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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

Embedded within Paul’s conversion/call narrative in Acts 9 is a note that, after encountering Jesus on the way to Damascus, for three days prior to his baptism, Paul “neither ate nor drank” (9:9). Later, in vv. 18–19, Luke records that after his baptism, Paul ate and “regained his strength” (9:19).

A Prayer and Fasting Devotional

“At the beginning of your pleas for mercy a word went out, and I have come to tell it to you, for you are greatly loved.” - Daniel 9:23

From his study of the Scriptures recorded in the book of Jeremiah, the prophet Daniel learns that the Babylonian exile will last 70 years.  He immediately responds by pouring out his heart to God; making supplication for the forgiveness and restoration of his captive people. At the very beginning of his pleas for mercy, a word goes out into the heavens.  The angel Gabriel is dispatched to inform Daniel of the coming Messiah who will atone for sin and inaugurate everlasting righteousness.

A Prayer and Fasting Devotional

“Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life.” - Proverbs 4:23 

If you Googled the phrase, “What is most important?” you’ll find a diversity of answers.  Some say it’s making more money to enable them to do what they love most.  Some say it’s being physically healthy or spending time with family, while others prioritize being happy or knowing their purpose.  The list could be as long as there are people. What is most important to you?

Day Thirty-seven - Evening Devotional

You don’t usually think of a political fundraiser as beautiful and inspiring, but I was deeply encouraged to experience something of this recently.  The featured candidate currently serves as a Democrat on the New York City Council and is running for New York State Senate.  Ministry and business leaders, men and women of all backgrounds, including Caucasian, Latino, and African-American, filled the home where the fundraiser was held.  These dynamic Christian leaders support this candidate not because he is Democrat, or Latino, or a man.  They were not supporting him because he would do a favor for them or for people like them, or because of his likability (even though he is very likable).  They support him because he demonstrates godly understanding of governmental responsibility.

A Prayer and Fasting Devotional

When a mother sees that her child is seriously sick, she swoops him up and takes him to a doctor as soon as possible.  She does this because she has faith in a couple of important details:  She has faith that her assessment of the seriousness of her child’s illness is accurate. Also, she has faith that a medical doctor will genuinely seek to help her child and, quite possibly, will be able to help heal him.

This is what faith looks like for a mother with a sick child, which begs the question, what does faith look like for the Christian who desires for God to change a community or a nation? 

A Prayer and Fasting Devotional

Have you ever watched a little baby eat? Picture the newborn baby nursing, or as a toddler experiencing new texture sensations with each incoming spoonful. At these stages, a child is dependent on mother and father for everything pertaining to sustenance and thriving. Individually, a fasting lifestyle teaches us to ‘eat’ like a child, as we learn to depend more poignantly on the Father. As a community, fasting opens us up to God’s Spirit.[1]

A Prayer and Fasting Devotional

I recently watched an interview of a young woman, named Deborah Peters, who grew up in Nigeria.  In 2011, when she was only 12, her father and brother were killed right in front of her by armed men from the terrorist group Boko Haram.  Her father, a Christian pastor, was told by the men to renounce his faith.  He refused and responded to the terrorists’ threat by quoting Matthew 10:32-33: “So everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven, but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven.”  They threatened him a second time, and, when he refused to deny Jesus, they shot him three times.  They then turned and killed her brother, who was 14 at the time.

A Prayer and Fasting Devotional

While praying the other day, I formed a mental picture of two young princes. One prince was eager to take up the sword, lusted after the throne, and scoffed at other rulers. The other prince relished the wisdom of his teachers, humbly knew his place, and valiantly took up the sword when the moment was right.

Which one would we prefer to be? The humble, valiant protagonist always wins the heart of the audience, but rarely are we actually that protagonist.

A Prayer and Fasting Devotional

I’ve never been one to often tell people, “You deserve this!” It’s not because I think people should never be rewarded or take a break. It’s because I know the corners we cut, the dark thoughts and attitudes we harbor, and the not-so-proud moments that come even with hard work or achievement.

However, we often act like we do deserve certain things. Security, comfort, hope, and happiness are just a few of the things my heart often longs for. When I don’t get them, the inner turmoil I experience can look very similar to my 3-year old’s response to not getting another cupcake (as if that would have satisfied her deepest needs).

A Prayer and Fasting Devotional

The term ‘needy’ has a decidedly negative connotation in our contemporary culture.  The descriptor ‘just so needy!’ is a derogatory phrase for a person whose life exhibits excessive dependency and weakness.  This negative association with the term ‘needy’ stems from the way we in the West place such high value on self-sufficiency and individual responsibility.  Former Harvard philosopher John Rawls described the entire moral vision of the early Modern era as characterized by individual “autonomy and responsibility.”  This rigorously individualistic spirit continues to this day.