Biblical Verses on Fasting

Place setting with empty plate and cutlery
Jon Boyes/Photographer's Choice RF/Getty Images

Spiritual fasting is not just about giving up food or other items, but it is about feeding the spirit through our obedience to God. Here are some scripture verses that can inspire you or help you understand the act of fasting and how it can help you grow closer to God as you pray and focus.

Biblical Verses That Mention Fasting

Exodus 34:28

Moses remained there on the mountain with the Lord forty days and forty nights. In all that time he ate no bread and drank no water. And the Lord wrote the terms of the covenant—the Ten Commandments —on the stone tablets. (NLT)

Deuteronomy 9:18

Then, as before, I threw myself down before the Lord for forty days and nights. I ate no bread and drank no water because of the great sin you had committed by doing what the Lord hated, provoking him to anger. (NLT)

2 Samuel 12:16-17

David begged God to spare the child. He went without food and lay all night on the bare ground. 17 The elders of his household pleaded with him to get up and eat with them, but he refused. (NLT)

Nehemiah 1:4

When I heard this, I sat down and wept. In fact, for days I mourned, fasted, and prayed to the God of heaven. (NLT)

Ezra 8:21-23

And there by the Ahava Canal, I gave orders for all of us to fast and humble ourselves before our God. We prayed that he would give us a safe journey and protect us, our children, and our goods as we traveled. For I was ashamed to ask the king for soldiers and horsemen to accompany us and protect us from enemies along the way. After all, we had told the king, “Our God’s hand of protection is on all who worship him, but his fierce anger rages against those who abandon him.” So we fasted and earnestly prayed that our God would take care of us, and he heard our prayer. (NLT)

Ezra 10:6

Then Ezra left the front of the Temple of God and went to the room of Jehohanan son of Eliashib. He spent the night there without eating or drinking anything. He was still in mourning because of the unfaithfulness of the returned exiles. (NLT)

Esther 4:16

Go and gather together all the Jews of Susa and fast for me. Do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. My maids and I will do the same. And then, though it is against the law, I will go in to see the king. If I must die, I must die. (NLT)

Psalms 35:13

Yet when they were ill, I grieved for them. I denied myself by fasting for them, but my prayers returned unanswered. (NLT)

Psalms 69:10

When I weep and fast, they scoff at me. (NLT)

Isaiah 58:6

No, this is the kind of fasting I want: Free those who are wrongly imprisoned; lighten the burden of those who work for you. Let the oppressed go free, and remove the chains that bind people. (NLT)

Daniel 9:3

So I turned to the Lord God and pleaded with him in prayer and fasting. I also wore rough burlap and sprinkled myself with ashes. (NLT)

Daniel 10:3

All that time I had eaten no rich food. No meat or wine crossed my lips, and I used no fragrant lotions until those three weeks had passed. (NLT)

Joel 2:15

Blow the ram’s horn in Jerusalem! Announce a time of fasting; call the people together for a solemn meeting. (NLT)

Matthew 4:2

For forty days and forty nights he fasted and became very hungry. (NLT)

Matthew 6:16

And when you fast, don’t make it obvious, as the hypocrites do, for they try to look miserable and disheveled so people will admire them for their fasting. I tell you the truth, that is the only reward they will ever get. (NLT)

Matthew 9:15

Jesus replied, “Do wedding guests mourn while celebrating with the groom? Of course not. But someday the groom will be taken away from them, and then they will fast. (NLT)

Luke 2:37

Then she lived as a widow to the age of eighty-four. She never left the Temple but stayed there day and night, worshiping God with fasting and prayer. (NLT)

Acts 13:3

So after more fasting and prayer, the men laid their hands on them and sent them on their way. (NLT)

Acts 14:23

Paul and Barnabas also appointed elders in every church. With prayer and fasting, they turned the elders over to the care of the Lord, in whom they had put their trust. (NLT)

mla apa chicago
Your Citation
Mahoney, Kelli. "Biblical Verses on Fasting." Learn Religions, Aug. 27, 2020, Mahoney, Kelli. (2020, August 27). Biblical Verses on Fasting. Retrieved from Mahoney, Kelli. "Biblical Verses on Fasting." Learn Religions. (accessed May 29, 2023).