Double digits was always fun as a kid when it came to birthdays! Remember turning 10? Today is day 10 in our 21 Days of prayer and fasting. Today, I am praying for everyone in our church database by name. I pray you connect closer with the Lord today and extend that to someone else. God bless! – Pastor Stephen Harrison
Daily Devotional – Day 10
“The Fast God Chooses”
Read: Isaiah 58:1-12
“Is not this the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the straps of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke?” -Isaiah 58:6
Fasting helps us express our deepest hearts cry to the Lord. It says, “Only you can satisfy my soul and my deepest hungers.” When we do without food or something else it causes us to see how dependent we truly are on the Lord. Fasting awakens your soul to the Lord in a tremendous way. It also aligns our intentions of a fast with God’s intentions. What we expected to happen should grow and change as we see God’s plan play out during the fast. Our desires should align with and become His desires.
In Isaiah 58 we see that the fastings of the people weren’t accomplishing what they had intended. Fasting in other religions and especially those of the ancient cultures in the Israelites day were more about hunger strikes. They were attempting to force their gods to respond to their fast and do what they wanted. It wasn’t about hearing from their gods or seeing their will (as if that could happen anyway). This was starting to happen in the Israelites fasting as well. They thought if they started fasting like their pagan counterparts God would have to do what they wanted. Verse 3 tells us they fasted and God did not answer. This perplexed them. After all, didn’t he see them suffering? Didn’t he want them to start eating again? So, He must do what they say so His people could be comfortable and nourished once again. Right?
He said their fast was only for their personal gain and to seek their own pleasure (verse 3-5). God states His purpose for fasting in verse 6 and it applies to us today – “to loose the bonds of wickness, to undo the straps of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke.” God’s purposes are why we should fast. They had not repented of their sin but still expected God to answer their requests in their fast. They fasted and prayed but their efforts were cancelled out because their hearts were hard and chose not to repent. How can we expect or demand God to answer us when we have not answered Him in His command to repent? This doesn’t mean we are sinless before we pray or fast but it does mean we are not rebellious and habitually sinning without any notion of confessing it. When God’s intentions of a fast are met (verses 6-7) then verses 8-12 will happen:
“Then shall your light break forth like the dawn, and your healing shall spring up speedily; 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.’ If you take away the yoke from your midst, the pointing of the finger, and speaking wickedness, if you pour yourself out for the hungry and satisfy the desire of the afflicted, then shall your light rise in the darkness and your gloom be as the noonday. And the Lord will guide you continually and satisfy your desire in scorched places and make your bones strong; and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail. And your ancient ruins shall be rebuilt; you shall raise up the foundations of many generations; you shall be called the repairer of the breach, the restorer of streets to dwell in.”
- What is the motive of your fast?
- As you fast is God changing your original intentions of your fast?
- How importance is repentance inside a time of fasting and prayer?
- How do we ensure our motives are pure and God’s will is done in a fast?
Lord, help me to fast for your purposes. Show me your intentions and desires. I come underneath your authority and desire to repent of sin as it would hinder me from hearing you and growing in our relationship. Thank you for revealing your intended will to me during my pursuit of your presence. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.
Church Prayer Request:
Pray for the weekend services. Pray guests will connect and be encouraged. Pray for the ministries (preschool, elementary, ushers, parkers, greeters, musicians, etc.). Pray for the preaching to be inspired by the Holy Spirit, full of God’s living Word, and applicable to daily living. Pray people will worship and praise the Lord. Today, ask the Lord who you should be inviting to church this weekend. Give them a ride, directions, or whatever else is needed but whatever you do bring someone with you to experience the Lord this weekend at Family Church.
Stephen and his wife Haley have called Arkansas home all of their lives. Stephen has served in several ministry roles over the last 25 years and as a lead pastor for the last 8 years. Stephen attended Williams Baptist College and earned a BA in Biblical Studies from Ouachita Baptist University, an MA, MDiv, and DMin in Christian Leadership and Pastoral Ministries from Liberty University. When not pastoring, Stephen enjoys running, cycling, reading, writing, camping, fishing, and spending time with his family.
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