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21 Days of Prayer and Fasting | DAY 21





 

DAY 21

At that moment the curtain in the sanctuary of the Temple was torn in two, from top to bottom.” Matthew 27:51



PRESS PAUSE: Before you do anything else, take a moment to reflect on and celebrate all the Lord did in you, for you, and spoke to you yesterday.  


READ: Matthew 27:11 - 28:20 (For a deeper dive also read Acts 1-2)


Beyond the Veil - Living Every Day in God's Presence

As we stand at the threshold of this fasting journey's end, we're not just marking a conclusion but celebrating a commencement—a beginning of living every day in the extraordinary reality of God's presence. The last 21 days have been a testament to the power of setting aside time to seek God's face, to hear His voice, and to witness His supernatural activity in our lives. But the most remarkable truth we carry forward is this: the access to God we've experienced during this fast isn't confined to a season of fasting. It's ours every day, thanks to the ultimate sacrifice of Jesus. As we look ahead, the true journey is just beginning. This isn't merely a return to "normal life" but an invitation to a new way of living, where every day is infused with the presence and power of the Holy Spirit, just as Jesus promised.


The Torn Veil: Access Granted

When Jesus breathed His last on the cross, and the veil in the temple was torn in two (Matthew 27:51), it wasn't just a physical barrier (a curtain that separated the holy place from the most holy in the temple) that was destroyed but a spiritual divide that was forever bridged - giving us direct access to our Heavenly Father through the Holy Spirit. This act symbolized the end of an era where only the high priest could enter the Holy of Holies, the very presence of God, once a year. Now, because of Jesus, we all are invited to come boldly into God's presence (Hebrews 4:16), not as distant observers but as beloved children.

This singular moment in history was (and is) nothing short of revolutionary. Imagine the profound impact it had on those living at the time—a people who had always known a separation from the direct presence of God. This direct access to God’s presence didn’t just completely transform their spiritual lives but also their physical religious practices.  But, praise the Lord, the gift of the Holy Spirit and direct access to the Father didn’t stop there.  It wasn’t just for that group of people during that time in history.  No, it is for all of us!  And now, because of Jesus' sacrifice, we have also been given access to the Father at all times. The One who was and is the atonement for our sins, the perfect sacrifice, enduring our punishment so we might receive His reward.  Can I get an Amen?!?



Living Every Day in His Presence

Throughout these 21 days, many of you have shared stories of insight, direction from God, and supernatural encounters. Believe it or not, these supernatural God moments aren't meant to be rare moments but daily experiences.  Just look at the life of Jesus.  We don’t have to look hard to see His daily life was riddled with supernatural moments and God power moves.  (For a deeper dive into Jesus’ earthly journey, we invite you to dive into our 2023 Dwell Series: A Journey Through the New Testament.  Even if it’s a journey you have taken before, it is one worth taking again…and again…and again.) 

So how did He do it?  How did He operate so freely in the supernatural - not just after an intense time of prayer and fasting but every single day and in every single moment He walked with Earth?  Was life easier then?  The world less corrupt?  Far from it!  Jesus not only saw it but experienced it first hand as He was, on more than one occasion, run out of a city or town and even had more than one plot to kill Him raised against Him.  When Jesus said in John 16:33 that “In this world you will have trouble..”, He wasn’t just talking from a place of supernatural knowledge but rather a place of first hand experience.

We also have a tendency to fool ourselves into believing that Jesus had been given an extra dose of faith or wisdom or power with which to face the chaos of the world around Him.  He is, after all, the Son of God.  However, scripture tells us clearly that He was sent to this earth as a baby - fully God and yet fully man - Enduring the difficulties.  Embracing the miraculous.  And operating in the supernatural.  We see this outlined clearly in several places of scripture but Hebrews 4:15 puts it all so succinctly:  “This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings we do, yet he did not sin.”

