Summary: An in-depth guide to fasting and prayer, in the Christian’s life.

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We are living in a society that ranks “eating” as the number

one passion.

A. We could take the whole time just naming these, 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

food...too much.

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

totally unnecessary....undesirable...and

very inconvenient.

1.) In short.....they feel as though they

can ignore all that is said, in

Scripture, concerning the practice

of fasting.

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, but name

a few.

a. There are more teachings on fasting in

the New Testament, than on repentance

and confession.

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 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....

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