The last six weeks before Easter is often called Lent. The time before Christmas is called Advent, a time of waiting and expecting. The time before Easter is often a time of fasting and drawing closer to God. Fasting is a part of many religions. The Muslims are actually having Ramadan right now. They cannot eat and many cannot drink during daytime, but they can during the night. The purpose is to come closer to God and to become a better person. When I was in India, the Hindis fasted quite often. Also the Christians in India fasted from food hoping to get closer to God and to have a brake-through in their prayers.

When we talk about fasting, we most often think about abstaining from food and sometimes drinks. Some people keep away from food, but they drink some nourishing drinks. I know some people using the month of January as a month of fasting. They want God to give them a direction for the whole year. Most people are working while they are fasting and they might find it difficult to be without food. Some of them choose a Daniel fast. We read in the beginning of the book of Daniel that he had been called to the house of the king. Daniel didn’t want to make himself unclean by eating and drinking from the table of the king. He and the other Israeli boys ate only vegetables and drank water. The chief of the eunuchs were afraid that the king should think that they were too pale, but these boys looked better than the others.

Some people abstain from things they are dependent on, for example sugar. They call it a sugar-fast. Others turn off their mobiles or their televisions. Others abstain from sex.

When we talk about fasting, we often refer to Matthew 17;19-22. The disciples had prayed for a very sick boy, but the spirits didn’t leave him before Jesus talked to them with authority. The disciples wondered why they couldn’t drive the spirits out, but Jesus said that thes demons could not leave without praying and fasting. People have asked me if the have to fast before driving out demons. My answer is no. I am driving out demons almost every day and God has not asked me to fast. Some demons are more difficult than others and sometimes it is good to be two, One is taking thousand and two ten thousand. We must also remember that the person to be delivered needs to confess sins and to forgive people that have hurt him or her. In other words: There are certain rules to be followed. Jesus had also complained in this story about the lack of faith in the disciples. If we do not have faith for delivering, we might hurt the person instead of delivering the person.

In Matthew 4 we read about Jesus. He had fasted for 40 days and nights. That was before He started His ministry here on earth. That was when the devil came and tested Him. The devil often comes when we are weak.

In Matthew 6:16 it says that we should not go around with a sad countenance. No, we should anoint our head and wash our face so that no one should understand that we are fasting.

I have still not come to the headline of this chapter. I have taken the title from Isaiah 58.In the beginning of the chapter the writer describes how many people act when they are fasting. It says that workers were exploited and strife and debates were common. God was not impressed by the fact that they bowed their heads like a bulrush nor when they spread out sackcloth and ashes. We read in verse 6: 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 ,him, And not hide yourself from your own flesh? Then your light shall break forth like the morning. Your healing shall spring forth speedily and your righteousness shall go before you.” A little later He says that if you satisfy the afflicted soul, our light shall dawn in the darkness. I have not heard so many referring to Isaiah 58 when there is a talk about fasting. In my Bible it says that this is the right fast. I live daily in this kind of fast and I was very happy when I read this chapter. You might read Matthew 25:42. Jesus was saying that He had been hungry, but they had not given Him food. He continues to say that they had not visited Him in prison nor taken care of Him when He was sick. The disciples really wondered when they had ignored Him. He answers them in verse 45 saying: “Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.”

I think that these two places go together.

At the end of March we are entering the Easter-week. Maybe Isaiah 58 should become your way of fasting.


Mother Else


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