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Fasting And Praying In The Bible (And You Today)

fasting and praying in the bible

God’s word is replete with accounts and incidences of fasting and praying in the bible that you can learn some lessons from.

People in bible days fasted for many reasons that you fast for today; they fast for breakthrough, they fast to ask and receive direction from the Lord, they fast in repentance from sin, they fast to avert imminent judgment and danger, they fast to shape history, to secure God’s help and intervention in times of trouble.

There’s so much in there that you can learn a great deal from.

Now, if you do what people in bible days did, in the same way they did it and do same under the same circumstances, you will have the same results they got.

That said, let’s now get into scriptures to at least look at some of the most captivating incidences of fasting and praying accounts in the bible and what lessons you can learn from them.

Ready to learn directly from the written pages with real bible characters?

Let’s get to it.   

READ ALSO: Scriptures To Read While Fasting

Fasting And Praying In The Bible

The following are a few accounts and incidences of fasting and praying in the Bible that are worthy of note.

The Account of Christ

The first instance of fasting and praying in the bible that comes to mind is the account of Jesus Christ himself, the Son of the living God.

This account is recorded in 3 out of the gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.

See Matthew 4:1-11, KJV and Luke 4:1-14, KJV and Mark 1:12-13, NIV.

What was the purpose of Jesus’ fasting?

It was for equipping and commissioning for ministry.

Although it was during this period of fast that Satan came to tempt Jesus, yet the reason for the fast was not so that He will be able to overcome temptation but so that He will be filled with supernatural power for ministry.

You too can fast for power in ministry.

You can launch out in ministry after a powerful preparation period in fasting and in prayer.

The Case Of Paul And The Other 4 Prophets And Teachers Antioch

Another account of fasting in Scripture that is closely related to that of Jesus for power and commissioning in ministry was that of the prophets and teachers recorded in Acts 13:1-4, KJV.  

It was in the middle of their fasting, praying and ministering to the Lord that the Holy Spirit made His choice of Paul and Barnabas for special ministry assignment among the un-reach known.

In that instance, the other 3 laid hands on Paul and Barnabas praying for them in fasting and in prayer and sent them forth.

The Holy witnessed that He was the one that sent them forth, not just merely the other 3.

The Ordination of Elders In The Church

Again, we see how that elders in the gentile churches planted by Paul and Barnabas in their first missionary journey were ordained through fasting and praying.

See Acts 14:23, NIV

It was for the same purpose as Jesus Christ and the apostles Paul and Barnabas – equipping and commissioning for ministry.

Fasting And Praying To Avert God’s judgment

This was the case of Nineveh as recorded in the book of Jonah.

See specifically Jonah 3: 6-10.

You can fast to avert God’s judgment.

The Case Of King Ahab

Jezebel having perfected and masterminded the murder of Naboth through the hands of the elders of Israel, God sent the prophet Elijah to bring His verdict on Ahab, Jezebel and the family – complete annihilation of his line and posterity.

In the face of God’s judgment, Ahab repented in fasting and prayer, and God saw his penance and changed His mind about destroying Ahab in the immediate.

God spared him from partaking in the judgment, but declared that his children will be the one to suffer the judgment.

See 1 Kings 21, NIV

God is the same today as He was yesterday.

He will forgive any individual, high, mighty or humble and simple if the individual will seek him in repentance through fasting and in prayer.

Israel and National Repentance

Closely related to fasting to avert God’s judgment is fasting in repentance by a people, a nation.

Israel did this as recorded in Nehemiah 9.

A nation and its people can set themselves to seek the Lord in prayer, fasting, repentance and in humility.

In response, God will heal and lift the people and bless the land.

See 2 Chronicles 7:14, KJV and Proverbs 14:34, NIV

PEOPLE ALSO READ: Benefits Of Fasting And Prayers

Fasting In Repentance By Association And Identification

There’s another kind of fasting that the bible recorded; it is of individuals who took the place of a people as intercessors and fasted in association and identification for forgiveness of the peoples’ sins and subsequent restoration.

Nehemiah and Daniel were two of such men who did this kind of fasting and praying in the Bible.

