12 Verses That Show the Connection Between Fasting and Prayer
All throughout Scripture, we see a strong connection between fasting and prayer. When the people were repenting, when they were asking the Lord for a miracle, or as a form of spiritual preparation, prayer and fasting went hand in hand. The Bible repeatedly shows that when the people of God are dedicated to prayer, it is accompanied by fasting.
This connection was something I missed for years. I knew prayer was important but thought of fasting as something mystical or dogmatic, neglecting to see how it would benefit me.
A few weeks ago, we dug into how and why Christians fast. Today, we’re going to look at the Biblical connection between prayer and fasting. Because even if it’s hard to see the practical benefits, we are called to step out in faith and fast.
Here are 12 verses from both the Old and New Testament that show the connection between prayer and fasting:
Note: All the verses below are from the Revised Standard Version – Catholic Edition.
1. Esther 4:16
“Go, gather all the Jews to be found in Susa, and hold a fast on my behalf, and neither eat nor drink for three days, night or day. I and my maids will also fast as you do. Then I will go to the king, though it is against the law; and if I perish, I perish.”
2. Joel 2:12
“Yet even now,” says the Lord,
“return to me with all your heart,
with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning;”
3. Luke 2:37
She did not depart from the temple, worshiping with fasting and prayer night and day.
4. Baruch 1:5
Then they wept, and fasted, and prayed before the Lord
5. Nehemiah 1:4
When I heard these words I sat down and wept, and mourned for days; and I continued fasting and praying before the God of heaven.
6. Acts 13:3
Then after fasting and praying they laid their hands on them and sent them off.
7. Daniel 9:3
Then I turned my face to the Lord God, seeking him by prayer and supplications with fasting and sackcloth and ashes.
8. Judith 4:13
So the Lord heard their prayers and looked upon their affliction; for the people fasted many days throughout Judea and in Jerusalem before the sanctuary of the Lord Almighty.
9. Ezra 8:21-23
Then I proclaimed a fast there, at the river Aha′va, that we might humble ourselves before our God, to seek from him a straight way for ourselves, our children, and all our goods. For I was ashamed to ask the king for a band of soldiers and horsemen to protect us against the enemy on our way; since we had told the king, “The hand of our God is for good upon all that seek him, and the power of his wrath is against all that forsake him.” So we fasted and besought our God for this, and he listened to our entreaty.
10. Joel 1:14
Sanctify 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 to the Lord.
11. Mark 9:29
And he said to them, “This kind cannot be driven out by anything but prayer and fasting.”
12. Matthew 4:1-2
Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. And he fasted forty days and forty nights, and afterward he was hungry.
Fasting and prayer go hand in hand.
In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus teaches how we are to approach these two spiritual disciplines back to back. They are supposed to be a part of our normative, regular life as believers.
Whether you’re petitioning the Lord for something pressing, trying to strengthen your faith and reliance on Him, or expressing sorrow and repentance from sin, we could all use more prayer and fasting in our lives.
I hope these verses encouraged you to take seriously this connection and can find ways to incorporate these practices into your life this week!