21 Days of Prayer (Day #21)

You made it! How marvelous it has been to intentionally set aside a time to remove all distractions and behold the wonder of our God. Thank you!!! I’m sure you could say as Solomon, Blessed be the Lord God, the God of Israel, Who only does wondrous things! And blessed be His glorious name forever! And let the whole earth be filled with His glory. Amen and Amen. (Psalm 72:18-19). Indeed, this will fully occur when Christ comes to reign, but how wonderful through prayer to see God’s will done on earth as it in heaven (Matt. 6:10) right now!

As we wrap up this 21 day journey, may I encourage you . . .

  • Do not let up! Keep on delighting in God through intimate conversations in the Secret Place (Psalm 91:1-4). Stay out of the rut of dull routine. Truly our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ. And these things we write to you that your joy may be full. (1 John 1:3-4)
  • Continue to pray with your spouse, your children, your brothers and sisters in Christ, your neighbors, etc. Meal time praying does not count. Your best conversations will always be with others at the Throne of God. (Hebrews 4:14-16; James 5:16, Pray one for another.)
  • Seek the Lord each day whereby you reach such a level of intimacy with God that the only thing that can account for your prayer life is that it has become one with the prayer life of Jesus Christ. (Matthew 6:8; John 17; Romans 8:26)
  • Join with your church family in making prayer the primary ministry at BCBC. How I long for the auditorium to be filled at 8:30 on Sunday mornings with “the 10:30 crowd” of faith-believing, Word-filled, expectant believers crying out in prayer for the God-sized tasks!! (Jeremiah 33:3) Until we do, we will see God do a few things but not what He really wants to accomplish through His people for His glory. (Matthew 13:58)
  • That prayer would be “hot” in our discipleship small groups that meet on Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays. Answers to prayer would be seen over and over and over and over as we recognize the character of the Giver of all good things!!
  • To abide in Christ in your life of prayer (John 15:7) as we pray without ceasing (1 Thess. 5:17).
  • To earnestly pray that BCBC will fulfill the Great Commission in every area of ministry; that discipleship will be the main motivation of ministry. This is our mandate in this Church Age. (Matthew 28:18-20)
  • Join with Christ in you Who rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark, he departed and went out to a desolate place, and there he prayed. (Mark 1:35)
  • To pray much for this Resurrection Sunday gathering as we acknowledge the One Who gives us resurrection hope in prayer, the reason to pray (Ephesians 1:15-23; Hebrews 7:25). Pray for lost souls to be born of God (1 John 5:1, 11-12)!!!

Again, praise the Lord Who daily loads us with benefits, the God of our salvation (Psalm 68:19); for all He has revealed to us about Himself, our Savior and ourselves during these blessed days of prayer!! Be in awe of Him and believe in Him to do the impossible!

Thank you!

Pastor C

21 Days of Prayer (Day #20)

How appropriate that the 20th day of our “21 Days of Prayer” would fall on Good Friday, the day we fix our thoughts in particular on the crucifixion of our Lord Jesus Christ.

The doctrinal significance of the death of Christ on the cross in regards to prayer is displayed in part by the following scriptures:

We have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world. (1 John 2:1b-2)

Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need. (Hebrews 4:14-16)

Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh, (Hebrews 10:19-20)

The practical application is now given in part below by Oswald Chambers from his classic, My Utmost For His Highest.

We too often think of the Cross of Christ as something we have to get through, yet we get through for the purpose of getting into it. The Cross represents only one thing for us— complete, entire, absolute identification with the Lord Jesus Christ— and there is nothing in which this identification is more real to us than in prayer.

“Your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him” (Matthew 6:8). Then why should we ask? The point of prayer is not to get answers from God, but to have perfect and complete oneness with Him. If we pray only because we want answers, we will become irritated and angry with God. We receive an answer every time we pray, but it does not always come in the way we expect, and our spiritual irritation shows our refusal to identify ourselves truly with our Lord in prayer. We are not here to prove that God answers prayer, but to be living trophies of God’s grace.

“…I do not say to you that I shall pray the Father for you; for the Father Himself loves you…” (John 16:26-27). Have you reached such a level of intimacy with God that the only thing that can account for your prayer life is that it has become one with the prayer life of Jesus Christ? Has our Lord exchanged your life with His vital life? If so, then “in that day” you will be so closely identified with Jesus that there will be no distinction.

