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21 Days Of Prayer And Fasting | DAY 1





 

Day 1

“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing!” Isaiah 43:18-19


PRESS PAUSE: Today, we're embarking on a spiritual adventure, diving into Jesus' teachings on prayer and fasting. This journey will guide us all into a deeper understanding of our relationship with the Father. It's like we've snagged an exclusive coffee date with the Savior, and He's ready to share some insider tips that could totally revolutionize our spiritual lives. So, grab your coffee (unless you are fasting it that is…😉), get comfy, and let's get real about connecting with God more authentically. 


READ: Matthew 6:5-18*

(*For full context and a deeper dive into today’s passage, take the time to read the entirety of Matthew 5-7.)


This passage is not just a set of instructions but an invitation to transform our spiritual practices from mere religious activities into genuine encounters with God. As we embark on this 21-day journey of prayer and fasting, let's allow Jesus' words to challenge and reshape our approach to these disciplines.


Prayer: The Heart-to-Heart Connection

Jesus kicks things off by breaking down the do's and don'ts of prayer, a fundamental aspect of our relationship with God. Picture this: some folks treat prayer like a performance, hoping to catch applause from their audience. But Jesus? He's all about keeping it personal and private. He invites us to find our own "secret place" for prayer—a space where it's just you and God, no filters or pretense. He contrasts the two approaches: the hypocritical way of the Pharisees, who wanted to be seen by others, and the sincere heart posture of those who desired to see God, which He desires from His followers. Today, can we commit to keeping it real?  Making prayer what it is meant to be about - connecting with our Heavenly Father. 


Prayer and fasting don't bring clout but connection.

Your Personal Chat Room with God

Imagine having a direct line to God that's open 24/7, no appointment needed. That's what Jesus is offering. Whether in your closet, on a walk, or hidden away in your car during a lunch break, this “secret place” is not necessarily a physical location but rather a state of the heart where our focus is solely on God, away from the eyes of the world. In this place of intimacy, prayer becomes a dialogue where we share our deepest concerns, joys, and desires with the Father, and He speaks into our lives. It's about making that space sacred and just for the two of you.


The Lord's Prayer: A Template, Not a Script

Jesus gives us the Lord's Prayer, and it's pure gold. But here's the thing: it's not about mindlessly memorizing the words; it's about letting those words guide your heart. Think of it as a map for your prayer journey, covering all the essential stops: worship, confession, protection, submission to His will, expression of our dependence on Him for daily provision, seeking forgiveness and extending it to others, and requesting guidance and deliverance from evil. Throughout this 21-day journey, if you ever come to a place you don’t know how or what to pray, come back here and use this model as a guide to your personal prayer time


Forgiveness: The Heart's Posture

Ever noticed how hard it is to talk to someone you're mad at? Jesus points out that holding onto unforgiveness is like trying to chat on a blocked line. A significant emphasis in Jesus' teaching here is the relationship between forgiveness and prayer. Jesus underscores that our forgiveness from the Father is linked to our willingness to forgive others. This principle reveals that the condition of our hearts significantly impacts our prayer life. Forgiving others clears the way for clear, open communication with God, meaning we need to walk in forgiveness in order to walk in communication with God. 


Fasting: The Ultimate Unplug

Then, Jesus shifts gears to fasting. And no, it's not about dieting or impressing others with your spiritual stamina. Fasting is about voluntarily stepping back from the buffet of life to feast on God's presence. It's a discipline that deepens our connection with Him in ways that are hard to explain but amazing to experience. Think of fasting as a soul detox. It's a time to let go of the things that clutter our spiritual lives, making more room for God. Whether we are giving up food, social media, or Netflix binges, fasting helps us refocus on what truly nourishes our souls.


The Rewards of the Secret Discipline 

The coolest part? The rewards of this discipline, done in secret, are custom-delivered by God Himself. They might not always be what we expect, but they're precisely what we need: deeper insight, breakthroughs in our spiritual battles, and a closer, more vibrant relationship with Him. The focus of fasting is to weaken the flesh and strengthen the spirit, allowing us to become more attuned to God's voice and leading.

The Wrap Up 

The message I see from Jesus is that there are benefits to our times of prayer and fasting. I can choose to have the external benefits of people thinking I am "a really good Christian," or I can have the internal benefits of a closer relationship with God. Today, my prayer is we choose intimacy with God. 


Now, let me clarify: this does not mean you can't pray out loud or talk about your fast at church or with your small group or friends. It simply means God is evaluating your motives in everything you do, a theme throughout the sermon on the mount. So, as you share and talk about your fast, don’t forget that God knows your intentions - which should always be to bring attention to Him and not to you. Let me encourage you, though; your story matters.  And throughout the next 21 days, I expect to hear so many stories of what God has done and is doing. Don’t let a “fear of wrong motives” hinder you from sharing what God is doing in your life and circumstances. 


Making It Real: Applying Jesus' Teachings


  • Carve Out Your Secret Space: Challenge yourself to find a daily spot for your private chats with God. It doesn't have to be fancy, just intentional. Find a spot away from distractions that allows you to read your Bible or devotional and spend some time in prayer, listening to what God says to you. Keep a pen handy so you can write what God speaks to you. 

We have designed this journey with three specific moments set aside throughout your day: Morning 

devotions, Afternoon guided prayers, and Nightly reflections. Make sure you plan a space with 

that in mind.

  • The Lord's Prayer Model: Take a few minutes today to slowly pray through the Lord's Prayer, making each line personal. For example, when you say, "Give us this day our daily bread," share with God what you're specifically trusting Him to provide today. Let each section guide you into deeper communion with God, ensuring your prayer life encompasses all aspects of your relationship with Him.


  • Forgiveness Inventory: Is there anyone you need to forgive? Ask God to reveal any hidden unforgiveness in your heart and ask Him to give you the strength to let it go.


  • Define Your Fast: What is God leading you to fast from during these 21 days? Make it a meaningful sacrifice that draws you closer to Him.






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