Learn About/Subscribe:
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

ThinkstockPhotos-77872741It’s no secret that we live in an individualistic culture. That’s not all bad. It’s right and biblical to value individual human beings as endowed with dignity because they are created in the image of God. It’s good to hold individuals accountable for their actions. And we should, as Christians, keep teaching that individuals must be born again if they are to enter the Kingdom of God. 

But the extreme individualism of American culture has its pitfalls, too. Millions of families are broken because fathers and mothers have exalted personal autonomy and happiness to godlike status. Communities decay when its members ignore the common good. Workplaces become oppressive when the boss abuses power for his own benefit at the expense of his employees.

A Prayer and Fasting Devotional

ThinkstockPhotos-468139887"Our Lord Jesus wants our joy to be full. Certainly, he has made abundant provision for our joy. And if we focus our minds on the facts from which joy flows, springs of joy will well up in our hearts every day of our lives; and this will turn our ongoing pilgrimage through this world into an experience of contentment and exaltation of which the world knows nothing" (J. I. Packer, God’s Plans for You, 125).

A Prayer and Fasting Devotional

ThinkstockPhotos-462344345I walked down the street, knowing I had been given exactly what I needed. No more, no less. I was thankful, but uneasiness began to chip away at the surface level of gratefulness.

That’s when I realized I didn’t actually want God to provide for me; I wanted Him to make me comfortable. I didn’t want enough to cover this specific need. I wanted enough that I would never have to rely on the help of others again. I said I relied on God, but I really just wanted to make ends meet on my own terms. I didn’t want other people to be involved.

A Prayer and Fasting Devotional

ThinkstockPhotos-181713957“Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, the offspring of David, as preached in my gospel, for which I am suffering, bound with chains as a criminal. But the word of God is not bound! Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they also may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.” - 2 Timothy 2:8-10

 When you are weighed down by life, do you lack the courage to trust the Word of God? In the midst of struggles, do you need to be reminded that it is the power of the Gospel that changes peoples’ lives and makes a difference even in the darkest of circumstances? A godly older woman in my life, who is a great help to me when I face discouragement, will ask me, “Where are your eyes right now, Lisa?” My answer is often, sheepishly, “On me, and on my circumstances.” To which she gently replies, “And where should they be?” She and I both know that the best place for us to have our eyes is on the Lord.

A Prayer and Fasting Devotional

ThinkstockPhotos-473301346
In Eliezer Diamond’s thorough treatment of fasting in rabbinic Judaism (Holy Men and Hunger Artists, Oxford Press, 2004), he traces two different yet important ways of understanding and approaching devotional self-discipline. First, Diamond defines “essential asceticism” as entailing “explicit renunciation of some aspect of conventional existence because the self-denial itself is seen as inherently spiritually salutary” (12). Alternatively, this is contrasted with what Diamond defines as “instrumental asceticism,” those practices that necessitate a “commitment to a spiritual quest so consuming that one feels it necessary to minimize or eliminate worldly pursuits and pleasures because they detract from or distract one from one’s godly objectives.”

A Prayer and Fasting Devotional

ThinkstockPhotos-186327327"In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it." - John 1:4-5

Looking at the world in which we live, we can easily become overwhelmed. Overwhelmed by evil, pain, sadness, frustration, and fear. So many things in this world cause us to ask, "Why, Lord?" and "How long?" And, truthfully, the broken things in a big, bad world aren’t just a distant reality. We see it in our lives; hear echoes of it in our thoughts. There is sin and brokenness all around us and in us. Thankfully the true and good news of the Gospel rushes into view, and light undoes the darkness. Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners and to redeem a broken world. He came to be a light and undo the darkness around us. He is light, and in His resurrection He beat sin, death, and hell. His light brings with it life. There is eternal life with God forever and a new life in this world to which He has called us.

A Prayer and Fasting Devotional

ThinkstockPhotos-183173598“Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning with this Scripture he told him the good news about Jesus. And as they were going along the road they came to some water, and the eunuch said, "See, here is water! What prevents me from being baptized?" And he commanded the chariot to stop, and they both went down into the water, Philip and the eunuch, and he baptized him.” - Acts 8:35-38 (ESV)

 The story of Philip and the Ethiopian eunuch is astounding for a few reasons. For one thing, here we see the Gospel reaching someone from a different nation, someone who would have been largely an outcast in Philip’s society. 

Day Thirteen Devotional

Woman-on-PhoneWhen he had washed their feet and put on his outer garments and resumed his place, he said to them, “Do you understand what I have done to you?” . . . You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and are right, for so I am. If I then, as your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you. Truly, truly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them.”  - John 13:12-17

A Prayer and Fasting Devotional

SufferingSave me, O God!
For the waters have come up to my neck.
I sink in deep mire,
where there is no foothold;
I have come into deep waters,
and the flood sweeps over me.
I am weary with my crying out;
my throat is parched.
My eyes grow dim
with waiting for my God…

I will praise the name of God with a song;
I will magnify him with thanksgiving.
- Psalm 69:1-3; 30

A Prayer and Fasting Devotional

BusinessmanThen the mother of [James and John] came to Jesus with her sons and, kneeling down, asked a favor of him . . .  “Grant that one of these two sons of mine may sit at your right and the other at your left in your kingdom.” - Matthew 20:20-21

My first major confrontation with authority occurred during my senior year of high school and was accompanied with the following words from my band director: “Get out of here this instant!”  I grew up a fairly obedient kid who never had to truly resist or confront authority until something challenged what I (and my parents) valued highly: my future. With these words, I felt I had escaped an oppressive environment, but in reality I was just reasserting power over my own future in a remarkably un-Christian manner. Jesus uses a similar power struggle in the life of the disciples in Matthew 20:20-28 to highlight the only true way power should be wielded: with the right motives and the right methods.