When prayer seems to be unanswered, beware of trying to place the blame on someone else. That is always a trap of Satan. When you seem to have no answer, there is always a reason— God uses these times to give you deep personal instruction, and it is not for anyone else but you.

Today, consider and answer the following:

  • Meditate and pray through the passages of Scripture given above.
  • Meditate on the truth of your identification with Christ in prayer, especially in regards to “the point of prayer.”
  • Which is more important to you, God answering your prayers or being a living trophy of God’s grace?
  • Have you reached such a level of intimacy with God that the only thing that can account for your prayer life is that it has become one with the prayer life of Jesus Christ?
  • Has our Lord exchanged your life with His vital life?
  • Did you receive deep personal instruction from God today that was just for you?

The veil is torn in two. Enter into the joy the Lord!

21 Days of Prayer (Day #19)

Our teen ministry at BCBC is based around this mission, “To produce adults who in their independence live their lives for God (Col. 3:1-4).” This mission makes the decisions for what we do and what we study. Colossians 3:1-4 says, If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.

We want the teens as they gain independence into adulthood to be convinced that living for God is better than living for anything else. We try to accomplish this through Five Core Values:

  1. Treasuring God (Matt. 6:21)
  2. Build Strong Faith (1 Peter 3:15)
  3. Oneness in the Body (Eph. 4:12)
  4. Discipleship (Matt. 28:18-20)
  5. Christ-Compelled Service (Mark 10:45)

What should we pray for the teen ministry at BCBC? Pray that our teens would be poured into in such a way that they would be convinced that living for God is superior to living for this world. Pray that each core value would be something that is established in each teen.

I often tell the teens what I hope to see in their life one day. I tell them that I want to come to their weddings someday and see them marrying a godly person. I hope to meet their children who are being taught that living for God is better than this world. I hope to find out that they are being discipled and discipling someone in their church. I hope they are an intricate part of a body of believers. Please, join me in prayer for our teens!

I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth. (3 John 1:4)

Pastor Andrew Isbell

21 Days of Prayer (Day #18)

And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18-20)

“This is the Great Commission—the making of disciples. The touchstone of a thriving church is that it is making genuine disciple-making disciples of Jesus Christ.” (Trellis & the Vine, p. 152)

“The essence of ‘vine work’ (people ministry as opposed to “trellis” ministry which includes the upkeep of the building and running programs) is the prayerful, Spirit-backed speaking of the message of the Bible by one person to another (or more than one). . . . The goal of all Christian ministry, in all its forms, is disciple-making.” (Trellis & the Vine, p. 153)

The past two days I have asked us to pray for the children and the senior saints. Today, I am asking us to pray again for our children and senior saints and all in between . . . to be involved in the continuation of the ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ. That is, making genuine disciple-making disciples of Jesus Christ.

When we make the mission of the church simply reaching the lost or growing church attendance or teaching biblical information—or anything other than making full-fledged disciples of Jesus—we form shallow churches, leave people stuck in immature, un-Christlike patterns of living, and fail to be a city set on a hill.

Our mission is disciple making. And making disciples includes two components: evangelism (implied by the reference to baptism in Matthew 28:19) and teaching people to do everything Jesus commanded.

It’s all aimed at helping people become disciples and live as disciples, which means they have to rearrange their life to become like Jesus.

So, here’s a subtle shift in thinking that makes a massive impact on our ministries: Disciple making isn’t something we do; it’s everything we do.

The purpose of every meeting, every program, and every activity of the church is to either help people become disciples or to help them live as disciples.

If we’re making lots of converts who aren’t learning how to do everything Jesus commanded (i.e., live as disciples of Jesus), we’re failing to carry out the mission Jesus gave us.

If we have lots of active, involved church members who are attending, serving, and giving but not becoming like Jesus in character and life mission, then we’re making church members not disciples. And that means we’re failing in the mission Jesus gave us.

We have one mission: make disciples.

Every pastor is a disciple making pastor.

Every volunteer leader needs to see their role as a disciple maker and understand how they can help the people in their charge live as disciples of Jesus.

For every activity we should ask: How does this help people either become disciples or live as disciples?

As Curtis Erskine demonstrated in his substantive blog entitled “Conversion, Theology, and Discipleship,” discipleship is the key criterion by which everything is evaluated.

