Is this not the fast that I have chosen? These words were uttered by Isaiah the prophet 100’s of years ago, but they reveal the purposes that God will honor as we chose to fast and pray before his throne. In this simple passage in Isaiah God says the fast that I have chosen will be for the following areas?
- Fast so that you or others can be free from addictions
Isaiah 58:6 “Is this not the fast that I have chosen:
To loose the bonds of wickedness,”
The word picture given here is really powerful. A bond is something you would use to bind someone so that they lose their freedom. Some physical bonds would be a chain or a rope. Yet this is not speaking simply of physical bondages. This is speaking of spiritual bondages. We are to fast to loose the bonds of wickedness. There are people who are literally enslaved and in spiritual bondage today.
I believe that whom the Son sets free is free indeed. God wants us to be free. If you are a believer in Jesus there should be nothing in your life that exerts a power over you. You should not be addicted to anything. Yet perhaps there are things in your life that you would like to lay down but have been unable to:
- “I’ve tried to quit smoking, but I can’t!”Try fasting!
- “I don’t want to do drugs anymore.” But I just struggle. Try fasting!
- “I don’t want to watch porn anymore.” Try fasting!
- “I just can’t seem to stop cussing.” Try fasting!
- “I keep on getting drunk and I want to be free.” Try fasting!
- “I don’t know how to control my temper.” Try fasting!
These are all things that the bible calls bondages. Satan wants to keep people bound up in sin. But we can fast and we can pray and God will answer and He can set people free. God has ordained that when we get serious about walking in victory that we would demonstrate it through fasting.
Some of you are thinking, well how does that work exactly? When we fast for our own self we are enacting a biblical principle. There is a principle in the Word that talks about crucifying the flesh. The flesh is that part of us or others that desire to satisfy or gratify the sinful nature. Every time you say no to eating, you are crucifying the flesh. Every time you say no to dinner and go to pray…you are building up your spirit man and you are decreasing the power that the flesh has over you. So it stands to reason that if you can control your appetite for food, you can control it for any other area.
Besides that when you fast, you are drawing near to God. And when you get near to him. He gets near to you. He will help you.
When you are fasting for others to be delivered from addiction God sees that, and he is able to turn up the heat of His Holy Spirit power. God is able to bring conviction by the power of the Holy Spirit. God is able to wake them up in the night. God is able to bring people you don’t even know into their life. Fasting and prayer works.
- Fast so that you can solve difficult problems.
There is no problem so big that God cannot solve it. There is not a problem so complex or powerful that God cannot handle it. The scripture tells us that God is omniscient, he is all knowing, and all powerful.
All the wisdom of the world is his. Beyond that the scripture tells us that God says the fast that I have chosen is…
Isaiah 58:6 NKJV “To undo the heavy burdens”
There are some things that people carry, that can become like a heavy burden. There are situations and problems at work, or in families that become a burden. You wake up in the morning and you feel it. You go to bed at night and you are thinking about it. It may be that your life is more tangled up than a child’s knotted shoelaces. It may feel like your finances are completely messed up. You may have legal situations. You may have problems that are heavy. It may seem like your marriage is in shambles. I challenge with the Word today: the solution is to call out to God during times of prayer and fasting.
When it seems hopeless. When it seems like there is no way out! He will be the Way-Maker! God can deal with things in an instant that you’ve stressed over for weeks and months! Expect divine revelation! Expect the power of God to be revealed.
I have discovered in my own personal fasting that it takes about three to five days for my mind and spirit to clear up. Then I receive a clarity before the Lord. It is as though I hear his voice stronger and clearer. This will happen for you as well. God has the solution to your heavy burden.
- Fast for revival and soulwinning
I have seen real revival in churches that I have attended and pastored. But I know that it did not come except after seasons of fasting and prayer. Have you ever seen a church in revival? A church in revival sees souls saved easily. There just seems like there is such victory in every life. They corporately and powerfully sense the presence of God. We have to remember that we are in a spiritual world and the enemy does not want the church to be on fire. The enemy does not want you to be excited about Jesus.
God says that the fast that I have chosen is…
Isaiah 58:6 says “to let the oppressed go free”
I know one thing that if you are a true believer you cannot be possessed by the devil. You can be oppressed. Have you ever just felt a heaviness upon you? Have you ever felt like you couldn’t get a breakthrough? You feel like you don’t have the authority to fight your way out of a wet paper bag?