So I again ask, how did He do it?  If He did in fact face the same broken and messy world we face every day, how did He stay so in step with the Father every single day?  Unlike you and me, Jesus never tried to put God, a supernatural being, into a proverbial box with natural limitations.  He stood firmly on the truth that God was and is the God of the impossible, boldly declaring in Matthew 19:26: “Humanly speaking, it is impossible. But with God everything is possible.”

Far too often we live our lives with words that say “I serve a bigger than life God” but with actions that tell a very different story.  We allow ourselves to get caught up in the “what if’s” that keep us from stepping out and allowing ourselves to be used supernaturally in our day to day lives as Jesus was.  “What if I ask if I can pray with them and they say no?”  “What if I pray for their healing and they continue to battle sickness?”  “What if...?”  “What if…?” “What if…?” 

Ever been there?  I know I have.  But I want you to take a moment to read back over those questions we just read.  There is a singular, teeny tiny word that shines a giant spotlight on the problem with the way we are thinking and living.  Do you see the word?  It’s the word “I”.  “But what if I…”  These four, seemingly insignificant words serve as a mark shift veil to God’s presence in our own lives.  Yes the temple veil has been torn, allowing us direct access to the Father.  However, we, because of our own personal insecurities, doubts,and fears (more so in ourselves than in Him), have erected a veil of our own which is keeping us quasi separated from the Lord - Limiting, through our own self imposed divides, our direct and daily access to Him to “temple moments”.  

No, we have not literally rebuilt the temple of the Old and New Testament.  However, we have lulled ourselves into a rhythm of living our lives as if we must “be in the temple”, the “Holy of Holies” if you will, in order to truly encounter the power of God’s presence.  Somewhere along the way the move and power of the Holy Spirit has become attached to Sunday mornings and Wednesday night.  To intense moments of fasting and week long revivals.  Somewhere along the way we lost sight of the magnitude of the moments in Matthew 27, when the veil was torn, and Acts 2, when those in the upper room were baptized in the Holy Spirit.  These weren’t just momentary moments in history.  They were moments that set into motion a movement for God’s people.  A new season.  A new “lease on life”, if you will.  A movement that ripples centuries later into our live today, making a way for us, here in modern day America, to live and work and walk in God’s presence every single moment of every single day of our lives!  By subconsciously minimizing the true power of His presence, we have inadvertently put limitations on a limitless God, all the while wrestling with frustration when we don’t feel like He isn’t working and moving in power “like He did in the Bible.”  

Friends, He hasn’t stopped showing up to the party - we have!  He is always there, at the ready with all of the strength, wisdom and power we need in order to hear His voice, follow His leading, and be a part of the supernatural work He desires to accomplish in and through us all.  It is us who have stopped listening.  Now, I’m not talking about those set aside “Jesus moments”. (Ones much like this time we have just spent in a season of intentional fasting and prayer.) We, as Chritians, tend to be pretty good at listening for His voice when that is our only task at hand.  But the moment we step out of that “temple moment” and back onto the streets….”Bueller” anyone?? 

Oh but just because that is how we have lived up to this point does not mean that it has to stay this way!  For just as Jesus made a way for us to enter God's presence, He continually invites us to remain in that sacred space every single day.  So how do we do just that?  First and foremost, through the Empowerment of the Holy Spirit

The Empowerment of the Holy Spirit

Jesus' parting promise to the disciples was the gift of the Holy Spirit, who would dwell within us - guiding, empowering, and equipping us for every challenge and mission (Acts 1:8). The baptism of the Holy Spirit, as witnessed in Acts 2, is not just a historical event but a present-day promise for empowerment in God's mission, marking the birth of the Church and the beginning of a new era where the Holy Spirit dwells within each believer - guiding, comforting, and empowering us for God's mission (Acts 2:1-4). Now we know at salvation the Holy Spirit comes in us like we saw when Jesus spoke to the disciples to receive the Holy Spirit after his resurrection, but what we see here in Acts 2 is a second endowment of power through the Holy Spirit for the advancement of the mission of God.

