It’s not only about us. We need to be free. We need to be close to Jesus for our own wellbeing, but also for others. Because there’s more … is why we fast and pray.
What are God’s purposes on the earth today? Are people in bondage, desperate for freedom, crying out to a God they don’t even know? Does He desire to use us to break their chains? Yes and yes! The real question is whether you and I will interrupt our lives and our routines to help.
If you read Isaiah 58 carefully, you see that the chapter actually begins with God rebuking the people who were fasting because their form of fasting was merely a mundane outward display to demonstrate their religiosity. God is looking for the real deal!
Men, women and children desperately cry out for help every day, all over the world, perhaps even right down the street. They are abused, oppressed, misused, hungry, alone, forgotten, and crushed. That is why the fast God desires is not an empty, passionless religious act that bears no fruit.
God has a specific purpose for fasting and prayer.
Is this not the fast that I have chosen: To loose the bonds of wickedness, To undo the heavy burdens, To let the oppressed go free, And that you break every yoke? Is it not to share your bread with the hungry, And that you bring to your house the poor who are cast out; When you see the naked, that you cover him, And not hide yourself from your own flesh? Then your light shall dawn in the darkness, And your darkness shall be as the noonday. The Lord will guide you continually, And satisfy your soul in drought, And strengthen your bones; You shall be like a watered garden, And like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail. —ISAIAH 58:6–11