It is the oppression of the enemy. God says that he wants you to be free from oppression. God wants you to have victory. God wants your family your friends and your neighbors to be free.
Fasting increases your capacity to praise Him and that will cause all heaviness to leave. Fasting increases your faith level. Fasting brings victory over the spirit of heaviness and oppression. Fasting opens your eyes to the needs of a lost and dying world around you.
- Fast To Conquer Mental and Emotional Problems.
Do you reign over your emotions, or do your emotions reign over you?
Consider Isaiah 58:6 “And that you break every yoke?” A yoke is put on oxen to control them. A yoke is put on oxen so that the one who is driving them can steer in the direction the driver wants the oxen to go. God wants us to be free from every yoke but His. What is driving you?
- Some people allow their emotions to drive them.
- Some people the stress drives them.
- Some people allow anger to drive them.
- Some are driven to depression and despair by negative thoughts.
God wants us to have joy, peace, hope, and courage as we face life’s obstacles. Some have found themselves in situations where it seems like the enemy says, “to the right” and they go right. The enemy says, “go left” and they go left. They are under his yoke. It affects their emotions and mental state. God doesn’t want you to live under that emotional strain. If you wake up in the morning and you are in tears. If you go to bed at night and you just aren’t happy. It is time for every yoke to go. It is time that the only one that controls you is the Spirit of the Living God! The kingdom of heaven is not eat and drink but righteousness peace and joy in the Holy Ghost.
God wants us free. And the key is fasting and prayer.
- Fast to be able to meet the physical needs of others.
Most Americans don’t really know what it feels like to be hungry. There are hungry people in the world. When you fast, it makes you more compassionate for others who are hungry. God says the fast that I have chosen will concern those who are physically hungry.
Isaiah 58:7 NKJV “Is it not to share your bread with the hungry,
And that you bring to your house the poor who are cast out;
When you see the naked, that you cover him,”
Maybe every Friday night, you go out to eat, take the family out, and drop 50 dollars on dinner. Why not fast that meal for a month and give the money to those who are physically hungry through Feed the Children or some other program?
- Fast for clearer insight in decision making.
This is different that problem solving. There are moments when you need to make major decisions in your life. Let me give you a few scenarios
- Job offers
- Job transfers
- Buying a house.
- Moving to another part of town
- Dating someone or considering marriage
- Having more children
- Going into ministry
- Going to college
You want to make sure that you are doing the right thing. You are at a fork in the road and you do not know which way to go. Isaiah 58:8 says, “Then your light shall break forth like the morning,” It’s like God turns on the lights and now you know what to do! As you fast and pray, God will light up your path. You will know you are in his will, and doing the right thing.
- Fast for health reasons or healing.
Do you have a loved one that’s in bad shape? Get serious and fast for them!
Is it your health in question? Humble yourself before God and ask for healing. When there’s no hope from a human perspective, put it in God’s hands. He is the healer.
Isaiah 58:8 “Your healing shall spring forth speedily,”
Remember this is a promise that is attached to fasting and to prayer. The fast that I have chose says the Lord is to meet your physical needs for healing.
- Fast for a more righteous life and influential testimony
It’s easy for a Christian to grow cold…so say, Lord, light a fire under me! Make me like I was when I was first saved! I want to be closer to You, Lord! If you get serious enough to deny yourself in the physical realm, it will be amazing what God will do in your soul spiritually!
Isaiah 58:8 “And your righteousness shall go before you;”
I am just telling you that the benefits of fasting are powerful. People will just recognize there is something different about you. They will see Jesus in you. They will see it on your face
- Fast for God’s divine protection in our lives
Isaiah 58:8 “The glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard.”
I don’t want to go to deep into that but let’s just put it in modern vernacular: God will have your back.
If the discipline of prayer and fasting does all of these things. It’s time to get into the thick of things. It’s time to pray. It’s time to believe. Let’s fast. It is amazing how much time you have on your hands if you’re not eating, preparing, cleaning up after supper, watching TV, or engaged in other areas.
I want to leave you with one more verse today.
Isaiah 58:9 “Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer;
You shall cry, and He will say, ‘Here I am.’”
The fast that I have chosen, God says, will bring you the answer you have been needing.