1. Religion & Spirituality
Mary Fairchild

Spiritual Fasting - What Does the Bible Say?

By February 28, 2012

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Recently, I received this question from a reader:
Spiritual Fasting

Is it wrong for a Christian to fast? I was told that Christ has already done the fasting for us. Should Christians still practice spiritual fasting?

I have heard this concept expressed before—that there is no longer a need for Christians to fast because Jesus Christ has fulfilled all of the requirements of the law. This assertion is partially true. Early Christians were not required to fast. Yet, there is nothing in the Bible that forbids it. In fact, many New Testament believers observed prayer and fasting regularly.

In Luke 5:35, Jesus himself affirmed that after his death fasting would be appropriate for his followers. Spiritual fasting clearly has a place and a purpose for God's people today. We'll look at spiritual fasting--what it is and what it's not--as we consider the biblical purpose of fasting.

• Read: What Does the Bible Say About Spiritual Fasting?

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Comments
January 20, 2010 at 2:35 pm
(1) Adam says:

In Matthew 6 it says three things christans are to do it says WHEN you give WHEN you pray and WHEN you fast if he is saying when he is telling us it is something we too should do.Look at Mark 9:29 it says “this kind only cometh out by prayer and fasting”.There are spirits that prayer alone can not defeat.the scripture that you posted Luke 5:35 “But the day will come and when the bridegroom is taken away from them they will fast in those days” that is the nasb version it says after jesus left they WILL FAST in those days. Jesus himself in scripture says luke 6:40 a disciple is not better then his teacher but when fully trained he will be just like him. Jesus fasted 40 days and 40 nights before he started his ministry he knew what was out there and he knew the formula to defeat it and wanted to teach us prayer and fasting.If Jesus fasted 40 days and 40 night how much more should we practice it in are lives if we are to be like are teacher, and scripture says be imatators of Christ. top 2 reasons people do not fast 1.They are not taught to fast people tell them they dont have too. 2.There flesh is calling the shots. To fast takes discipline.If you got told to bake a cake and got told the recipe to do it step by step if you skip one of those steps dont blame the person who gave you the recipe. God’s word is the same we must follow it exactly Matthew 6 give,pray,and fast thats how jesus taught us and thats how it will come out right

February 1, 2010 at 12:23 pm
(2) myung hee says:

When we pray but with an unanswered prayer, I think that fasting is needed for all Christians
Jesus pray and fast for 40 days.
How much we need to fast and pray?

February 5, 2010 at 12:53 pm
(3) RDKirk says:

“Is it wrong for a Christian to fast? I was told that Christ has already done the fasting for us. Should Christians still practice spiritual fasting? ”

This applies only in the sense and case that a person believes the work of fasting is a necessary procedure leading to salvation. That would make it “legalistic,” i.e., “salvation by procedure.”

As other have already noted, Jesus has pointed out the need for fasting on certain occasions, and New Testament scripture shows that Christians did, indeed, fast when the circumstances required it.

This shows us that Christian fasting is not a salvatonal requirement–not a “legal” requirement–but like so many other things often a necessary precaution for a circumstance into which the Lord’s work may place us.

February 18, 2010 at 10:00 am
(4) faith says:

To grow and develope your relationship in christ you must fast. fasting is pretty much sayin nothing comes before christ in my life not even my body. there is a priority list in which the father tops.and we should eat the whole book.we are to grow closer to him while on this earth, and fasting is one way to do that and continue to put your flesh in it’s place. Jesus’ had flesh and put it under subjection.why wouldn’t we.to say it’s somthing extra is like sayin i paid my ticket and the court cost is extra that isn’t required.no it is all required!

June 3, 2011 at 5:24 am
(5) INDRIN NAIDOO says:

Fasting

Its good to fast, no doubt about that but its pointless fasting and going back and doing the same thing, from my point of view fasting is all about mindset once u put your mind to it, it works.

God Bless

February 2, 2012 at 3:30 am
(6) Wisdom of Jesus Ministries says:

Teach us about fasting

February 2, 2012 at 11:46 am
(7) Patricia Backora says:

Jesus DID go without food forty days and nights but He had power to live off the Word of God and only AFTER His abstinence ended did He feel hunger (Matt.4:2) But an example is not a command. Many Christians have gotten ill or even died because they felt obligated to imitate Christ’s long fast. There is no other example given of Jesus going a long time without eating. He didn’t make His own disciples fast and drew criticism for it from John the Baptist’s disciples (Mark 2:13-22). Jesus, far from “living a fasted life”, was criticized for being a wine drinker and glutton (Matt.11:19). He contrasted Himself with John the Baptist’s ascetic lifestyle (Luke 7:33-34). Had Christ been a frequent, or even habitual, faster, the charge would have been ridiculous. In the church council of Acts 15, no mention is made of new Gentile Christians needing to fast. Most of them would have been unfamiliar with the practice and needed teaching on it if it were a requirement. The epistles (doctrinal letters to the churches) are silent on religious fasting. We must base our NT doctrine on what relevant has to say to the New Covenant Church, not ancient Israel under the Law. We aren’t taught in the NT to EARN answers to prayer or punish ourselves for our own sins in any way. Trying to add our own two cents’ worth of suffering to the merits of Christ on our behalf is heresy.

