When they were gathered at Mizpah, they drew water and poured
it out on the ground before the LORD, and they fasted that day,
confessing, "We have sinned against the LORD." It was at
Mizpah that Samuel began to judge the Israelites. [1SAM 7:6]
They mourned and wept and fasted until evening for Saul and his
son Jonathan, and for the soldiers of the LORD of the clans of
Israel, because they had fallen by the sword. [2SAM 1:12]
David besought God for the child. He kept a fast, retiring for the night to lie on the ground clothed in sackcloth. The elders of his house stood beside him urging him to rise from the ground; but he would not, nor would he take food with them. On the seventh day, the child died. David's servants, however, were afraid to tell him that the child was dead, for they said: "When the child was alive, we spoke to him, but he would not listen to what we said. How can we tell him the child is dead? He may do some harm!" But David noticed his servants whispering among themselves and realized that the child was dead. He asked his servants, "Is the child dead?" They replied, "Yes, he is." Rising from the ground, David washed and anointed himself, and changed his clothes. Then he went to the house of the LORD and worshiped. He returned to his own house, where at his request food was set before him, and he ate. His servants said to him: "What is this you are doing? While the child was living, you fasted and wept and kept vigil; now that the child is dead, you rise and take food." He replied: "While the child was living, I fasted and wept, thinking, 'Perhaps the LORD will grant me the child's life.' But now he is dead. Why should I fast? Can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he will not return to me."
They proclaimed a fast and placed Naboth at the head of the
people. [1KGS 21:12]
When Ahab heard these words, he tore his garments and put on
sackcloth over his bare flesh. He fasted, slept in the sackcloth,
and went about subdued. [1KGS 21:27]
Jehoshaphat was frightened, and he hastened to consult the LORD. He proclaimed a fast for all Judah. Then Judah gathered to seek help from the LORD; from every one of the cities of Judah they came to seek the LORD. [2CHRON
Then I proclaimed a fast, there by the river of Ahava, that we
might humble ourselves before our God to petition from him a safe
journey for ourselves, our children, and all our possessions. So we fasted, and prayed to our God for this, and our petition
was granted. [EZRA 8:21,23]
When I heard this report, I began to weep and continued
mourning for several days; I fasted and prayed before the God of
heaven. [NEH 1:4]
On the twenty-fourth day of this month, the Israelites gathered
together fasting and in sackcloth, their heads covered with dust.
Prayer and fasting are good, but better than either is almsgiving accompanied by righteousness. A little with righteousness is better than abundance with wickedness. It is better to give alms than to store up gold; for almsgiving saves one from death and expiates every sin. Those who regularly give alms shall enjoy a full life; but those habitually guilty of sin are their own worst enemies.
All the men of Israel cried to God with great fervor and did
penance - they, along with their wives, and children, and domestic animals. All their resident aliens, hired laborers, and slaves also girded themselves with sackcloth.
And all the Israelite men, women and children who lived in Jerusalem prostrated themselves in front of the temple building, with ashes strewn on their heads, displaying their sackcloth covering before the Lord.
The altar, too, they draped in sackcloth; and with one accord they cried out fervently to the God of Israel not to allow their children to be seized, their wives to be taken captive, the cities of their inheritance to be ruined, or the sanctuary to be profaned and mocked for the nations to gloat over. The Lord heard their cry and had regard for their distress. For the people observed a fast of many days' duration throughout Judea, and before the sanctuary of the Lord Almighty in Jerusalem.
The widowed Judith remained three years and four months at home, where she set up a tent for herself on the roof of her house. She put sackcloth about her loins and wore widow's weeds. She fasted all the days of her widowhood, except sabbath eves and
sabbaths, new moon eves and new moons, feastdays and holidays of the house of Israel.
