Yesterday I shared how fasting and prayer can affect world events click here for Fasting & Shaping History. Today I'd like to talk about the two kinds of fasting described in Isaiah 58. One is a fast motivated by pride and religion. The second is the fast that God chooses.
A religious fast that is motivated primarily by pride and works yields works that God takes no notice in. Their prayers for justice go unheard and their affliction is unseen by God. Why?
'Why have we fasted,' they say, 'and You have not seen? Why have we afflicted our souls, and You take no notice?' "In fact, in the day of your fast you find pleasure,
And exploit all your laborers. Indeed you fast for strife and debate, And to strike with the fist of wickedness. You will not fast as you do this day, To make your voice heard on high. NKJV
God won't hear because the purpose of the fast primarily motivated by pride. Pride blinds a person from God's righteousness therefore their prayers and actions are misdirected. They are not right. Their prayer and actions do not line up with God's word. This is evidenced by how they exploit or take advantage of people and secondly misdirected justice. Wicked is the root word of wicker like in wicker furniture. It's called wicker because it is twisted. Wicked means twisted or evil. Therefore justice is misguided and correction is brought in wickedness. James sheds some light as to why this is.
History is in the hands of the intercessors. Throughout the ages fasting has been a powerful tool to intensify prayer. Prayer and fasting empowers a person to change their personal history and a people to change their national history. For example:
Jesus taught us to fast and pray too. He just admonished us not to do it as the hypocrites did. (Matt. 6:16-18).
The early Church also practiced regular fasting and prayer. The Apostle Paul when describing his ministry in 1 Corinthians 6:3-10 said in verse that he was involved in "watchings" and "fastings." Watching refers to abstaining from sleep and fasting refers to abstaining from food.
On January 2-8 our Church is entering into a 7 day fast to kick off the new year. We expect to change history by being one of those lights that shines in darkness in 2014. Click here for God's word about a light shined in darkness in 2014. Here are some practical guidelines and lessons learned about how to fast.
Why do I fast? Isaiah 58:6-9 says it all so well.
"Is this not the fast that I have chosen: To loose the bonds of wickedness, To undo the heavy burdens,To let the oppressed go free, And that you break every yoke? 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,And not hide yourself from your own flesh? Then your light shall break forth like the morning, Your healing shall spring forth speedily, And your righteousness shall go before you; The glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard. Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer; You shall cry, and He will say, 'Here I am.'NKJV
It is also a critical discipline when it comes to increasing our faith and power. In Matthew 17 the disciples could not cast a demon out of a man. Jesus exhorted them in Matthew 17:20-21.
So Jesus said to them, "Because of your unbelief; for assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there,' and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you. However, this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting."
Those are the main reasons why I fast. Not to mention Moses, David, Elijah and Jesus all fasted. Jesus said, once the bridegroom was taken away (He's the bridegroom) then we would fast. I want to be like Jesus and follow in His footsteps. The root word of fast in the Hebrew means "to cover the mouth." The dictionary says fasting means abstinence from food or limiting food.
There are Different Types of Fasts