The book of Isaiah is a record of the anointed prophet sent by God to Israel to confront the nation concerning their spiritual condition. The first 39 Chapters largely deal with the confrontation to see themselves and their spiritual condition, while the end of the book deals with giving them hope of restoration and the steps to take to achieve a right relationship with God. One of the most quoted and encouraging scriptures is chapter 40 verse 32, ” They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength. They shall mount up with wings as eagles. They shall run and not be weary. They shall walk and not faint.” Waiting on the Lord can be interpreted in many ways. It can pertain to being still and knowing He is God , but it should always include an active waiting as we continue to worship, meditate on His Word and pray. Isaiah Chapter 58 deals with actively waiting on God. This Chapter may seem out of place to some, but it is actually the link between dealing with idolatry in the nation of Israel (Isaiah 44:6-10) and the promises of God for complete healing and restoration (Isaiah 61:1-3). The chapter addresses the necessity and principles of prayer and fasting. The people of Israel at this time in history had much knowledge and teachings from their history concerning prayer and fasting. They had an understanding that it must be a part of their spiritual walk with God, but they had made it mechanical rather than heartfelt. They had used fasting as a fleshly tool in an attempt to twist the arm of God. The flesh of man can take the most gracious and powerful tool that we have to make a difference in our lives and the lives of those around us and squeeze the truth and power completely out of it. God addresses the people through Isaiah concerning their motives and attitudes in Isaiah 58:3 (NLT) . The people were saying, “God, we have fasted before You. Why aren’t you impressed?! We have been very hard on ourselves and You don’t even notice it.” Now let me just say if I were God the next scripture would read, “And the earth opened and swallowed the people up.” Thank God I am not God for my own benefit because I would have been swallowed up sometime in my life due to bad motives and attitudes. But God in His mercy and tough love replied , ” If you are going to ask why I don’t notice you, I will explain it to you.” He then reveals to them their selfish motives and lack of genuine concern while fasting. They were continuing in their fleshly ways and just going through the spiritual motions. We must understand that prayer and fasting does not change God , but should change us. It crucifies the flesh and the lusts thereof and as the flesh is crucified then our spirit will receive Holy Spirit in greater measure to see and hear the things of God more clearly.
This devotional is a brief seven day prayer focus made available to you for a tool to fast and pray. As always it is between you and Holy Spirit how you use it or if you use it at all. As always it is simply a tool to encourage the body of Christ to draw closer to Christ and bring maturity to our lives. As always I encourage you to not limit yourself to the words of this prayer focus , but spend additional time waiting on the Lord to hear what He would say to you personally. As we enter into this prayer focus expect the Holy Spirit to activate within you the power to change and become who He would have you to be. Fasting and prayer is a discipline not to be taken lightly and mechanically, but it can be an enlightening experience due to Holy Spirit’s many faceted ministries to us. Isaiah 58:13, 14 encourages us to spend more time with the Lord when in a season of consecration. Time is precious. Time is valuable. It can be a difficult thing to “find more time” to do anything else in life. My prayer is the Holy Spirit will lead you in finding that time. Examine those things that may take your time that accomplish little or nothing and commit to substituting those moments in spending them with the Lord. If you make the effort , the Holy Spirit will make it worth your while and make it a refreshing experience. Enter each moment with Isaiah 58:9 and the promise of God, ” Then you shall call and the Lord will answer you. You shall cry and He will say HERE I AM.” Let us expect great things as He hears us from Heaven.
DAY ONE : Isaiah 58:6 , “To loose the bands of wickedness.” Some would correctly state that if we ever lived in an age of wickedness it would be right now, but we also must realize that wickedness has been on this earth since the fall of man. One distinct example is found in Genesis Chapter 18 when the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah were filled with evil and God finally said enough is enough. Abraham interceded for the people of those cities and God said He would spare them if there were only 10 righteous people. Though the cities were destroyed , Lot and his family had been visited by a messenger from God and were told to get out before the destruction came. It was because of Abrahams prayers that Lot and his family had the opportunity to leave. We live in a critical time when we must stand in the gap and pray for our friends and loved ones to hear the message of the Lord. Our prayers will extend the message of urgency to them. That message will penetrate their soul and they will come to the place of choosing to leave the wickedness. When they choose Christ the bands of wickedness will immediately be loosed in their lives. Do not limit the work of Holy Spirit to reveal the urgency of the hour. Pray for your loved ones to be awakened spiritually. Be serious and fervent in prayer for them. After Abraham prayed and interceded he “returned to his place.” (Genesis 18:33) Stay in your place of righteousness , prayer and expectation. Search your own life as well and snap any bands of unrighteousness in your life through the blood of Christ. Colossians 2:13-15
