30 Scriptures on Fasting and Praying

Fasting and praying are ancient spiritual disciplines that hold significant importance in many religious traditions. Christians, in particular, often engage in fasting and prayer to seek spiritual growth, clarity, and guidance. In this article, we will explore 30 powerful scriptures on fasting and praying that can inspire and guide believers in their spiritual journey.

Scriptures on Fasting and Praying

1. Matthew 6:16-18

Seeking Authenticity in Spiritual Devotion

  • “And when you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces that their fasting may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward.”

In this passage, Jesus cautions against the superficiality of fasting solely for the sake of public display. He urges his followers not to adopt a gloomy countenance or disfigure their faces like the hypocrites who seek recognition from others. Instead, Jesus invites a deeper understanding of fasting, one that transcends external appearances and focuses on the authentic transformation of the heart. By highlighting the empty reward received by those who fast to be seen by others, Jesus underscores the importance of fasting as a personal, intimate act of seeking communion with God. Through this perspective, fasting becomes a powerful tool for nurturing a genuine and heartfelt connection with the Divine.

2. Isaiah 58:6-7

Breaking the Chains of Injustice and Embracing Freedom

  • “Is not this the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the straps of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke?”

Isaiah presents an alternative perspective on fasting, highlighting the true essence of this spiritual practice. He poses the question: Is fasting not meant to release the bonds of wickedness, undo oppressive yokes, and set the oppressed free? This profound insight challenges traditional notions of fasting and redirects its purpose toward social justice and compassion. Fasting becomes a catalyst for change, inspiring individuals to actively engage in dismantling systems of oppression and advocating for the liberation of the marginalized. It calls for a holistic approach to fasting that encompasses both personal and societal transformation.

3. Joel 2:12-13

A Journey of Repentance and Restoration

  • “Yet even now,” declares the LORD, “return to me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning.”

Amidst the declaration of the LORD, Joel calls for a profound return to God with fasting, weeping, and mourning. These heartfelt expressions symbolize the inner transformation and deep contrition that accompany sincere repentance. Fasting becomes a vehicle for self-reflection, humility, and the mending of broken relationships. Joel’s words resonate with the timeless truth that fasting can serve as a powerful catalyst for personal and spiritual growth, leading to reconciliation with both God and fellow human beings. It is an invitation to embark on a transformative journey of restoration and renewed devotion.

4. Acts 27:9

A Marker of Time and Decision-Making

  • “Since much time had passed, and the voyage was now dangerous because even the Fast was already over, Paul advised them.”

Luke recounts a perilous voyage and the precarious timing of the Fast in this passage. The recognition that much time had passed and the Fast was already over signals the urgency and danger faced by Paul and his companions. Paul’s advice takes into account the conclusion of the Fast, highlighting the significance of timing in decision-making. This passage prompts reflection on the relationship between fasting, discernment, and the wisdom required to navigate critical situations. Fasting serves as a marker, reminding individuals to carefully consider circumstances, seek divine guidance, and make choices aligned with the will of God.

5. Ezra 8:21-23

The Power of Fasting in Journeys

  • “Then I proclaimed a fast there, at the river Ahava, that we might humble ourselves before our God, to seek from him a safe journey for ourselves, our children, and all our goods.”

Ezra’s proclamation of a fast at the river Ahava illustrates the essential role of fasting in seeking God’s protection and guidance during journeys. The act of humbling oneself before God through fasting acknowledges human vulnerability and the need for divine intervention. By engaging in this spiritual practice, individuals embark on a sacred pilgrimage, not only seeking physical safety but also entrusting their entire journey, their children, and their possessions to the care and guidance of the Almighty. Fasting becomes a conduit for divine favor and an expression of faith in God’s providence throughout the voyage.

6. 2 Chronicles 20:3-4

Jehoshaphat’s Call to Seek God through Fasting

  • “Then Jehoshaphat was afraid and set his face to seek the LORD, and proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah.”

Jehoshaphat’s response to fear showcases the power of collective faith and the unity fostered through fasting. In the face of impending danger, Jehoshaphat proclaims a fast throughout all Judah, calling his people to seek the LORD. Fasting becomes a unifying act, transcending individual differences and bringing people together in devotion and supplication. It serves as a reminder of the shared dependence on God’s deliverance and the strength found in communal prayer. Jehoshaphat’s example inspires readers to recognize the transformative impact of unified fasting in strengthening faith and facing challenges with confidence.

