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4 Types of Fasting in the Bible 1 (1)

 

Fasting in the Bible.  The word fasting means to abstain from something.  Most commonly, fasting refers to abstaining from food, but it can include abstaining from other things, as well. Let’s take a look at the four types of fasting in the Bible.

What the Bible Says about Fasting

 

Regular Fast – Traditionally, a regular fast means refraining from eating all food. Most people still drink water or juice during a regular fast. When Jesus fasted in the desert, the Bible says, “After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry.” This verse does not mention Jesus being thirsty, but we do not have clear instructions on this.

Partial Fast – This type of fast generally refers to omitting a specific meal from your diet or refraining from certain types of foods. Daniel 10:2-3 says, “At that time I, Daniel, mourned for three weeks. I ate no choice food; no meat or wine touched my lips; and I used no lotions at all until the three weeks were over.” In Daniel 1:12, they restricted their diet to vegetables and water: “Please test your servants for ten days: Give us nothing but vegetables to eat and water to drink.”

 Paul and Barnabas appointed elders for them in each church and, with prayer and fasting, committed them to the Lord, in whom they had put their trust. – Acts 14:23 (NIV)

Full Fast – These fasts are complete – no food and no drink. Acts 9:9 describes when Paul went on a full fast for three days following his encounter with Jesus on the road to Damascus: “For three days he was blind, and did not eat or drink anything.” Esther also called for this type of fast in Esther 4:15-16: “Then Esther sent this reply to Mordecai: ‘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 maids 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.'” It is recommended that this type of fast be done with extreme caution and not for extended periods of time.

fasting in the Bible

 

Sexual Fast – 1 Corinthians 7:3-6 says, “The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband. The wife’s body does not belong to her alone but also to her husband. In the same way, the husband’s body does not belong to him alone but also to his wife. Do not deprive each other except by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.”

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Want to Study the Birds in the Bible? My FREE Bible Study Worksheets can help you!

My FREE SOAP study worksheet with instructions AND FREE in-depth Bible verse worksheet can help you dig deeper to understand and apply His Word.  Grab it below.

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In the Bible, fasting is often linked to repentance for sin. A powerful example is when David was confronted by Nathan for his sin committed with Bathsheba (2 Samuel 11-12)  Fasting, however, does not have to be as a repentance for sin. You could choose to fast to commit to a day (or other period of time) to pray and focus on God or simply as an act of faith and obedience. 

The Four Types of Fasting in the Bible - IG

 

Christians today commit to fasting from other activities as well. Some give up entertainment such as TV, Facebook, games, etc. to concentrate on prayer or as a commitment to God. You can fast certain foods (such as chocolate or coffee), but the key is to abstain from something you would miss.  Fasting from soda, if you don’t drink it, like me, wouldn’t be an act of faith.

β€œGo, 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 (NIV)

Biblical fasting is a deeply personal, yet incredibly powerful way to draw closer to God and commit yourself to prayer.  If you have never fasted before and are considering adding fasting to your faith tools, take a look at one or all of these articles and books which will help you understand more about fasting for God, including why to fast and how to fast derived from fasting in the Bible:

Blog Posts:

Fasting for Beginners

The Power and Prayer of Fasting

Biblical Fasting

Books:

Fasting for Spiritual Breakthrough: A Practical Guide to Nine Biblical Fasts by Elmer L. Towns 

The Power of Prayer and Fasting by Ronnie Floyd 

God’s Chosen Fast by Arthur Wallis

Have you ever fasted as an act of faith?  If so, tell me about it in the comments below.  I’d love to hear about your experience.

Along with fasting, making prayer a habit can transform your faith. Read about my experience with the 40 Day Prayer Challenge.

In His Love and Mine,

Sue

Free Bible Study Worksheets optin

Want to Study the Birds in the Bible? My FREE Bible Study Worksheets can help you!

My FREE SOAP study worksheet with instructions AND FREE in-depth Bible verse worksheet can help you dig deeper to understand and apply His Word.  Grab it below.

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The 4 Types of Fasting 2
Fasting as an Act of Faith 3

 

Susan is a writer, speaker and the creator of Women of Noble Character ministries. She is passionate about helping Christian women live a Proverbs 31 life in today’s world. The Lord laid upon her heart to serve women to grow in Christ, improve their marriages and manage their homes stress-free. She provides tools and resources on her website for Christian women to grow in their faith, deepen their relationship with their husbands and manage their homes well.

She lives in rural North Central Missouri with her handsome and hilarious husband and a myriad of dogs, cats and chickens.

Susan runs on Jesus, coffee and not enough sleep.
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