…continuing on from Isaiah 58 verse 8.
 Then your light shall break forth like the morning, Your healing shall spring forth speedily, And your righteousness shall go before you; The glory of the LORD shall be your rear guard.  Then you shall call, and the LORD will answer; You shall cry, and He will say, ‘Here I am.’ ‘If you take away the yoke from your midst, The pointing of the finger, and speaking wickedness,  If you extend your soul to the hungry And satisfy the afflicted soul, 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.  Those from among you Shall build the old waste places; You shall raise up the foundations of many generations; And you shall be called the Repairer of the Breach, The Restorer of Streets to Dwell In.
Here God reaffirms His promises to His people that follow His fast and not their own. God will pour out blessing upon His people that I believe we all want from Him.
However, God has put a caveat in there halfway through verse 9 and into verse 10. ‘If you take away the yoke from your midst, The pointing of the finger, and speaking wickedness,  If you extend your soul to the hungry And satisfy the afflicted soul,. More could be said about this but I would summarise this as, stop doing those things that may hurt others and put their needs before your own.
 If you turn away your foot from the Sabbath, From doing your pleasure on My holy day, And call the Sabbath a delight, The holy day of the LORD honourable, And shall honour Him, not doing your own ways, Nor finding your own pleasure, Nor speaking your own words,  Then you shall delight yourself in the LORD; And I will cause you to ride on the high hills of the earth, And feed you with the heritage of Jacob your father. The mouth of the LORD has spoken
These are like a summary of some of the earlier verses about not ‘doing our own thing’ on the Sabbath and whilst the prayer and fast is on.
These verses talk about the Sabbath which is another subject altogether. Whilst we are not under law to keep the Sabbath as they were supposed to in the Old Testament I would ask (and I include myself in this) do we regularly pray about the meetings before we go? Do we regularly pray about our participation in the meetings? Do we regularly pray about the pastors and the leadership team for them to do the job that God has entrusted them to do? If not, we (I) should.
Finally the last verse is a summary of the blessings that God will pour out if we partake of His fast. Isn’t this what we all want from this prayer and fast?
I would like to say, that for me anyway, it has been a blessing to go through this chapter again and I have got more out of it than when I first looked at it a few years ago. That is the blessing that comes from reading God’s word, as God reveals His treasures hidden in His word.
I hope also you have seen that fasting is so much more than just giving up food. We sometimes put an emphasis on that aspect which, I believe, is only a small part of our approach to God. Before and whilst the Prayer and fast is on I would encourage you to limit those things that can be a time wasting distraction, like TV, phone, iPod, iPad, computer, Facebook etc. etc. Instead get out the Bible and get on your knees.
We now know the ingredients for a successful prayer and fast so now it is up to us.
The previous day’s message is here.