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What Does The Bible Say About Fasting

Seeking The Holy Spirits Guidance

What Does the Bible Say About Fasting

So after they had fasted and prayed, they placed their hands on them and sent them off.

Acts 13:3

It would seem that the church here fasted for guidance from the Holy Spirit. They didnt know what to do next, but they ached for Gods direction.

And this particular instance of fasting happened after Christs coming.

This fasting was not about legalism.

This was a deep hunger in these people searching for guidance of the churchs next steps.

To Express Love And Worship For God

Fasting can show, as John Piper says, that what we hunger for most, we worship.

How should we equip ourselves when God calls us to declare a holy fast? Here are some things to consider as you prepare for fasting:

Pray and confess your sinsA necessary step before fasting is to humble yourself before God and confess your sins . Prayer should be our sustenance throughout the fast, but it is imperative we begin the fast with a contrite heart.

Turn to ScriptureSpend additional time meditating on Gods Word, before and during the fast.

Keep it secretFasting is unbiblical and even spiritually harmful when we do it to show off our spirituality or when we focus more on our own fasting than on the clear needs of others . Dont boast about your fast tell people you wont be eating only if necessary. Fasting should not be done when imposed for false motives .

Prepare your bodyFasting, especially for days or weeks, can have unexpected and even detrimental effects on your health. There is no scriptural warrant for harming yourself to undergo a fast. Be sure to consult a doctor before starting any fasting regimen to make sure you can fast in a healthy manner.

Fasting is an appropriate bodily reaction to the grievous state of our soul. If it is done correctly you can expect many results, including growing closer to God, feeling more solidarity with those who suffer, and increasing self-control.

Why Should You Fast

According to Dr. Bill Bright, who produced a guide to fasting for cru.org, there are a number of reasons why the practice of fasting can be spiritually beneficial.

  • Fasting is biblical. We see examples of biblical fasting in the lives of figures like Moses, Jesus, and King David.
  • Fasting and prayer can restore or strengthen your intimacy with God. Many longtime Christians find that fasting helps them rediscover their first love for God again.
  • Fasting is a way to humble yourself in the sight of God . King David said, I humbled my soul with fasting . You may find yourself relying on God more fully for strength when you fast.
  • Fasting and prayer can help us hear God more clearly. To listen to God as you fast, consider combining a time of fasting with a practice of listening prayer. Together, fasting and prayer can transform your prayer life into a richer and more personal experience of God.
  • Fasting enables the Holy Spirit to reveal your true spiritual condition. When you see your own brokenness more clearly, youre able to move toward repentance.
  • When you experience revival in your own life through fasting, the grace and love of God can shine through you into the lives of others.

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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.

Under What Circumstances Did Some In The Bible Fast

What The Bible Says About Fasting
  • When seeking help and guidance from God. The people journeying to Jerusalem fasted to show their sincerity in asking for Gods help. Paul and Barnabas at times chose to fast when appointing congregation elders.Acts 14:23.

  • When focusing on Gods purpose. After his baptism, Jesus fasted for 40 days to prepare himself to do Gods will during his coming ministry.Luke 4:1, 2.

  • When demonstrating repentance over past sins. Through the prophet Joel, God told unfaithful Israelites: Return to me with all your hearts, with fasting and weeping and wailing.Joel 2:12-15.

  • When observing the Day of Atonement. The Law that God gave to the nation of Israel included a command to fast on the annual Day of Atonement. * Fasting was appropriate on this occasion because it reminded the Israelites that they were imperfect and needed Gods forgiveness.

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Repentance Obedience And Fasting

God had His reasons to command fasting, and godly people see the value of fasting to give them time and energy to focus on the things of God, but there are other reasons to fast as well. A primary reason in Scripture was to receive Gods attention and help. In Isaiah 58, however, the people complained that though they fasted, God did not pay attention. They complained to God, Why have we fasted, and you do not see? Why have we afflicted our soul, and you take no knowledge? . The people were fasting to attain Gods help and were upset when He did not notice their situation and help them, but He rebuked them and answered that they fasted to get their own way, not to seek His, and they fasted without humility or repentance. He said to them, Behold, you fast only to quarrel and fight, and to strike with the fist of wickedness. You cannot fast as you do this day and make your voice heard on high .

