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Biblical Fasting 101

In the Christian Community there is much debate and argument about fasting and what constitutes a biblical fast. Many people have been taught that self-denial of anything can be considered a fast and will potentially reap the same rewards as an abstinence from food. Well known teachers of the bible have proclaimed this idea with good intentions but really no biblical foundation to support their claim.

Scripturally speaking, fasting is always in reference to abstinence from food in some way. Both the Hebrew and Greek words translated as “fast, fasting, fasted, etc.” in scripture are defined as, “to abstain from food.” There is plenty of scriptural evidence to call upon for one to reach the conclusion that self-denial of pleasurable things will lead to a momentary closer relationship with God. The fourth chapter of the book of James states,

“Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.”

If I give up video games, or TV, or the internet for a given number of days just so I can seek God instead, guess what: I’ll find Him, “…seek and you will find”. My seeking is always rewarded in some way with the revelation of His character and power in my life. However, there is no foundation to call this fasting – unless you redefine the entire meaning of fasting!



In fasting, by biblical and secular definition, we are to abstain from food in some way for a given period of time. By biblical definition it is also coupled with an increased intensity of prayer. It is the sacrifice of that which the body “needs“, in order to obtain that which your spirit needs even more.

There are a number of different methods to fasting that we find in scripture (learn more here), as well as forms that have been accepted by our modern culture. Fasting is all about seeking God. Its a heartfelt petition to the Lord for a change that only He can accomplish.



The rewards of fasting are due to an internal (spiritual) change we can’t see that allows for a manifested move of God we can see.

“Whenever you fast, do not put on a gloomy face as the hypocrites do…so that they will be noticed by men when they are fasting. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full.” – Matthew 6:16 (NASB)


Even in this warning given by Jesus, He shows that there is a reward in fasting. He is saying in essence, “Don’t worry about chasing the reward, focus on the act of humbling yourself during the fast and I’ll reward you openly.” That reward could be salvation of a loved one, a financial breakthrough, wisdom in your life, a powerful miracle, supernatural healing, or really anything you can believe for according to the Word of God. It could also simply be a change in your personal character. However, all those things are done by the power of God. Our fasting moves us, not necessarily God.

Fasting is an amazing tool:

Instituted by the Lord in things like, the Feast of Weeks, and the Feast of Unleavened Bread (Deuteronomy 16:16), fasting has been an age old, tried and tested method for positioning God’s people for the miraculous.

Hopefully you will find this site helpful in preparing you for major moves of God in your life that similarly display His glory and power, much like He did in the bible. That’s what biblical fasting is all about, its not an experiment in regaining our physical health, it is a willing sacrifice of the physical to obtain that which is infinitely more valuable…the Presence of God in our lives.

Please leave me some feed back if this article is at all helpful to you or if you have any questions and comments. Thank You!

God Bless You – Justin Hampton

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