DAY 16 – Jan 23
DAY 16: A PRAYER OF FASTING
“Fasting from any nourishment, activity, involvement or pursuit—for any season—sets the stage for God to appear.” Dan Allender
Isaiah delves further into the deficiencies of the Israelites’ fasting practices in verses 3-5:
“Isaiah 58:3-5 “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?”
True fasting not only brings us closer to God, it makes us like God. It gives us compassion for others. The Israelites were performing the ritual, yet God was silent. They were confused. Why wasn’t he answering them? In this case, it was because they were taking advantage of their employees unfairly and treating each other abusively. We can and should ask God to reveal areas that are holding us back from experiencing the life he has chosen to give away through us, especially to others who report to us in some way.
The Israelites were treating fasting like it was a genie bottle they could rub and God would magically answer and give them all their wishes. Isaiah called their attention to this practice and challenged them. He exposed their issues with others and where they were falling short.
- Do you have people in your life that you may be taking for granted? An employee? A spouse? An adult child? A parent? A friend? Is there anyone who is accountable to you or serves you in some way whom you harbor resentment toward? Here is how to neutralize that: pray for God to give them something you know they truly desire. Ask God to bless them in a specific, even an extravagant way, based on their needs and wants. You cannot be angry with someone at the same time you are praying blessings on them. Try it!
- If there is someone you depend on who has let you down in some way or whom you feel resentment toward, ask God to examine your emotions toward that person. Ask him to show you specifically where that is coming from. Then tell God you forgive the person. Ask God’s Spirit to coach you on how to communicate with that individual and what kind of boundaries both of you need in order to depend on each other successfully in the future. Consider what “humbling yourself” might mean in this instance.
- If you have never tried fasting, consider it. It could be fasting for a meal or from all food for a time. It could also be a fast from social media or television in order to repurpose that time to instead pursue something God wants to work out in your life.