February 4, 2012 at 4:57 pm
(8) angela. says:

hello i saw your comment on here and im a child of god[a christian.]your aboustely right jesus did have power from on high to fast i rember a story in the bible when jesus was being tested by[satan.]but the lord cursed him he said test not the lord your god /get thee hince behind me you see sister in christ when satan comes and testing us we need to tell him the same thing it is written,oh he might say you cant do it say this the lord’s grace is suffricent for me he’l give me strenght.write me back let me kno how it sounds thank you god bless.

March 3, 2012 at 5:12 pm
(9) Amir says:

I am 12 should I fast cause I really want 2 I want 2 fast for 40 days and 40 nights my friends say I shouldnt should I fast my girl friend broke up with me so the world will not be the same

March 4, 2012 at 9:59 pm
(10) divine says:

Amir, what is the reason why you want to fast? I just read something online that said , when we fast we shouldn’t fast to get something from God beacuse it’s call blackmail. It ‘s great that you are thinking about fasting. Fast to get closer to god. take care

April 5, 2012 at 1:07 pm
(11) T.A.PALANI says:

Fasting is good for health. scientifically and medically fasting is good to give rest to your parts of body which are functioning 24 X 7. I am a Hindu. But, I believe Lord Jesus Christ. Like Muslims are fasting during the Holy Month of Ramadan, Christians are not fasting for a month though our Lord Jesus Christ was fasted 40 days and 40 nights. I do fasting on Good Friday every year. Previously, I did fasting for the whole day without drinking water. But now, I am unable to continue. Hence, I plan to do fasting on Good Friday from 6 am to 6 pm. However, I would like to know exactly what the Bibile says. How should a person do fasting? Can anybody advise me with the proof of Bible words. I would appreciate if anybody can!

August 9, 2012 at 12:03 am
(12) Jasen says:

Matthew 17:20-21
So Jesus said to them
“because of your unbelief;for assuredly,I say to you.if you have faith as a mustard seed,you will say to this mountain move from here to there,and nothing will be impossible for you.

21-However this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting

October 25, 2012 at 2:21 am
(13) Taiwo Onabamiro says:

It is only man of flesh that will count fasting unnecessary. Christ preached and practiced it. He even said that we shall fast when he’s not physically with us. Fasting therefore is not debatable it is a necessity for a Christian who wants to balance his/her spiritual life.

January 11, 2013 at 10:54 am
(14) Patricia Backora says:

Why don’t Christians keep OTHER old Jewish customs as well, like shaving their heads bald to show sorrow, or throwing sackcloth and ashes on their bodies? Why keep one custom and forget the rest?

August 20, 2013 at 5:02 am
(15) Jefferson says:

Fasting may not be necessary, it’s a custom for many religions. For Christians though fasting with prayer is a Personal decision to show your faith and to humble ourselves before God. In my opinion there’s need to debate.

Romans 14
“14 As for the one who is weak in faith, welcome him, but not to quarrel over opinions. 2 One person believes he may eat anything, while the weak person eats only vegetables. 3 Let not the one who eats despise the one who abstains, and let not the one who abstains pass judgment on the one who eats, for God has welcomed him. 4 Who are you to pass judgment on the servant of another? It is before his own master[a] that he stands or falls. And he will be upheld, for the Lord is able to make him stand.”

If you feel compelled to fast or are called to fast by The Lord for certain reasons in your life whether for healing for help or for greater closeness to our Heavenly Father then by all means go ahead but be sure of your physical health when you do.

As Jesus said in Matthew 4:4 Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”

If you feel there’s no need to fast then it’s a personal decision nobody can force you to fast. There’s really no need to judge a person whether he fasts or not.

We are all brothers and sisters in Christ.
God bless and take care!

August 20, 2013 at 5:30 am
(16) Jefferson says:

Some people fast to draw closer to God, some fast for healing or for help in tough situations. Some feel they are call to fast by The Lord
What ever the reasons to fast make sure that your health can take it.

Romans:14
Accept the one whose faith is weak, without quarreling over disputable matters. 2 One person’s faith allows them to eat anything, but another, whose faith is weak, eats only vegetables. 3 The one who eats everything must not treat with contempt the one who does not, and the one who does not eat everything must not judge the one who does, for God has accepted them. 4 Who are you to judge someone else’s servant? To their own master, servants stand or fall. And they will stand, for the Lord is able to make them stand.

Although its a custom in many religions, whether you choose to fast or not I believe is a very personal decision. Nobody can forced you to fast if you don’t want to.

Matthew 4:4

4 Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.”

September 25, 2013 at 10:37 pm
(17) Joshua Sanchez says:

well in Isaiah 58 God said:
6″No, this is the kind of fasting I want:
Free those who are wrongly imprisoned;
lighten the burden of those who work for you.
Let the oppressed go free,
and remove the chains that bind people.

7Share your food with the hungry,
and give shelter to the homeless.
Give clothes to those who need them,
and do not hide from relatives who need your help.

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