True godly fasting was always done with humility and the idea that the fast was supposed to help with a godly purpose in alignment with the will of God.

The Holiness Of Hunger

Fasting not eating for an extended period of time is a practice that goes back long before Jesus. Ancient Jews fasted on certain days throughout the year. and Matthew 6:1618, for example, both take for granted that fasting is a normal part of Jewish religious practice. Other Jewish texts from the Greco-Roman period depict fasting as an effective substitute for sacrifice. About a hundred years before Jesus, the Psalms of Solomon 3:89 describe fasting as a way to atone for sins and as a habitual practice of the righteous.

In the earliest years of Christianity, Christians seem to have observed the same fast days that Jews observed. Some authors were violently opposed to this cultural and religious intermingling. John Chrysostom , writing against Christians sharing anything in common with Jews, admonishes Christians who fast on the Jewish Day of Atonement, Yom Kippur.

Not eating and not drinking could be seen as a means of atonement, as with Yom Kippur, but it could also clear the way for an expected meeting with God. Moses, for example, fasted prior to going up the mountain to meet with God and receive the Ten Commandments in Exodus 34:28. Fasting is also prominent in other texts, closer in date to Jesuss time, such as 4 Ezra. In this first century text, Ezra prepares to receive revelations from God . After his period of fasting, an angel tells him divine secrets.

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Why Did People Fast In The Bible

Fasting was an important aspect of life for the Hebrews. People in the Bible fasted not for dietary reasons as made popular in todays culture. Rather, they fasted as a reaction to certain situations.

God required His people to maintain fasts on the Day of Atonement to maintain purity and humility . In a similar fashion, when faced with their sinful actions, people would react by fasting to show their repentance, like when the king of Nineveh ordered a communal fast after Jonahs message . Fasting was also a response to grief and loss. When King Saul died, the nation of Israel abstained from food for 7 days .

Fasting wasnt just a communal act individuals like Moses, David, Hannah, and Daniel fasted usually to seek Gods deliverance .

In the New Testament, we find the early Church and its Apostles practiced fasting . Even Jesus fasted. Prior to His temptation in the desert, Jesus fasted for 40 days and nights preparing and strengthening Himself for His ministry ahead.

Gods Commands About Sex

What does the Bible say about . . . Fasting?

In both the Old and New Testaments, God rarely commands couples to avoid sexual relations. It is amazing that God has warned us to not do many things, but He rarely warns or commands married couples to stop having sex. One of the few occasions in which God commanded men to abstain from sexual relations is found in Exodus 19:15. It was for the purpose of worshiping God. In 1 Corinthians 7:5, couples can abstain for the purpose of prayer, but only if both agree! In Leviticus 15:19 18:19, 24 20:18 and Ezekiel 18:5-6 22:10, husbands were told to not have sexual relations with their wives when they are in their menstrual period. These are the only times that God prohibits sexual intercourse or states that it is okay for couples to not have sex. God never commands a couple to not make love when fasting.

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How To Fast According To Scripture

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

Many scholars are quick to point out that Jesus does not say if we fast, but when. It was assumed that followers of Christ would fast. However, Jesus also makes a point to shut down any legalistic or religious formality to fasting, telling his followers they should not be fasting to be noticed, nor fast in such a way as to draw attention.

Jesus command for people to pull themselves together before they go out in public was to highlight the importance of fasting as a connection to God. Only He needs to know we are fasting. Fasting reminds us to be grateful to God for His providence and provision. The understanding is that we would recognize fasting as a habit of grace, a gift from God which He has given to His people in order for us to have a greater, heightened, awareness for the things of God, Stephen Um says for thegospelcoalition.org.

