is usually done for health or medical reasons.

Biblical fasting rules

The Bible has two main rules for fasting. The first rule is found in Jesus’ teaching on fasting:

“When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show others they are fasting. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that it will not be obvious to others that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. – Matthew 6:16-18

Fasting is not an option for believers; the Bible states, “when you fast”. The intention is that we will fast, and when we do, it should be done in secret.

The next rule is found in Isaiah:

“Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke? Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter— when you see the naked, to clothe them, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood? Then your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear; then your righteousness will go before you, and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard. Then you will call, and the Lord will answer; you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I. “If you do away with the yoke of oppression, with the pointing finger and malicious talk, and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday. – Isaiah 58:6-10

Before we fast, God is calling for us to check our hearts and motivations behind the fast. Isaiah 58, the fasting chapter, details the fasting approved by God.

Night fasting in the bible

There is only one example of a night fast in the Bible. In Daniel 6:18, King Darius was distressed about Daniel in the lion’s den.

“Then the king returned to his palace and spent the night without eating and without any entertainment being brought to him. And he could not sleep.”

When should Christians fast?

Christians should fast regularly to deepen their relationship with Christ. The Bible also include other situations that may call for fasting, such as healing, grief, repentance, spiritual breakthrough, humility, direction, etc.

New Testament scriptures on fasting

Scriptures on fasting in the New Testament include:

  • Luke 2:36-37; 5:33-35
  • Acts 9:9; 10:30; 13:1-3; 27:13-24
  • Matthew 4:1-2; 6:16; 9:14-15
  • Mark 2:18-19; 9:17-29
  • 2 Corinthians 6:4-10; 11:23-28

Corporate fasting in the bible

Corporate/ Community Fasts: Sometimes referred to as public fasts. During these fasts, the times and the length of the fast are chosen. The nation of Israel regularly participated in such public fasts. Their elders guided the nation on the type and length of the fast, depending on the occasion. Biblical examples include: Jonah 3:3-8; Ezra 8:21-23; Leviticus 23:26-32; Judges 20:26-27; I Samuel 7:5-6; Nehemiah 9:1-3; Joel 2:15-16; Acts 14:21-23; 27:33-37; II Chronicles 20:3-4.



Have you ever been disappointed in God?

Published by godlywoman911

I became a Christian at a young age and baptized at the age of 13. My journey has been bittersweet. A majority of my life I have been a Christian. But not a Godly Woman. After many failures, tears and tribulation I realized that something in my Christian life had to change. No longer can I profess that I am a Christian but don’t show daily that Christ lives in me! No longer can I claim that I am HIS child when my thoughts, actions and deeds were not overflowing with HIS love. No longer could I live the way I was living and not seek him daily in prayer, scripture and worship. As the Lord blessed me with that knowledge I felt him also calling me to write my journey and share my thoughts, learning and mistakes with others. Hence the reason for 911. Not only was it a crises in my life to become a Godly Woman but as I delved into scripture to understand how to be Godly, I realized that we are living in crazy world where the desire to be Godly was no longer important. Many boast that they are a Christian and weekly attend Church, but lack the Godly qualities that Christ seeks in ALL of his followers. My deepest desire is to serve Christ faithfully, obey HIM joyfully, trust HIM always, seek HIM eternally and become his close friend so that I can share in his truth and knowledge. I pray that this blog blesses you and provide you with the strength, courage and wisdom to be a Godly Man or Woman.

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