7. Matthew 17:21

Unlocking the Extraordinary

  • “But this kind never comes out except by prayer and fasting.”

Jesus asserts that prayer and fasting are indispensable when confronted with formidable spiritual obstacles. This verse unveils the synergistic power of prayer and fasting in accessing realms beyond the ordinary. It emphasizes the need for a heightened spiritual connection to overcome deeply entrenched struggles. By blending these disciplines, individuals can tap into a supernatural source of strength, discernment, and breakthrough. Jesus’ words resonate with the longing to experience the extraordinary and affirm the profound impact that a dedicated life of prayer and fasting can have on one’s spiritual journey.

8. Esther 4:16

Empowering Change through Sacrificial Devotion

  • “Go, gather all the Jews to be found in Susa, and hold a fast on my behalf, and do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my young women will also fast as you do. Then I will go to the king.”

Esther’s call to hold a fast on her behalf reflects the transformative potential of fasting as an act of courage and sacrificial devotion. In the face of an impending perilous mission, she and her young women resolve to fast for three days and nights. Fasting becomes an embodiment of their commitment and willingness to lay everything on the line. It empowers them to approach the king and advocate for the salvation of their people, defying personal risk. Esther’s story highlights the resolute strength that fasting can awaken within individuals, enabling them to effect profound change through selfless dedication and unwavering faith.

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9. Acts 10:30

Cornelius’ Prayer, Fasting, and Angelic Visitation

  • “And Cornelius said, ‘Four days ago, about this hour, I was praying in my house at the ninth hour, and behold, a man stood before me in bright clothing.'”

Cornelius recounts a remarkable encounter with an angelic messenger while praying in his house during a period of fasting. This encounter unveils the mystical dimensions that can be experienced through fasting and prayer. Cornelius’s devotion, expressed through fasting, creates a spiritual environment that attracts divine visitation and revelation. The passage encourages readers to embrace the potential for profound encounters with the Divine that can unfold in the midst of dedicated fasting and prayer. It stirs anticipation for the supernatural and invites individuals to draw closer to God, seeking transformative encounters and deeper spiritual communion.

10. Psalm 35:13

A Pathway to Healing and Intimacy with God

  • “But I, when they were sick— I wore sackcloth; I afflicted myself with fasting; I prayed with head bowed on my chest.”

The psalmist describes their response to the sickness of others, expressing solidarity and intercession through fasting. Wearing sackcloth, afflicting themselves with fasting, and bowing their head in prayer, the psalmist seeks divine intervention and healing. This passage portrays fasting as a deeply personal and empathetic act, imbued with a profound sense of compassion. It demonstrates how fasting can be a channel for connecting with the suffering of others and beseeching God for restoration. The psalmist’s example encourages readers to embrace fasting as a means to cultivate intimacy with God and actively engage in the healing journey of those in need.

11. Luke 2:37

Anna’s Lifetime of Fasting and Prayer

  • “And then as a widow, until she was eighty-four. She never left the temple but worshiped night and day, fasting and praying.”

The account of Anna, a widow who dedicated her life to fasting, praying, and worshiping in the temple, epitomizes unwavering devotion. Her story exemplifies the transformative impact of a life marked by fasting and prayer, characterized by an unceasing pursuit of God’s presence. Anna’s commitment to worshiping night and day underscores the power of continuous devotion and the sustaining strength found in fasting. Her life serves as an inspiration for readers to cultivate a steadfast spirit of worship, embracing fasting as a means to encounter God and find fulfillment in His presence throughout their lives.

12. Acts 14:23

Prayer, Fasting, and the Appointment of Elders

  • “And when they had appointed elders for them in every church, with prayer and fasting they committed them to the Lord in whom they had believed.”

The appointment of elders in the early church is marked by the powerful combination of prayer and fasting. This passage underscores the significance of seeking God’s guidance and consecration through fasting when entrusting leaders to their roles. Fasting becomes a sacred ritual, signifying the earnest desire for God’s wisdom and empowerment to rest upon those chosen for leadership. The act of fasting expresses dependence on God’s discernment and ensures that His will prevails in the selection process. This passage encourages individuals and communities to approach significant decisions with a spirit of prayer and fasting, seeking divine direction in all endeavors.

13. Nehemiah 1:4

Fasting as a Response to Crisis

  • “As soon as I heard these words I sat down and wept and mourned for days, and I continued fasting and praying before the God of heaven.”

