7 Spiritual Purposes of fasting from Isaiah 58:5-7

Is this not the fast that I have chosen:
To loose the bonds of wickedness,
To undo the [c]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 [d]cast out;
When you see the naked, that you cover him,
And not hide yourself from your own flesh?

1. Freedom from addiction to sin

Jesus wants to satisfy your soul hunger that your sin habit is trying to fill.

Be ready to respond to physical hunger by reading God’s Word.

Be intentional about what you are going to read, or memorize, or meditate on.


2. Relief rom Heavy Burdens

Be ready to respond to physical hunger with praise.  Jesus fasted a lot and was known both as anointed “with the oil of gladness above his companions (Heb. 1:9) but was also known as the man of sorrows (Isaiah 53:3).  Jesus’ heart attitude was always uplifted after fasting.  Are you carrying burdens of sadness, depression, mourning, pervasive negativity (or something else?), Let the Lord take that and give you the garment of praise.

3. Deliverance from oppressive relationships.

Our relationships are often oppressed because of unforgiveness and bitterness.  The devil wants to use past hurts and future worries to keep oppressing you….fasting keeps you in the present.  Whether you have been oppressed or have been an oppressor, Jesus wants to deliver you.  Be intentional to bring a dysfunctional relationship to God for Him to heal.


4. Release from bondage

Are you in bondage to judgmentalism, a critical spirit, fear or worry?  There are many types of bondage that can keep us crippled in our spiritual walk.  There is power in prayer.  Be ready to respond to physical hunger with thankfulness instead of criticalness. Consider recording 10 things each day for things you are thankful for.

5. Develop a generous heart.

Jesus said it is better to give than to receive.  Are we money focused?  Self-focused?  Greed can affect both the affluent as well as the poverty stricken.  Whatever we are focusing on as a preoccupation of ourselves can cause us to be less than generous to others. Be intentional to respond to physical hunger with small acts of generosity and kindness. Consider using your unused food money on others this week.

6. Salvation for the lost

In chapter 2 of Joel, Joel called for a fast that God would bring salvation.  Our hearts can get cold or distracted from the work of evangelism.  Be intentioanl about using this fast to drive you to pray for the lost.  Consider writing down the names of three unsaved people and pray for them this week.

7. Compassion for the suffering

We can develop a hard heart toward those in need.  Jesus wants to give us a soft heart toward those who are sufering.  Be ready to respond to physical hunger with prayers for compassion.