By Pastora Monique Ong
Isaiah 58:1 says “Shout with the voice of a trumpet blast. Shout aloud! Don’t be timid. Tell my people Israel of their sins!” Prayer and fasting brings us to a place where our eyes are opened to the sins that we have to repent for. Isn’t his what we are doing? This is the reason why we go to church, so that we will know how to live a godly life. By listening to the word of God, we will know what is good in God’s eyes. And when we ask, God will answer. What does God desire in a prayer and fast?
Prayer and fasting that makes us holy. Holiness separates us from the world we live in and makes us ready for God only. The meaning of holiness is apart for God only. For example, the mouth that we use to curse and say bad words is the same mouth that we use to rpaise and worship. But during prayer and fasting, we can ask God to hold our tongues to be used only to praise Him. We remove things that take us farther from our contact with God. When we take all of these away, many impurities come out of our bodies, which is needed to take us back closer to our Lord. It becomes a spiritual warfare because the enemy does not want us to get closer to God, thus, he will do everything in his power to make us angry, a real fast is not about losing weight. We withdraw from the things we love that seize our attention from God and while we do this, we launch a spiritual attack against our flesh. There are 3 D’s of what we need to fight during prayer and fasting -what distracts you (facebook, gaming, etc.) what dominates you (work, meetings, etc.) and what destroys you (unforgiveness, anger, etc. ) It’s like we enter into a spiritual gym wherein we are strengthened and unwanted fats are removed. We are dying to ourselves so that our spirit will will be stronger.
Isaiah 58:3a says “We have fasted before you!’ they say. ‘Why aren’t you impressed? We have been very hard on ourselves, and you don’t even notice it!’ “I will tell you why!” I respond. “It’s because you are fasting to please yourselves.”
Prayer and fasting makes us intimate with Jesus. We are doing it only for one thing-for the presence of Jesus. It shows us the true motives of our heart. We have to check our heart when we do this. Jesus is not a genie that gives us our 3 wishes just because we prayed and fasted. Jesus should be our only goal. And when we pray and fast, we will understand God’s words, accept it and do the right thing. It is good if God answers our prayer requests but you should only be for one thing and that is Jesus. It becomes a position of surrender because not only do you tell God what you want but you also ask Him what He wants of you. God wants you to encounter Him. But intense spiritual warfare takes place during and right after prayer and fasting.
Isaiah 58:5 says “You humble yourselves by going through the motions of penance, bowing your heads like reeds bending in the wind. You dress in burlap and cover yourselves with ashes. Is this what you call fasting? Do you really think this will please the Lord?” The Lord has an issue. Mamy of us who pray and fast hear from God. But what do you do with what God tells you?
Prayer and fasting should make us more Christlike. The end of our prayer and fasting should personify Jesus Christ in us. Isaiah 58:6-7 says “No, this is the kind of fasting I want: Free those who are wrongly imprisoned; lighten the burden of those who work for you. Let the oppressed go free, and remove the chains that bind people. Share your food with the hungry, and give shelter to the homeless. Give clothes to those who need them, and do not hide from relatives who need your help.” This is the fast that God wants, the things that show how Christlike we are and that there really has a God in our life. This is what makes God smile.
Set apart. Intimate. Christlike. The fast is to fast for HIM. Hebrews 4:7 says “If you hear His voice, harden not your hearts. “
Do you want promises? In Isaiah 58:8-13, God says:
The sun will shine down on you. In a world of darkness, you will be the light. Your health will be restored. Your goodness will be known. The glory of God is behind you. God will answer your prayers. God will give you everything you need. God will strengthen you. You will be refreshed. You will be known as the one who builds walls.
Pray and fast. Anytime, anyday. Date the Lord. From breaking to breakthrough. Just say yes to God.