Fasting is never the central spiritual discipline of the Christian life. Fasting is not a separable spiritual discipline like prayer or study or solitude. Instead, fasting is a physical condition in which all the disciplines can occur. Fasting is not effective in and of itself but is the expression of the kind of person – a person who has given all of herself or himself to God – that stands before God in trust and obedience, yearning for what that person wants in the face of God in the hope that God will hear that yearning.
6 "Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen:
to loose the chains of injustice
and untie the cords of the yoke,
to set the oppressed free
and break every yoke?
7 Is it not to share your food with the hungry
and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter—
when you see the naked, to clothe him,
and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?
8 Then your light
will break forth like the dawn,
and your healing will quickly appear;
then your righteousness [a]
will go before you,
and the glory of the LORD will be your rear guard.
9 Then you will
call, and the LORD will answer;
you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I.
"If you do away with the yoke of oppression,
with the pointing finger and malicious talk,
10 and if you spend
yourselves in behalf of the hungry
and satisfy the needs of the oppressed,
then your light will rise in the darkness,
and your night will become like the noonday.
11 The LORD will guide you
he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land
and will strengthen your frame.
You will be like a well-watered garden,
like a spring whose waters never fail.