Read through our short devotional on the spiritual discipline of fasting and the great cloud of witnesses who are joining you in this practice.
“Because of the devastation of the afflicted, because of the groaning of the needy, Now I will arise,” says the Lord; “I will set him in the safety for which he longs.” Psalm 12:5
Fasting can often feel out of place. Even as a Christian, many might consider this discipline out of step with the modern world. This same world suffering a global pandemic, grappling with issues of racial differences, and enslaving more than 40 million people.
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.” Hebrews 12:1
Consider for a moment this cloud of witnesses surrounding you. These are the brothers and sisters across the world fasting and praying with you. But it’s also the legion of faithful who have practiced this discipline before you. Today, you have entered a tradition that has been shared by people of faith throughout the generations. So great a cloud of witnesses to include Moses the lawgiver, David the king, Elijah the prophet, Esther the queen and even Jesus Christ the incarnate son. It is in this company that we enter our fast in order to draw near to God.
Today we deny ourselves that which brings us comfort and strength and instead turn our hearts to God in prayer, keenly aware of what he’s called us to do.
“Is not this the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the straps of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke.” Isaiah 58:7
In these 24 hours, dwell on the heart of God for justice. You have already accepted His invitation of fasting and prayer, and joined a great cloud of witnesses in your practice. Now, take heed of that still small voice and His promise for deliverance.
Isaiah 58: on true and false fasting
Esther 4–5: on the salvation of a nation through fasting
Matthew 6: on prayer, fasting and giving
Specific Prayer Requests
Pray for nearness to God; that in this time of fasting he would reveal his heart for justice to you and those you are fasting with.
Pray for those who are enslaved across the world; that the Lord will bring rescue and true freedom to their lives.
Pray for IJM field staff who work tirelessly to bring freedom to those in slavery and healing to survivors.