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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

“At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook and the rocks split.” - Matthew 27:51-53

We often encounter “Do Not’s” in our daily lives. “Do not Enter.” “Do Not Touch.” “Do Not Pass.” When you go to a museum, you won’t be able to get within four feet of a famous painting or an ancient artifact because of the velvet rope that stands in your way. You’ve probably been in buildings that have signs on the doors that say, “Do Not Enter. Official Personnel Only.” Or maybe you’ve been to a concert where your favorite band is playing, and you can’t help but covet those wearing the VIP Backstage Passes hanging around their necks. Whether the purpose is to keep us out of danger, to protect something that’s valuable, or to give access only to important people, our lives are filled with yellow tape that we are not allowed to cross. 

A Prayer and Fasting Devotional

“And 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

We’re all busy people with days filled with places to go and people to see. Taking time to get away with God to pray likely gets pushed to the bottom of the schedule for the day. We see in the Gospels that Jesus was a very busy man with a full and demanding schedule. Yet, this did not stop him from praying, for though He was the God of the Universe, He still required prayer to be in relationship with the Father. We find Him praying in every step of His ministry, from His baptism through His death.  If we are struggling with knowing how to cultivate a consistent life of prayer, we need only look at Jesus who is the best demonstration of how we are to pursue a life of intimate prayer with the Father.

A Prayer and Fasting Devotional

Recently during a Bible study I am in with men in my community, I made the happy “discovery” of a verse I‘ve read a hundred times but never really noticed. Sometimes when we read Scripture, it passes through our mind like water runs through a pipe, leaving no trace. How much better when we slow down to savor and meditate on God’s precious Word. Here’s the passage that arrested me:

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” -Romans 15:13

A Prayer and Fasting Devotional

In Andrew Murray’s wonderful book, Humility, he observes that there are three great motivations to seek humility.  They are our status as a creature, as a sinner, and as a saint.  Which is to say, humble dependence is the proper posture for creatures before a Creator, sinners before an offended God, and the redeemed before a Savior.

He goes on to observe that one of these three gets a disproportionate amount of teaching and focus in most discussions about humility.  Can you guess which one?

A Prayer and Fasting Devotional 

Dear friend in Christ,

Congratulations on making it to the 40th day of the fast, whether your fast has been every day, liquids only, or one, two, three or more daysper week, or whether you joined in for a dedicated stretch of a few days to many days. I praise God for you and am honored to have sought the Lord with you for these many days.

Though unknown by some Christians,

A Prayer and Fasting Devotional

My beloved speaks and says to me: "Arise, my love, my beautiful one, and come away, for behold, the winter is past; the rain is over and gone. The flowers appear on the earth, the time of singing has come, and the voice of the turtledove is heard in our land. The fig tree ripens its figs, and the vines are in blossom; they give forth fragrance. Arise, my love, my beautiful one, and come away." – Song of Solomon 2:10-13

Lush and heavy connubial language runs throughout all Scripture though is arguably the most evident in Hosea, Isaiah, and Song of Solomon. Here, God is a contemplative as He rhapsodizes like a lovesick teenager that would put a Taylor Swift song to shame. Yet, while there is unbelievable tenderness (Hosea 2:14), there is also protective jealousy. How often do you meditate on the fact that God is unapologetically jealous for you, His beautiful one (Exodus 34:14)?

The story of adulterous Israel and her many affairs among the nations reveals our own

A Prayer and Fasting Devotional 

It is difficult to say no. Particularly to yourself. Donna and Tom, two government employees on NBC's television show, Parks and Rec, have an annual "Treat Yo Self" day in which they allow themselves to be selfish. They pamper themselves, treat themselves to expensive and useless items, and do whatever makes them happy. What makes Tom and Donna's "Treat Yo Self" day so apropos is that these two, more than any other characters on the show, clearly treat themselves all the time.

It is the natural inclination of the human heart to be selfish. In the book of Isaiah, God addresses Israel's failure; they do not trust in the Lord, they flirt with idols, and they fail to do justice. They are consumed

A Prayer and Fasting Devotional

In fasting, let us consider God's call to humility. In Isaiah 66:2 God speaks through Isaiah the prophet and says, "This is the one I esteem: he who is humble and contrite in spirit, and trembles at my word." Isaiah is addressing the people of Israel. Uniquely chosen by the God of the universe, they had everything going for them. They were given the very law of God and experienced numerous blessings as the set-apart people of God. Yet they lacked the very thing that mattered most: humility. They were not trembling at God's word; they were not broken and contrite before the Lord.

In the same way, we can lack humility. Rather than realizing our dependence upon our Maker, we are tempted toward pride and a spirit of independence. We think we can handle life on our own. Perhaps we pay

A Prayer and Fasting Devotional

Dear friend in Christ,

Thanks a million for joining with me and hundreds of others in this 40-day endeavor to draw near the throne of God! The fast ends this Friday, February 21st, and it has been glorious! It's been greatly encouraging to interact with so many during this fast, including many who did not officially sign up but followed and participated in the fast via Facebook. Many have participated in liquids only up to this point and plan to end the fast that way on Friday. Others like myself have fasted liquids only and switched to one meal per day once they dropped below a certain weight.

This is what I did a week ago when my weight dropped below 160 lb., which is thin for a 6' 2" man! I was in J.Crew a few days ago trying on a shirt to wear for the annual benefit for The Bowery Mission here in NYC. I was trying on the slim fit shirt and the salesman said, "Hey man, I don't mean to offend you,

A Prayer and Fasting Devotional

I hope you are all encouraged in this time of fasting and experiencing God's presence ever more fully, even as the stomach growls increase. More than anything, I hope that you have found yourself humbled by God as you've set yourself to the practice of righteousness in this fast. Today I'd like to concentrate on the concept of humility as the greatest fruit of any given fast. This is the manner in which we speak of fasting when it comes to a seeking-God lifestyle and a necessary reminder at this point in the fast.

The Scriptures repeatedly tell us that God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble (cf. James 4:6-10). In Isaiah 57:15 God says, "I dwell in the high and holy place, and also with him who is of a contrite and lowly spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly, and to revive the heart of the contrite" (see also Isaiah 66:1, 2). This great God, who is above all earthly powers, loves to draw especially close to those who

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