And this isn’t just true for the church corporately. This is true for each individual disciple as well—we are to live as disciples and seek to make disciples.

Raising kids? One of the greatest discipleship opportunities for our own discipleship and for helping our kids become—and live as—disciples. Martin Luther called family life the “school for character.”

Career? An incredible training ground for becoming like Jesus, and one of the best places to display and impart the way of Jesus to others.

Friends? They are key relationships for spurring one another on to love and good deeds.

Discipleship to Jesus should shape every facet of our life as individuals and every activity in our churches.

It’s everything we do, and it’s the greatest opportunity any human being could ever have because Jesus is the true source of life. (Disciple Making Is Everything the Church Does; John Whitaker)

Would you join with Pastor Andrew and myself in submitting to the Christ within every one of us as believers in Christ by following His mission to make disciples?

  • Pray that BCBC would become more and more a disciple making ministry. (Titus 2)
  • Pray for a greater understanding of what it looks like to be a disciple for Christ. (The four gospels; the life of Christ)
  • Pray for courage, conviction, and concern for people. (Matthew 28:18-20)
  • Pray that we will be growing daily in Christ through prayer, scripture, and fellowship with other believers. (2 Peter 3:18)
  • Pray that we will encourage one another, carry each other’s burdens, and work together in order to make known the Gospel of Jesus to the children and families who cross ours paths. (I Thessalonians 5:14)
  • Pray for our discipleship small groups to grow in such a way that it produces more disciple-makers whose desire would be to spend intentional time in conversation with others in the Word of God. (2 Timothy 2:2)

Let’s pray expectantly with surrendered hearts! Who’s all in with me?

Pastor C

21 Days of Prayer (Day #16)

What a delight to see those precious children waving palm branches and saying “Hosanna!” as they walked down the middle aisle in yesterday’s morning gathering!

Another blessing is seeing dedicated believers teaching the children in Sunday School, and adults in church speaking to the children and interacting with them.

Then little children were brought to Him that He might put His hands on them and pray, but the disciples rebuked them. But Jesus said, “Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of heaven.” And He laid His hands on them and departed from there. (Matthew 19:13-15)

The example of Jesus is a guide for our prayer time today in reference to one of the ministries at Boones Creek Bible Church, the children’s ministry.

  • Let us pray that parents will intentionally and faithfully bring their children to Jesus. In particular, bringing them to where the body of Christ gathers. The children need to hear about the life of Christ. They need to be taught the doctrines of Christ and salvation, such as regeneration, redemption, adoption, justification, etc.
  • Let us pray that our children will be touched by Christ early on in life receiving the greatest blessing of life, salvation, and then live the Christlife all their days on earth.
  • Let us surrender to pray by name for the children at BCBC.
  • Let us pray that we will see the kingdom of heaven expanded through our children’s ministry.
  • Let us pray that our example as adults does not “forbid” the children from coming to Jesus. May we make Christ attractive to them.
  • Let us pray for the teachers and nursery workers as they minister Jesus to these precious ones.

Thank the Lord for our faithful children’s workers who have a passion to present Christ to our children in a loving, welcoming way! Thank you for serving!!

If I could relive my life, I would devote my entire ministry to reaching children for God. -D.L. Moody

21 Days of Prayer (Day #15)

Praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints (Ephesians 6:18).

This third week of our 21 Days of Prayer, we will focus on various aspects of the ministry and people at Boones Creek Bible Church.

Today, on this last Sunday of March, Palm Sunday, let us make supplication for all the saints. In other words, let’s pray specifically for the local body of Christ, the saints, the believers known as the BCBC family.

Let’s pray for the saints, as well as yourself, to . . .

  • Live passionately today for the glory of God. (1 Corinthians 10:31)
  • Die to self so Christ can live His life out of us; to live by His terms, not ours. (Galatians 2:20)
  • Be devoted to the teaching of God’s Word and the fellowship of one another. (Acts 2:42)
  • Be thoroughly given to prayer as Christ is. (Acts 1:14; 2:42; Colossians 4:2)
  • Share, connect, minister and make disciples like Jesus did. (Matthew 28:18-20)
  • Be people of genuine praise and thanksgiving. (Hebrews 13:15; Ephesians 5:20)
  • Be daily repenters changing the way we think so God can change the way we live. (Romans 2:4; 1 John 1:9; Revelation 2:5)
  • Worship today in spirit and in truth. (John 4:24)
  • Be soul-conscious, ready to share Jesus with the unsaved without fear. (Luke 19:10; 2 Timothy 1:7)
  • Be burden-bearers. (Galatians 6:2)

And, let us pray that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19 and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. 20 Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen. (Ephesians 3:16-21)

Let’s finish this week strong, “on our knees,” as we head toward Resurrection Sunday!!

