Prayer and Fasting
by Shane Montgomery

65 total verses on prayer and fasting
Old Testament (38 verses); New Testament (27 verses)

Food is necessary but has gotten many in trouble:  
Eve, Israel with the golden calf, Corinthian Church (I Co 11:20-22), 
end times (Mt 24:37-38)

Proponents of fasting:  (great preachers of the past)
Moses the lawgiver (40 days) - Deu 9:18; represented the law
David the king - II Sa 1:12
Nehemiah repented for himself and his people and besought God, Ne 1:4
Elijah the prophet (40 days) - I Ki 19:8; represented the prophets
Daniel the prophet - Da 9:3-4
Mt 4:2, Jesus began His ministry by fasting for 40 days; represented the NT
- this is first mention of fasting in NT (Lu 4:2, He ate nothing)
- Mt 9:14-15, Jesus expected His disciples to fast after He ascended
- also Mk 2:18-20; Lu 5:33-35
II Co 6:3-5, Paul considered it a normal part of the Christian life 

Power of fasting (preceded revival and great answers to prayer):  
- I Ki 21:20-29, Ahab repented and God rewarded his fasting (humility)
- II Chr 20:1-15, Israel in distress and Jehoshaphat seeking God's victory
- Ezra 8:21-23, God was entreated
- Nehemiah 1:4, the walls rebuilt
- Jonah 3:5-10, God acknowledged the fast and it diverted judgment (Ninevah)
- Daniel 9:3-4, Gabriel came in answer (9:20-21)
- Ac 13:1-3, the first missionaries sent out and started churches

Purpose of fasting:
Ps 35:13, when humbling soul
- I Co 9:27, sometimes we need to bring body into subjection

I Sa 7:3-6, when Israel was mourning for their wickedness
Ne 1:4, Nehemiah repented for himself and his people and besought God
Ne 9:1-2, when Israel confessing their wickedness
Da 9:3-4, when Daniel was confessing Israel's wickedness and petitioning God

Mt 17:14-21, it is for hard prayer requests
- II Sa 12:16-23, when David was beseeching God for his child's life

Ac 13:1-3, when seeking the Lord's direction (when the Lord called Barnabus/Saul)
- the Holy Ghost led through them after they had fasted and prayed
- Judg 20:25-28, when Israel was in distress and seeking God's leading
Ac 14:22-23, when ordaining (apostles prayed and fasted when ordaining elders)
- seeking God's approval

Ezr 8:21-23, when Israel needed protection from God
Es 4:15-16, when wanting safety from God

Precepts (Guidelines) for Fasting:
Is 58:3-6, a waste of time if living in sin
Joel 2:12-15, must accompany humbling of the heart
1st NT lesson on prayer and fasting:  Mt 6:16-18
- don't make it public knowledge

Another lesson:  don't let it become pride, Lu 18:9-14 (even in family)
I Co 7:5, the only Biblical reason to say "no" in the marriage
- i.e. fasting not just from food, but from pleasing the flesh
- I Co 9:27, sometimes we need to bring body into subjection
Frequency:  II Co 11:27, "often"