"Go and assemble all the Jews who are in Susa; fast on my
behalf, all of you, not eating or drinking, night or day, for
three days. I and my maids will also fast in the same way. Thus
prepared, I will go to the king, contrary to the law. If I perish,
I perish!" Mordecai went away and did exactly as Esther had
commanded. [ESTH 4:16]
Thus were established, for their appointed time, these days of
Purim which Mordecai the Jew and Queen Esther had designated for
the Jews, just as they had previously enjoined upon themselves and
upon their race the duty of fasting and supplication. [ESTH 9:31]
But when they saw the army coming against them, they said to Judas: "How can we, few as we are, fight such a mighty host as this? Besides, we are weak today from fasting." But Judas said: "It is easy for many to be overcome by a few; in the sight of Heaven there is no difference between deliverance by many or by few; for victory in war does not depend upon the size of the army, but on strength that comes from Heaven." [1MACC
That day they fasted and wore sackcloth; they sprinkled ashes
on their heads and tore their clothes. [1MACC 3:47]
When they had all joined in doing this, and had implored the
merciful LORD continuously with weeping and fasting and
prostrations for three days, Judas encouraged them and told them
to stand ready. [2MACC 13:12]
I have fastened sackcloth over my skin, and have laid my brow
in the dust. [JOB 16:15]
Malicious witnesses come forward, accuse me of things I do not know. They repay me evil for good and I am all alone. Yet I, when they were ill, put on sackcloth, afflicted myself with fasting, sobbed my prayers upon my bosom. [PS
I have wept and fasted, but this led only to scorn. [PS 69:11]
My knees totter from fasting; my flesh has wasted away. I have become a mockery to them; when they see me, they shake their heads. [PS
So with a man who fasts for his sins, but then goes and commits
them again: Who will hear his prayer, and what has he gained by
his mortification? [SIRACH 34:26]
"Why do we fast, and you do not see it? afflict ourselves, and you take no note of it?"
Lo, on your fast day you carry out your own pursuits, and drive all your laborers. Yes, your fast ends in quarreling and fighting, striking with wicked claw.
Would that today you might fast so as to make your voice heard on high! Is this the manner of fasting I wish, of keeping a day of penance:
That a man bow his head like a reed, and lie in sackcloth and ashes?
Do you call this a fast, a day acceptable to the LORD? This, rather, is the fasting that I wish: releasing those bound unjustly, untying the thongs of the yoke;
Setting free the oppressed, breaking every yoke; Sharing your bread with the hungry, sheltering the oppressed and the homeless;
Clothing the naked when you see them, and not turning your back on your own. [ISA
Thus says the LORD of this people: They so love to wander that they do not spare their feet.
The LORD has no pleasure in them; now he remembers their guilt, and will punish their sins. Then the LORD said to me: Do not intercede for this people. If they fast, I will not listen to their supplication.
[Taken from JER 14:10-12]
In the ninth month, in the fifth year of Jehoiakim, son of
Josiah, king of Judah, a fast to placate the LORD was proclaimed
for all the people of Jerusalem and all who came from Judah's
cities to Jerusalem. [JER 36:9]
They wept and fasted and prayed before the LORD, and collected such funds as each could furnish. [BARUCH
It was the first year that Darius, son of Ahasuerus, of the race of the Medes, reigned over the kingdom of the
Chaldeans; in the first year of his reign I, Daniel, tried to understand in the Scriptures the counting of the years of which the LORD spoke to the prophet Jeremiah: that for the ruins of Jerusalem seventy years must be fulfilled.
I turned to the Lord God, pleading in earnest prayer, with fasting, sackcloth, and ashes. [DAN
Proclaim a fast, call an assembly; Gather the elders, all who dwell in the land,
Into the house of the LORD, your God, and cry to the LORD! Alas, the day! for near is the day of the LORD, and it comes as ruin from the Almighty. From before our very eyes has not the food been cut off;
And from the house of our God, joy and gladness? [JOEL 1:14-16]
Yet even now, says the LORD, return to me with your whole heart, with fasting, and weeping, and mourning; Rend your hearts, not your garments, and return to the LORD, your God.
For gracious and merciful is he, slow to anger, rich in kindness, and relenting in punishment. Perhaps he will again relent and leave behind him a blessing,
Offerings and libations for the LORD, your God. Blow the trumpet in Zion! proclaim a fast, call an assembly; Gather the people, notify the congregation;
Assemble the elders, gather the children and the infants at the breast;
Let the bridegroom quit his room, and the bride her chamber.
