Day 1 – 21 Days of Prayer & Fasting

21-Day Fasting Devotional

Day 1:

Keep your eye on the prize!

Phil 3:12-14 12 Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. 13 Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, 14 I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

As you begin your fast, make sure that you have identified the “prize” or goal or reward that you are seeking.  I certainly do not mean this in a manipulative way in our relationship with God as if we earn something by fasting.  Keeping your eye on the prize means to focus on what it is that you want God to do in and through you over the next 21 days that has previously not been accomplished in your life.

Is. 58:6-12 speaks of the benefits of a God-ordained fast.  Turn to that passage and see where your needs fit in.  Then, write your goal for your fast in the space provided below.

My prayer for you as you begin the first day of this fast is that you will start to experience the presence of the Lord like you never have before.  The real reward of fasting is gaining more of Him—of His presence in your life.

May the presence of God surround you in greater measure now and throughout this year as you break away from the routine of life to fellowship with Jesus through fasting.

Day 21: Congratulations!

Congratulations!

You have preserved in fasting and prayer.  Did you wonder if you could really do it?  I certainly had my moments of doubt.

Let me remind you in one final encouragement  the value and purpose of a godly fast.

“    Is this not the fast that I have chosen:
To loose the bonds of wickedness,
to undo the heavy burdens,
to let the oppressed go free,
and that you break every yoke?
Is it not to share your bread with the hungry,
and that you bring to your house the poor who are cast out;
when you see the naked, that you cover him,
and not hide yourself from your own flesh?
Then your light shall break forth like the morning,
your healing shall spring forth speedily,
and your righteousness shall go before you;
the glory of the LORD shall be your rear guard.
Then you shall call, and the LORD will answer;
you shall cry, and He will say, ‘Here I am.’”
–Isaiah 58:6-9

The practical and bountiful results of fasting indicated above include the opportunity for personal freedom, identification with and opportunity for a special sensitivity to those who truly are hungry, that life and light will flow and shine through you, and that your personal prayers will be heard and answered.

I pray that you have experienced the breakthrough desired, whether for yourself or a loved one.

And I personally want to thank you for joining in this call to fasting and prayer.  There is nothing more important that we as the body of Christ do, than pray and intercede for His rule and reign to expand over the darkness of the enemy’s realm.

PS send me the story and testimony of your 21-day experience at bob@thecause.cc.

Day 20: Keep Your Spirit Open

Consider some of these frequently uttered phrases:

“My demons have come back to haunt me.”
“These are just some of the skeletons in the closet”
“I’m going through hell right now.”
“I feel so oppressed.”
“It’s as if he were possessed.”

Or, have you ever thought about the fact that alcohol is sometimes referred to as “spirits”?

I bring up these oft heard expressions because there is in each of us a familiar awareness of the realm of darkness that impacts our ability to enjoy life, love freely, and laugh easily.

The thief comes to steal, kill, and destroy—the curse which we all were born into and live under. But Jesus has come to set us free, to give us life abundantly.

In prayer, we draw close to Jesus, the champion of the human race, and we are able to disentangle ourselves from the pervasive influence of the enemy.

Indeed, there are demons that haunt, skeletons that intimidate, and hellish circumstances.   But God loved us so much that He sent His Son to intervene.

And the Bible says that He now lives to make intercession for the saints, “Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them.” –Hebrews 7:25 (NIV)

Here’s a suggestion; keep your spirit open to His Spirit, not the spirits of the world.

Day 19: What Is The Lord Teaching You?

What is the Lord teaching you?

As we near the end of our 21 days of prayer and fasting, I want to ask if you are seeing breakthrough in your life?  Are you hearing Him speak to you with definition and clarity?  Has there been a shift in your circumstances?

Nearly 250 of us from The Cause Community Church have committed to at least some involvement in this first of the year personal spiritual emphasis.  I would love to hear what is happening in your life. In the next few days, take a moment and email me at bob@thecause.cc and share your testimony.

In our D.N.A. reading, we looked today at Luke 14 and paused for some rather serious reflection at the “cost of discipleship” section, verses 25 through 35.  During that part of Jesus’ “crowd thinning” message, we see that the summons to follow Jesus is not about us.  It is not about what’s “hot” right now, what’s popular, what’s sensational; but it is about what’s right, and good and pure. Jesus in this section speaks in the form of hyperbole (exaggeration) in order to make His point, that following Him is not casual or superficial but about matters of the soul.

“So likewise, whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be My disciple.” –Luke 14:33

During a fast, we forsake our natural urges, subdue our flesh, and limit our escapist tendencies in order to present more of ourselves to Him.  Clearly, this is not the complete fulfillment of “forsaking all”, but it does strike at the heart of our spiritual life—that man truly does not live on bread alone.

I’m proud of you!

Day 18: Bounce Back

I forgot to write today’s devotional.

I hope you noticed, but the only one who said something was Caz.

Funny how you can be consistent daily for nearly 3 weeks, and then an activity you have been doing everyday gets pushed out of your consciousness by other pressing priorities.

Perhaps you too have forgotten somewhere along our journey to pray the way you intended, not to eat one of your favorite foods, or you found yourself watching TV or playing video games when you had intended to “fast” from those sorts of activities.

I can’t make up for the day almost lost, and nobody can go back and change yesterday.  But I can get going.  Or just lie down and quit. The choice is up to me.

Do you remember those “bop bag inflatable clown punching bags” with the weighted base so that whenever you hit it, it always bounces back up?

Well that’s how we should be as followers of Christ.

