This is the kind of fast day I’m after:
to break the chains of injustice,
get rid of exploitation in the workplace,
free the oppressed,
What I’m interested in seeing you do is:
sharing your food with the hungry,
inviting the homeless poor into your homes,
putting clothes on the shivering ill-clad,
being available to your own families.
Do this and the lights will turn on,
and your lives will turn around at once.
Your righteousness will pave your way.
The God of glory will secure your passage.
Then when you pray, God will answer.
You’ll call out for help and I’ll say, ‘Here I am.’
(Isaiah 58:6-9 The Message)
Spiritual fasting is often associated with abstaining from food. When I found this passage from Isaiah, I was amazed to note that the kind of fast that pleases God is the one that abstains from sin and selfishness. And instead embraces justice, compassion, service and practical presence in the lives of those in need.
In 30 Ways to Wake Up Your Quiet Time, Pam Farrel points out another benefit of fasting:
The most encouraging benefit of fasting is sometimes overlooked because it is so simple: fasting changes our pace, our focus and our hearts so we have fewer distractions. A fast gives us quality time with God.
She goes on to list Scriptures that define situations that called for fasting:
Times of mourning (Matthew 9:14-15), times of decision (1 Kings 21:12), consecration to God (2 Chronicles 20:3), repentance (Jonah 3:5), intercession (Esther 4:16), overcome sin (Isaiah 58:6)
Before fasting, please pray and ask God what kind of fast that He wants from you. If you have never participated in a food fast before, please read up on the practice or ask someone who has experience to share some tips and guidelines. Each person's physical capability to fast differs.
Pam reminds us that fasting means taking a break from the routine, in order to connect with God:
Anytime you break the routine and give God the time, he is faithful to meet you there. Give up something to gain more.
©Pam Farrel from 30 Ways to Wake Up Your Quiet Time (IVP). For more devotional books by Pam www.Love-wise.com
What will you do this week to gain more time with God?