5 Bible verses to help you think about fasting as Lent begins

Many Christians choose to fast and commit to spending more time in prayer instead.Reuters

The season of Lent is often associated with fasting or withdrawing from certain indulgences to seek the Lord.

Fasting is an important spiritual discipline, especially in the 21st century Western world where we are used to excess and fast-food on tap. It is an ancient habit practiced by most world religions long before the time of Jesus as a means of becoming closer to God.

But the Bible has some pretty clear guidance about our attitude in entering into this prehistoric spiritual discipline.

Here are five verses to help you think about fasting as we enter Lent.

Matthew 4:1-2

"Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. After fasting for forty days and forty nights, he was hungry."

Matthew 6:16-18

"And when you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces that their fasting may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, that your fasting may not be seen by others but by your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you."

Isaiah 58:6-7

"Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen; to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke? Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter – when you see the naked, to clothe them, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?"

Daniel 9:3

"Then I turned my face to the Lord God, seeking him by prayer and pleas for mercy with fasting and sackcloth and ashes."

1 Corinthians 10:31

"So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God."