“To Jesus prayer is everything; it’s a duty as well as a privilege, a right as well as a responsibility. We tend to use prayer as a last resort, but Jesus wants it to be our first line of defense. We pray when there’s nothing else we can do, but Jesus wants us to pray before we do anything at all.”

oswald chambers, prayer: a holy occupation, p. 7.

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. 

Today is Saturday of Holy Week, the day following Christ’s death on the cross, and the day before He declares victory over sin, death and the grave through His resurrection.

Matthew is the only gospel that records a narrative on the Saturday between Jesus’ death on Friday and his resurrection on Sunday. Jesus’ followers were despondent – their dreams dashed, their hope gone. Though, one can imagine the prayers offered by his disciples as they felt defeated – their supposed King, lying dead in a nearby tomb…


Engage the Word

Read Matthew 27:62-66 

62 The next day, that is, after the day of Preparation, the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered before Pilate 63 and said, “Sir, we remember how that impostor said, while he was still alive, ‘After three days I will rise.’ 64 Therefore order the tomb to be made secure until the third day, lest his disciples go and steal him away and tell the people, ‘He has risen from the dead,’ and the last fraud will be worse than the first.” 65 Pilate said to them, “You have a guard of soldiers. Go, make it as secure as you can.” 66 So they went and made the tomb secure by sealing the stone and setting a guard.

Connect the Heart

Today is Saturday. Matthew is the only gospel that records a narrative on the Saturday between Jesus’ death on Friday and his resurrection on Sunday. This part of the story is one of the most important proofs of the historicity of Christ’s resurrection. Because the fearful Pharisees and the power-hungry Romans collaborated to secure the tomb by sealing the 2-ton stone and setting a Roman guard to keep watch, there is no natural explanation for the tomb being empty on Sunday. The Romans could never risk their reputation by allowing anyone to sneak past their powerful guard to attempt to break the seal and roll the stone away. And even if a bribe was paid to get to the tomb, there is still a 2-ton stone that would have to be rolled up an incline – impossible on so many levels.

The only explanation is that the stone was supernaturally rolled away and the resurrected Jesus simply walked out. And the guards were powerless to stop it. But that’s for tomorrow…

    Reflect on the Truth

    1. Have you ever struggled with doubt regarding the resurrection of Jesus Christ? If so, what specifically have you struggled with?
    2. At this point, all of the disciples were struggling. They felt defeated. Their rabbi – the one in whom they had placed their trust for three years – was dead. In the sealed and guarded tomb. It was a long, sad day – because they felt duped. They didn’t know what was coming on Sunday. They must have felt lost. Have you ever been able to relate to the disciples in this way?
    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, “Sometimes I feel lost too – because honestly, I’m not always sure that what I’ve been told is true…”) The Lord can help us discern the path forward – through His Word, His Spirit, and His people.
    4. They called him an “imposter.” Jesus is either a liar, a lunatic – or he is who he says he is… Lord. Which is he to you?

    Depend on the Spirit

    Ask the Holy Spirit to minister to you in a unique and special way this day – the day between Jesus’ death and his resurrection. This can sometimes feel like an odd day because it’s in some ways just as dark as Good Friday – yet we also live in the hope knowing that the resurrection is true. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you sit in that tension today. What does he want you to hear, to know, to reflect on?


    For Prayer
    As you conclude your devotional time, pray that our church family is able to sit in this tension and hear what the Holy Spirit has to say, as we each prepare to celebrate Christ’s resurrection tomorrow.

    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.