Isaiah 58:4, NIV
You cannot fast as you do today and expect your voice to be heard on high.
Fasting is a good and valuable discipline. When the heart is rightfully in tune with God, it is a precious means of focusing our attention on God as we curtail our appetites for other things. Fasting sharpens one’s intercession and makes one spiritually more aware of the voice of God. Even the Bible can seem to come more alive as the Spirit of God quickens God’s truth to our own spirit.
But fasting, like every other act of religious discipline which is done with a wrong motive, breaks the heart of God, making people look pious and holy to men, who, in reality are far from it. Jesus reserved some of his harshest words for the Pharisees who made a show of religion, but who’s hearts were a million miles away from being in a right relationship with God. In Isaiah Chapter 1:15 also, Isaiah had to tell the people that God will not even listen to their prayers, because their hearts were so far from Him.
There are times when I have prayed with individuals about the problems they were having in their lives and often I have been forced to ask myself why their prayers in the past had not already been answered by God. For, surely, God loves His children and would long to hear the cry of their hearts and answer their very reasonable prayers.
But then God has led me to lift a particular stone, covering an area of their lives that was in darkness. And suddenly it all becomes clear as once again the question of the Psalmist comes into sharp focus, where he says in Psalm 24:3-4: “Who may ascend the hill of the Lord? Who may stand in his holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to an idol or swear by what is false. He will receive blessing from the Lord.”
If we are looking to God to hear and answer our prayers, let’s be sure we have got the basics of godly living in place, before we try and impact the throne of God with disciplines such as fasting.
Prayer: Lord, I want to have clean hands and a pure heart. Please expose darkness in my life so that I may clean out the dirt and come to you in repentance for forgiveness and cleansing. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.