Fasting In The Christian Church

Although the Christian Church is not under the Mosaic Law and therefore not under the command to fast on the Jewish Day of Atonement, and although there is no instruction to fast in the Church Epistles, the Book of Acts shows us people saw the value of fasting. Acts 13:1-3 says that at Antioch in Syria there were prophets and teachers who were serving the Lord and fasting, and during that time they got the revelation, Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work I have called them to do. Then the group fasted and prayed, and Paul and Barnabas were sent off on their very first missionary journey. Toward the close of that missionary journey, Paul and Barnabas appointed elders in the churches and prayed and fasted with them and committed them to the Lord .

Along with those New Testament Bible records are the testimonies of Christians through the centuries that tell of the benefits of fasting. Some of the benefits of godly fasting that people have recorded include deeper intimacy with God, answers to prayers, more humility before God, gaining wisdom and understanding, getting authority over demonic strongholds, attaining personal victories, receiving Gods protection, and acquiring a more heavenly perspective on life.

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What Is Greek Orthodox Beliefs

The Orthodox Churches are united in faith and by a common approach to theology, tradition, and worship. The Orthodox Churches share with the other Christian Churches the belief that God revealed himself in Jesus Christ, and a belief in the incarnation of Christ, his crucifixion and resurrection.Jun 11, 2008

What Does Jesus Say About Fasting In The Bible

What Does the Bible REALLY Say About Fasting?
  • Why fasting is important in the Bible?
  • One of the most telling passages in which fasting is mentioned is Matthew 6:16, where Jesus is teaching His disciples basic principles of godly living. When speaking on fasting, He begins with, When you fast, not If you fast. Jesus words imply that fasting will be a regular practice in His followers lives.

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    What The Scriptures Say About: Fasting

    When your stomach begins to growl halfway through fast and testimony meeting, you probably do not think of fasting as rejoicing, yet this is the way fasting has been scripturally defined: âVerily, this is fasting and prayer, or in other words, rejoicing and prayer.â Rejoicing means to express joy, and joy is the reason for manâs existence. Fasting, then, is an activity that brings us back to the state of being for which we were created.

    Our ability to rejoice on fast Sunday or at any other time we choose to fast is dependent on a number of things. One of these is our purpose in fasting.

    Why Do Greek Orthodox Fast For 40 Days

    The 40-day fasting period otherwise known as Christmas Lent is when the Greek Orthodox Church gives the faithful periods of fasting and reflection in order to refocus on the spiritual life, to challenge them and to help them make adjustments, as they experience the Holy Nativity of our Lord and Saviour in a real and

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    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.

    Before You Fast: What Does The Bible Say About It

    HOW TO FAST || What the Bible says about Fasting & Prayer!

    Before you start fasting, do you know what the Bible really says about it? Here’s what I’ve learned about the subject.

    Our churches, small groups, and faith communities are gathered to position our hearts towards God. As we put together our fasting meal plans, schedules, and social media sabbaticals, here are some useful tips to get us started and keep us grounded on our journey.

    What Does the Bible Say About Fasting?

    This is important. Before starting a fast, we need to understand the biblical foundation for it and what purpose it serves. For me, this was as simple as typing what does the Bible say about fasting? into Google. From there, I was able to find a host of scriptures that not only displayed instances of Gods people fasting but explicitly revealed Gods view on what fasting should be. I was particularly astounded by what I found in Isaiah 58. In this passage of Scripture, the people of Israel were up in arms. They complained to God that even after rigorous fasting and being hard on themselves, God had not taken notice of them. Take note of how God responds:

    What We Can Learn

    After meditating on this verse for a few days, I felt prepared to begin my fast. I believe that through the same meditation on Scripture, you too will be able to find purpose and clarity in your upcoming, current, or future fast. Here is what Ive learned from studying this scripture and others related to fasting:

    1. Fasting is Not About Our Agenda

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    Return To God With Repentance

    Even now, declares the Lord, return to me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning.

    Joel 2:12

    Return to me.

    What a powerful phrase coming from our Almighty God.

    This was a call to repentance, for the people to return to Gods mercy and steadfast love.

    And one of the ways to show their truly repentant heart was through fasting.

    Even here in the Old Testament, God was not asking for the act of fasting alone. Fasting was a way to show that they desired to return to God with all of their heart.

    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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