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21 Days of Prayer & Fasting 2018 - week 3

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Day 15

I find it very interesting: When God wanted to fill believers with the Holy Spirit, the most amazing filling of all, He didn’t ask them to think it all through and figure out how that was going to happen. He also didn’t force it upon them. He revealed what was in store for them and asked them to be ready, but then He asked them to create a space where it could happen. Jesus tells us in Matthew 6:3-4, 6, 17-18 how we can create space. In these verses He doesn’t say, “if.” He says “when” you do these things. He assumed that, as His children, we would want to create spaces in our lives for Him to fill with His rewards. When you give, pray, or fast, you are creating space for God to do amazing things in your life. For many, week three feels like a breakthrough week. As your body has become used to less food, you are more than likely experiencing fewer hunger pangs. Since your body has detoxified, you are most likely also experiencing less achiness and headaches. Because your body is not using as much energy to digest food, it can devote more energy into the restorative processes. During the last week you may also find you are sleeping better too. Spiritually speaking, this week can be really powerful as you find yourself in your fast zone, and your mind has made the leap to focusing more on God. Make a choice to finish your fast strong, and ask God to help you keep your momentum (or even strengthen it) as your year goes on.

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Day 16

Sometimes I can get easily distracted. How about you? It is so easy to get distracted by all the things going on in our lives. We can get wrapped up in all of the things that we have to do that we constantly find ourselves living in the fast lane of life. I suppose it is okay to be in the fast lane, as long as you are making regular rest stops to get alone with God. Even Jesus had to create space for His Father to fill. Both Moses and John the Baptist created space for the Father to fill. They were in the desert when they heard God’s voice. I’m not saying you have to get a machete and hack your way out in the wilderness or travel to some desert somewhere, but whether it’s in your car, your bedroom or whatever, get alone with God so you can hear the voice of your heavenly Father. Hearing from God doesn’t need to take a long time, but neither can it be rushed. You don’t have to pray and cry out to God for two hours a day every single day of the week to hear His voice. Reading your Bible doesn’t mean it has to be four chapters a day. We make this more complicated than it has to be. What you do need is a time that is set aside, a time for nothing but you and God, and you need to guard that time. Pick a place that works for you where you can really get along with God and detach from the usual distractions. Come prepared to hear from Him, having things like your Bible, a pen, a highlighter, and a journal readily available. Have worship music within reach too. Keep your time with God fresh and new but also simple and sustainable. Find out what works for you and create space for God. Excerpts taken from Awakening: A New Approach to Faith, Fasting, and Spiritual Freedom by Stovall Weems (pp. 44-45)

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Day 17

Making prayer a priority is important. Make sure you don’t turn it into work. If your motive is to seek God, to enjoy God, to pursue God, then pray away. Don’t let prayer turn into legalism. Legalism is when you think you have to pray each day without fail at the same time, for a certain amount of time, and according to a certain format. And if you don’t look out—God will be unhappy with you. Remember the primary purpose of prayer is relationship building as you draw near to God as you talk and listen to Him. Prayer can easily become about our performance rather than about knowing God. When that happens, prayer turns into a legalistic obligation, and the joy goes right out of it. Such a performance mentality actually sets you up for an inconsistent prayer life, because every time you fail to meet your standards, you will fall under condemnation, and instead of looking forward to your next prayer time, it will seem like a joyless burden. Instead of coming to the throne of God boldly and confidently, you will begin apologizing for missing your prayer time for a day or two or for cutting it short by a few minutes. It is important to keep our prayer times fresh. It is time to have an awakening in our prayer life. Try changing up your prayer routine today. Listen to a worship song. Pray through a Psalm like Psalm 62 or 63. Take a prayer walk. Excerpts taken from Awakening: A New Approach to Faith, Fasting, and Spiritual Freedom by Stovall Weems (p. 52)

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Day 18

Jesus told his disciples to pray in HIS name. Do you understand what that means? Jesus has given us His name to use! Just imagine if some billionaire gave you his credit cards and authorized you to use his bank account. You could use his name and his resources to get whatever you needed. Wow, that would be a blast! But here is the catch. You knew there had to be a catch right? Everything you did with his money needed to be in line with his tastes and values. To pray in Jesus’ name means to pray in alignment with His values. God has given us total access to His incredible power and unlimited resources. When we pray in the name of Jesus, it has the same power as if Jesus were praying Himself. The difference between us and Jesus is that Jesus is always in complete alignment with His Father. That is why periodic seasons of fasting are so important. Fasting is the most effective way to really get in alignment with God. Thus the first step to praying prayers that avail much is praying in alignment with God’s will. We can come to the throne in such outrageous boldness because Jesus was outrageously righteous! When we pray, we can come to God in the authority of Jesus’ name, and we can be confident that we will find grace, mercy and perfectly timed help. Be bold in your prayers today! It is important to remember, “Fasting is not an end in itself; it is a means by which we can worship the Lord and submit ourselves in humility to Him…{Fasting} invites God into the problem. Then in the strength of God, victory is possible.” – Elmer Towns Excerpts taken from Awakening: A New Approach to Faith, Fasting, and Spiritual Freedom by Stovall Weems (p. 53)

