Prayer and Fasting

As the New Year begins, Bethel Christian Center will take the opportunity to start the year with a “21 Days of Fasting and Prayer.” Prayer and fasting along with a whole array of spiritual disciplines —draw us closer to God. Time spent in univided attention to God reminds us that God and only God is God. Christ alone saves. 

Only the Spirit brings life. Recognizing this, we respond in gratitude, by taking the time and by doing whatever it is that makes sense to us to love God in return. 


For a fasting guide and daily bible reading click here.


Day 1: God Will Answer

Devotional


Today as we begin our 21 days of prayer and fasting, it’s exciting to think of all that we are going to see God do as He supernaturally responds to our prayers! The confidence for that comes straight out of God’s Word and in particular, from Isaiah 58:9 where God, speaking through the prophet Isaiah, says, “Then you will call, and the LORD will answer; you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I.” In his paraphrase of this passage, Eugene Peterson translates this verse: Then when you pray, GOD will answer.


This verse is a brilliant reminder that one of the results of prayer and fasting is not just a greater awareness of God’s presence but a tangible increase of God’s presence resting on our lives. In his commentary on this passage, J. Alec Motyer makes this observation, “answered prayer is not like the sending of a food parcel; it is like a home visit by the doctor.” When we pray and fast, God will answer, and He will do it in a way that is powerful and personal!


What areas of your life need a home visit from the Creator of the Universe? Have you made a list of what you are asking God to do in your life through these 21 days? God is ready not only to work in the church but also to work in all of our lives as we call on Him! And He will answer!


Scriptures

Isaiah 58:9-12 ESV
Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer; you shall cry, and he will say, ‘Here I am.’ If you take away the yoke from your midst, the pointing of the finger, and speaking wickedness, if you pour yourself out for the hungry and satisfy the desire of the afflicted, then shall your light rise in the darkness and your gloom be as the noonday. And the Lord will guide you continually and satisfy your desire in scorched places and make your bones strong; and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail. And your ancient ruins shall be rebuilt; you shall raise up the foundations of many generations; you shall be called the repairer of the breach, the restorer of streets to dwell in.


Isaiah 30:18 ESV
Therefore the Lord waits to be gracious to you, and therefore he exalts himself to show mercy to you. For the Lord is a God of justice; blessed are all those who wait for him.



Day 2: Depending On God Through Prayer and Fasting

Devotional


One of the most stunning statements about the significance of fasting comes from the mouth of Jesus in Mark chapter nine. The scene is a chaotic spectacle of finger-pointing and frustration. A weary father had brought his demon tormented son to Jesus’ disciples only to be disappointed by the absence of the power they were proclaiming. It’s in this moment of confusion that Jesus shows up not only with supernatural authority but also with spiritual instruction.
Mark tells us that after the boy was delivered, “[Jesus’] disciples asked him privately, “Why couldn’t we drive it out?” He replied, “This kind cannot be driven out by anything but prayer and fasting.” (Mark 9:28b-29)

Most translations make a note in the margin that only some manuscripts of the New Testament include “fasting,” but as biblical scholar, Alan Cole notes, “There is some good… evidence for the addition of prayer and fasting at this point.” The fact of the matter is this passage is all about dependence on God, and there is nothing like fasting to call our attention to our need for God. Jesus is calling the disciples to a place of greater spiritual dependence.


During these 21 days, one of the best things that will happen is that you will become more and more aware of how much you need God. No matter who you are, you cannot do what God has called and created you to do without His help!


Scriptures


Mark 9:14-29 ESV
And when they came to the disciples, they saw a great crowd around them, and scribes arguing with them. And immediately all the crowd, when they saw him, were greatly amazed and ran up to him and greeted him. And he asked them, “What are you arguing about with them?” And someone from the crowd answered him, “Teacher, I brought my son to you, for he has a spirit that makes him mute. And whenever it seizes him, it throws him down, and he foams and grinds his teeth and becomes rigid. So I asked your disciples to cast it out, and they were not able.” And he answered them, “O faithless generation, how long am I to be with you? How long am I to bear with you? Bring him to me.” And they brought the boy to him. And when the spirit saw him, immediately it convulsed the boy, and he fell on the ground and rolled about, foaming at the mouth. And Jesus asked his father, “How long has this been happening to him?” And he said, “From childhood. And it has often cast him into fire and into water, to destroy him. But if you can do anything, have compassion on us and help us.” And Jesus said to him, “‘If you can’! All things are possible for one who believes.” Immediately the father of the child cried out and said, “I believe; help my unbelief!” And when Jesus saw that a crowd came running together, he rebuked the unclean spirit, saying to it, “You mute and deaf spirit, I command you, come out of him and never enter him again.” And after crying out and convulsing him terribly, it came out, and the boy was like a corpse, so that most of them said, “He is dead.” But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him up, and he arose. And when he had entered the house, his disciples asked him privately, “Why could we not cast it out?” And he said to them, “This kind cannot be driven out by anything but prayer.”


John 15:4-5 ESV
Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.

Section Title

Type the content for this section here. This is just example text to show you what it will look like when you enter text content into this section. Your unique, authentic, and appropriate text will be filled into this section. Once you click into this section, you will see the filler text disappear, and you can begin typing your real content. We’ve simply put in filler text in this area. No need to get caught up in the actual content of this body text, we just typed a bunch of meaningless sentences. If you get anything from this text, please understand that this is just example text to give you a feeling for what your real text might look like.