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Christian Union

Devotionals

For several years, Christian Union called on Christians to join us two times per year in seeking God through fasting. These sorts of fasting initiatives are now part of Christian Union Day & Night, but the devotionals that were written for those fasts have continued to strengthen and encourage believers, so we have made them available here.

A Prayer and Fasting Devotional

I recently spent a week in a small village in Uganda. Manicured huts, but no running water pipes or electrical posts, lined the red dirt road. My teammates and I spent several hours a day with families in the village, and as we did we learned how many parents and children were coping amidst the hard losses of HIV/AIDS. I kept pondering the motto of one of the local ministries: “Hope does not disappoint.” When people do not hope, or rather, when they do not hope in the thing worth hoping in, they grow sick. Families in this village, though, were testifying to how hoping in God has changed their perspectives--and their lives. Proverbs 13:12 says, “Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a desire fulfilled is a tree of life.”

A Prayer and Fasting Devotional

“Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” - Galatians 6:2

My daughter, Ellie, is not old enough to form the interrogative sentences that begin with, “Why?”  However, I am looking forward to the natural onslaught of such questions that come when the mind of a child is developing. It is very normal for a parent to become overwhelmingly tired of the question, “Why?” when we seem to have reached the bottom of our knowledge. So we resort to the usually unsatisfactory answer, “Because I say so.” When we come to such a burdensome command from Paul, we must be like the child who digs so deep that it tests the depth of Scriptures’ wisdom. Asking, “Why?” uncovers that this command didn’t float down from Heaven without purpose or reason behind it. We don’t hear God say, “In the beginning, I told you so.” Asking, “Why?” takes us deeper, into the very nature of God.

A Prayer and Fasting Devotional

“Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted…for if anyone thinks he is something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself.” - Galatians 6:1

What did you expect from your career, job search, marriage, marriage after kids, singleness, dating, homes, friendship, and Christianity? Expectations shape most of our experience in life. Some of our expectations can be spot on, while others can be completely off. I expect to have my demands for world-class, authentic Neapolitan pizza satisfied while in New Haven – spot on. I never expected to start the inevitable balding process at age 28 – completely wrong on that one. Like my balding head, most of our expectations will be challenged and changed in our lifetimes. Our expectations of what it means to be a Christian should be the same: continually challenged and undergoing change.

A Prayer and Fasting Devotional

The author of Hebrews says, “So then, there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God, for whoever has entered God's rest has also rested from his works as God did from his. Let us therefore strive to enter that rest, so that no one may fall by the same sort of disobedience” (Hebrews 4:9–11).

A Prayer and Fasting Devotional

The author of Hebrews says, “Here we have no lasting city, but we seek the city that is to come” (Hebrews 13:14). Revelation envisions this Zion truly as the City of God since there will be:

“[N]o temple in the city, for its temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb. And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and its lamp is the Lamb. By its light will the nations walk, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it, and its gates will never be shut by day—and there will be no night there. They will bring into it the glory and the honor of the nations. But nothing unclean will ever enter into it, nor anyone who does what is detestable or false, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s book of life.” - Revelation 21:22–27

A Prayer and Fasting Devotional

For me, one of the most compelling reasons to pray is that prayer unveils reality. It presents things as they really are. This is especially important for me as I minister at Princeton where it is hard to ignore the precocious brilliance and exceptional achievements of students and faculty. Why would I want to ignore such things? Quite literally, Princeton changes the world, and many times, for the better. Not only does this invite me to respect this campus, but love it. I praise the Lord for its storied tradition and stewardship of God-given gifts.

Please enjoy this devotional video, or stream/download an audio version below, or scroll down to continue reading.




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However, to stop there would be to settle for an impoverished view of Princeton. Although “Old Nassau” is a place to love, it is also a place to hate. There is ugliness behind its aesthetics, injustice behind its intellect, and manifold pain behind its celebrated reputation. You just need to see it. Drawing near to God in prayer allows me to do just that.

A Prayer and Fasting Devotional

In a hurried world, almost nothing is more precious than genuine rest.  We long to have anxieties lifted, comfort provided, peace restored, and joy in abundance. God provides rest for the Christian who knows where to find it. Making time for ourselves, engaging in favorite activities, and going on vacation, these all have their place, but they do not provide the depth of rest that the human soul longs for and needs.

Please enjoy this devotional video, or stream/download an audio version below, or scroll down to continue reading.



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Counterintuitively, Jesus explains how divine rest comes, by His grace, through purposeful action.  In Matthew 11: 28-29, Jesus says, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”  Taking up Jesus’ yoke doesn’t earn salvation, but for those who know God through faith in Jesus Christ, purposeful action leads to experiencing supernatural rest.  Jesus tells us to come to Him, take up His yoke, and learn from Him. 

A Prayer and Fasting Devotional

Participating in a time of fasting and praying is both rewarding and challenging.  Rewarding because we can honor God and witness change all around us, but challenging because of the uncomfortable adjustments that must be made for effectiveness.  More often than not, the sacrifice made in fasting and praying takes center-stage in our lives and we inadvertently overlook areas within ourselves that stymie growth, limit our witness, and/or grieve our Heavenly Father.  God surveys the heart, and it’s for this reason we must ensure our convictions for Christ are not eclipsed by issues of character, integrity, or even morality.

Day Twenty-five - Morning Devotional

Throughout biblical history many significant events have taken place after a time of fasting and praying.  The Ten Commandments were revealed to Moses after his forty-day fast on Mount Sinai.  The deliverance of Israel from imminent annihilation came after Esther fasted.  Jehoshaphat declared a fast in response to threatening enemies, and he prevailed.  The insight and foreknowledge of Daniel was due to his fasting lifestyle.  And Jesus Himself began His public ministry after a forty-day fast.  In the same way that God gave direction, subverted enemies, and shifted people’s reality after fasting and praying, we can affect change in our culture and our society through our corporate commitment to fast and pray.

Day Twenty-four - Evening Devotional

“Then Esther told them to reply to Mordecai, ‘Go, gather all the Jews to be found in Susa, and hold a fast on my behalf, and do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my young women will also fast as you do. Then I will go to the king, though it is against the law, and if I perish, I perish.’” -Esther 4:15-16

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