Jonah began his journey through the city, and had gone but a single day's walk announcing, "Forty days more and Nineveh shall be destroyed," when the people of Nineveh believed God; they proclaimed a fast and all of them, great and small, put on sackcloth. When the news reached the king of Nineveh, he rose from his throne, laid aside his robe, covered himself with sackcloth, and sat in the ashes. Then he had this proclaimed throughout Nineveh, by decree of the king and his nobles: "Neither man nor beast, neither cattle nor sheep, shall taste anything; they shall not eat, nor shall they drink water. Man and beast shall be covered with sackcloth and call loudly to God; every man shall turn from his evil way and from the violence he has in hand. Who knows, God may relent and forgive, and withhold his blazing wrath, so that we shall not perish." When God saw by their actions how they turned from their evil way, he repented of the evil that he had threatened to do to them; he did not carry it out. [JONAH
Say to all the people of the land and to the priests: When you
fasted and mourned in the fifth and in the seventh month these
seventy years, was it really for me that you fasted? [ZECH 7:5]
Thus says the LORD of hosts: The fast days of the fourth, the
fifth, the seventh, and the tenth months shall become occasions of
joy and gladness, cheerful festivals for the house of Judah; only
love faithfulness and peace. [ZECH 8:19]
Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil. He fasted for forty days and forty nights,
and afterwards he was hungry. [MT 4:1-2]
"When you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites. They neglect their appearance, so that they may appear to others to be fasting. Amen, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, so that you may not appear to be fasting, except to your Father who is hidden. And your Father who sees what is hidden will repay you." [MT
Then the disciples of John approached him and said, "Why
do we and the Pharisees fast (much), but your disciples do not
fast?" Jesus answered them, "Can the wedding guests mourn as long
as the bridegroom is with them? The days will come when the
bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast." [MT
The disciples of John and of the Pharisees were accustomed to
fast. People came to him and objected, "Why do the disciples
of John and the disciples of the Pharisees fast, but your
disciples do not fast?" Jesus answered them, "Can the wedding guests fast while
the bridegroom is with them? As long as they have the bridegroom
with them they cannot fast. But the days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from
them, and then they will fast on that day." [MK 2:18-20]
There was also a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was advanced in years, having lived seven years with her husband after her marriage,
and then as a widow until she was eighty-four. She never left the temple, but worshiped night and day with fasting and prayer. And coming forward at that very time, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were awaiting the redemption of Jerusalem.
And they said to him, "The disciples of John fast often
and offer prayers, and the disciples of the Pharisees do the same;
but yours eat and drink." Jesus answered them, "Can you make the wedding guests fast
while the bridegroom is with them? But the days will come, and when the bridegroom is taken away
from them, then they will fast in those days." [LK 5:33-35]
"Two people went up to the temple area to pray; one was a Pharisee and the other was a tax collector.
he Pharisee took up his position and spoke this prayer to himself, 'O God, I thank you that I am not like the rest of
humanity - greedy, dishonest, adulterous - or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week, and I pay tithes on my whole income.' But the tax collector stood off at a distance and would not even raise his eyes to heaven but beat his breast and prayed, 'O God, be merciful to me a sinner.' I tell you, the latter went home justified, not the former; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and the one who humbles himself will be exalted."
While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit
said, "Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work
to which I have called them." Then, completing their fasting and prayer, they laid hands on
them and sent them off. [ACTS 13:2-3]
They appointed presbyters for them in each church and, with
prayer and fasting, commended them to the Lord in whom they had
put their faith. [ACTS 14:23]
Much time had now passed and sailing had become hazardous because the time of the fast
[late September or early October] had already gone by, so Paul warned them, "Men, I can see that this voyage will result in severe damage and heavy loss not only to the cargo and the ship, but also to our lives."
[Taken from ACTS 27:9-10]
We cause no one to stumble in anything, in order that no fault may be found with our ministry; on the contrary, in everything we commend ourselves as ministers of God, through much endurance, in afflictions, hardships, constraints, beatings, imprisonments, riots, labors, vigils, fasts; by purity, knowledge, patience, kindness, in a holy spirit, in unfeigned love, in truthful speech, in the power of God; with weapons of righteousness at the right and at the left; through glory and dishonor, insult and praise. [Taken from 2COR 6:3-8]
Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, I passed a night and a day on the deep; on frequent journeys, in dangers from rivers, dangers from robbers, dangers from my own race, dangers from Gentiles, dangers in the city, dangers in the wilderness, dangers at sea, dangers among false brothers;
in toil and hardship, through many sleepless nights, through hunger and thirst, through frequent fastings, through cold and exposure.
And apart from these things, there is the daily pressure upon me of my anxiety for all the churches.
Who is weak, and I am not weak? Who is led to sin, and I am not indignant? If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness.
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