21 Days of Prayer (Day #14)

Pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:17).

For fourteen days you have joined with your brothers and sisters in Christ meeting at the Throne of Grace! During these two weeks, you have been challenged to pray with praise, thanksgiving, and gratitude, to intercede for others, to pray contemplating the greatness of God, to believe God for His increase, to consider the sovereignty and compassion of God, to not forsake prayer gatherings, to cry out for our sin-sick nation, and to pray through trials walking in victory.

As you look back over these fourteen days, . . .

  • What has impacted your life about God, about His Son, and the work of the Holy Spirit?
  • What has the Holy Spirit revealed to you about yourself that has led to repentance and a sweeter walk with Christ in you?
  • How has your life of prayer (not your prayer life) changed, been encouraged, and motivated?
  • Has your time in prayer been motivated out of trying to have a relationship with God or because you have a relationship with God Who lives in you?
  • Have you sensed a greater burden and delight in prayer?
  • Have you had times of conversation with your Heavenly Father rather than a one-way chat? Did you pour out your heart and then listen to Him speak or it was just ritualistic prayer phrases?
  • Can you go a day now without praying?

As we embark on this final week leading up to Resurrection Sunday, may your relationship with God in prayer increase even more in view of the empty tomb and the intercession of our living Christ on our behalf right now! May you see God at work all around you each day as your heart for Him is made more sensitive to the One Who indwells you and walks with you as you participate in Christ’s life!

“In prayer it is better to have a heart without words than words without a heart. ”
― John Bunyan

21 Days of Prayer (Day #13)

PRAYER & TRIALS (Hunter Addison)

My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. 7 For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways. (James 1:2-8)

All of us are probably going through a trial of some type right now. If you are not, count on one coming your way tomorrow. It is the reality of living in a fallen world. However, James teaches us that God is not absent in our trials. In fact, God is doing something through them. We can see what God is doing through our trials in verses three and four. God is producing patience, endurance in us in order that we may be perfect and complete, that is mature in Christ. Maturing in Christ is the reason why we can count it all joy when we face trials. It’s not because the trial is fun or pleasant. It is because through the trial God is transforming us more and more into the likeness of Christ. The word for count in the text is an imperative, which simply means that it is a command. Therefore, joy in trials is dependent upon our response. We have the option to obey or disobey the command to count it all joy when you fall into various trials. We disobey the command when our joy is found in our circumstances. We obey the command when our joy is found in God and his purposes for our lives, which is transforming us more and more into the image of Christ (Romans 8:29; 1 Thessalonians 4:3). Do we really believe that the greatest joy of our lives is to be more like Christ? To be more patient, kind, loving, gentle, self-controlled, to bridle our tongues, to be slow to speak, quick to listen, to count others more significant than ourselves, to live with our wives in an understanding way, to mature? James is teaching us that we can become victors full of joy in our trials instead of victims full of bitterness, doubt, and discouragement. Trials refine our faith by showing us where we are truly seeking joy, by showing us who/what we are trusting in.

With this understanding of trials in our life, let’s look at another imperative in the text, that is another command. In verse five let him ask is a command. What does this teach us? It shows that if we are to live triumphantly in our trials, we need to ask God for something specific, that is wisdom. Once again, this is a command that has the potential to be disobeyed. Perhaps our disobedience to this command may be the reason why we lack joy in our trials. Disobedience to this command may be the reason why we mature in age but not in Christ. What do we ask God for during our trials? We must be careful here. It is not wrong to ask God for strength, help, and deliverance from trials, just read the Psalms. However, if that is all we are praying for in trials then I think James teaches us that we are missing something very important. James only speaks, in this context, about asking God for wisdom.

