“Prayer intercession is empowered not only by the Holy Spirit, but also by true biblical fasting. With revival sweeping the nations, we are hearing of more prayer with fasting than prayer without fasting. We must return to the early church discipline of fasting. This discipline will be part of our training for the Church, especially in the coming generations.”
May God give us a heart revelation of the power and necessity of fasting combined with prayer. As we enter into fasting – whether it is a meal, a day or a season of fasting – let us make sure that we are fasting the right way. Let us ask God for the right heart motives and enter into our fast with a humble and obedient heart. May we be encouraged by the powerful life and testimony of Charles Finney and the fact that he was a man who fasted and prayed. He said the following:
“I used to spend a great deal of time in prayer; sometimes, I thought, literally praying ‘without ceasing’. I also found it very profitable, and felt very much inclined to hold frequent days of private fasting. On those days I would seek to be entirely alone with God, and would generally wander off into the woods, or get into the meeting house, or somewhere away entirely by myself. But whenever I fasted, and let the Spirit take his own course with me, and gave myself up to let him lead and instruct me, I universally found it in the highest degree useful. I found I could not live without enjoying the presence of God.”
Emptiness of Wrong Fasting: Isaiah 58:1-5
“. . . ‘Why have we fasted’, they say, ‘and you have not seen it? Why have we humbled ourselves, and you have not noticed?’ 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 a man to humbled himself? Is it only for bowing one’s head like a reed and for lying on sackcloth and ashes?”
This fast was an outward act of religious obedience but it had no heart. It was a ritualistic act and religious duty that caused pride and self-importance. The people continued to live disobedient and rebellious lives against God’s moral laws.
“God desires that they would draw near with humility of heart, honest prayer, and submission to His ways. A formal, ritualistic fasting without spiritual content cannot satisfy the heart of God. It accomplishes nothing. It is injurious to the one who fasts and to those around him. It warps judgments, deadens conscience, hardens the heart and awakens false hopes. Fasting must be joined with intercessory prayer out of a clean heart, an honest and humble heart, a heart that is first loving and submissive to a sovereign God.”
Benefits of Right Fasting: Isaiah 58:5-12
“Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke? Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter – when you see the naked, to clothe him, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood…”
God rewards fasting that is done the right way. He looks at our hearts. He wants us to fast with the right motive and the right heart attitude. If we fast the way God desires and in an attitude of humility, He will bring rich blessings from these times. Isaiah 58 speaks at great length about the numerous benefits of fasting with the right heart. This chapter alone should motivate us to seek God more diligently in prayer and fasting.
The benefits of right fasting found in Isaiah 58
- Your light will break forth like the dawn.
- Your healing will quickly appear.
- Your righteousness will go before you.
- The glory of the Lord will be your rear guard.
- You will call and the Lord will answer.
- You will cry for help, and He will say, “Here am I.”
- Your light will arise in the darkness.
- Your night will become like the noonday.
- The Lord will guide you always.
- He will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land.
- The Lord will strengthen your frame.
- You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail.
- Your people will rebuild the ancient ruins and will raise the age-old foundations.
- You will be called repairer of broken walls.
- You will be a restorer of streets with dwellings.
- You will find your joy in the Lord.
- You will rise on the heights of the land.
- You will feast on the inheritance of your father Jacob.
“Prayer intercession moves into the breach, the spiritual gap, and begins to pray repentance, restoration, revival and redirection for people – saved and unsaved. This should be the intercessor’s prayer while fasting. This is the prayer God desires from fasting intercessors. ‘Is this not the fast that I have chosen?’ Combine this spirit of intercession with the fasting of an honest heart, with Isaiah 58:6-12 to guide us, and the result will be powerful prayers with Kingdom results.” Quotes by Frank Damazio