Nehemiah’s reaction to distressing news exemplifies the power of fasting as a response to crisis. Overwhelmed by the state of Jerusalem, Nehemiah sits down, weeps, mourns, and continues fasting and praying before the God of heaven. This passage reveals fasting as an expression of deep compassion, an avenue for processing grief, and an unwavering pursuit of divine intervention. Nehemiah’s example resonates with those facing personal or communal challenges, inspiring them to turn to fasting as a means to engage with God, seek His mercy, and find the strength to address the pressing issues of their lives and communities.

14. Mark 9:29

The Essential Role of Fasting

  • “And he said to them, ‘This kind cannot be driven out by anything but prayer.'”

Jesus highlights the inseparable connection between prayer and fasting when addressing the nature of certain spiritual battles. This passage emphasizes that some challenges require the added strength and spiritual intensity unlocked through fasting. Jesus’ words emphasize the essentiality of fasting as a means to fortify and amplify the efficacy of prayer. It underscores the necessity of disciplined devotion and the pursuit of spiritual breakthroughs through the combined forces of prayer and fasting. This verse ignites a fervent desire within readers to delve deeper into these transformative practices, realizing their potential to unleash the extraordinary power of prayer.

15. Psalm 69:10

Fasting as a Catalyst for Growth

  • “When I wept and humbled my soul with fasting, it became my reproach.”

The psalmist’s experience of fasting while in a state of affliction reveals the transformative power of this spiritual practice. By weeping, humbling their soul through fasting, and experiencing reproach, the psalmist demonstrates the vulnerability and surrender that accompanies fasting. This passage encapsulates the paradoxical nature of fasting, where weakness becomes a gateway to spiritual strength and growth. It inspires readers to embrace fasting as a means of deepening their connection with God, surrendering their burdens, and allowing His transformative work to take place within their lives. Fasting becomes a pathway to renewed faith, resilience, and personal transformation.

16. Acts 27:33-35

Paul’s Wisdom on Physical Sustenance and Spiritual Endurance

  • “As day was about to dawn, Paul urged them all to take some food, saying, ‘Today is the fourteenth day that you have continued in suspense and without food, having taken nothing.'”

Paul’s exhortation to his fellow sailors, urging them to take food after fourteen days of suspense and fasting, offers valuable insights into the delicate balance between physical sustenance and spiritual endurance. This passage highlights the significance of nourishment as a means to strengthen the body and maintain resilience during challenging times. It also serves as a reminder that while fasting can be a powerful spiritual practice, there are occasions when it is necessary to partake in physical sustenance to sustain oneself on the journey of faith. Paul’s wisdom inspires readers to discern the appropriate seasons for fasting and to prioritize the holistic well-being required to navigate life’s trials with unwavering strength.

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17. Isaiah 58:8

Fasting as a Catalyst for Healing and Spiritual Breakthroughs

  • “Then shall your light break forth like the dawn, and your healing shall spring up speedily; your righteousness shall go before you; the glory of the LORD shall be your rear guard.”

Isaiah’s prophetic words reveal the remarkable blessings that accompany genuine fasting. The imagery of light breaking forth like the dawn and healing springing up speedily signifies the transformative power of fasting in one’s life. It portrays fasting as a catalyst for divine illumination, leading to personal and communal restoration. This passage invites readers to embrace fasting as a transformative spiritual discipline that not only illuminates their own path but also becomes a beacon of righteousness, drawing others closer to God’s glory. It beckons individuals to embark on a journey of fasting, anticipating the transformative encounters and profound healing that await them.

18. Luke 18:12

Fasting and Tithing as Expressions of Faith

  • “I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.”

In Luke’s account, a Pharisee boasts of fasting twice a week and faithfully tithing his possessions. This verse sheds light on the power of disciplined devotion, highlighting the parallel between fasting and giving. Both acts stem from a heart of faith, reflecting an individual’s commitment to honor God and seek His favor. Fasting and tithing become interconnected expressions of trust, surrender, and obedience. This passage challenges readers to examine their own practices of devotion, encouraging them to embrace the transformative power of disciplined fasting and generous giving as integral components of their faith journey.

19. 1 Corinthians 7:5

Fasting, Prayer, and Strengthening Marital Relationships

  • “Do not deprive one another, except perhaps by agreement for a limited time, that you may devote yourselves to prayer; but then come together again, so that Satan may not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.”

