Key Principles of Biblical Fasting

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  • Edition: Reprint
  • Format: Trade Paper
  • Copyright: 2009-07-21
  • Publisher: WaterBrook
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Discover the Purpose and Power of Fasting Do you desire to feel His presence, hear His voice, sense His pleasure? Since ancient times, fasting has been considered an essential means of drawing near to God. But this spiritual discipline involves much more than abstaining from food; it goes right to the heart of genuine faith. Through this invigorating study, you'll gain a clear understanding of the principles behind this practice and be equipped to make fasting a key part of your relationship with God.

Author Biography

Kay Arthur, executive vice president and cofounder of Precept Ministries International has worked with her teaching staff to create the powerful 40-Minute Bible Studies series. Kay is known around the world as a Bible teacher, author, conference speaker, and host of national radio and television programs.

Pete De Lacy is the chief operating officer for Precept Ministries International, the author of several studies in the New Inductive Study Series, and a contributor to The New Inductive Study Bible.

Table of Contents

How to Use This Studyp. v
Introduction: Key Principles of Biblical Fastingp. 1
The Right Attitude Toward Fastingp. 3
The Relationship Between Fasting and Sinp. 17
Fasting in Difficult Circumstancesp. 31
Corporate Fastsp. 43
The Role of Prayer in Fastingp. 57
Examining Our Spiritual Conditionp. 67
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.


Do you long for intimacy with God? Do you desire to feel His presence, to hear His voice, to sense His pleasure? If drawing near to God is the desire of your heart, then we invite you to join us in an invigorating study of the discipline of fasting.

Since ancient times, fasting has been considered an essential means of deepening one’s faith and connection with God. But in recent years it has become an increasingly rare—and often misunderstood— practice. Many wonder if fasting is an outmoded form of spiritual discipline, something modern-day Christians needn’t bother with. Others are convinced this discipline is only for the super-spiritual. And some see it only as a bizarre ritual connected to other faiths.

The Bible refers to fasting more than fifty times, and in this six-week study we’ll examine many of those passages to learn what the Word of God teaches about the topic. We’ll consider what fasting involves and what it means to the average Christian. As you discover for yourself the biblical principles behind this practice and observe its impact on the lives of the faithful throughout history, you’ll discover the unique role fasting plays in the life of the church. And by the end of our time together, you’ll be equipped to decide how you will enter into the discipline of fasting as a means of deepening your walk with God.
Let’s start our study of fasting by examining what Jesus said on the subject in His Sermon on the Mount. Then we’ll look at some Old Testament references to this practice to see what we can learn about its nature and purpose.


The Sermon on the Mount records Jesus’ teaching about the basics of righteous living. Let’s look specifically at what He said about fasting.
Leader:Read Matthew 6:1, 1618 aloud. As you read, have the group say aloud and…

underline every occurrence ofwheneverorwhen you.

circle every reference tofasting.As you read the text, it’s helpful to have the group say the key words aloud as they mark them. This way everyone will be sure to mark every occurrence of the word, including any synonymous words or phrases. Do this throughout the study.

The word fast in this passage is translated from the Greek word nesteuo, which means “to abstain from food or drink.”

• What did you learn from markingwheneverandwhen you? What did you learn from marking the references to fasting?
• From what you read in this passage, did Jesus seem to expect His listeners to fast? Explain your answer.If you’ve ever fasted, describe your experience. What prompted you to fast and what was the outcome?

We’ve seen what Jesus expected of His followers when it came to fasting, but did He ever observe this practice Himself?
Leader:Read aloud Matthew 4:14 and have the group….

mark each reference toJesus,including pronouns, with a cross:

circle the wordfasted.

• What did you learn from marking the references to Jesus?

• What does this passage reveal about His perspective on fasting?

Now let’s go to Isaiah 58, the most comprehensive passage about fasting in the Bible. This message originally was given to God’s people, the Jews, yet we know from Romans 15:4 that “whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction.” The context for this passage is that God’s people had been fasting in the wrong spirit. Though they outwardly seemed sincere, God knew their hearts and saw through their attempts to manipulate Him.

Leader:Read Isaiah 58:1–3a aloud. As you read, hav

Excerpted from Key Principles of Biblical Fasting by Pete DeLacy, Kay Arthur
All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

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