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Have you received clarity and direction from the Holy Spirit on how He would have you participate in the spiritual discipline of fasting during this 21 Days? For some guidance and ideas, read our post on “Why Fast?”
We want to encourage you to grab a journal or a notebook – something to write on as you walk through each prayer guide or devotional. 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
Jesus was told that His friend Lazarus was sick, yet Jesus did not rush to Bethany to help. Instead, He took His time, knowing the miracle that was about to happen…Today, we reflect on Jesus’ prayer as He lifted His eyes to His Father, knowing that though His friend Lazarus had died, He possessed the resurrection power to call Lazarus out of the tomb. Notice something unique and interesting about this prayer of Jesus – we will explore it further below.
Connect the Heart
This is one of the most familiar stories in the New Testament and the verses preceding this passage contain the famous and shortest verse in the Bible: “Jesus wept.” Scripture doesn’t mention why, but many believe that Jesus wept because he knew his friend Lazarus, who was already enjoying Heaven, would need to leave Heaven, return to earth – and eventually die again. Jesus knew what Lazarus was giving up… But Jesus was fulfilling the Father’s plan – which was so that the people that witnessed Lazarus’s resurrection – would believe.
Look again at Jesus’ prayer, in bold above… Now, do you notice what is unique about Jesus’ prayer? This prayer – “I thank you that you have heard me” – is referring to a previous prayer to His Father. This would have most likely been a prayer Jesus prayed to the Father when He heard His friend Lazarus was sick. But if you read the preceding verses (11:1-16), we don’t find a prayer recorded. In other words… There are obviously many prayers of Jesus that aren’t even recorded! Jesus had a vibrant and active prayer life. In reality, Jesus was in constant communication with His Father – but we only read select times where His prayers are recorded. I wonder how much thicker our New Testament would be if every prayer of Jesus was recorded? Jesus displayed a life of total dependence on His Father – moment by moment.
Reflect on the Truth
1. Jesus prayed to the Father continuously. A life of dependence. Is your heart – your words, your actions, your desires, your motivations – open to the idea of total dependence on your Heavenly Father – through the Holy Spirit – all throughout your day? How might Jesus’ example of a life of prayer be an invitation for you to experience more intimacy with Him?
2. How might you consider reorienting your perspective on what you do with your time based on Jesus’ example of a life of prayer? Are there moments throughout your day where you could utter short prayers – as you go – or even simply turn your heart prayerfully in God’s direction in dependence – the way Jesus clearly does?
Depend on the Spirit
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, “Father, I want to experience more intimacy with you throughout my day. Help me, by Your Spirit, to turn toward You more often – in complete dependence – even in the busiest of times.”) The Lord can help us discern the path forward – through His word, His Spirit, His people.
For Prayer: As we conclude our devotional time, pray for our church family to take steps toward more and more dependence on the Spirit and intimacy with the Father as each of us lead busy and distracted lives.
Read our post “Why Fast?” to learn about the spiritual discipline of fasting and gain a better understanding of why Jesus asked us to fast. We fast not to get something we want from God, but for God to change our wants. We fast because Jesus fasted, He expected we would fast, and we see that the early church fasted.
Read yesterday’s post HERE.
Catch up on all our 21 Days of Prayer and Fasting posts on the blog HERE.