Fast: To Abstain From


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,
    cancel debts.
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?


4 thoughts on “Fast: To Abstain From

  1. Remembering the time when God called me to a 40 day radical sabbatical. It was such a time of fasting from my normal routine, electronics, eating healthy, exercising more. It was a time of spiritual insight that I needed to repent and heal. I have been feeling as if it is time to enter into another 40 day period such as this one. Thanks for sharing the scriptures that tell us the circumstances that call us to fasting. I am praying about this.Hugs,Kelly

  2. I was soooo amazed to read what Kelly wrote here, about her Rad Sabb! As I was reading your post, Kel, it's exactly what I thought about–what Kelly had done. Her Rad Sabb encouraged me to take on of my own, and funny she should mention this above, b/c I've been contemplating doing it again. She points out that as one fasts from things God asks, we do sometimes include healthy things previously overlooked. Thanks for the quotation from Isaiah. We fast unto the Lord and not to gain something for ourselves (like weight loss).love,Lynni

  3. Kelly- I remember how special that time was in your life…I will be praying for you as you seek the Lord on this topic and that He leads you into times of refreshing in His presence!

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