What Does The Bible Say About Fasting And Prayer

Fasting and Prayer are two spiritual disciplines that can have powerful and far-reaching effects on human lives. According to the Bible, fasting and prayer are two of the most effective forms of worship and devotion to the Lord. The Bible teaches that fasting is a way of intensifying the prayer experience and intensifying the relationship between God and His children. It is a way of expressing one’s faith in the Lord and of surrendering one’s will to God.

The Bible often uses fasting as a tool for repentance and for seeking guidance from God. For example, in 1 Corinthians 7:5, when discussing spiritual purity, Paul says: “Do not deprive one another except with consent for a time, that you may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again so that Satan does not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.”

In the Old Testament, fasting was a way of expressing sorrow or repentance. In the book of Jonah, the prophet Jonahs fasted in order to proclaim his repentance and show God his dedication to Him. In the New Testament, Jesus also fasted. He used fasting as a tool to prepare spiritually to seek God’s will and to discern God’s direction.

In the New Testament, Jesus also taught the importance of fasting and prayer. In Matthew 6:16-18, He said: “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.” Jesus emphasised the importance of purposeful fasting, of seeking God’s will, and of seeking God’s presence. He made it clear that the true reward of fasting is in the relationship that it builds with God.

The Bible is full of different stories and passages that talk about the power of fasting and prayer. Fasting and prayer are mentioned over a hundred times in the Bible. Fasting is like a spiritual language, a way of expressing reverence and gratefulness to the Lord. The Bible says that whether we fast for a short or a long period of time, our prayer must still be motivated by love, discipline, and a desire to get closer to God.

Many leading figures in the Bible show examples of how to incorporate fasting and prayer in their own spiritual lives. For example, in the Old Testament, King David fasted for three days in order to seek God’s guidance (2 Chronicles 20:3-4). In the New Testament, Jesus and the apostles often fasted to prepare for important decisions and revelations from God (Matthew 4:1-11). The apostle Paul also mentions how he practiced fasting and prayer in order to seek God’s will (1 Corinthians 7:5-7).

These examples from the Old and New Testament highlight the importance of a lifestyle of fasting and prayer. Focusing on one’s relationship with God should not be done haphazardly or out of obligation. It should be intentional, with an aim to come closer to the Lord and to glorify Him. It is in these times of prayer and fasting that we can hear the voice of God more clearly and experience more of His presence.

Fasting in the Bible

The Bible is full of different types of fasting. Depending on the person, different types of fasting may be more effective for different purposes. The Bible mentions fasting including a full fast, on bread and water, abstaining from food and drink, fasting on special days, and private or public fasts. Each of these has its own spiritual significance.

For example, a full fast refers to abstaining from all food and drink while fasting on bread and water refers to only having bread and water. Abstaining from food and drink usually refers to reducing food and drink so that our bodies become hungry and weak. Additionally, fasting on special days can relate to specific festivals or holidays. Lastly, private or public fasts are fasting done alone or with other believers.

In the Bible, fasting is typically associated with repentance and humble adoration for God. For instance, when the Hebrews were burdened with sin, fasting was prescribed as a way of penance (1 Samuel 7:6). In the New Testament, it is commonly associated with Jesus’ call for the pious to fast (Matthew 6:16-18), as a way of claiming victory over temptation.

Fasting in the Bible is also associated with physical and spiritual healing. Jesus fasted for forty days and nights in order to prepare Himself for the task of proclaiming God’s kingdom and curing people of all ailments (Mark 1:12-13, Matthew 4:1-2). This serves as an example of how fasting can lead to greater spiritual clarity and physical health.

From the Bible, it is evident that fasting is a powerful form of worship when done out of sincere love and devotion to the Lord. Fasting allows a person to put physical desires aside so they can experience and seek a deeper, spiritual relationship with God.

Conclusion and Summary

Through the Bible, fasting and prayer are more than just spiritual disciplines. They are also powerful tools for developing a deeper relationship with God. Fasting allows a person to express repentance, obedience, and surrender to the Lord. It gives an opportunity for a person to become humble and eager in their pursuit for God’s will and presence. From the Bible, it is evident that fasting should be done with respect, dedication, and love for the Lord.

Practical Application

Fasting can seem daunting and challenging at first, but with practice and commitment it can become a rewarding spiritual experience. Practically speaking, it is important to set realistic goals in fasting and to cut out unhealthy or harmful fasts (such as anorexic fasts). It is also important to abstain from other forms of temptation while fasting, such as excessive television or computer time. Have an honest assessment of why one is fasting and be sure to keep prayer at the center of their journey.

When beginning a fast, people should be mindful of their individual limitations and abilities. Everyone is different so it is important to create a timeline that works for each person. People should also consider prayer during the fast, which can provide strength during tough times. Finally, if possible, people should also go to a supportive environment, such as a church, where they can receive help from other believers.

Leading By Example

Fasting is not an easy thing to do, yet many Bible figures have completed long and impressive fasts. In the Old Testament, the prophet Daniwel fasted for three weeks (Daniel 10:2-3) and Elijah fasted for forty days (1 Kings 19:8). In the New Testament, John the Baptist fasted, as did Jesus and the early church (Luke 2:37, 2:46). These examples teach us that great spiritual progress can been accomplished with intense dedication and commitment to prayer and fasting.

These examples also remind us that spiritual progress is attainable and that following the examples of those set forth by the Bible is a great way to develop our own relationship with God. Seeing the fasting examples of great people and the power of their fasting should give us the courage to pursue and carry out our own fasting and prayer experiences.


The benefits of fasting are not just spiritual, but physical as well. Fasting is an ancient practice that was used by our forefathers for healing and strengthening the body. Research has proven that fasting can help reduce cholesterol and blood pressure, lower the risk of certain types of cancer, and enhance cognitive functioning. Fasting is also said to boost the immune system, regulate hormones, and improve digestion.

When done out of sincere faith and devotion to the Lord, fasting can bring many physical, mental, and spiritual improvements. It is a tool and a practice to bring us close to God and give us a deep spiritual understanding. Allowing us to set aside our wants and desires and focus on the things of God, fasting and prayer can be a powerful way to connect with God and build strength and faith.

Marcos Reyna is a Christian author and speaker. He is dedicated to helping create disciples of Christ through spreading the power of the gospel to others. He has written several books and articles on a variety of theological topics, including matters of faith, worship, biblical studies, practical ethics, and social justice. A trained theologian and devotee of spiritual writing, Marcos has a mission to spread Christian love everywhere. He lives with his family in Nashville, TN where he spends his days encouraging others to seek Christ's grace in all things.

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