We are so glad you are joining us for these daily prayer devotionals as together we seek the heart of our God. Over the coming weeks, we will focus on some of the most meaningful words of our savior Jesus Christ from the book of Mark, as we follow his journey with his disciples on the path toward the cross. Our journey of prayer and fasting will culminate on Easter Sunday as we celebrate His resurrection, declaring victory over sin, death and shame.

Each devotion will take less than ten minutes of your time.

  1. We will Engage the Word – looking at some of Jesus’ words in their biblical context.
  2. We will Connect the Heart – considering a truth that is applicable to our lives.
  3. We will Reflect on the Truth, asking a number of questions each day that invite us to look and listen with intent.
  4. And we will Depend on the Spirit – We will pray, for it is in praying that we learn to pray. And it is in praying that the Spirit changes our hearts.

We want to encourage you to grab a journal or a notebook – something to write on as you walk through each prayer guide. Yes, it will add a few minutes to the time it takes to do the devotion, and it will also deepen your experience and shape your walk with God for years to come. This journal or notebook will be a keepsake to remind you of God’s faithfulness during this challenging season for all of us.

Engage the Word

Mark 7:18-23


       18      And he said to them, “Then are you also without understanding? Do you not see that whatever goes into a person from outside cannot defile him,

       19     since it enters not his heart but his stomach, and is expelled?” (Thus he declared all foods clean.)

       20     And he said, “What comes out of a person is what defiles him.

       21     For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery,

       22     coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness.

       23         All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person.”

Connect the Heart

We don’t use the word “defile” very often, but it has synonyms like “spoil,” “tarnish,” or “desecrate.” In context, Jesus is telling us that it’s not what we eat (he’s declaring all foods clean) or what we do externally that can tarnish or desecrate us – but what comes out of our hearts… This is what will separate us from the light and hope of Jesus. Our hearts are complex. They are the source of our thoughts, our emotions and our desires, all of which result in our choices. In this passage, Jesus refers to some pretty serious scenarios that can defile (spoil, tarnish or desecrate) us spiritually – and while some may manifest themselves externally, they all come from within.

Reflect on the Truth

  1. Reflect on the list Jesus provides in verses 21-22. Read each slowly and thoughtfully. Which of these matters of the heart have you struggled with at various points in life – or even now?
  2. How might you invite Jesus into your story regarding any of these “evil things from within” – to experience his grace, mercy, forgiveness and healing?
  3. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you see the deeper longings, desires or motives in your heart that these thoughts are pointing to. (for example: you may write down, “I’ve never murdered anyone, but I know I’ve been angry and have harbored resentment in my heart. Shine the light of your grace on this area of my heart, Lord.”) The Lord can help us discern the path forward – through His word, His Spirit, His people.
  4. Sometimes we believe a lie that leads us to act out in some of these tarnishing ways. If you have been believing a lie, can you identify what it is?  What is a truth from what you know about Jesus and his ways with which you can replace the lie?

Depend on the Spirit

Lord, please guide me by your Spirit to see the areas of my heart that need to come into the light. Knowing that you truly see me and know the deepest parts of my heart, help me to trust this heart-work that needs to happen – and can only happen by the work of your Holy Spirit in my life. 


 For a guide to fasting, read our initial post “Why Fast?” and also Richard Foster’s great article on “The Purpose of Fasting.”