Paul’s counsel on temporary abstinence within marriage reveals a profound aspect of fasting—its ability to enhance spiritual intimacy and self-control within relationships. By temporarily abstaining from physical intimacy, couples create space for devoted prayer and spiritual communion. This passage affirms the importance of fasting as a means to prioritize the spiritual aspects of life, fostering self-discipline and guarding against the temptations of the enemy. It underscores the transformative potential of intentional fasting within marital relationships, enabling couples to cultivate a deeper connection with God and with each other.

20. Jonah 3:5-10

Nineveh’s Collective Fast and Divine Mercy

  • “And the people of Nineveh believed God. They called for a fast and put on sackcloth, from the greatest of them to the least of them.”

The account of Nineveh’s response to Jonah’s warning exemplifies the transformative power of collective fasting as a catalyst for repentance and divine intervention. From the greatest to the least, the people of Nineveh don sackcloth and call for a fast. This communal act of humility and self-denial moves the heart of God, leading to the city’s redemption. This passage demonstrates the profound impact of unified fasting in eliciting divine mercy, forgiveness, and restoration. It inspires readers to consider the communal dimensions of fasting, recognizing its potential to ignite transformative change in their communities and beyond.

21. Acts 9:9

Paul’s Fasting and Spiritual Revelation on the Road to Damascus

  • “And for three days he was without sight, and neither ate nor drank.”

The account of Paul’s three-day fast, accompanied by his temporary blindness, presents fasting as a catalyst for spiritual revelation and redirection. During this period of physical deprivation, Paul undergoes a profound encounter with the risen Christ, ultimately leading to his conversion and an extraordinary life of ministry. This passage highlights the transformative power of fasting in preparing individuals to receive divine guidance and illumination. It prompts readers to reflect on their own journeys, encouraging them to embrace fasting as a means to experience life-altering encounters with God, leading to redirection, transformation, and a deeper understanding of His purpose for their lives.

22. Psalm 109:24

Fasting and the Strengthening of Spiritual Resilience

  • “My knees are weak through fasting; my body has become gaunt, with no fat.”

In this psalm, the author describes their physical weakness and emaciated state resulting from fasting. This portrayal emphasizes the self-denial and sacrifice inherent in the practice of fasting. It reveals fasting as a transformative journey that requires surrendering physical comforts and enduring moments of weakness. This passage challenges readers to consider the transformative potential of fasting in strengthening their spiritual resilience. It invites them to embrace the discomforts of fasting, understanding that in their moments of weakness, they find the strength of God made perfect.

23. Luke 4:2

Jesus’ Spiritual Preparation and Victorious Triumph

  • “Being forty days tempted of the devil. And in those days he did eat nothing: and when they were ended, he afterward hungered.”

Luke’s account of Jesus’ forty-day fast in the wilderness unveils the transformative nature of fasting in preparing one for significant spiritual battles. In His time of physical deprivation, Jesus emerges spiritually fortified, having resisted the devil’s temptations. This passage illuminates fasting as a vital spiritual discipline that equips believers to overcome the schemes of the enemy and emerge victorious in their own trials. It inspires readers to embrace fasting as a means to prepare themselves for spiritual warfare, cultivating an unwavering spirit and finding victory through the power of God’s Word.

24. Matthew 9:14-15

Jesus’ Response to the Disciples’ Question

  • “Then the disciples of John came to him, saying, ‘Why do we and the Pharisees fast, but your disciples do not fast?'”

When the disciples of John question Jesus about fasting, He provides profound insights into the essence and purpose of fasting. His response sheds light on the seasonality of fasting and the nature of His earthly ministry. Jesus reveals that while His disciples currently rejoice in His presence, there will come a time when fasting becomes a fitting response. This passage invites readers to consider the multifaceted nature of fasting, recognizing its appropriateness within different seasons of life and ministry. It encourages a discerning approach to fasting, acknowledging its unique ability to foster spiritual growth and connection with God.

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25. Joel 1:14

Fasting, Solemn Assemblies, and Seeking God’s Intervention

  • “Consecrate a fast; call a solemn assembly. Gather the elders and all the inhabitants of the land to the house of the LORD your God, and cry out to the LORD.”

Joel’s call for a consecrated fast and a solemn assembly conveys the urgency of seeking divine intervention in times of crisis and distress. This passage emphasizes the power of collective fasting and prayer as a means to cry out to God, repent, and beseech His mercy. It underscores the transformative potential of fasting within a communal context, uniting individuals in a shared pursuit of God’s intervention. This verse compels readers to examine the pressing issues in their lives and communities, urging them to engage in collective fasting, seeking God’s guidance, and experiencing the transformative power of united intercession.

