Fasting partnered with prayer is a matter of spiritual discipline to be humbled before the Lord gaining insight in the spirit readying ourselves to minister to those around us.
“Shout it aloud, do not hold back.
Raise your voice like a trumpet.
Declare to my people their rebellion
and to the descendants of Jacob their sins.
For day after day they seek me out;
they seem eager to know my ways,
as if they were a nation that does what is right
and has not forsaken the commands of its God.
They ask me for just decisions
and seem eager for God to come near them.
‘Why have we fasted,’ they say,
‘and you have not seen it?
Why have we humbled ourselves,
and you have not noticed?’
“Yet on the day of your fasting, you do as you please and exploit all your workers. Your fasting ends in quarreling and strife, and in striking each other with wicked fists. You cannot fast as you do today and expect your voice to be heard on high. Is this the kind of fast I have chosen, only a day for people to humble themselves? Is it only for bowing one’s head like a reed and for lying in sackcloth and ashes? Is that what you call a fast, a day acceptable to the Lord?
“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? Then your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear; then your righteousness[a] will go before you, and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard. Then you will call, and the Lord will answer; you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I.
“If you do away with the yoke of oppression, with the pointing finger and malicious talk, and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday. The Lord will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail. Your people will rebuild the ancient ruins and will raise up the age-old foundations; you will be called Repairer of Broken Walls, Restorer of Streets with Dwellings.
This past week a few of us were presented with the invitation to fast for the healing breakthrough of a friend. Though this is a hard time for a family dear to us I'm watching the faith of a community become stronger. How beautiful that hundreds are praying for the breakthrough of one single person. Praying and fasting on behalf of someone, without selfish motive or to gain anything but to see freedom for a friend who's body isn't functioning the way it is supposed to. I was reminded of one other time when I was invited into a corporate fast. As we deprived ourselves of something we needed we petitioned the Lord for the nations and those people to be set free.
As I thought about these moments of fasting, I was led to thinking about what true biblical fasting looks like. I was then reminded of a podcast I listened to on prayer and fasting. We are brought to Isaiah 58 and there we see a people fasting with wrong motive and are soon corrected by the Lord. We do not fast to gain anything with a corruptive mindset that this is self-serving. Coming before the Lord with this spiritual discipline fills us up with a spiritual blessing or a filling. This causes us to become in tune with the Lord ready to minister to people we encounter in the day to day... at work, the grocery store wherever we are. We are heightened to the things of heaven ready to minister. We are brought to a place of humility to pray for the oppressed to be set free for every yoke of bondage and chain to break. When we make the intentional choice to fast from food and instead position ourselves to choose the bread of life to fill us up through prayer and worship. Allowing Him to show us what He is saying and what He is seeing. Asking Him to break our hearts for what breaks His.
Because of Jesus and the Holy spirit in us we can pray in a place of authority. Not wishful prayers but ones of authority that the prayers that are spoken are heard and will be answered. Beginning fasting you can choose to fast one meal a day or two working to full days of fasting once a week or twice a month. In that time praying for the oppressed to be set free. Here are a few things you can be mindful of as you set this time aside to fast. You can pray for your neighbors, revival, orphans and widows, homeless community, racial division, marriages, teenagers, and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. This is portion of the list that was given in the podcast I listened to. If you are interested in listening to it you can find it in the podcast app. .It is the church The Belonging Co, Prayer and Fasting// Alex Seeley. Each time I listened to it, it feels like a new flame has been lit and I am excited to pray.
Fasting with the intent to petition for something personal is not wrong, I just wanted to look at what the bible says about fasting. These moments of building your faith and creating spiritual discipline can be specific to where we are at in our faith and our spiritual maturity. Lets begin to look at the spiritual things that grow us, stretch us, call us into deeper relationship with the Father, and a deeper faith.
My Prayer for you
Father, thank you for the stretching and the call to spiritual disciplines that allow us to be filled up with your goodness. Begin to reveal to us what and who we should be praying as we take time to fast. Break our hearts for what breaks yours, meet with us as we enter into what you have for us. We thank you for the revelations you are going to give us, help us to discern how to use those revelations to minister to those around us. Fill us up God so that we can pour out and reveal the love of the Father to those we encounter. In Jesus, Holy and precious name amen.