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Fast Facts

The following diagram shows eight purposes for fasting with Scriptural examples of each. Some of the purposes overlap with Seek God In Humility which Jews for Jesus suggest is the core purpose for all fasting.

Eight Purposes For Fasting

Release from

Isaiah 58:6: “Is this not the fast that I have chosen: To loose the bonds of wickedness, To undo the heavy burdens, To let the oppressed go free, And that you break every yoke?”

Petition God's Mercy

Esther 4:16: “Go, gather all the Jews who are present in Shushan, and fast for me; neither eat nor drink for three days, night or day. My maids and I will fast likewise. And so I will go to the king, which is against the law; and if I perish, I perish!”

Repent of Sin

Jonah 3:5: “So the people of Nineveh believed God, proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth, from the greatest to the least of them.”

Mourn for the Dead

2 Samuel 1:12: “And they mourned and wept and fasted until evening for Saul and for Jonathan his son, for the people of the LORD and for the house of Israel, because they had fallen by the sword.”

Prepare for Spiritual

Matthew 4:1,2: “Then Jesus was
led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. And when He had fasted forty days and forty nights, afterward He
was hungry.”

Seek God
in Humility

Prepare for a Decision or Action that Requires God’s Guidance and Blessing

Acts 13:2,3: “As they ministered to the Lord and fasted, the Holy Spirit said, ‘Now separate to Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.’ Then, having fasted and prayed, and laid hands on them, they sent them away.”

Ezra 8:21: “Then I proclaimed a fast there at the river of Ahava, that we might humble ourselves before our God, to seek from Him the right way for us and our little ones and all our possessions.”

Engage in Intercessory Prayer

Daniel 9:3,16: “Then I set
my face toward the Lord God to make request by prayer and supplications, with fasting, sackcloth, and ashes . . . ‘O Lord, according to all Your righteousness, I pray, let Your anger and Your fury be turned away from Your city Jerusalem, Your holy mountain...’”


Find out more about Fast Days observed in the Jewish Religion:

Read about The Messiah In Jewish Holidays.


This article originally appeared in the Jews For Jesus Newsletter in March 2009.

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