26. Ezra 10:6

Ezra’s Fasting and Repentance for the Sins of the Exiles

  • “Then Ezra withdrew from before the house of God and went to the chamber of Jehohanan the son of Eliashib, where he spent the night, neither eating bread nor drinking water, for he was mourning over the faithlessness of the exiles.”

Ezra’s withdrawal, abstaining from food and water, reveals fasting as a powerful response to mourning and repentance. The author highlights Ezra’s deep sorrow over the faithlessness of the exiles, prompting a season of fasting and seeking God’s forgiveness. This passage illuminates the transformative nature of fasting in the context of communal repentance, emphasizing the need for genuine contrition and humility before God. It encourages readers to reflect on their own lives, recognizing the occasions that call for fasting as a response to personal and corporate sins, leading to transformative repentance and restoration.

27. Acts 13:2-3

The Holy Spirit’s Guidance and Empowerment for Kingdom Work

  • “While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, ‘Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.’ Then after fasting and praying, they laid their hands on them and sent them off.”

The account of the early believers fasting and praying while worshiping the Lord highlights the profound connection between fasting, prayer, and the Holy Spirit’s guidance. It demonstrates how fasting creates an environment conducive to hearing and discerning God’s voice. In this passage, the Holy Spirit speaks, setting apart Barnabas and Saul for their calling and empowering them for the work of the kingdom. It emphasizes the transformative role of fasting as a means to align oneself with God’s purposes, seeking His guidance, and experiencing the Holy Spirit’s empowerment for impactful ministry. It encourages readers to engage in fasting, expecting divine direction and equipping for their own God-given assignments.

28. Isaiah 58:3

Fasting and the Pursuit of True Righteousness

  • “Why have we fasted, and you see it not? Why have we humbled ourselves, and you take no knowledge of it? Behold, in the day of your fast you seek your own pleasure, and oppress all your workers.”

Isaiah’s rebuke challenges the outwardly religious who engage in fasting but fail to demonstrate true righteousness in their lives. This passage exposes the danger of performative fasting that lacks genuine compassion and justice. It invites readers to reflect on their own practices of fasting, urging them to go beyond mere ritual and engage in fasting that aligns with God’s heart. True transformative fasting involves self-examination, humility, and a commitment to seek justice and show compassion to others. This verse calls readers to pursue a fasting lifestyle that bears fruit in authentic righteousness, transforming their own lives and positively impacting the world around them.

29. Luke 5:33-34

Fasting, Prayer, and Understanding Jesus’ Ministry

  • “And they said to him, ‘The disciples of John fast often and offer prayers, and so do the disciples of the Pharisees, but yours eat and drink.'”

When questioned about His disciples’ lack of fasting, Jesus unveils the significance of discerning the appropriate seasons for fasting. He contrasts His ministry with that of John the Baptist, explaining that while His disciples currently rejoice in His presence, a time will come when fasting becomes fitting. This passage highlights the need for discernment in fasting, recognizing the varying seasons and purposes in the journey of faith. It encourages readers to seek the guidance of the Holy Spirit in determining the appropriate times for fasting, ensuring that their practices align with God’s will and the specific calling on their lives.

30. 1 Kings 21:9-10

Fasting, Social Justice, and the Pursuit of God’s Will

  • “And she wrote in the letters, ‘Proclaim a fast, and set Naboth at the head of the people.'”

The narrative of Naboth’s unjust death and the subsequent proclamation of a fast unveils fasting as a response to social injustice and a means to seek God’s justice. In this passage, fasting becomes a catalyst for addressing societal wrongs and seeking divine intervention. It highlights the transformative power of fasting in the pursuit of God’s will for justice and righteousness. This verse challenges readers to consider the connection between fasting and social justice, inviting them to actively engage in fasting as a means to address systemic issues, promote equity, and seek God’s transformative power in their communities.

Conclusion

Fasting and praying are spiritual disciplines that can deepen our connection with God, bring clarity to our minds, and strengthen our faith. The scriptures on fasting and praying provide guidance and inspiration for believers seeking to embark on this transformative journey. By incorporating these powerful verses into our lives, we can experience the profound benefits of fasting and prayer in our spiritual walk.

Remember to approach fasting and praying with a humble heart, seeking God’s guidance and relying on His strength. As you engage in this spiritual practice, may these scriptures be a source of encouragement, wisdom, and inspiration to help you grow closer to God and experience the transformative power of fasting and prayer in your life.

With these scriptures as your guide, may your fasting and praying be filled with meaning, purpose, and divine encounters.

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