KEY SCRIPTURE: Isaiah 58:6 “Is not this the fast that I have chosen? To lose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke?”
As we consider the need to fast and pray in this first month as a way of opening up, to the grace of God in our lives, we’ve got to know what the Bible teaches about proper fasting.
The book of Isaiah chapter 58 (please read all the chapter) was solely devoted to the teaching on fasting. In that book, the prophet wrote in verse 3 the following “wherefore have we fasted say they, and thou seest not?” Wherefore have we afflicted our soul and thou takest no knowledge? Behold in the day of your fast ye find pleasure and exact all your labours”. This was the complaint of the Jews
Many groups that would be fasting around this time will set a time period for fasting. Some will be doing it in forty days and others twenty one days or lesser. Many fast with their focus on going through the period; that becomes their goal and not on the Lord and the need at stake.. They fast to satisfy their ego. This is what some say, “I was able to fast for 21 days or 40 days”. Fasting is a devotion unto God. He becomes the focus not on us.
A close study of Isaiah 58 teaches that true fasting does not only involve forsaking your food and doing every other thing as you please. In that chapter the Holy Spirit said, people fast yet they keep the strive and division that exist between them and their neighbours. It is a big irony to see a husband and wife at longer heads, yet they are all fasting. Some fast yet would not show any kindness to neighbours who are in need. Isaiah 58:4 reads “Behold ye fast for strive and debate and to smite with the fist of wickedness: ye shall not fast as you do this day, to make your voice to be heard on high”.
Fasting is not complete without a kind consideration of the second party. It must be done on God’s terms. Our key scripture shows us that our fast should not only be focused on ourselves but the consideration of them that are in bondage. As we pray for our needs, we must consider those who are in various needs to pray and intercede for them also.. True fasting is not a selfish venture. It always seeks the good and deliverance of others. When fasting is done this way, the Lord says in Isaiah 58:10 “And if thou draw out thy soul to the hungry and satisfy the afflicted soul: then shall thy light rise in obscurity and thy darkness be as the noon day”.
Do good to others in the period of your fast. Do it in kind or through prayer.
Father thank you for the revelation of your word. Help all Christians who fast to do it on your terms, not on our terms. This I pray in Jesus name.
Isaiah 58:7 “Is it not to deal thy bread to the hungry, and that thou bring the poor that are cast out to thy house? When thou seest the naked, that thou cover him; and that thou hide not thyself from thine own flesh?”
Isaiah 58:8 ” Then shall thy light break forth as the morning, and thine health shall spring forth speedily: and thy righteousness shall go before thee; the glory of the LORD shall be thy rereward”.