Fasting is becoming a diet regimen routine these days, but it actually comes from the Bible as a spiritual act.
Fasting has become a diet regimen routine these days, however, the act of Fasting is actually of spiritual origin from the Bible.
This practice has been mentioned in the Bible numerous times. It is described as reducing or eliminating food intake voluntarily to achieve intimacy with God.
Fasting is often paired with Prayer which often has a strong purpose and is done at a specific time.
Using the Bible as a reference there are a lot of occasions that Fasting was performed. The act was done both in the Old and New Testament scriptures. Curious to find out details of each occurrence? Browse the list below and find out.
Old Testament Fasting
1. Samuel fast for the deliverance of sins (1 Samuel Chapter 7) – Samuel was a prophet and priest. He is burdened by the behaviour of the Israelites as they leaned towards idol worship. His heart yearned for them to turn from their ways.
He knew that divine intervention is needed to change the hearts and minds of the people. That is why he fasted and prayed for the deliverance of Israel.
At the same time, he also included the return of the Ark of the Covenant to Jerusalem in his prayers. This example of fasting is an act done on behalf of other people.
2. Elijah fasted for wisdom and victory (1 Kings Chapter 19) – Elijah is another prophet in the Bible who displayed huge amounts of faith.
In his time, King Ahab was practicing idol worship and persecuting all those who do not agree. Elijah bravely and with the favour of God faced the aggressors.
To keep himself on track, Elijah fasted and prayed to keep his mental health in check. This leads him to have intense focus and be emotionally balanced. In the end with God’s hand upon him, Elijah managed to best all the difficulties that challenged him.
3. The widows fast was done for provision (1 Kings Chapter 17) – There was a famine occurring, Elijah sought refuge in an unnamed widow’s house. The woman had barely enough food for herself and her son.
However, they took Elijah’s words to heart and gave him their food. Though it was not specified if the widow fasted, however, it shows that one can also do fasting to help the needy.
The widow in the account was rewarded with a continuous supply of flour and oil until the famine ended. It is a testimony God provides faithfully to those who obey and seek him.
4. Ezra fasted for protection and guidance (Ezra Chapter 8) – Ezra was a Jewish religious leader. He experienced exile in Babylon and faced many threats to his life. To seek God’s help through wisdom and receive protection, he fasted and prayed.
He was able to do his duties to lead the exiled Jews back to Jerusalem. This occurrence is proof that God can deliver anyone in trouble out of it.
5. Esther fasted to gain favour and protection (Esther Chapter 4 and 5) – Esther was a wise and beautiful Jewish lady. In the time that the Jews were being planned to be executed.
When Esther knew about it from her uncle Mordecai, she fasted and encouraged all the Jews to participate too. This act was part of why Esther received favour from God that the king spared all her fellow Jews.
At the same time, the person also aiming for their demise was destroyed. Here fasting and prayer once again served as a means for protection.
6. Daniel fasted to seek wisdom and guidance (Daniel Chapter 1 and 10) – Daniel is a wise youth who was very faithful to the Lord. When he was taken to the king’s palace, Daniel refrained from gluttony.
Instead, he opted to eat exclusively vegetables and drank only water. This decision gave him good health and a strong mind.
He gained outstanding wisdom that he can interpret dreams which impressed the king greatly. In this example, fasting is a form of abstinence from unhealthy food choices.
New Testament Fasting
7. John the Baptist Fast to make way for the coming of Jesus Christ (Luke Chapter 1) – John in terms of the earthly flesh is related to Jesus Christ. His mother Elizabeth is a cousin of Mary the virgin who was blessed to bear Jesus Christ.
John was a prophet who would often fast and pray to seek God’s will. He became a powerful witness and testimony to the kingdom of God.
His practice shows that if one is sincere in seeking God they will find him. And that person will be used mightly.
8. Jesus fasted to prepare himself to do the Father’s will (Matthew Chapter 4) -When the time to go full blast on the ministry, Jesus Christ did a forty-days and forty-nights fasting and prayer. While conducting the activity he was tempted numerous times by the devil.
He was not swayed and in the end, rose victorious. The fasting procedure done in distance did not only stop consuming food but there was also no water intake.
This form act proves that there is spiritual power can be gained from fasting. This can make one strong against any type of temptation.
9. The Disciples’ Fast in preparation to spread the gospel (Matthew Chapter 17) – After the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, his disciples went into hiding.
However, Jesus rose from the dead and appeared in front of his apostles. He once again communicated with them and advised them to conduct prayer and fasting.
By doing this they can effectively minister the gospel and perform miracles. Conducting fasting can aid a follower of Christ to break the bondage of sins that makes people miserable.
10. Paul Fast for Continuing his Ministry (Acts Chapter 9) – Paul was a very hard-working man and managed to preach the gospel on a large scale.
To keep up with his tasks, Paul would regularly pray and fast. It is during these times the apostle experienced physical healing. He also gets instructions from God by conducting this practice. Paul was a man who submitted his will to God.
Through his act of submission, Paul was able to open a communication channel with God. And God freely revealed to Paul His plans for him.