8 Teachings of Jesus on Prayer — Teaching #4

Prayer A to Z

Jesus taught that prayer should sometimes be with fasting (Mark 9:29).

On one occasion, when Jesus cast out a demon from a boy, and His disciples earlier were not able to cast out the demon, they came to Him privately and said, “Why could we not cast him out?” Jesus response was: “This kind can come out by nothing but prayer and fasting.”

So here Jesus was teaching that the most difficult things (in this case, casting out a demon) require both prayer and fasting. Why? Because when we fast we depend more on God, and so our prayers become stronger. I suppose you could say that when we fast we receive an extra portion of the Holy Spirit, or perhaps we receive extra strength from the Holy Spirit. However you want to put it, you will find that fasting will strengthen prayer.

Now we know that we should always…

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Fasting: Three Categories of Fasts

Prayer A to Z


When you pray, sometimes it is beneficial to fast. There are all kinds or types of fasts. Here are three categories of fasts.

 Fasts That Depict the Degree of the Fast

Normal fast.  This is a fast from food and drinks, but not from water.  It is the normal way to fast, and how Jesus fasted for forty days.

Absolute fast.  This is a fast from food and drinks, including water.  It is how Moses fasted for eighty days on Mount Sinai, and how Elijah fasted in the desert (both were miraculous feats).  There were other absolute fasts not miraculous, but were not much over three days.  For no one can naturally live for much over three days without food and water.

Partial fast.  In a partial fast, you would eat only fruits and (or) vegetables—like Daniel did.  If you have health problems, if you are concerned…

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3 Reasons Why Most Christians Don’t Fast

Prayer A to Z

I would say that most Christians these days don’t fast.  Here are three reasons why:

We have reacted against extremism.  Those whom we have read about in the Bible who have fasted, most of those in the early church who have fasted, and all the others we have talked about, I think were quite sincere and dedicated Christians; and I think their fasting was with right motives.  But I suspect that there were some that were off base, that is, they were extreme and legalistic.  Perhaps there were even some who were saying that you have to fast regularly in order to gain God’s acceptance.  I think this is why many people have revolted against fasting—because they don’t see the good side of it, only the negative side.  And so, because of those extremists, many have thrown it all out.  They say fasting is all bad, or it…

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Guidelines for Fasting

Prayer A to Z



Here are 16 guidelines for fasting taken from my book Prayer A to Z.  This list is very brief.  For more information you can get my e-book by clicking on Prayer A to Z.


1.  Most importantly, your fast must be a fast that God chooses.  If it is a fast that God chooses then He will lead you and give you the right motives.  You will be fasting for Him and not for any selfish reason (Is. 58:3-5).


2.  Pray about your fast and set objectives.  Before you start, make it clear in your mind how you believe God wants you to fast.  Then determine that you will fast that way.


3.  Be flexible in your fasting plans.  If you have planned to fast on a certain day, and, because of circumstances, it will not work out, move your fast to…

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Eight Descriptions of Fasting

Prayer A to Z

The following is an excrept from my e-book Prayer A to Z.  

 Eight Descriptions of Fasting

1.  It is abstaining from food for spiritual purposes.  The Hebrew word for fast (tsuwn) means “to cover the mouth.”  The Greek word (nesteia) means “not to eat.”  Therefore fasting means primarily to abstain from food.  As for the second part of our description, “for spiritual reasons,” that comes from the Biblical context and from the purpose the Bible gives for fasting.  Accordingly, it was for spiritual reasons that Jesus fasted, and why Moses, David, Elijah, and all the others fasted.  And it is why the Bible teaches us to fast (Is. 58:6-9).  We can certainly fast for other reasons, but, as I can see, the main reason why God has called us to fast is for spiritual reasons—to improve our relationship with God.  Some would argue that our physical…

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Fasting Through the Centuries

Prayer A to Z

In the Old and New Testament period, in the early church, in the church throughout the centuries, and in America and throughout the World people have fasted.

Fasting in the Old Testament.  According to Bible records, the practice of fasting among the Jews began with their great leader and deliverer, Moses.  He by far has given us the greatest (or most extreme) example.  For he fasted without food or water for forty days on two consecutive trips to Mount Sinai—eighty days and nights!  It had to be a miracle.  For no one in his own strength can fast much over three days without water.

Our next example was King David.  I think he fasted often, but there are only three instances recorded in the Bible: (1) He fasted with his men over the death of Saul and Jonathan (2 Sam. 1:12); (2) he fasted when he was in grief…

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Fasting–What Jesus Taught about Fasting

Prayer A to Z


Fasting is one of those things we would rather put out of our mind.  Food is just too good these days.  And who wants to suffer anyway.  But if you are serious about prayer, you really should think about it. 

The following is an excerpt from my ebook Basics of Prayer.

In the gospels there are two instances where Jesus taught fasting.  The first was in Matthew 6:16-18.  Here He taught fasting (along with giving and praying) as a presumed and necessary duty in the Christian life. In this passage, He did not say “if you want to fast,” or “if you feel like fasting,” He said, “when you fast.”  Therefore, Jesus taught Christians to fast (along with giving and praying) as a regular discipline and duty.              

What Jesus taught, basically, in this passage about fasting was that when we fast, just as with giving…

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