27 Fasting and Prayer Scriptures for Spiritual Breakthrough

Are there situations in your life that are hard? If you have been a believer for very long I’m sure people have told you to pray when life is hard. Yes, prayer is the way we take our burdens to God, but did you know there is a way to pray harder and get to a place of a spiritual breakthrough in your faith?

Today we will look at 27 fasting and prayer scriptures that instruct New Testament Christians to fast and pray.

woman kneeling with hands in the air in prayer

This post may contain affiliate links. Read our full disclosure here.

Why should we look at fasting and prayer scriptures?

I don’t know about you, but when I look at the world around me I feel scared. Life is hard and getting harder every year. The lost world keeps getting crazier and more sure they are right. The Christians around me are more intolerant. Very rarely do I see a glimpse of the power or abundant life Jesus said His disciples would have.

That scares me. Does it scare you?

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” (Matthew 9:14-15 NASB)

Jesus, when talking to the disciples talks about the life of a believer being powerful and abundant. How do you get to that place of living a powerful, abundant life? I don’t see much evidence of it around me and I desperately want it, don’t you?

After many years in the faith, I realized there are parts of the scripture that we – the Church – ignore. Fasting is a spiritual discipline that the original believers would have practiced and seen great value in. But fasting – setting aside what we seek for satisfaction in order to seek God for satisfaction – is not regularly taught in 21st Century churches. Why not?

Fasting is where the power is, where the abundant life takes root and keeps on giving you strength to fight the real battle for the Kingdom of God!!!!!!! Don’t believe me? Check out these fasting and prayer scriptures and see for yourself!


What scripture talks about fasting and praying?

We could start in the Old Testament (and we’ll get there soon) but I love to start with the words of Jesus when a religious practice is labeled “Old Testament” and unnecessary.

“Then the disciples of John *came to Him, asking, “Why do we and the Pharisees fast, but Your disciples do not fast?” And Jesus said to them, “The attendants of the bridegroom cannot mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them, can they? But the days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast.” (Matthew 9:14-15)

Jesus said we will fast when we need Him – and a fast will be necessary.


What is fasting and prayer?

Can we all agree that we need more of Jesus?

I need Jesus before I set foot out of bed. If fasting and prayer are a way to draw nearer to Jesus when I need Him than I need to learn how to fast in a way that pleases God! How about you?

But what is fasting and prayer? Maybe you’ve known someone who is giving up red meat for Lent (around Easter time) but you just didn’t understand what that was all about. The Catholic segment of Christianity have done a beautiful job of maintaining the practice of fasting for 40 days at Easter time and it was one such Catholic who first introduced me to the need to fast.

Webster’s dictionary defines fasting this way: “to abstain from all or some kinds of food or drink, especially as a religious observance.”

The Bible speaks of fasting in a spiritual way, and while many Biblical figures spent time without eating, there are many examples of non-food fasts that give us a broader definition of the work fast.


What does the Bible say about fasting and prayer?

The Bible has a lot to say about fasting. Have you ever looked at what the Bible says about fasting in secret?

““Whenever you fast, do not put on a gloomy face as the hypocrites do, for they neglect their appearance so that they will be noticed by men when they are fasting. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. But you, when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face so that your fasting will not be noticed by men, but by your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.” (Matthew 6:16-18)

I go more deeply into this as well as 5 other ways to ruin a time of fasting and prayer in another post! Suffice it to say, there is more said about how to ruin a fast than there is said on how to fast for spiritual breakthrough!

What fasting does spiritually?

Before we finish together I want to point out something in most of these fasting and prayer scriptures. Look at the examples in Daniel and Esther specifically? Those people were in a desperate spiritual state as well as a desperate physical state. Their lives were in danger. Life was hard in a way we will never understand in the 21st Century Western Church. When they needed to draw near to God, when they needed answers, when they needed spiritual breakthrough they took prayer to the next level and fasted.

Those are some amazing fasting scriptures for breakthrough! If God showed up for them He can show up for you. Write those verses out, pray over them, remind God of His promises and be strengthened in your faith today!

“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” (Hebrews 13:8)

What fasting does spiritually is draw your heart in humility nearer to the heart of God. And when you are humble and near the Father, you can hear His voice answer prayers. You can feel his breath move, you can see the future He has for you in hope and joy.

The reward of fasting in the Bible is always a closer walk with God, healing either spiritually or physically and peace even when life is hard.


Fasting can change both your heart and a nation’s heart

Fasting does so much for us spiritually but a look at this example of fasting in Nehemiah shows us that it is also powerful enough to heal and unite a nation’s heart to God.

“The words of Nehemiah the son of Hacaliah. Now it happened in the month Chislev, in the twentieth year, while I was in Susa the capitol, that Hanani, one of my brothers, and some men from Judah came; and I asked them concerning the Jews who had escaped and had survived the captivity, and about Jerusalem. They said to me, “The remnant there in the province who survived the captivity are in great distress and reproach, and the wall of Jerusalem is broken down and its gates are burned with fire.” When I heard these words, I sat down and wept and mourned for days; and I was fasting and praying before the God of heaven.” (Nehemiah 1:1-4)

After that time of fasting, Nehemiah petitioned the King (who God had already softened) and was released to rebuild the wall at Jerusalem! God used the humility of one man to stir the Nation of Israel back to God.

The rewards of fasting are both spiritual and physical and the power that comes with this spiritual discipline is exponential! You need to learn to fast, Child of God, and see His power and abundant life move in your situation!

