Did you know God uses fasting to break chains of injustice and oppression? We studied earlier in our fast how Jesus taught his disciples that certain types of demonic or evil spirits would only come out by prayer and fasting.
In that case, the disciples were not equipped or empowered to set a child free, because they did not have a lifestyle where they prayed to the Father and fasted. Jesus honestly didn’t expect them to fast, at that time, either.
In Luke 5:33-39, Jesus was questioned about why his disciples did not participate in fasts, in the tradition of most Jewish men.
Jesus questioned about fasting
33 They said to him, ‘John’s disciples often fast and pray, and so do the disciples of the Pharisees, but yours go on eating and drinking.’
34 Jesus answered, ‘Can you make the friends of the bridegroom fast while he is with them? 35 But the time will come when the bridegroom will be taken from them; in those days they will fast.’
36 He told them this parable: ‘No one tears a piece out of a new garment to patch an old one. Otherwise, they will have torn the new garment, and the patch from the new will not match the old. 37 And no one pours new wine into old wineskins. Otherwise, the new wine will burst the skins; the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined. 38 No, new wine must be poured into new wineskins. 39 And no one after drinking old wine wants the new, for they say, “The old is better.”’
When Jesus was alive on earth during his public ministry, his disciples had full access to him, in person, 24 hours a day. When you need special insight and direction, fasting is a way to get spiritual breakthrough, to draw closer to the Lord, and to hear from the Lord. In the case of the disciples, this is not the way they were experiencing God. They had direct access to the Lord through Jesus and all of his healing power.
Here, in the passage, The Lord implies that fasting is often associated with or accompanied with a sense of grief. Fasting is for, as it says in Isaiah 58, “loosing the chains of injustice.” But, the men and women who followed Jesus were in a season of watching the kingdom of God explode with fruit, prophetic fulfillment and new life. The time Jesus walked the earth wasn’t a time of distress, searching or desperation.
Those times would come later.
In those future days, when their eyes could not see what their faith could see, Jesus’ disciples would fast. These men would raised the dead. Philip was translated (transported) by the Holy Spirit from one location to another, their shadows healed those they passed over. Even in their time of spiritual outpouring of the Holy Spirit, after Jesus ascended, they regularly fasted.
Jesus said that time of regular, disciplined fasting would come. Has it come for you? This is a time to bring your grief, your pain, your chains and the burdens and oppressions around you to the Lord. Fasting is a time for the injustices to be made right. It is a time to mourn, grieve and pour out our petitions and hearts before the Lord. Let’s bring our chains to the Lord today, and ask him to break them!
Today, oh Lord, I come before you in my need. I am fasting for a breakthrough. I declare that I am fasting to break chains. I pray Isaiah 58 and claim it’s promises in Jesus’ name.
‘Is not this the kind of fasting (you) have chosen:
(YOU)…. loose the chains of injustice
(YOU) untie the cords of the yoke,
(YOU) set the oppressed free
(YOU) break every yoke?
In Jesus’ name, I claim these truths. I give you the oppression that I see around me daily. I see oppression by those in power who “lord” it over people under their control. Lord, you say “vengeance is mine.” I submit that to you. I ask you to right the wrongs, to convict the sinners of their sins, to dethrone those who rule with an evil intent and raise up those who are men and women after your own heart. Lord, you draw all men to yourself. I pray that you will draw our leaders, from the smallest to the most renowned. May our leaders seek you with humble hearts and call for prayer and fasting, in Jesus’ name.
I pray for those who are chained by addiction – to drugs, alcohol, money, sex and work. I ask you deliver those who are bound, convict them of sin, bring the work of the Holy Spirit into their lives, draw them to Christ. Deliver them from the devil and from themselves. Heal pain that many addictions are rooted in. (List specific people and needs for healing and deliverance.)
I come to you with grief. I long for the day of your return, yet while I am still here, there are many things that are troublesome and distressing. Fill me with your supernatural power to pray.
I pray you break all strongholds of the enemy Satan in my life and family. I stand in the power of the cross. I pray that you will expose lies and deceit the enemy brings to confuse me, in Jesus’ name.
I pray that you will bring the ultimate deliverance and breakthrough as you lead more and more people into your kingdom. May I be a part of that healing and salvation. Bring people into my life who need to know you. Allow me to be used by you to help people know your son Jesus’ Christ.
I pray that you will break the yoke of slavery. I ask in the name of Jesus that you will expose trafficking rings and that those stuck in those rings will find freedom emotionally, spiritually, physically and mentally.
I pray for all the children stuck in the foster care system. I ask in Jesus’ name that you will raise up godly families to love these children and even adopt those without families, in Jesus’ name.
Break those chains of indifference. I pray that the church will rise out of slavery to self. I ask that you help me to come alive to you and the things that matter to you, in Jesus’ name.
Break any chains that bind me, which I may not be aware of. Lord, open the eyes of my heart to see and hear from you on this.
Fill me with your Holy Spirit that I may walk in your power, even through difficulties and trials, in Jesus’ name. Amen.