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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

When we think about the things we long to see for the Kingdom of God in our communities, our nation, and the world, we probably think first about prayer.  And that’s a good thing!  However, while we are right to prioritize prayer, there’s a chance we’re prioritizing it too highly.  ‘What?’  You say, ‘Prioritize prayer too highly?  What we need to do is pray more!’ 

Now, I completely agree that we should be praying more.  My comment about prioritizing prayer too highly has nothing to do with quantities of prayer.   So what do I mean by “prioritizing prayer too highly,” and how in the world could this kind of talk serve to increase prayer?   I believe that if we would prioritize and esteem God’s promises higher than our prayers, our prayers would actually become more frequent and fervent.

A Prayer and Fasting Devotional

In my previous devotional, I argued that the two “hinge” passages in Hebrews (4:14-16 and 10:19-25) together encapsulate the spirituality of this inspired sermon.  Three central tasks are enumerated in these verses.  First, we consider Jesus.  Second, we draw near to God through Jesus.  Third, we hold fast our confession of faith in Jesus.  Mind.  Heart.  Practice.

This balanced paradigm is critical to implement in your own relationship with God, as most Christians tend to belong to one (or two) of three “personality types” with respect to their preferred, intuitive form of “spirituality.”  All three of these personality types (and their respective spiritual “strategies”) are good and necessary, but, when one becomes so predominant as to take our focus away from others, they can become truncated and distorted.

A Prayer and Fasting Devotional

Many well-meaning Christians often feel somewhat paralyzed when they contemplate what it would look like to begin to take their faith more seriously, particularly with respect to daily spiritual disciplines.  What should I actually do? What should my mind be focused on?  What ought the aspirations of my heart be directed toward?  How do regular devotional times transition naturally into the life of discipleship the rest of the day?  The author of Hebrews offers a vision of following Jesus that is filled with both clarity and conviction.

A Prayer and Fasting Devotional

“What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it?” - Romans 6:1-2

Prior to this point in the book of Romans, Paul has been preoccupied with setting forth an accurate view of the Gospel. In chapters 1-4, Paul labors to show that justification before God is based solely upon God’s grace and is accessed only through faith in Christ.

A Prayer and Fasting Devotional

“As you come to him, a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious, you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.” -1 Peter 2:4-5

The failure to grasp clearly our God-given identity and purpose is a formidable foe, one with the capacity to hinder and hamstring consistent growth and faithfulness. Therefore, as believers, we must understand our corporate identity.

A Prayer and Fasting Devotional

For today’s devotional, I would like to share with you about the secret of prayer.  In Matthew 6:1-6, Jesus talks about the importance of praying in secret.  Dr. Leonard Ravenhill once said, “The secret of praying is praying in secret.”  What was Jesus referring to?  He was referring to the issue of sincerity.  God wants you to come to Him with a sincere heart.  In the Bronx, we would say, “You have to come real.”  Come real before God.

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



https://soundcloud.com/christianunion/a-praying-in-secret-fernando

A Prayer and Fasting Devotional

Jesus gave a model of prayer in Matthew 6, because the disciples wanted to know how to really pray.  The Lord’s Prayer was not meant to be simply memorized and recited. It was meant to be to a guideline and outline on how to pray.

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



https://soundcloud.com/christianunion/a-jesus-model-of-prayer

There are six parts to the Lord’s Prayer: Praise, Petition, Provision, Pardon, Power, and Praise.
 

A Prayer and Fasting Devotional

“Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from what is dishonorable, he will be a vessel for honorable use, set apart as holy, useful to the master of the house, ready for every good work.”  -2 Timothy 2:20-21

Working at one of the top schools in the world, I am constantly surrounded by incredibly gifted and hyper-competent people. For many of the students in this environment, their exceptional competence in their studies and extracurricular pursuits is central to their self-identity and their sense of self-worth.  Being in an environment with so much giftedness can make people highly competitive or seriously discouraged.

A Prayer and Fasting Devotional

“For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.”  – 1 Corinthians 13:12

When I was a teenager, my church went through a curriculum by Dr. Henry Blackaby called Experiencing God.  I still remember vividly the cover of that course packet with a portrait of Moses as he looked back over his shoulder toward the burning bush where he received his calling from God.  

A Prayer and Fasting Devotional

Jesus loves food and drink. He begins His public ministry by miraculously crafting fine wine for a local wedding in Cana. He describes His kingdom as a wedding feast with an open invitation (Matthew 22:1-14). He even defends the fact that His disciples don’t fast while He is still with them (Matthew 9:15).

It is no surprise, then, that at a final feast with His disciples, Jesus gives us one final marker to remember Him with: eating bread and drinking wine. In this feasting, we remember our Lord, His coming, and His salvific sacrifice for us. And in this feasting we also point to the feast on the mountain of Zion that awaits the nations, “a feast of rich food, a feast of well-aged wine” (Isaiah 25:6).