What Does The Bible Say About Fasting

Fasting According to the Bible

Fasting is a practice that dates back thousands of years and is referenced in both the Old and New Testaments of the Bible. Fasting was a common spiritual discipline among the ancient Hebrews, and was practiced by believers in both the Old and New Covenants. The Bible speaks of fasting as an expression of sorrow and humility before God, and as a way of seeking spiritual guidance and healing.
The Bible presents fasting as a way for believers to demonstrate humility, submission, and reverence for God. In the Old Testament, fasting is often mentioned in the context of mourning and prayer. Moses, David, and Elijah all fasted for various reasons, such as to show repentance or to seek guidance from God.
The Bible also speaks of fasting in the context of spiritual warfare. This is seen in the account of the three Hebrew children, who fasted for three days and nights before going into the fiery furnace. Their fasting was a sign of their faith that God would deliver them from their enemies.
In the New Testament, Jesus is seen fasting for forty days in the wilderness in order to prepare himself for his ministry. Also, the apostle Paul encourages Christians to fast as a means of deepening their relationship with God and overcoming temptation.
Throughout the Bible, there is a clear message that fasting is important and should be practiced regularly. Jesus summed up the importance of fasting in Mark 9:29, saying, “This kind can come out by nothing but prayer and fasting.”

Benefits of Fasting

Fasting brings many spiritual and physical benefits. It can help to refocus an individual’s attention on God and to remind him or her that God is the source of strength and provision. Fasting also helps to bring an attitude of humility and gratitude for what God has provided.
From a physical standpoint, fasting can help to reduce stress and to promote overall health. Studies have shown that fasting helps to increase energy levels and to improve mental clarity. It can also help to regulate appetite, aiding in weight loss and improving overall health.
Furthermore, fasting can help to restore proper body functions, such as detoxification and proper digestion. It can also help to reduce the risk of many chronic illnesses by improving the body’s ability to fight off disease.
In short, fasting can help to promote a healthier lifestyle both physically and spiritually.

Types of Fasting

There are several types of fasting outlined in the Bible. Some of these include: abstaining from certain foods, such as bread and sugar; abstaining from all food, known as a total fast; and abstaining from all solid food, known as an absolute fast.
Abstaining from certain foods is the most common type of fasting mentioned in the Bible. This type of fasting is often used to demonstrate humility and a reliance on God for provision.
Total and absolute fasting are more extreme forms of fasting and are usually used for specific spiritual purposes, such as when seeking spiritual guidance from God, or when preparing for some major life change.

Length of Fasting

The length of time a person should fast varies depending on the situation and the individual’s circumstances. On occasions, the Bible mentions long fasts, such as Moses’ forty-day fast, or Jesus’ forty-day fast in the wilderness. For the most part, however, the Bible speaks of fasts lasting one, three, or seven days.
When it comes to fasting for a specific purpose, the Bible does not provide the exact length of time required. Rather, the length of time should be determined by the individual’s spiritual maturity and propensity to prayer and study during the fast.

Why We Fast

There are several reasons why the Bible encourages us to fast. First, fasting can help us to draw closer to God and to place our trust in him for our daily sustenance and guidance. Fasting also helps us to cultivate an attitude of spiritual dependence, which is essential for our relationship with God and with other people.
Another reason given for fasting in the Bible is to humble oneself before God in times of distress and sorrow. This was demonstrated by the prophet Isaiah, when he responded to God’s call to prophetic ministry with the words: “Here am I! Send me” (Isaiah 6:8). This humble posture before God was accompanied with fasting as a way of expressing Isaiah’s sorrow over the sins of the nation.
Fasting can also be a way of expressing our thanksgiving and gratitude to God. The Bible mentions numerous examples of people offering a thanksgiving sacrifice through fasting. The Psalmist writes, “Deprive me not of the joy of your presence; strength for my life comes only from you.” (Psalm 104:28).

Risks of Fasting

While fasting can provide many spiritual and physical benefits, there are some risks to be aware of. Fasting can cause dehydration, low blood sugar, and nutrient deficiencies. It can also compromise a person’s immune system and make them more susceptible to illness. For this reason, medical advice should be sought before embarking on any prolonged fasts.
Individuals with certain medical conditions, such as diabetes, should not fast without consulting a physician. Furthermore, pregnant women, nursing mothers, and young children should not fast without a doctor’s approval. For all individuals, it is important to ensure that water and other necessary nutrients are consumed during prolonged fasts in order to prevent dehydration and other health hazards.

Responsible Fasting

When fasting, it is important to do so responsibly; that is, in a way that will bring glory to God and benefit the individual. This means that individuals should plan their fasts thoughtfully and prayerfully. It also means that when fasting, the individual should still be productive and remain focused on his or her spiritual growth and development.
Finally, it is important to remember that fasting is not a magic cure-all. It should not be used as a way to replace proper diet and exercise, but rather as a way to supplement one’s overall health and wellbeing.

Grace and Self-Control

Fasting can help to cultivate a spirit of grace and self-control, both of which are important aspects of Christian living. By fasting, we are reminded that our strength comes from God and that our physical desires should not be the driving force in our lives. Fasting teaches us to be mindful of what we put into our bodies, as well as to give up certain things in order to become closer to God.
Lastly, fasting can be a great opportunity to deepen our relationship with God and to ensure that we are living responsibly and with a heart of love and humility.

Purpose of Fasting

Fasting is an integral part of developing a strong relationship with God and is mentioned numerous times in the Bible. It is a tool for spiritual growth and can be used to draw closer to God, to humble oneself before Him, and to seek spiritual guidance. It can also provide physical benefits, such as increased energy levels and improved overall health.
When practicing fasting, it is important to do so responsibly and to seek medical advice when necessary. Lastly, fasting should be accompanied by an attitude of grace, humility, and self-control.

Different Types of Fast

Within the Bible, there are several different types of fasting mentioned. Abstaining from certain foods, such as bread and sugar, is the most common type of fasting mentioned in the Bible. Total and absolute fasting, which involve abstaining from all food and all solid food, respectively, are more extreme forms of fasting and are usually used for specific spiritual purposes.
The length of time an individual should fast should be determined by the individual’s spiritual maturity and propensity to prayer and study. Long fasts, such as those mentioned in the Bible, usually last for one, three, or seven days.

Fasting in the Bible Today

Although the Bible was written thousands of years ago, the same principles regarding fasting still apply. Fasting is still an important way to draw closer to God and seek spiritual guidance and healing. Additionally, physical benefits of fasting still apply, including improved energy levels and increased longevity.
Today, many churches and religious organizations hold regular fasting periods in order to deepen their relationship with God. These fasts are usually focused on prayer and spiritual reflection, and most participants abstain from certain foods or even all food in order to focus the mind and heart on the spiritual.


Fasting is a powerful tool that can help individuals to draw closer to God and to cultivate an attitude of grace, humility, and self-control. While there are risks that should be considered before embarking on a fast, the spiritual and physical benefits of fasting can be significant.
When fasting, individuals should seek to glorify God and to draw closer to Him. Fasting should be accompanied by prayer, study, and humility in order to be most effective. Lastly, fasting should be accompanied by a healthy, balanced diet in order to reap the full physical benefits.

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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