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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
Today, we look not to the actual words of one of Jesus’ prayers, but to a significant aspect of His prayer life.
15 But now even more the report about him went abroad, and great crowds gathered to hear him and to be healed of their infirmities. 16 But he would withdraw to desolate places and pray.
Connect the Heart
Though Jesus is fully God and co-equal with the Father, His connection to His Father was vividly seen in His devotion to getting away and alone to “desolate places” and praying. In this passage in the fifth chapter of Luke, Jesus had just healed a leper and would follow this time of prayer by healing a paralytic and many more. But He only operated in the strength that the Father would provide – and He would receive that strength through His times on His knees before the Father. Where we live in Colorado, we do have areas of high desert that might resemble some of the places Jesus would go to get away from the crowds and be with His Father – but practically, and for our purposes, “desolate places” can mean finding times and places of solitude and silence for the purpose of prayer, reflection and meditation on Scripture. As author Henry Blackaby says in his wonderful book Experiencing Prayer With Jesus, “If Jesus was convinced that His own life and ministry depended upon His prayer life with the Father, we as well must set our hearts to maintain uninterrupted time in prayer with our Lord, for this is the key not only to our ministry, but to our very life as God intends it.” (p. 19)
Reflect on the Truth
1. How is your heart – your words, your actions, your desires, your motivations – pressing into your relationship with God through silence and solitude? Do you, like Jesus, prioritize times alone in “desolate places” to pour out your heart to God?
2. Jesus is a model for us. He is fully God – and yet also fully man, and showed us by example the importance of getting alone with God. Take a few moments to think about and reflect on what might be taking a higher place of priority in your life than it should, in essence crowding out what should be of utmost importance – time alone with God.
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, “O Father in heaven, I can see from Jesus’ example that times of solitude should be more of a priority, but I’m not even sure how to take the first step.”) 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 that Ascent Church would be a Spirit-dependent church, on its knees in prayer before the Father.
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.