Fasting to feed the hungry feeds us too

Usually we think of fasting as avoiding food for the purpose of prayer. The emptiness of our stomachs reminds us to pray. Isaiah 58 speaks of a fasting God may honor most of all.

Isaiah 58:4-9, NLT


“…you are fasting to please yourselves.

Even while you fast,
you keep oppressing your workers.

What good is fasting
when you keep on fighting and quarreling?
This kind of fasting
will never get you anywhere with me. (God). 

You humble yourselves
by going through the motions of penance,
bowing your heads
like reeds bending in the wind.
You dress in burlap
and cover yourselves with ashes.

Is this what you call fasting?
Do you really think this will please the Lord?

No, this is the kind of fasting I (God) wants:

Free those who are wrongly imprisoned;
lighten the burden of those who work for you.
Let the oppressed go free,
and remove the chains that bind people.

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Share your food with the hungry,
and give shelter to the homeless.
Give clothes to those who need them,
and do not hide from relatives who need your help.

Remove the heavy yoke of oppression.
Stop pointing your finger and spreading vicious rumors!

Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

Breaking Free-Day by Day

A Year of Walking in Liberty    by Beth Moore

Read what Beth said about fasting in this daily devotional book:


“Usually we think of fasting as avoiding food for the purpose of prayer. The emptiness of our stomachs reminds us to pray. Isaiah 58 speaks of a fasting God may honor most of all.

What is God proposing that we fast from?

What do we have to give up or fast from to reach out to the oppressed?

Whatever our answer, we know if we pour out our lives to satisfy the needs of the oppressed, God will be faithful to satisfy our needs.” 


I have enjoyed this daily devotional book.  The daily entries are short and easy to read; an inspirational way to start or end my day.


Also available is Beth Moores Bible study on Isaiah, Breaking Free-The Journey The Stories

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Fasting for the body and the soul

Observed by Catholic , Orthodox, and Protestant Christians, (although the dates may differ) Lent is a time of spiritual reflection, contemplation, renewal, and commitment.

The practice of fasting is one of the Christian Disciplines.

people holding lit candles in the dark

What is fasting?

Simply put, fasting means to refrain from  foods and/or drinks either partially or completely, for a specified time period.  Some religions other than Christianity practice fasting.

Traditionally, Christians observed Lent (the weeks that precede Easter) by avoiding certain types of food (particularly meat, eggs, and milk products).  In some traditions, partial fasts were observed where they would eat only one meal on certain days. Another way to fast is to avoid all food for a specified time frame, usually one day.

Many who observe Lent today are not as strict, instead choosing to abstain from a particular food or particular behavior, such as television or social media during Lent.

The purpose of fasting during Lent  is to eliminate something in our life in order to redirect the time and energy toward our relationship with God.

man praying on holy bible in the morning

Medical fasting

You may be more familiar with fasting for medical reasons.

We physicians frequently ask patients to fast for 8-12 hours prior to performing certain blood tests. The meaning of the result may be different depending on how long ago the patient had eaten. This is the case when we test for diabetes (sugar or glucose) and hyperlipidemia ( cholesterol and triglyceride).

Another common time for medical fasting is prior to surgery or procedures, especially those done under general anesthesia. Many people become nauseated and may throw up or regurgitate stomach contents. If these get sucked down into the lungs it can lead to pneumonia, a serious complication of surgery. Having the stomach empty of food and liquid minimizes this risk .

There is evidence now that intermittent fasting may aid in weight loss. Dr. Monique Tello discusses intermittent fasting for the Harvard Health Blog at this link.

Intermittent fasting: Surprising update

ashes in the shape of a cross

40 days of sorrow

The 40 days of Lent are a time of grief.

This tradition begins with the first day of Lent, Ash Wednesday. Ashes are put on believers’ foreheads during religious services as a sign of repentance.

The practice of putting ashes on one’s head is an ancient sign of mourning that was often done at funerals or similarly sorrowful occasions.  In this case, the ashes represent sorrow over our sins and the pain and death caused by sin.

two women sitting on a rug with open books

Whether you formally observe Lent or not, we may consider this as a time to slow down, quiet the noise in our lives, open our hearts, and listen for new inspiration for using our gifts to create new ways to serve others.

“For even the Son of Man  (Jesus ) came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

Mark 10:45 NLT

New Living Translation (NLT)Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2007, 2013, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

40 Days of Decrease

A Different Kind of Hunger. A Different Kind of Fast. 

Last year I experienced Lent with this devotional book by Alicia Britt Chole and I recommend it to help you observe a spiritually meaningful “fast” during Lent.

(Please note this is an affiliate link, a link which will help support this blog with a commission when a purchase is made.)

What if you fasted regret? What if your friends fasted comparison? What if your generation fasted escapism? What if your community fasted spectatorship? Trigger a spiritual revolution with this daily devotional for Lent.

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Dr Aletha

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