fasting Summary and Overview
Bible Dictionaries at a Glance
fasting in Fausset's Bible Dictionary
Refraining from eating food. The Bible describes three main forms of fasting: 1) The Normal Fast, involving the total abstinence of food. Luke 4:2 reveals that Jesus "did eat nothing." Afterwards "He was hungered." Jesus abstained from food but not from water. 2) In Acts 9:9 we read of an Absolute Fast where for three days He "neither did eat nor drink." The abstinence from both food and water seems to have lasted no more than three days (Ezra 10:6; Esther 4:16). 3) The Partial Fast-in Daniel 10:3 the emphasis is upon the restriction of diet rather than complete abstinence. The context implies that there were physical benefits resulting from this partial fast. However, this verse indicates that there was a revelation given to Daniel as a result of this time of fasting.
Fasting is the laying aside of food for a period of time when the believer is seeking to know God in a deeper experience. It is to be done as an act before God in the privacy of one's own pursuit of God (Exodus 34:28; 1 Samuel 7:6; 1 Kings 19:8; Matthew 6:17).
Fasting is to be done with the object of seeking to know God in a deeper experience (Isaiah 58:1; Zechariah 7:5). Fasting relates to a time of confession (Psalms 69:10). Fasting can be a time of seeking a deeper prayer experience and drawing near to God in prevailing prayer (Ezra 8:23; Joel 2:12). The early church often fasted in seeking God's will for leadership in the local church (Acts 13:2). When the early church wanted to know the mind of God, there was a time of prayer and fasting.