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Fasting in Scripture

The Living Word of God gives us many examples of fasting, in both the Old and New Testaments. Here at Live the Fast, the fast in Scripture dearest to our hearts is that of Jesus Christ fasting in the desert for 40 days and being tempted by the devil three times. Reflecting on Jesus’ fast, His temptations and His responses to the devil give us great strength and comfort during our own fasts. (Mt. 4 and Lk. 4)

A complete list of fasting in Scripture can be found in our booklet  “Live the Fast’s Guide to a Bread and Water Fast” 

Old Testament

Judges 20:26

So the entire Israelite army went up and entered Bethel, where they sat weeping before the LORD. They fasted that day until evening and presented burnt offerings and communion offerings before the LORD.

1 Samuel 7:6

When they had gathered at Mizpah, they drew water and poured it out on the ground before the LORD, and they fasted that day, saying, “We have sinned against the LORD.” It was at Mizpah that Samuel began to judge the Israelites.

1 Samuel 31:13

Then they took their bones and buried them under the tamarisk tree in Jabesh, and fasted for seven days.

Ezra 8:21

Then I proclaimed a fast, there by the river of Ahava, that we might humble ourselves before our God to seek from him a safe journey for ourselves, our children, and all our possessions.

Sirach 34:31

So one who fasts for sins, but goes and commits them again: Who will hear his prayer, what is gained by mortification?

New Testament

Matthew 6:16-18

When you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites. They neglect their appearance, so that they may appear to others to be fasting. Amen, I say to you, they have received their reward.

But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, so that you may not appear to be fasting, except to your Father who is hidden. And your Father who sees what is hidden will repay you.

Mark 9:27-29

But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him to his feet, and he stood up. After Jesus had gone indoors, his disciples asked him privately, ‘Why couldn’t we drive it (demon) out?’ He replied, ‘This kind can come out only by prayer and fasting.’

Acts 14:23

They appointed presbyters for them in each church and, with prayer and fasting, commended them to the Lord in whom they had put their faith.

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