The Hebrew word "fast" means to cover the mouth. In fact, a fast of words is one of the fasts in Isaiah 58. Isaiah 58:9b lists not pointing fingers in judgment and not speaking malicious words as conditions of great blessings.
Sylvia Gunter remembers the first time God led her to fast for 40 days of all negative, complaining, critical, and judgmental words. She wrote in a recent devotional, "About two weeks into my fast, I was treated haughtily at a store. As I left the store, I said to myself, 'I'll just take my business elsewhere. That is the second time she has had an attitude with me.'
"Immediately I heard in my spirit, 'No, you are the one with the attitude.' I wanted to fall to my knees on the sidewalk, crying out, 'I am so sick of me!' I know how Isaiah felt when he told God, 'Woe is me! I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips' (Isa. 6:5). O God, take a coal from the altar and purge this wicked heart of mine. God showed me that He was dealing with a root of pride (Isa. 57:15, 1 Peter 5:5-6). I was puffed up, with no sense of my own spiritual need.
"I struggled for a while in this fast of words in what felt like hand-to-hand warfare, but God softened and sweetened my heart. After that season, I felt like a dog in a yard with an invisible electric fence. Every time I opened my mouth to say anything critical, I would get a zap from my loving Father. I reviewed my prayer notebook and was amazed at how many Scriptural insights God gave me during that time. God was being faithful to reveal more of Himself.
"Ask God if He is leading you to do a forty-day fast of critical, judgmental, negative, complaining, gossiping words. You may be amazed what God will do through it."
Thank You, Jesus, for helping us guard our thoughts so that our words also please You.
"Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life" (Proverbs 4:23).
*Used by permission.