“In the presence of these twelve men, Jesus both taught and modeled a radical life of prayer, and it caught their attention. We see this, for example, in Luke 11:1. Jesus “was praying in a certain place,” and when He finished, “one of His disciples said to Him, ‘Lord, teach us to pray.’” They wanted something better than they already had; they wanted the same reality and vitality of prayer that Jesus experienced.”

henry blackaby, experiencing prayer with jesus, p. 13.

Daily Devotionals: Ascent’s Mission – Loving God, Loving People and Impacting Our World. Each day’s devotional will guide us through a scriptural thought based on the mission God has called us to follow. 

We spent the last two weeks focusing on the first part of our mission, Loving God and Loving People. We turn this week to the final part of our mission: Impacting Our World.


Engage the Word: Impacting Our World

Read Acts 17:16-31 – the Apostle Paul addressing the men of Athens:

16 Now while Paul was waiting for them at Athens, his spirit was provoked within him as he saw that the city was full of idols. 17 So he reasoned in the synagogue with the Jews and the devout persons, and in the marketplace every day with those who happened to be there. 18 Some of the Epicurean and Stoic philosophers also conversed with him. And some said, “What does this babbler wish to say?” Others said, “He seems to be a preacher of foreign divinities”—because he was preaching Jesus and the resurrection. 19 And they took him and brought him to the Areopagus, saying, “May we know what this new teaching is that you are presenting? 20 For you bring some strange things to our ears. We wish to know therefore what these things mean.” 21 Now all the Athenians and the foreigners who lived there would spend their time in nothing except telling or hearing something new.

Paul Addresses the Areopagus

22 So Paul, standing in the midst of the Areopagus, said: “Men of Athens, I perceive that in every way you are very religious. 23 For as I passed along and observed the objects of your worship, I found also an altar with this inscription: ‘To the unknown god.’ What therefore you worship as unknown, this I proclaim to you. 24 The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man, 25 nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything. 26 And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, 27 that they should seek God, and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him. Yet he is actually not far from each one of us, 28 for

       “ ‘In him we live and move and have our being’;

as even some of your own poets have said,

       “ ‘For we are indeed his offspring.’

29 Being then God’s offspring, we ought not to think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone, an image formed by the art and imagination of man. 30 The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent, 31 because he has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed; and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead.”

Connect the Heart

The Apostle Paul is in Athens, specifically at the Areopagus, a place where thinkers liked to sit around and talk about ideas. Paul was all about making an impact. He had the Gospel on his mind, and when he addressed the crowd, we can learn a few things from his approach. He didn’t back down from truth (“the God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth), but also quoted a well-known secular poet of the day (Epiminedes, ‘In him we live and move and have our being’). He eventually landed the plane by bringing the discussion to a place where his listeners needed to respond to Jesus:“…He (God) will judge the world in righteousness by a man (Jesus) whom he has appointed; and of this he (God) has given assurance to all by raising him (Jesus) from the dead.”

We learn three things from Paul’s approach, and the incredible impact he was able to have on the culture around him:

  1. Context is always key when sharing truth.
  2. We need to know the culture around us in order to impact the culture around us.
  3. The Gospel will either divide us or unite us – but we can never remain neutral.

Reflect on the Truth

  1. Into what cultural context has God placed you, and how does this context impact how you approach the truth of the Gospel message with those around you?
  2. Your personal story and how you have responded to the Gospel is powerful. The Holy Spirit provides this power. Is there a not-yet-believer in your cultural context that would benefit from hearing your Gospel story that points to Jesus?
  3. Take a moment now to ask the Lord to give you the courage to step into a Gospel opportunity He has placed before you. Is He bringing to mind a specific person? Pay attention to how the Holy Spirit is guiding you as you pray.

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, “Lord, I know there are opportunities you have for me to have an impact, but so often I’m afraid to speak up. Will You help me?”) The Lord can help us discern the path forward – through His Word, His Spirit, and His people.


For Prayer
As you conclude your devotional time, pray specifically by name for the neighbors who live next door to you, around the corner, across the street. This is the cultural context into which God has placed each of us. Pray for an opportunity for a Gospel conversation. May we impact our neighborhoods with the hope of the Gospel.

Please read the first blog post entitled “Why Fast?” This explains what fasting is and why we follow Jesus in this spiritual discipline as, together, we seek the heart of God.


Some parts of our 21 Days devotionals are adapted using various resources on scripture and prayer like The Bible Exposition Commentary, Tyndale Old Testament Commentaries, The New Bible Commentary, Logos Bible Software and other resources.