Summary: An in-depth guide to fasting and prayer, in the Christian’s life.
We are living in a society that ranks “eating” as the number
A. We could take the whole time just naming these
places...pizza, roast beef, fried chicken,
hamburgers, Greek food.....and-on-and-on.
1. We have been programmed to eat at set times.
a. There may be no hunger involved....we
eat out of habit.....”because its there”.
1.) As a general rule, Americans eat
too much and too fast.
a.) 80% of Americans are over-
B. Many are very dependent upon food.
1. Not just for survival:
a. For dealing with anxiety, depression,
boredom, and many other emotional
b. Rather than eating to live....many live to
1.) These people eat for the taste only.
With this all in mind....we can understand why fasting can
be so much of an emotional issue.
A. People fear to fast.....there are some who,
subconsciously fear starvation.
1. It may come from a real past of not having
much to eat.
2. It could be coming from a lack of faith and
trust that God WILL provide our needs.
B. Many do not want to fast, because they enjoy
1. Could one say that food can be our master?
Now.....on the other side of the coin are the different
degrees of fanaticism concerning fasting.
A. Some of these ideas can a often do turn a person
1. John Wesley said, “Some have exalted
religious fasting beyond all scripture and
reason, and others have utterly disregarded
a. There are those who feel that fasting
needs to be bound upon all Christians...
as a matter of faith.
1.) They have made rules and reasons
for fasting and try to control others
in this exercise.
b. Then there are those who consider fasting
1.) In short.....they feel as though they
can ignore all that is said, in
Scripture, concerning the practice
Even though this subject may be a touchy one or one that
we are comfortable in ignoring......I think that we do need
to take a new look at the concept of fasting.
A. The list of Biblical people who fasted becomes a
“who’s who” of scripture.
1. Moses, David, Elijah, Esther, Daniel,
Jesus Christ, the Apostles, Paul....to but name
a. There are more teachings on fasting in
the New Testament, than on repentance
b. Jesus taught more on fasting than on
baptism and the observance of the Lord’s
Because the Bible has so much to say on the subject....it is
only right that we consider several points concerning the
I. Occasions of fasting in the Old Testament.
NOTE: Old testament writings are almost always the
foreshadowing (or the figure) of something to
come, in the New Testament.
1. The Old was the fleshly....the carnal.......The
New is the Spiritual application of this
example or principle or law.
A. Fasting was called for on the “Day of Atonement”.
Lev. 16:29-31 - 29“On the appointed day in early autumn,
you must spend the day fasting and not do any work. This
is a permanent law for you, and it applies to those who are
Israelites by birth, as well as to the foreigners living among
30On this day, atonement will be made for you, and you
will be cleansed from all your sins in the LORD’S
presence. 31It will be a Sabbath day of total rest, and you
will spend the day in fasting. This is a permanent law for
Lev. 23:26-32 - 26Then the LORD said to Moses,
27“Remember that the Day of Atonement is to be
celebrated on the ninth day after the Festival of Trumpets.
On that day you must humble yourselves, gather for a
sacred assembly, and present offerings to the LORD by
fire. 28Do no work during that entire day because it is the
Day of Atonement, when atonement will be made for you
before the LORD your God, and payment will be made for
your sins. 29Anyone who does not spend that day in
humility will be cut off from the community. 30And I will
destroy anyone among you who does any kind of work on
that day. 31You must do no work at all! This is a
permanent law for you, and it must be observed wherever
you live. 32This will be a Sabbath day of total rest for you,
and on that day you must humble yourselves. This time of
rest and fasting will begin the evening before the Day of
Atonement and extend until evening of that day.”
Numbers 29:7 - 7“Ten days later, you must call another
holy assembly of all the people. On that day, the Day of
Atonement, the people must go without food, and no
regular work may be done.
1. This was the only fast that was commanded....