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Fasting Day 2: So That God Will Hear

Repent So God Will Hear

It’s possible to fast and yet God not hear our plea. “Yikes!” you gasp. “You mean I could be miserable doing without my caffeine and comfort foods, and it could all be a waste? How is that even possible?”

It can happen if we skip over the foundation of fasting—repentance. So before we go any further in our twenty-one days of fasting, let’s ask God to make us aware of our sins so that we can ask His forgiveness and turn from our sins.

God Did Not Hear Israel’s Voice as They Fasted 

God said of Israel:

“You cannot fast as you do today and expect your voice to be heard on high” (Isaiah 58:4).

What was Israel doing wrong that God did not hear their voice?

They were unrepentant and hypocritical, having forsaken God’s decrees and turned their fast days into times of pleasure and oppressive acts toward others.

As they fasted, they appeared to be seeking God, but their sin was overpowering in God’s eyes. It was all He could see. Israel’s fasting had become inauthentic, a meaningless mechanical act, absent true humility and repentance before God.

Sin Can Prevent God From Hearing Our Prayers

Sometimes God will not hear our prayers because of our sin:

  • “If I had not confessed the sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened” (Psalm 66:18, NLT).
  • “God does not hear sinners” (John 9:31, NKJV).
  • “Listen! The Lord’s arm is not too weak to save you, nor is his ear too deaf to hear you call. It’s your sins that have cut you off from God. Because of your sins, he has turned away and will not listen anymore” (Isaiah 59:1-2, NLT).

Before we go to God with our causes for fasting, we should first seek forgiveness of our sins. Before we ask for the provision we desire … or intercede for lost people … or request the breakthrough we so desperately need, we should be sure that every known sin in our lives is covered by the blood of Jesus.

  • “I finally admitted all my sins to you and stopped trying to hide them. I said to myself, ‘I will confess them to the Lord.’ And you forgave me! All my guilt is gone” (Psalm 32:5, TLB).

Our Sin is Overpowering in God’s Eyes

We, like Israel, have sins that are overpowering in God’s eyes. They’re all He can see. Yet, we’re blind to them. We’ve grown numb to them. We’ve ignored the Holy Spirit’s convicting voice so long that we’ve developed a callus in our conscience when it comes to those areas of sin and disobedience. We need the Holy Spirit’s help. We need Him to make us aware of our sins and help us turn from them.

Ask Him today to make you aware of your sins. And as He shows them to you, don’t deny and make excuses. Don’t wince and pretend you didn’t hear what He said. Don’t justify your sin and keep committing it. No, accept the conviction of the Holy Spirit. Agree with Him that you have sinned in that area. Confess that sin to God and ask His forgiveness.

And if an action is required in order to forsake the sin, take it. For example:

  • If He convicts you of withholding the first of your income from Him, make it right by giving your tithe immediately.
  • If He convicts you of speaking harshly to someone, ask their forgiveness.
  • If He convicts you of watching perversion on television, delete everything from your DVR that is offensive to Him.

By His enabling, turn from your sin and commit it no more.

Step-by-Step Guide

As I mentioned in another post, the following steps will prepare our hearts to engage in an authentic fast:

  1. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you make a comprehensive list of your sins.
  2. Confess every sin that the Holy Spirit calls to your mind and turn from it.
  3. Accept God’s forgiveness. (I John 1:9)
  4. Ask forgiveness from all whom you have offended, and forgive all who have hurt you (Mark 11:25; Luke 11:4; 17;3,4)
  5. Ask God to fill you with His Holy Spirit according to Ephesians 5:18 (and expect Him to answer, according to His promise in 1 John 5:14-15).
  6. Surrender fully to Jesus Christ as your Lord and Master, refusing to yield to your worldly nature.

Targeting Hidden Sin

Fasting does not cleanse us of sin. — “The blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin” (I John 1:7).

However, we should enter a fast soberly, having repented of any known sins. And as we continue in the fast, hidden sins are brought to light as we silence the voice of our appetites—our natural man—and tune in to the voice of the Holy Spirit. We become more sensitive to His conviction and more aware of areas of disobedience in our lives.

If the purpose of fasting is to humble ourselves before God—to have more of God and less of self—then it is imperative that we allow our fast to bring us to repentance. Hidden sins should be identified and targeted during the fast.

Questions:

  • As you’ve been fasting and have become more sensitive to God’s voice, what hidden disobedience has He made you aware of?
  • What sin have you known about but deliberately persisted in because you didn’t want to change your behavior?
  • Have you confessed these sins, turned from them, and received God’s forgiveness?

 

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