Biblical wisdom is not the same thing as what we often think of when we speak of wisdom. We often think of wisdom as knowledge, insight, or perception. We say things like that was a “wise decision” and that statement is typically the same as saying that was a “smart decision.” Often, we link wisdom to intellectual knowledge or insight alone. Biblical wisdom however is focused on the application of a certain type of knowledge to all of life, knowledge of God. Not just intellectual knowledge of God but a personal, relational knowledge of God. This is communicated by the phrase “fear of God”, as it is specifically linked to wisdom in the book of Proverbs. To fear God is to be rightly related to God, to have an inner since of awe toward God and to live obediently to God. In short, it is to take God seriously. Proverbs teaches us that this “fear of God” is the beginning of wisdom. A good definition of biblical wisdom is how to live in God’s world according to God’s Word. This is what James says God desires to give us in response to our prayers during our trials. God wants to show us how we can take our personal knowledge of him and apply it to the situations of our lives. We should think about this as coming to God in our trials saying, “God, I do not want to miss what you want to teach me in this trial.” This prayer is a request, an invitation, for God to get extremely personal with us. It is a request for God to invade the particular details of our lives with conviction and transformative grace in order to mature us into Christ. This is where true joy is found. This is the how we can become victors living triumphantly in the midst of trials.

Trials are like a classroom. God is the teacher. We are the students. The lesson is whatever trial we are facing. The goal of the lesson is maturity into the likeness of Christ. And the way we approach the teacher, is through humble, trusting prayer asking for wisdom. When the bell rings and we walk out of the classroom, we are full of Joy because the teacher delights in showing us how to live in his world according to his Word by answering our prayers for wisdom.

Would you join one another in asking God for wisdom in your trials? “God show me what you want to teach me in this trial.” “God increase my joy by increasing my skill in living a Godly life.”

Finally, James tells us we must believe that God will do this. God will invade our lives with clear answers. When we seek wisdom, we are not mainly seeking knowledge. We are seeking for God to personally show us how to faithfully live in his world according to his Word. God promises to do this “liberally.”

21 Days of Prayer (Day #12)

Understanding fully that Daniel 9:3-19 is dealing with Israel, there is a much-too-close parallel to our country, the United States of America.  For every believer across this land, Daniel’s prayer needs to be the attitude and action of our prayers today and tomorrow for us and our country.

America is not equal with Israel in the eyes of Jehovah, but the same sinful, unbelieving heart that caused God to turn from Israel is the same deceitful heart that has brought such shame to our land; a nation that once was greatly used to declare the gospel at home and around the world as well as stand for the righteousness.  Now, look at us!

Believers in every town and city, we need to fall to our knees, repent and cry out to God!  Set aside your personal worldly pursuits. Put entertainment, ballgames, and Facebook to death for now.  Churches, forego those programs that you think are so important (Prayer is the only thing that gives power to ministry programs anyway!)  There needs to be prayer meetings before and after school, throughout the day in our homes, in our small groups, at the office, in our commute to and from work, on our lunch breaks, on the street corner, at family gatherings, etc.  Prayer is the declaration of your need and dependence upon God.  Prayer is one of the means of appropriating all we have in Christ Jesus. We are in a desperate time of need that ONLY the Throne of Grace can provide (Hebrews 4:16)!!!

The last great spiritual awakening in America occurred in the 1850’s. The first occurred near the time of the birth of our country. Our land and our churches, for the glory of God, must have a sweeping move of the Spirit that brings conviction of sin, righteousness and judgment (John 16:8) that leads to biblical repentance (2 Corinthians 7:9-11; 1 Thessalonians 1:6-10). We must have an awakening of genuine faith, repentance and reception of Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior whereby we die to self and live to Christ (Romans 6).

People of God, WE MUST PRAY, AND I MEAN PRAY!!  Let Daniel 9 be your guide.  You see, no matter who is seated in the White House, they cannot correct our nation’s sinful pattern of guilt and destruction! Only the Gospel changes everything (Colossians 1:13-14)!!!! 

See you at the Throne of Grace today!