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Day 19

I have a very important question for you, “Do you know what God’s Word says about your situation?” Effective prayer is based on the Word of God. Effective prayer is not based on our authority, but on the authority of God’s Word! We need to know the Word well enough to pray Word-based prayers. Prayer is not so much about getting what we want but aligning ourselves with what God wants. Matthew 6:33 clearly tells us what He wants. He wants us to seek Him first! Are you pleading for financial breakthrough? Then you need to be aligned with what God says about resources. Are you tithing? We have a part to play in the effectiveness of our prayers, and it has to do with alignment with God’s Word. Can you see how prayer is actually less about getting from God as it is about aligning ourselves with what God already wants to do. Many times, though, we can get so focused on our own comfort or our own preferences that we don’t even take the time to examine ourselves to see what God’s Word has to say about our situation. We have to align our prayers with the Word, and we may also need to align some aspects of our lives with His Word. Prayer and fasting is the preparation we go through to create the container that is ready for the new thing God wants to do in and through us. God’s new wine always changes us by expanding our faith, enlarging our purpose and bringing renewed vision. Pray that the Lord will expand your life to glorify Him, giving you boldness to step out and be used by Him. Excerpts taken from Awakening: A New Approach to Faith, Fasting, and Spiritual Freedom by Stovall Weems (pp. 54-56)

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Day 20

We all want our prayers answered. The number one reason why our prayers are not answered is, “We are not focused on the glory of God!” Think about the prayers in your life. Do you want to be happy in your marriage, or do you want God to be glorified in your marriage? Do you merely want your kids to be nice and not get in trouble, or do want God to be glorified in their lives? Do you simply want to get out of your financial mess and feel some relief, or do you want God to be glorified in your finances. Our motivation for prayer should not just be centered on ourselves so we can have what we need. God thrives when He can prove Himself. He wants to be glorified in and through us, and He wants to be glorified in the earth. God will share that glory with no one. He deserves nothing less than all the glory, all the honor, and all the praise. Glorifying God has to be the motive of our prayers, not just our relief. Fasting empowers us. God does not expect us to go through the challenges of life without His power. Prayer and fasting brings us to the place where we can power up. As you worship Him, plan to go into the future with His power and be intentional about using all of the resources that He has for you. Excerpts taken from Awakening: A New Approach to Faith, Fasting, and Spiritual Freedom by Stovall Weems (pp. 56-57)

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Day 21

We are at the end of Awakening, 21 days of prayer and fasting. How are you feeling? Are you feeling closer, more connected to God? Has there been an awakening in your spiritual life? Do you feel like obeying God? Let me put it to you this way, “If you don’t feel like obeying God, then something is wrong with your feelings. So much of our Christian teaching focuses on obeying God regardless of how you feel, but the Bible is clear that for the majority of the time we should feel like obeying God. This is where awakening comes in. This is where fasting comes in. When you have an awakening with God, you begin to have a desire to obey Him and walk the path of righteousness. We are back where we started on day one with Romans 12:11. I hope as a result of the last 21 days you are fueled and aflame. It is so important for your obedience to flow from “want to” and not “have to.” Though we are not led by our feelings, they are important. We are created in the image of God, and God created us with emotions and feelings. God wants your heart, your passion and your love to increase and overflow in obedience. Remember passionate Christianity is the norm, not the exception. The principles you have practiced in these twenty-one days are very easy to sustain long term. Prayer, fasting, and personal devotion are all quite simple to incorporate into your everyday life. Over these last twenty-one days, you’ve created space for God to fill. The best way to continue in these same practices is to keep that space open indefinitely. Don’t allow it to fill up with other things! Protect that time and space with God and make it your priority each day. You can live your best life now, if you are living your best life spiritually! Excerpts taken from Awakening: A New Approach to Faith, Fasting, and Spiritual Freedom by Stovall Weems (pp. 90-91)

 

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