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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 America, 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

SaulInBattleRebukedbySamuelAnd Samuel said, “Has the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to listen than the fat of rams. - 1 Samuel 15:22 (ESV)

Obedience is important to God.

Perhaps that sounds to you like the understatement of the century. You may be saying to yourself, “Of course obedience is important to God…what a remarkably unimpressive way to start to a devotional!” And that may be a fair summation of your perspective on the Christian life. However, I’d like to suggest that the importance God gives to our obedience is an often-underemphasized reality in substantial portions of the American church. 

A Prayer and Fasting Devotional

Christian_Struggling“So they feared the LORD but also served their own gods, after the manner of the nations from among whom they had been carried….these nations feared the Lord and also served their carved images.” –2 Kings 17:33, 41

In 2 Kings 17, we read of how the Israelites were deported to Assyria “because the people of Israel had sinned against the LORD their God” (2 Kings 17:7). In their place, the king of Assyria settled peoples from other nations to take possession of the cities and the land. After lions attacked and killed some of them, they sent for a priest to teach them the “law of the god of the land.” Responding to the teaching of these priests, the people learned to “fear the LORD,” but they also continued to serve and worship their former gods.

A Prayer and Fasting Devotional

GodThroughInformationA friend of mine founded a global consulting firm and hosts an annual conference for policy makers and CEOs. Over several days they look at global trends in a number of areas through panels and seminars. Last year two of the panels were:

Media Gone Mad: Living with Information Overload: How can we be sure of staying ‘unspun’ in a world where we have never been so connected—and where it has never been so apparent that knowledge is power?

What’s Next: Hinge Events Ahead in 2015: The perils in prediction—in geopolitics as in other walks of life—arise from the fact that we simply do not have enough information.

A Prayer and Fasting Devotional

Mother_and_BabyLike newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good. - 1 Peter 2:2-3 (NIV)

Have you heard the screams of a hungry newborn? As a new father, this was rather eye-opening (read: sleep-depriving) for me. I thought: “How can something so little scream so piercingly?” The hungry baby screams for milk with an intensity and an urgency that is virtually unparalleled in our world. We should crave spiritual nourishment with such urgency and desperation.

A Prayer and Fasting Devotional 

I sought the Lord, and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears. Those who look to him are radiant, and their faces shall never be ashamed…Oh taste and see that the Lord is good! –Psalm 34:4-5, 8

I have recently had the wild blessing of witnessing a powerful conversion. I have seen a man who has never known what it is like to be excluded, who has proven his worth through successful business, who lives the seemingly charmed life of prosperity, a good name and the love of many, step out of darkness and into glorious light.

A Prayer and Fasting Devotional

ThinkstockPhotos-480160802If you are a parent, you probably remember your child’s first trip to the ER. I don’t think my wife and I will ever forget ours because we have had two in the span of two months for our daughter, Ellie. On each occasion, she had seizures that were caused by a dramatic spike in a fever. During a seizure, the whole body tenses up due to your brain firing off extreme signals. Even the lungs become tense or stiff, restricting airflow and decreasing oxygen levels throughout the body. Ellie clearly was not breathing much and began to turn a pale and blue color. I had my hand on her back and could only feel very small movements of her lungs. I could hear very faint breaths come out of her mouth. At times, we thought we might be saying goodbye to our daughter. Something was clearly wrong. It was visible.

A Prayer and Fasting Devotional

ThinkstockPhotos-467111283Unfortunately, Psalm 23 has often become associated with death and funerals within American culture. Yet in reality, this psalm is a psalm about living, and it provides the reader with the needed assurance in order to be radical for God. It is, as one commentator puts it, “…one that puts daily activities, such as eating, drinking, and seeking security, in a radically God-centered perspective. This psalm invites people into a declaration of trust that is both extraordinarily courageous and coldly rational.”

A Devotional on Seeking God

ThinkstockPhotos-126401302 It is intrinsic to our conception of God that God is inherently invisible. “You cannot see my face,” God famously told Moses on the mountain, “for man shall not see me and live” (Exod 33:20, esv). God in himself cannot be seen directly. If he is to be seen at all, it must be through some sort of manifestation in another form, some kind of epiphany.

A Prayer and Fasting Devotional

ThinkstockPhotos-483537050“See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!” - 1 John 3:1a

Do you look like your parents or siblings? Those of us who do have inevitably experienced a moment when someone meets our family, or sees their picture, and exclaims that (goodness gracious!) you look just like them! Familial resemblance does not just involve our good looks; in even deeper ways we can see it in our behavior. This can go from the mundane (we laugh like our grandfather) to the good (we are compassionate like our mother) to the bad (we have a temper like our older brother). Our families resemble each other in deep and meaningful ways, and this comes into especially sharp focus when we get married. Marriage brings together two people from different families who immediately notice that they have developed different (and sometimes wonderfully complementary!) practices because, "that's how my family does it."

A Parable on Prayer

ThinkstockPhotos-185907199We won’t always see our prayers answered. If there is no guarantee for answered prayer, why should we persist in prayer?

In Luke 18:1-8, Jesus addressed this issue head-on:

And he told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart. He said, “In a certain city there was a judge who neither feared God nor respected man. And there was a widow in that city who kept coming to him and saying, ‘Give me justice against my adversary.’ For a while he refused, but afterward he said to himself, ‘Though I neither fear God nor respect man, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will give her justice, so that she will not beat me down by her continual coming.’” And the Lord said, “Hear what the unrighteous judge says. And will not God give justice to his elect, who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long over them? I tell you, he will give justice to them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?