Reasons Why our Prayers may not get Answered during Fasting

In Isaiah 58 we see the Children of Israel were fasting and praying but their prayers were not being answered. The Lord spoke to Isaiah and told him to tell His people that their fasting and praying were for nought. Because of their rebellion and their sins, their fasting and praying meant nothing to God.

1 Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and declare unto my people their transgression, and to the house of Jacob their sins.  2 Yet they seek me daily, and delight to know my ways: as a nation that did righteousness, and forsook not the ordinance of their God, they ask of me righteous judgments; they delight to draw near unto God.  3 Wherefore have we fasted, [say they], and thou seest not? [wherefore] have we afflicted our soul, and thou takest no knowledge? Behold, in the day of your fast ye find [your own] pleasure, and exact all your labors. (Isaiah 58: 1-3)

The Lord goes on to tell Isaiah why the people’s fasting and praying went on deaf ears. The reasons that were given are as follows:

  • Their fasting ended in quarreling and strife
  • They were not honoring God on His Holy day the Sabbath
  • The were speaking idle words and doing as they please
  • They were oppressing each other, pointing fingers and saying evil things against each other

The Lord also describes what fasting should be about. At this point fasting for the people was just a ritual. They thought that they could just carry on with their wickedness and continue to fast and pray and expect God to answer them.

God is so merciful that he not only told them why their fasting was in vain but he also told them what they should be doing and the purpose of their fasting:

  • To remove injustice
  • To set the oppressed free
  • To share your food with the hungry
  • To provide the homeless with shelter
  • To cloth the naked
  • To not turn away your own flesh and blood

God did not leave it at just telling them what they were doing wrong and what they needed to do. He went on to tell them what they would receive if they changed their ways and took His wise advice. The blessings that they would receive if they obeyed His word were:

  • Their light would shine as the morning
  • They will receive healing quickly
  • Their righteousness will go before them
  • The Glory of God will guard them
  • When they call to God they will receive an answer
  • The Lord will guide them always
  • God will provide for their needs
  • God will give their bodies strength
  • The people will rebuild their broken walls, streets and houses
  • They will find Joy in the Lord
  • They will be put in high places on the earth
  • Receive the inheritance of Jacob

We as people need to fast out of a repentant heart, a desire to change, and with a purpose and not out of a religious ritual. If we expect God to work on our behalf and answer our prayers we must deal with people kindly and justly, helping the oppressed, honoring the Lord and His Holy day. If we have right motives and a clean heart our fasting and prayers will be recognized by God and we too will receive the blessings that he promised the people of Israel.

About the Author:
Dwayne McLean is the editor, publisher and author of various Christian Articles on the People Get Ready website.




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