If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us. My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.
–1 John 1:8-2:1

Certainly it is not normally our plan to “sin” (meaning miss the mark), but if and when we do, be assured that Jesus is our Advocate.

Christ helps me to always ‘bounce back’.

Day 17: Being Rich Toward God

“So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.”—Luke 12:21

The parable of the wealthy farmer concludes with this remark by Jesus, which while brief says so much about us.

We are so very concerned about the cares of this lifetime, and for good reason sometimes.  But the Lord says in the same discourse that God knows your needs and will take care.  The issue is not our need, our anxieties, or our challenges. The concern here is the welfare of our relationship with God.

Jesus critiques the farmer for being occupied with the expansion of his own business while ignoring and overlooking the health of his own soul.

And so Jesus says, “…not rich toward God.”  I don’t want to be that guy!  I want to be rich toward my Heavenly Father.

How do I do that? He certainly is not talking primarily about finances.  He is talking about the awareness, the seeking, and the prioritizing of one’s heart to a relationship with our Creator.  And right along with that is the sensitivity to people in need. The pursuit of wealth without a concern for others bankrupts your soul.

Prayer and fasting helps me keep focus on my God and not on my stuff.  It is like making deposits into my relationship with the Father.  It makes me “rich toward God.”

Day 16: See You At The Finish Line

“Where’s the pin?”

“How much time is left?”

“Where’s the finish line?”

Golf’s target, basketball’s finish, and track’s objective are what competing and ultimately winning are all about.  Paul knew to keep the end in sight, and Jesus endured because of the joy before Him.

My goal on January 1 was to commit myself to 21 days of prayer and fasting, not 5 or 15, but 21. My fast is likely different than yours, but the full expression of my goal will not be obtained until Sunday at 12:00am.

While I write this, let me be clear that fasting and prayer are not the goal.  The goal is to seek God’s face more strategically and intimately during this time.  Somewhat surprising to me it that this has been both easier and harder than I expected.  I see patterns in me that are not merely succumbing to this new year pursuit just because of the effort; and yet I sense an incredible receptivity of the Spirit to my seeking of Him.

So how do I know if I have accomplished it?  Well, one aspect is that which is measurable, the duration.  The other dimensions are more intangible but include time sacrificed, attention turned toward God, self-discipline embraced, and prayers offered.

With that in mind, don’t give-up or give-in before the appointed time.  The finish is in plain sight—do you have a “final lap” push in you?

If by the way, your finish line is different, or if you let down along the way, don’t drop out! Just pick a point and go for it! Modified goals are better than no goals.

Stay in your race, and I’ll see you at the finish line.

Day 15: The Future Harvest

One of our church members, Eddie Ceballos, shared the following word from the Lord to him personally; that I think has broad application for all of us.  Here it is:

“The future harvest of God’s best or the world’s worst in your life is a direct result of yesterday’s seeds planted by you, or seeds planted in you.”

Clearly a biblical based revelation that has application in every practical expression of our lives. But the aspect that struck me today is the simple usefulness for that truth as we complete our last week of prayer and fasting.

We are planting seeds for a future harvest!  New seeds, different from the ones we planted a year ago or more.  These are seeds of obedience and faith, seeds for breakthrough and change, seeds that will multiply!

I believe that in everything we do, we need to think in terms of multiplication.  Multiply your resources, multiply your energy, and multiply your service by mentoring and helping others.  God has given us seed that should produce a harvest far beyond what we can imagine.

This fasting and prayer “seed” has incredible potential to yield returns of 30, 60, or 100 fold.

I believe if for me, and I believe it for you!

Day 14: Just Do It!

Just Do It!

Do you recognize that slogan?  Nike, of course, identified these three words, connecting them to the greatest athletes in the world, and if you wear Nike’s, then you too are…well, whatever the marketing says we are.

Jesus told the 70 as He sent them out on their first ministry excursion, “And heal the sick there, and say to them, The Kingdom of God has come near to you.”  Luke 10:9

Jesus’ didn’t tell them to preach about healing, to teach a healing seminar, to hold a forum on divine healing; He simply instructed them to heal the sick.

My heart in pressing in to be the most effective disciple I can, is to actually “do” what Jesus asks. He asks us to pray, to fast, to love, to give, to serve, to set people free, and to heal the sick.  These are all directives, not explanations.

Part of the focus of my fast is to strengthen my ability to hear God’s voice, to sense His leadings, and to act accordingly.  And so I fast and pray primarily because Jesus said to ‘just do it’.

I’m so proud of you for persisting in your 21 days of prayer and fasting!

Day 13: Press On!

The LORD has heard my supplication;
The LORD will receive my prayer.
–Psalm 6:9

As King David took his requests to the Lord, it was clear that he was not afraid to share any of his emotions, thoughts, fears, or questions with his Creator.  The Psalms, of which David wrote a significant portion, run the gamut of joyful to despondent, hopeful to desperate, faithful to fearful, even peaceful to vengeful.  Are these dimensions not also reflective of how we operate?

But in the midst of all of the humanness of the Psalms, the recurring theme is repeated innumerable times as indicated above, HE HEARS OUR PRAYERS!

Today, as you press on in your fasting and prayer, even if this feels like a “dry” spot to you, be confident that He is listening, that He cares, that He is moving, and that your season of refreshing is coming!

Revelation 5:8 says that the lamb receives each prayer as incense in His presence, an aroma that is unmistakable.  No prayer is ignored, no tear unnoticed, no pain overlooked, no challenge missed.  He is on your side!

Press on!