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A Prayer and Fasting Devotional 

"Conditional grace is nearly unintelligible to many contemporary Christians who assume that unconditionality is the essence of all grace." - John Piper, Future Grace

Probably nothing hinders the Western church more than a theological misunderstanding of grace. God has poured out on humanity extraordinary unconditional grace such as the gift of life, and the offer of salvation. However, as Piper discusses at length in his book, Future Grace, more grace from God is available  for the Christian in this life and the next. This grace often comes with conditions. "Strive for...the holiness without which no one will see the Lord" (Hebrews 12:14). "But He gives more grace. Therefore it says, 'God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.' Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and He will flee from you. Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you'" (James 4:6-8).

There are many such passages in the New Testament where blessings are promised in response to meeting specific conditions. For example in James 4, the Christian is promised God's opposition when He is proud, and God's favor (or grace) when he is humble. Furthermore, he is promised that God will draw near to him as he draws near to God, and that the devil will flee when the Christian resists him.

Misunderstanding ensues because Christians confuse conditionality with merit. Just because something is conditional doesn't mean it has been earned. All grace from God is unmerited, but not all grace from God is unconditional. Take salvation as an example. Salvation only comes to those who repent and believe the good news, but salvation is in no way earned by anyone. Similarly, God's presence and power come to the Christian as he draws near to God, but that doesn't mean it has been earned.

For example, a CEO may offer a job to his nephew as a favor, even though other applicants may be more qualified, telling him to show up at 6:00 am at a construction site to report for work. Showing up at 6:00 am is a condition for the favor of employment, but the nephew has not earned or merited the job in any way. The CEO has shown him conditional, unmerited grace.

This is why we are fasting and praying for 40 days. We are seeking favor from God for our nation, communities, and families as we humble ourselves before Him in prayer and fasting. He takes great delight in His children when we expend effort to draw near to Him. This type of effort is a condition for His increased favor, but this does not mean we have earned or merited anything from God.

We are in desperate need of God's grace across the nation and on the Ivy League campuses. Thank you for praying and fasting, asking God to work in mighty ways.

Yours in Christ,

Matt Bennett
President & Founder
Christian Union