Unselfish Prayer

“Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.” – James 5:16

It’s easy to become very self-centered on a fast. After all, you are denying yourself, trying to decide what you will eat or won’t eat, and praying about your needs. However, if we consider a biblical perspective on fasting, we will see that fasting involves more than lifting up personal requests to the Father.

Isaiah 58 is a tough passage to read, not because it’s difficult to understand but because it’s difficult to do. We must heed the warnings God gives us in this chapter so that our fasts are acceptable in His sight. In my book, The Ultimate Guide to the Daniel Fast, I discuss five basic themes that appear in Isaiah 58. Today, I want to focus on just one: Intercession.

People may commit to a fast for a variety of reasons: anointing for ministry, direction in a decision, physical healing, God’s favor, or freedom from a life-controlling issue. While crying out to God for our own needs during a fast is important, our prayers will be incomplete if we fail to pray for others.

God challenges us in Isaiah 58:6 to “to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke?” I believe that is a call to intercede for those held captive by sin. After all, prayer is our mighty weapon of warfare, useful for tearing down strongholds (2 Cor. 10:4) that keep people in bondage.

Who is God placing on your heart? Who needs to be released from the clutches of the enemy? Let’s pray, really pray during this fast for family and friends who don’t know the Lord, that they will be rescued from the kingdom of darkness and brought into the glorious kingdom of Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (Colossians 1:13).