See Nehemiah 1, KJV and Daniel 9:1-19, NIV

You can take on a people’s identity and seek the Lord in their place and name, in repentance so the Lord will again show mercy on the people, heal their land, and fulfil His good word to the people.

That means, you can fast and repent for self and for a people in identification and also fast to remind God to fulfil His good word to you and the people.

You can remind God of His promise and covenant through fasting.

And if you sincerely do, God will come through for you and the people – He will forgive sins, heal, restore, bless, remember His covenant and fulfil it.  

Fasting To Break Protocols And To Obtain Favor

Queen Esther upon imminent danger and plot to annihilate her people, the Jewish people, ask the people to fast and pray for her and she herself too fasted, so that she can be received and granted audience by and with the king against the king’s invitation.

See Esther chapter 4, KJV and chapter 5, KJV

The people fasted, she fasted and took the step to having an audience with the king, and access was granted her.

You can pray to break protocols of any kind.

You can fast to have and find favor before people of influence, people in authority that you ordinarily may not be able to have audience with.

PEOPLE ALSO READ: Fasting For God’s Guidance

Fasting For Guidance and Protection

Ezra and the children of Israel fasted for direction and safety, guidance and the Lord granted them their request.

See Ezra 8:21-23, KJV

You can do same.

Fasting And Praying to Ask Help of the Lord in the Face of Threat

King Jehoshaphat was faced with 3 great enemy nations coming to attack the nation of Israel all at once – simultaneously.

What did he do?

He called the children of Israel together to seek the Lord in a fast.

The rest is history; the Lord fought for Israel and gave them one of the greatest victories in Jewish history of wars.

See 2 Chronicles 20:1-30, KJV

They didn’t need to fight, they didn’t need to raise a finger, they only had to sing, praise and worship.

And God fought for them, set the enemy nations against themselves until they completely destroy themselves.

God fights for you when you provoke His holiness through worship.

When you give God true, genuine and deep worship in your response to enemy threat, He goes to war for you, fights for you and give you the victory.

God is the same today as He was then.

Fasting To Enquire of The Lord

Israel was faced with a dilemma at one time.

The tribe and children of Benjamin came against the rest of the tribe in battle and slaughtered them.

They did this twice.

So, the rest of the tribe came together in fasting and praying to ask God if they should fight or not against Benjamin.

The Lord gave them the go ahead and also assured them of victory.

See Judges 20 (See in particular verses 26-28, NIV)   

You can fast to ask God whether or not you should embark on a venture, whether or not you should do a thing ort not.

You can fast and pray to ask God’s mind about a certain decision you want to make.

And He will guide you, He will give you light.

Much more, He will assure you of success and victory in the direction He inspires you to go.  

PEOPLE ALSO READ: Fasting And Praying To Hear From God

Other Scriptural Reference To Fasting And Praying In The Bible

1. Matthew 6:16-18

2. Luke 2:37

3. Acts 10:1-10, 30

4. Acts 27:9, 33

5. 1 Corinthians 7:5

6. 2 Corinthians 6:5

7. 2 Corinthians 11:27

8. 2 Samuel 12:16

9. 2 Samuel 1:12

10. 1 Chronicles 10:12

11. Psalm 69:10

12. Psalm 109:24

13. Isaiah 58:3-6

14. Jeremiah 36:6, 9

15. Joel 1:14

16. Joel 2:12, 15

17. Zechariah 8:19

18. 1 Samuel 7:6

19. 1 Samuel 31:13


You can see that every major incidence of fasting and praying in the bible was premised upon a particular need.

People sought God in fasting and prayer for various needs, when in trouble, in repentance, for guidance, and when looking to God for power, equipping and commissioning in ministry.

On and on and on and on.

Whatever your need is, you can look to God for help though fasting and praying.

He will come through for you like He did them.

He’s no respecter of persons.

What He did for one, He will do for another under the same circumstances.

And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart. And I will be found of you, saith the LORD: and I will turn away your captivity, and I will gather you from all the nations, and from all the places whither I have driven you, saith the LORD; and I will bring you again into the place whence I caused you to be carried away captive. (Jeremiah 29:13-14, KJV)

God bless you.

Fasting And Praying In The Bible (And You Today)


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