DAY TWO : Isaiah 58:6 : “To undo the heavy burdens.” I witness regularly those who are heavily burdened with many different weights. Often it is not just one weight , but several. It doesn’t take long during a conversation with someone to sense that something is weighing them down in life. Their hope is decreasing. Their perspective is blurring. Their faith is diminished. God says fasting and prayer will undo the heavy burdens and restore faith and hope. It will bring our focus back to Christ. When Jesus died on the cross He took our heavy burdens with Him. He nailed our sins and guilt to the cross. We no longer need to carry the baggage that trials and tribulations bring. Hebrews 12:1-3 explains to us that we can lay aside every weight which can easily entangle us by keeping our focus on the Author and Finisher of our faith, Jesus Christ. Jesus Himself said in John 16:33 (AMP) that in Him we can “have perfect peace and confidence. In the world we will have tribulation , trials , distress and frustration, but be of good cheer , take courage, be confident, certain and undaunted, for I have overcome the world. I have deprived it of power to harm you and have conquered it for you.” Lay your heavy burdens at the feet of the One Who carried them to the cross and left them there. If there is anything that has burdened you down , take time now to lay it down. If you know anyone else who is carrying a heavy burden, pray that they will receive an enlightenment to lighten the load by giving it to Christ. Pray that peace will replace burdens. Isaiah 61:1-3 , 26:3 , Psalms 29:11
DAY THREE : Isaiah 58:6 . “To let the oppressed go free.” The definition of oppressed is ” to be subject to harsh and authoritarian treatment. To burden with cruel and unjust restraints.” Those who are bound by unjust restraints can be set free. Jesus came to set men free. Free from the stronghold of sin and all its effects. Jesus Himself said He came to seek and save the lost. The lost are those still bound by sin. The found are those who have chosen Christ which is choosing to be set free from the enemy’s oppression. Jesus broke the bondage of sin and it is now an unjust restraint. The root cause of not being set free is that we do not completely believe in Christ , His death, His burial and His resurrection. Prayer and fasting will clear our spiritual vision that we would not only see what Jesus has done, but step into our place of freedom. How is it that Christians can be oppressed ? It doesn’t make any sense when we understand what Jesus has done. It would be as if someone needed transportation and a friend would go to a dealership and purchase a car for them, then bring the car to their house, park it in the driveway and give them the key. Then they sit in the house with the key in their hand, looking out the window at the car, and still praying for transportation. The price has already been paid for our freedom from oppression. We have the keys to freedom in our hand. Let us be transported by faith out of oppression and into the freedom of Christ. It is a choice. It is interesting to note that the scripture says “LET the oppressed go free.” Don’t be bound by oppression any more. Let yourself receive what you already have in Christ. Pray also for those around you that they would let themselves be set free. John 8:31,32
DAY FOUR : Isaiah 58:6 , “That you break every yoke.” Notice it says YOU break every yoke. It is our choice whether the yoke is broken. Every yoke that would hinder us has already been broken through the sacrifice of Christ. A yoke is defined as ” a wooden crosspiece that is fastened over the necks of two animals and attached to a plow or cart that is to be pulled.” The Amplified translation quotes it this way,” That you would break every enslaving yoke.” We no longer are enslaved in the yoke of sin. When we are yoked with sin then we are pulling the whole load of bondage ourselves. Along with the yoke are the reins that connect from the yoke to the one who is in the driver’s seat or in control. When we are in the enemy’s yoke then we will be steered the wrong direction in life and we will be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Whoever has the reins in our life will reign in our life. It was Isaiah that spoke to Israel in Chapter 10 and verse 27 these words, “It shall come to pass in that day that his burden shall be taken off his shoulder and the yoke off his neck and the yoke shall be destroyed because of the anointing.” The day has already come to pass. The Anointed One has come. The crosspiece called the yoke of sin upon mankind has been annihilated by the Cross. Jesus confirmed this same prophecy even before He went to Mount Calvary when He read this scripture found in Isaiah 61, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me because He has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor, , He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised. To preach the acceptable year of the Lord.” Then Jesus closes the book , sits down and says, “This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears.” We now live in the post death, burial and resurrection age , so it is absolutely essential that we realize the anointing upon Christ has been passed onto us through Holy Spirit and every yoke has been destroyed. So let us pray that any yoke that would hold us back would be revealed and annihilated by the Holy Ghost anointing in our life and in the lives of those around us. Pray every yoke that has been concealed and hidden would be revealed and broken. Matthew 11:28-30
DAY FIVE : Isaiah 58:8 “Then shall thy light break forth as the morning.” The front of our home faces the east so every cloudless morning I can witness the brightness of the sun as it peeks over the horizon of the earth. The light can be blinding , yet it is a welcome sight. The light of the sun reveals creation that was moments before covered in complete darkness. As the saying goes, “It is darkest just before the dawn.” Every person living today walks either in darkness or in Light. Have you ever attempted to walk through a dark room in the middle of the night and stubbed your toe or scraped your shin on a piece of furniture? It is a painful experience. It is a painful experience as well to walk in spiritual darkness, stubbing our toes and scraping our shins on the things of the world. A light will help us see clearly our path. A light will reveal our surroundings. Despite all the signs of the last days around us now , some are oblivious to it all. How can that be? They are in darkness. As we fast and pray let us believe that the spiritual eyes of our loved ones that have been blinded by the enemy will be opened and they would see clearly the signs of the last days. Pray that they will see the Light and be safely directed to the cross and the life of the resurrection. Remove any darkness that may still be lurking in your life. Let the bright Light of Christ remove all shadows and walk in the Light as He is in the Light. 1st John 1:3-7
