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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

“But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us.” - 2 Corinthians 4:7

It could be said that much of the Christian faith is rife with paradox, irony, and surprising plot twists.  The prostitute, Rahab, who was spared in the conquering of Jericho? She ends up in the lineage of the Christ, as did Tamar (of Genesis) and Bathsheba, two women notable for their sexual sin.  The disciple who said he would never deny that he knew Jesus -- and then did just that? He’s the rock that Jesus said He would build His church on, and He did.  Do you value your life above all things?  You’ll quickly lose it. If you lose your life for Jesus’ sake, you’ll save it. The list of surprising twists goes on, of course, considering that the very messiah-ruler Himself ended up crucified by those to whom He was sent. I would argue these all have in common the mind-blowing reality of how God chooses to work in this world: the weakest, simplest, most humble vessels are the one through which He works the mightiest; all so the glory might be His alone.

A Prayer and Fasting Devotional

This fun little song, well known in American cultural life, is reminiscent of some Wisdom from the Scriptures. James tells us:

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds,because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” - James 1:2-4

A Prayer and Fasting Devotional

Dear friend in Christ,

Our 40 days of fasting and prayer to seek the Lord for 2015 has come to a close, and I am deeply grateful to you for joining with me on this journey.  I have been blessed and encouraged by the devotionals, and, as usual, fasting has helped me draw closer to God.  

A Prayer and Fasting Devotional

How do I know when the Holy Spirit is active and present in my life?  What must I do to engage in the Spirit-filled life?  What sorts of criteria may I employ to recognize and discern the leading of the Spirit as I follow Jesus in faith?  Such questions are no less crucial for being so prevalent among earnest Christians who desire to please the Lord and experience His grace in power.

A Prayer and Fasting Devotional

“Then the women said to Naomi, ‘Blessed be the LORD, who has not left you this day without a redeemer, and may his name be renowned in Israel!  He shall be to you a restorer of life and a nourisher of your old age, for your daughter-in-law who loves you, who is more to you than seven sons, has given birth to him.’” - Ruth 4:14-15

A Prayer and Fasting Devotional

The apostle Paul famously engaged the citizens of Athens in his pursuit of proclaiming the Gospel throughout the Roman Empire. 

Acts 17 records:

So he reasoned in the synagogue with the Jews and the devout persons, and in the marketplace every day with those who happened to be there.  Some of the Epicurean and Stoic philosophers also conversed with him. And some said, “What does this babbler wish to say?” Others said, “He seems to be a preacher of foreign divinities”—because he was preaching Jesus and the resurrection.  - Acts 17:17, 18 (ESV)

A Prayer and Fasting Devotional

"For God, who said, 'Let light shine out of darkness,' made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ.” - 2 Corinthians 4:6

As we fast, many of us are asking God to show Himself. We want God to reveal Himself to us and show us who He is. This is certainly not unique to human experience. If people are given the chance to ask God a question, many simply wonder, “Where are you?” We wonder, “If you’re present everywhere, if you love us and want a relationship with us, then why don’t we hear from you?” Fasting promises insight into God’s hiddenness. In many ways, we are like Moses in Exodus 34. Moses, wanting to know this God who has led the Israelites out of slavery in Egypt and is taking them to the Promised Land, asks God to show him His Glory.

A Prayer and Fasting Devotional

Dear Friend in Christ,

I am wondering what sort of season this is for you. If it is one of prolonged hardship, I understand it can be especially challenging to hope in God’s goodness.

For this reason, I want to share with you about a very unique sort of healing offered to those who are struggling to persevere in times of trial.

Concerned for his weary congregation, the author of Hebrews writes:

“Therefore lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint, but rather be healed” (Hebrews 12:12-13).

A Prayer and Fasting Devotional

Although the apostle Paul did not write Hebrews, the theological viewpoints of the two authors are often remarkably similar. This theological consonance is seen especially in Hebrews 12 and Romans 8. The overall theme of both chapters is that of suffering. Specifically, both authors claim that, far from evidencing God's removal from and lack of concern for us, suffering is the very means by which we prove to be God's own sons and daughters:

"It is for discipline that you have to endure [suffering]. God is treating you as sons.” (Heb 12:7a)

A Prayer and Fasting Devotional

Thus says the LORD of hosts: “‘Ask the priests about the law: ‘If someone carries holy meat in the fold of the garment and touches with his fold bread or stew or wine or oil or any kind of food, does it become holy?’”  The priests answered and said, “No.”  Then Haggai said, “If someone who is unclean by contact with a dead body touches any of these, does it become unclean?”  The priests answered and said, “It does become unclean.”  Then Haggai answered and said, “So it is with this people…” –Haggai 2:11-14a

And when Jesus came to the place, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, hurry and come down, for I must stay at your house today.”  So he hurried and came down and received him joyfully.  And when they saw it, they all grumbled, “He has gone in to be the guest of a man who is a sinner.”  And Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord, “Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor.  And if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I restore it fourfold.” –Luke 19:5-8