The worst sin is prayerlessness. (P.T. Forsyth)

God is more willing to be prayed to, and more ready to hear prayer, than we are to pray. (Matthew Henry)

What a man is on his knees before God, that he is, and nothing more. (Robert Murray M’Cheyne)

Daniel 9:3-19     Then I set my face toward the Lord God to make request by prayer and supplications, with fasting, sackcloth, and ashes. 4 And I prayed to the Lord my God, and made confession, and said, “O Lord, great and awesome God, who keeps His covenant and mercy with those who love Him, and with those who keep His commandments, 5 we have sinned and committed iniquity, we have done wickedly and rebelled, even by departing from Your precepts and Your judgments. 6 Neither have we heeded Your servants the prophets, who spoke in Your name to our kings and our princes, to our fathers and all the people of the land. 7 O Lord, righteousness belongs to You, but to us shame of face, as it is this day—to the men of Judah, to the inhabitants of Jerusalem and all Israel, those near and those far off in all the countries to which You have driven them, because of the unfaithfulness which they have committed against You.

8 “O Lord, to us belongs shame of face, to our kings, our princes, and our fathers, because we have sinned against You. 9 To the Lord our God belong mercy and forgiveness, though we have rebelled against Him. 10 We have not obeyed the voice of the Lord our God, to walk in His laws, which He set before us by His servants the prophets. 11 Yes, all Israel has transgressed Your law, and has departed so as not to obey Your voice; therefore the curse and the oath written in the Law of Moses the servant of God have been poured out on us, because we have sinned against Him. 12 And He has confirmed His words, which He spoke against us and against our judges who judged us, by bringing upon us a great disaster; for under the whole heaven such has never been done as what has been done to Jerusalem.

13 “As it is written in the Law of Moses, all this disaster has come upon us; yet we have not made our prayer before the Lord our God, that we might turn from our iniquities and understand Your truth. 14 Therefore the Lord has kept the disaster in mind, and brought it upon us; for the Lord our God is righteous in all the works which He does, though we have not obeyed His voice. 15 And now, O Lord our God, who brought Your people out of the land of Egypt with a mighty hand, and made Yourself a name, as it is this day—we have sinned, we have done wickedly!

16 “O Lord, according to all Your righteousness, I pray, let Your anger and Your fury be turned away from Your city Jerusalem, Your holy mountain; because for our sins, and for the iniquities of our fathers, Jerusalem and Your people are a reproach to all those around us. 17 Now therefore, our God, hear the prayer of Your servant, and his supplications, and for the Lord’s sake cause Your face to shine on Your sanctuary, which is desolate. 18 O my God, incline Your ear and hear; open Your eyes and see our desolations, and the city which is called by Your name; for we do not present our supplications before You because of our righteous deeds, but because of Your great mercies. 19 O Lord, hear! O Lord, forgive! O Lord, listen and act! Do not delay for Your own sake, my God, for Your city and Your people are called by Your name.”

21 Days of Prayer (Day #11)

The Fast I Have Chosen (Chuck Swindoll)

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? Isaiah 58:6

I remember the first time I ever fasted. I spent most of the time looking at the clock and thinking about my stomach. But I have kept the practice of fasting regularly, despite the discomforts in my body. Throughout the years, I have committed to several different types of fasts and for different, yet specific, reasons. I have experienced mountain-top highs and dark-valley lows during times of fasting. I have learned that fasting in its essence is a time of cleansing and purifying, which means I spend a lot of the time confessing and repenting of my sins. When all is said and done; however, fasting has been one of the most powerful tools in my walk with Christ.

The main thing I had to understand very early in my experiences with fasting was that if I tried to do it on my own, then failure seemed to be the result. I have proclaimed fasts for reasons that were not from God. I have determined the type and the length of a fast, then seen it completely fall apart in my weakness. Now when I fast, I try to make certain that it is the fast God has chosen, otherwise, I end up feeling worse.

Today’s verse gives us an example of the type of fast God chooses for us. Fasting is an excellent weapon against the enemy’s strongholds and bondage in our lives. God appoints certain times of fasting for us to find freedom from wicked bonds and heavy yokes that burden us down. The question for us: are we willing to make the sacrifice for spiritual freedom? It is not easy, but it is so worth it. Are you struggling with an area of bondage? Do you feel burdened and cannot seem to overcome? Pray for clear direction as you ask the Lord to lead you in to a specific fast for your situation. He may impress upon you to fast from certain foods or television shows or daily activities. I believe God honors any attempt we make at fasting, whether it is a food fast or something else. I also believe that He needs to be involved from the very beginning; otherwise, we may ditch it earlier than planned. Pray about fasting and see what God shows you. This may be just the break you have been waiting for.

Read: Numbers 23; Mark 7:14-37

(Daily Disciples Devotional – Mar. 2, 2009; lightsource.com)