DAY SIX : Isaiah 58:8 , ” Thine health shall spring forth speedily.” The Amplified Bible says, ” That your healing , your restoration and the power of new life , shall spring forth speedily.” I have often had conversations pertaining to questions concerning why some people do not receive their healing. I have witnessed some of the most faith filled, sincere, genuine believers experience continued physical issues in their body without understanding why their healing does not manifest. Some of the most anointed healing evangelists of our day have been puzzled with the same question. It is a mystery. Sometimes the only comfort is that Holy Spirit is with them to continue in life even with illness and to know that a believer will always receive the ultimate healing one day manifested in a new body without sickness and disease. These comforting facts are not excuses , but are tremendous truths that will calm our troubled souls. Paul said it well concerning the close of our life here on earth, ” Death is swallowed up in victory. Oh death where is thy sting? Oh grave where is thy victory?” But at the same time we still have the assurance in scripture that Jesus took those stripes upon His back for our healing. God speaks through Isaiah that true fasting and prayer will cause health to spring forth speedily. We take God’s Word to heart and know it is truth. This promise applies not only to our body, but to our soul and spirit as well. All three intertwine when it comes to our health. The first and foremost key is that our spirit is healthy by being filled with Holy Spirit. 3rd John verse 2 (AMP) says, ” I pray that you may prosper in every way and that your body may keep well , even as I know your soul keeps well and prospers.” Our soul prospers by being renewed daily by the Spirit. Let us fast and pray with undaunted faith that our own health and the health of those around us will spring forth speedily . Do not limit God. Isaiah 53:1-5
DAY SEVEN : Isaiah 58:8 , “Thy righteousness shall go before thee. The glory of the Lord shall be thy rear guard.” It is absolutely necessary that we remain under the covering of the Lord. I cannot imagine living one day in this world of uncertainty without knowing with certainty that I am under “the shadow of His wings.” (Psalms 17:8) ” He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.” (Psalms 91:1 ) The Amplified translation adds at the end of that scripture, ” Whose power no foe can withstand.” When I was not under the Almighty’s shadow I had some friends that were some big boys. I liked being around them, especially when I was in places where I shouldn’t have been. I knew if conflict would arise they would stand up for me. Now that I am under the shadow of the Almighty I am more protected than ever. But we must understand that the assurance of being protected by Him comes with our responsibility of making Him Lord of our life. Many people today do not know Him as Lord , but believe it is God’s responsibility to protect them. That is a false security. Many talk the good talk, but do not walk a Godly walk. The only thing keeping them protected is His grace and the prayers of those who love them. His righteousness goes before the righteous. We are protected as we advance every day in life. His glory is the rear guard of the righteous. Nothing can sneak up behind us because He watches our back. Rest in the righteousness of God knowing you are His. Do not fear. Pray for those who have a misunderstanding that God owes them protection even if they do not have a relationship with Him. Pray for an enlightening in their heart to give their life to Him. 1st Corinthians 1:30 (AMP) says, ” It is from God, the Father, that you have your life in Christ Jesus, Whom is made our wisdom, our righteousness, our consecration and our redemption. ” Fasting and prayer will assist us in realizing the importance of keeping our lives in Christ. As we keep our lives in Him, we keep our lives in wisdom, righteousness, consecration and redemption. It is worthy to note that sometimes fasting will reveal the unrighteous side of us. The flesh will rise up and fight, but that is part of the sanctification process and necessary for those who desire to mature. Simply crucify the flesh and move on in the Spirit. Perform the necessary examinations of the heart with the assurance that Jesus is your righteousness and the glory of God is your rear guard. Psalm Chapter 91
SUMMARY OF THINGS YOU CAN EXPECT :
Verse 6 : * That the bonds of wickedness will be loosed and evil will be soundly defeated.
*That heavy burdens will be removed from the backs of believers.
*That those who are experiencing oppression will be released entirely from its hold and joy will come forth.
*That every yoke of the enemy will be destroyed due to the anointing and never to return.
Verse 8 : *That the Light of Christ will shine forth into the heart of believers and unbelievers alike and Gods perfect will would be revealed to all.
*That health in body, soul and spirit will spring forth in life and well being.
*That the righteousness of Christ will come forth through us in the midst of an unrighteous world.
*That the protection of Almighty God will rest upon the righteous and surround us.
Verse 11: *That we will hear clearly the voice of the Lord and Holy Spirit will lead us every moment of every day.
*That every aspect of our lives will be satisfied including our body, soul and spirit.
*That Holy Spirit will flood us with living waters to keep us strong and refreshed.
Verse 12 : *That the things the enemy has stolen that are rightfully ours will be restored above and beyond what we possessed in the past.
Expect battles to be won when combining prayer with praise – 2nd Chronicles 20:1-24
Expect God’s will and direction – Ezra 8:21
Expect God’s intervention in times of crisis – Esther 4:16
Expect an increase of faith to move mountains – Matthew 17:20,21
Expect divine revelation and thought – Acts 10:9-43
Let us expect together in Christ,