You might know someone who practices fasting. Furthermore, you might be considering fasting. In this article you will read about 5 situations in the Bible where people practiced fasting. Although, fasting is not mentioned as a requirement in the Bible we can see examples where people applied fasting. Perhaps this could help you decide to fast.
How To Fast: Fasting Is Private
First let’s see what the Bible says about fasting with regard to the way to fast. Fasting is a private matter that can result in a reward. “Whenever you fast, do not put on a gloomy face as the hypocrites do, they neglect their appearance so that they will be noticed by men when they are fasting. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. “But you, when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face so that your fasting will not be noticed by men, but by your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.” (Matthew 6:16-18) The way to fast is to groom yourself. Keep your appearance tidy then others will not suspect that you are fasting. Fasting in a group can be effective.
1 Fasting For Intervention
The book of II Samuel also reveals what the Bible says about dofasting deviews. In this book fasting was used in intervention as in the case where David fasted in hope that his child would live. “David therefore inquired of God for the child; and David fasted and went and lay all night on the ground. The elders of his household stood beside him in order to raise him up from the ground, but he was unwilling and would not eat food with them.” (II Samuel 12:16-17)
David’s focus was on God and praying that his child would live. He did not care for any food or comfort from his attendants and aids. This shows that fasting is an opportunity to focus on God in order to intervene in a situation.
2 Fasting In Deep Distress
There is a book in the Old Testament called Nehemiah about a man who was in deep distress. Nehemiah had heard that Jerusalem had been destroyed. After hearing this news, Nehemiah fasted and prayed confessing on behalf of his people and pleading for mercy. “When I heard these things, I sat down and wept. For some days I mourned and fasted and prayed before the God of heaven.” (Nehemiah 1:4) Nehemiah’s distress was so great that he could not eat. Sometimes you might be very distressed. This might be a time to add fasting to prayer.
3 Fasting For God’s Will To Be Accomplished
We can see what the Bible says about fasting in the case of a man named Daniel. “So I gave my attention to the Lord God to seek Him by prayer and supplications, with fasting, sackcloth and ashes. ” (Daniel 9:3) One day Daniel was reading of the book of Jeremiah. Through reading this part of the Bible, he realized that Jerusalem was to be desolate for 70 years. Daniel responded to God’s word by focusing on God through prayer and fasting.
Daniel realized that the 70 years were almost over. This caused him to seek God through prayer. This kind of prayer was accompanied by fasting and confessing his sins and the sins of his people. Daniel called God great and awesome and one who keeps his covenant. Daniel also prayed for the desolation of Jerusalem to come to an end. Like Daniel, we can fast and pray for God’s will to be accomplished in various situations in our lives. For example, we know that it is God’s will that all men (and women) receive Christ as the savior. You might have family members that have not received Christ. You could fast and pray that they would be saved.
4 Fasting For A Petition
In the Old Testament we see another situation of what the Bible says about fasting. There is an entire book called Esther that is about a Jewish woman named Esther who married a wealthy and powerful gentile king. During the course of her reign as the queen, Esther heard that her race would be killed. Therefore, Esther’s uncle told her that she would have to go to her husband the king to plead for the life of her people. This was a dangerous thing to do. The law of the land was that, without an invitation, no one would appear before the king.
Esther’s solution was to tell the people to fast with her for 3 days. “Go, gather together all the Jews who are in Susa, and fast for me. Do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my attendants will fast as you do. When this is done, I will go to the king, even though it is against the law. And if I perish, I perish.” (Esther 4:16) Esther and all of the Jewish people fasted at the same time for 3 days. The rest of the story is amazing!
After 3 days had passed, Esther appeared before the king. What was the result? Instead of her people being destroyed, the man who wanted to destroy Esther’s people was hung from gallows which he had built for Esther’s uncle. You have to read the whole story to find out what God accomplished through the prayer and fasting of that group of people. The main point here is that fasting can be applied to making a petition to a government authority or to a spouse, friend or family member. Before making the petition you might consider prayer with fasting.
5 Fasting For Worship And Service
Finally, what the Bible says about fasting can be seen in another book of the Bible called Luke which is in the New Testament. This story is about a widow named Anna who worshipped God and was longing to see Christ. “And there was a prophetess, Anna the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was advanced in years and had lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, and then as a widow to the age of eighty-four. She never left the temple, serving night and day with fastings and prayers. ” (Luke 2:36-37)
This woman, Anna, had been a widow since a young age and had spent the rest of her days and fasted serving and worshipping God. Finally, at the age of 84, Anna saw the Christ child. Through this example we can see that Anna lived a life committed to God and fasted regularly. Anna’s reward was seeing the Christ. We can use fasting in our daily worship and seeking of God.
We have seen what the Bible says about fasting through five stories found in the Old and New Testaments. We have seen that fasting is private, can be for intervening, for times of distress, for praying for God to accomplish his will, for petitioning to God and for worship when seeking God. We can use fasting to help us have the time for focus on God.