Now let me take a quick little detour to say - If you've never experienced the baptism of the Holy Spirit, I encourage you to ask God for this gift. It's not just a gift available to Pastors or preachers or teachers or church elders.  It is for everyone who is seeking to live a life fully surrendered to God's purpose and presence. That’s you.  And that’s me.  So, if you want to see the incredible impact that the Holy Spirit can make in your life, ask Him for this gift.  And over the next couple of weeks start studying the book of Acts, paying close attention to how God uses such ordinary people (people who are no different from you and me) who have been empowered by the Holy Spirit to do extraordinary things - encouraging your heart and building your faith. 

Keeping God in Focus

As we transition back into our "normal" routines, let's challenge ourselves not to lose the perspectives, insights and habits we've cultivated during this fast. If we could prioritize God over even our basic need for food, we can certainly continue to make sacrifices to keep Him first amidst our busy schedules. Will it be easy?  Ummm, that’s a big no!  But will it be worth it?  Without a doubt, 100%, YES!!  

The disciplines of prayer, studying Scripture, and listening for the Holy Spirit's guidance are not just for fasting periods; they are the bedrock of a vibrant spiritual life. Let this fasting journey serve as a launching pad into a lifestyle of deep communion with God and dedication to His mission.

Consider how you can integrate these practices into your daily routines going forward. Perhaps it's starting each day with a moment of prayer, studying a scripture verse during your commute, or setting aside regular times to listen for the Holy Spirit's direction. Maybe it means implementing a short term fast once a week, month, or year as a way to intentionally keep your heart, mind, and spirit in alignment with His.  Whatever form it takes, the goal remains the same - to keep our spiritual senses sharp and our hearts attuned to God's presence and voice.

Sharing Your Story Continuing the Journey

Just as was true at the moment of salvation - that moment you decided to surrender your life fully to Christ as your Lord and Savior - your experiences over the last 21 days are powerful testimonies of God's faithfulness and movement in your life. One of the most powerful outcomes of your fasting journey might be the testimonies it provides. Sharing the ways you've seen God move in your life will not only encourage your faith but can also  encourage and inspire others to seek a deeper relationship with Him. Whether it's through personal conversations, social media, or participation in a life group, let your story be a beacon to others of God's faithfulness and power.  

We would also love to hear your story so we can celebrate with you all that the Lord has done and we have made it incredibly easy for you to do just that.  Simply visit heritageag.org/mystory and fill out the form provided.  We can’t wait to hear all about the incredible ways the Lord moved in your life over the past 21 days.

Now, as we near the end of this journey together, I want to leave you with this reminder - This fasting journey isn't the finish line in our pursuit of the Lord but a refueling station for the real race set before us.  It is our greatest desire that you will walk away from this time of fasting and prayer with a heart that cries the words of Philippians 3:10-14: 

“I want to know Christ and experience the mighty power that raised him from the dead. I want to suffer with him, sharing in his death, so that one way or another I will experience the resurrection from the dead!

I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me. No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.”


The Starting Line

As you reflect on your fasting journey and the devotional themes we've explored, consider what God might be calling you to next. How has He spoken to you during this time? What steps of faith is He inviting you to take? Whether it's a call to deeper personal devotion, a nudge towards ministry or service, or the courage to share your faith more openly, trust that the same Spirit who empowered the early church is with you, guiding and strengthening you for all that lies ahead.

Also, take time to reflect on the disciplines, insights, and spiritual growth you've experienced. Ask God how He wants you to integrate these into your everyday life. What are the next steps for YOU in your journey of faith and mission with God?

Let’s Pray.

“Lord, thank You for the incredible journey we've been on these past 21 days. As we step forward, help us to keep our hearts and lives open to Your presence and leading every day. Empower us by Your Holy Spirit to live out Your mission, sharing the story of Your faithfulness with all we encounter. Amen.”



















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