RELATED: 7 Spiritual Benefits of Fasting


Types of Fasting 

There are several different types of fasting found in the Bible. Some more extreme than others.

A 40 day complete fast (no food or water)

Our examples of a 40 day complete fast are Jesus and Moses who took things to the extreme by having no food or water for 40 days.

“So he was there with the Lord forty days and forty nights; he did not eat bread or drink water. And he wrote on the tablets the words of the covenant, the Ten Commandments.” (Exodus 34:28 NASB)

“And after He had fasted forty days and forty nights, He then became hungry.”(Matthew 4:2)

Please note that these are extreme examples of fasting and prayer and you should never consider this until after consulting a doctor.


The Complete Fast

A complete fast could last from part of a day to an entire day to several days or weeks. This was the most common in the scripture so I’ll just list a few fasting and prayer scriptures to help you see the pattern.

“Go, assemble all the Jews who are found in Susa, and fast for me; do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my maidens also will fast in the same way. And thus I will go in to the king, which is not according to the law; and if I perish, I perish.” (Esther 4:16)

“Yet even now,” declares the Lord,
“Return to Me with all your heart,
And with fasting, weeping and mourning;” (Joel 2:12)

“Then I proclaimed a fast there at the river of Ahava, that we might humble ourselves before our God to seek from Him a safe journey for us, our little ones, and all our possessions. For I was ashamed to request from the king troops and horsemen to protect us from the enemy on the way, because we had said to the king, “The hand of our God is favorably disposed to all those who seek Him, but His power and His anger are against all those who forsake Him.” So we fasted and sought our God concerning this matter, and He listened to our entreaty.” (Ezra 8:21-23)


Even the lost saw God move through a Complete Fast

The people of Nineveh observed a fast that turned the hand of God’s wrath away. These were a people who were far from God, enemies of God’s people. Still, we see God loves people, God cares for us even when we are struggling through sin!

The fast of Nineveh gives me hope. God comes when people humble themselves before Him. Your fast doesn’t have to be perfect or wrapped in a perfect life to be seen and answered by God. Just try it and see!

“Then the people of Nineveh believed in God; and they called a fast and put on sackcloth from the greatest to the least of them. When the word reached the king of Nineveh, he arose from his throne, laid aside his robe from him, covered himself with sackcloth and sat on the ashes. He issued a proclamation and it said, “In Nineveh by the decree of the king and his nobles: Do not let man, beast, herd, or flock taste a thing. Do not let them eat or drink water. But both man and beast must be covered with sackcloth; and let men call on God earnestly that each may turn from his wicked way and from the violence which is in his hands. Who knows, God may turn and relent and withdraw His burning anger so that we will not perish.” (Jonah 3:5-9)


A Partial Fast

A Partial fast can also be called a 3 day spiritual fast. In Daniel, we also see believers who ate fruit, veggies and drank water for 10 days to honor God while in captivity.

“Please test your servants for ten days, and let us be given some vegetables to eat and water to drink.” (Daniel 1:12)

The Daniel Fast is a partial fast that has gotten a lot of attention in the past decade. The basic idea behind this fast is to have no meat, no tasty bread, no wine, no oils for his skin, for 21 days.

“I did not eat any tasty food, nor did meat or wine enter my mouth, nor did I use any ointment at all until the entire three weeks were completed.” (Daniel 10:3)

“So I gave my attention to the Lord God to seek Him by prayer and supplications, with fasting, sackcloth and ashes.” (Daniel 9:3)

These would have been things that satisfied Daniel. The world latches onto the specifics of his fasting because of the power that came and the answers to prayer that he saw but what they miss is that fasting and prayer were his habits. The Daniel fast was not powerful because of what Daniel gave up, but rather because of the humility of Daniel’s life.


Non-Food Fasts

Please note that if you have a medical condition you will want to choose A Non-Food Fast! We see several examples of non-food fasts. First, we see a fast from oils. Daniel is our example of this as well and WOW was his prayer and fasting life powerful and abundant!

“I did not eat any tasty food, nor did meat or wine enter my mouth, nor did I use any ointment at all until the entire three weeks were completed.” (Daniel 10:3)

“So I gave my attention to the Lord God to seek Him by prayer and supplications, with fasting, sackcloth and ashes.” (Daniel 9:3)

We also see a fast from sex mentioned in scripture. We are told husband and wife can decide together to give up sex for a time and reason.

“Stop depriving one another, except by agreement for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer, and [a]come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.” (1 Corinthians 7:5)

There are also examples of this in the old testament when the Children of Israel were to sanctify themselves.

“He said to the people, “Be ready for the third day; do not go near a woman.” (Exodus 19:15)


Fasting and Prayer Scriptures – Application

We’ve seen 27 fasting and prayer scriptures today. Have you felt a stirring to try your hand at a time of fasting and prayer? Are there hard things in your life that need an extra dose of spiritual power to breakthrough?

Maybe you felt the stir but you are still unsure of the specific how to’s of fasting. No worries. I’ve written a short book to help guide you through the process of fasting.

A Beginners Guide to Fast and Pray: Taking Spiritual Warfare to the Next Level. Get your copy and start your journey to spiritual breakthrough today!

In the meantime, I’d love to pray over you. Let me know how I can be praying in the comments.

in HIM, Tiffany


Sharing is caring!

Scroll to Top