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January 5, 2024

"Jesus Christ, Prince of Peace for All Nations" CU National Fast 2024 Devotional 

By matt bennett, founder and president of christian union 

"First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth." -1 Timothy 2:1-4

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A remarkable aspect of Christianity is the connection it makes between ethical behavior and our obligation to God Himself.  This may sound strange to modern ears, but outside Judaism at the birth of Christianity, worship of various gods in the many different religions did not draw a connection between the two.  Citizens of the Roman Empire and others throughout the world would indeed sacrifice to their gods, but their gods did not make ethical demands of them. Ethical systems were developed and taught separately from idol worship. Yet now, because of Christianity, it’s understood and accurately assumed worldwide that if a person worships a God, then that God has ethical expectations. 

In these remarkable four verses in 1 Timothy 2, the Scriptures teach that God has expectations for His followers, including a posture of thanksgiving, sincere prayers for governmental leadership, pursuit of peace, eagerness to please God, and zeal to see that everyone knows the Gospel and believes it. Important sociological ends are to be achieved, according to this passage, through focused “supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgiving.” God has given power to Christians to make a difference in the world through prayer, and we know from elsewhere that the eagerness of God to answer those prayers is accelerated through believers’ self-humbling with fasting, fervency in prayer, and devout living. 

Modern application of these commands is right before us, and God desires that we be faithful! With declining Christian involvement in the U.S. for decades, we need to pray fervently that Christians be strengthened and that many become born again. With division and conflict in the United States, we are to pray for peace and understanding among people with different views and attitudes in our neighborhoods and families. With war in Ukraine and the Middle East, we are to pray for our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace, to intervene and bring peace.  For all those in conflict, what’s needed most is that they meet the Lord Jesus Christ directly and personally, becoming His faithful servants.  Whether the person is secular in the U.S., nominally religious in Ukraine, or Jewish or Muslim in the Middle East, we all need the redemption and life that come through the only wise God.

Your prayers matter and are powerful, which is why the Scriptures remind us so many times to be faithful and not to lose heart.  It’s human nature for our faith to start to flag from time to time, but I pray that this current extended fast serves to strengthen you in your inner man so that you may be strong, faithful, and pleasing to God in every way.

Can you imagine anything more wonderful or beautiful than the chance to draw close to the throne of grace, asking God to give grace and mercy in our time of need? He hears us and remembers us, and without faith, it’s impossible to please Him.  

Dear Lord, bring grace, faith, breakthrough, and strength for Your servants! We thank You for Your goodness to us and the opportunity to come before the throne of grace. Bring many to salvation in the U.S. and worldwide! Bring peace among Americans and among all those in the Ukraine and the Middle East. You are the God who hears and acts!  We love and thank You. In Jesus’ name, Amen.  

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