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21 Days of Prayer and Fasting
The New Year is here! If you are reading this today, it means you are joining in on this 21 Days of Prayer and Fasting in some capacity. At whatever place you find yourself in the start of this new year, it is our prayer that by setting aside time each day to pray and study God’s Word, you will draw nearer to him. Each day we encourage you to read one chapter from the book of John along with each daily short devotional. Let’s go deeper into the Word together. Let’s set a strong foundation for this new year!
DAY 1 – John 1
Right from the start of John, the author hits us with the truth about who Jesus is. No gentle easing into things or a list of names. Simply and matter-of-factly with an echoing of Genesis 1’s “In the beginning,” we get “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” Continuing to “through Him all things were made,” and “In Him was life, and that life was the light of men.” He is the Word, the creator, the life, and the light. Before we get into the stories, the signs and wonders, the miracles, before John the Baptist can pave the way and the disciples can be called – we have to know that this redemptive Savior has always been and always will be God, and now He is God with us. In John 1:12 it says “Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God—" If you have never truly prayed and asked God to come into your life as Savior, then let today be that day. Whether today is the first day of your journey with Christ or you have been on this journey for a while now, know that when you receive him, when you believe in His name, you are His child. He came so that you could be saved, so that life and light could be yours. In a summary of the book of John the theme of the book is said to be this: “John presents Jesus as the Word, the Messiah and the incarnate Son of God, who has come to reveal the Father and to bring eternal life to all who believe in him.”
Pray this prayer today: Jesus, I receive you into my life. Thank you for your Word, thank for salvation, thank you for the promise of eternal life. Thank you for bringing light to the darkness in me, and for loving me enough to call me your child. Amen.
DAY 2 – John 2
Jesus’ first miracle is recorded in John chapter 2. He famously turns water into wine, and not just any wine. In fact, it is so good that the guests can’t believe they saved the best stuff for last. John 2:11 says “This is the first of his miraculous signs, Jesus performed at Cana in Galilee. He thus revealed his glory, and his disciples put their faith in him.” It would be a short time later that he would share the cup with those same disciples and tell them “This is my blood of the covenant which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.” (Matthew 26:28) I used to wonder why providing wine at a wedding was a big enough miracle to include. I mean it is hardly up there with giving sight to the blind, right? But what this truly amazing miracle did was reveal his glory and that led to the building of faith in these new disciples. Truly, the ultimate miracle came on the day Jesus went to the cross and shed his blood for us. He paid the price. He fought the battle and won. He rose again. That miracle, that cup of the covenant he shared with all of us, is beyond all compare. In John, we see lots of miracles leading up to the ultimate one. And each one of them from the water to wine, and the blind to seeing, and the dead to risen Lazarus – they all reveal his glory. They all build our faith. No miracle is too small – glory and faith come from them all.
Pray this prayer today: Lord, reveal your glory to me and build my faith in you. Show me the miracles of your hand. Help me see the ways you have turned things around in my life and remind me of the ultimate miracle of your death, burial, and resurrection. Thank you for all the big and small ways you have worked in me.
DAY 3 – John 3
John chapter 3 contains the most well-known verse in the Bible. It’s been recited, sang, cross stitched on pillows, and translated across the globe more than any other verse. Those words hold the hope of the world in their sound. “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” This verse is written in red in most Bibles, indicating that it is spoken by Jesus. Here Jesus is trying to explain to a man named Nicodemus how to enter the Kingdom of God. Nicodemus was a man of the Pharisees. The Pharisees believed the only way to God was through perfectly following the law, but Jesus wasn’t sitting well with most Pharisees. Nicodemus knows Jesus is from God, he has seen the miracles he has done, and now he has sought him out. Jesus maps out salvation for Nicodemus and by doing so, he mapped it out for all of us. We see him again in John. In chapter 7 he speaks up for Jesus when he is questioned by the Pharisees, and in chapter 19 he arrives with Joseph of Arimathea to take Jesus’ body. He brings myrrh and aloes (75 pounds – an amount for royal burials) and prepares Christ’s body for burial. Scripture tells us Nicodemus first came to Jesus at night. Maybe to avoid being seen by his fellow Pharisees, maybe just to have more time with him. It didn’t matter when he came to Jesus, just that he came. It didn’t matter that he ran in the company of doubters and amongst the very men who would crucify Jesus. All that mattered was that he came, and he asked, and so Jesus answered. On the days you doubt, and the days you know; on the days you have yelled in anger and the days that you have cried out in thanks for his sacrificial work; on all those days he will meet you – even at night. For God so loved the world…
Pray this prayer today: Thank you God for sending your Son.
DAY 4 – John 4
“Then Jesus declared, I who speak to you am he.” John 4:26
In C.S Lewis’s book Mere Christianity, he dispels the argument that some claim Jesus is a good teacher only. He says “Either this man was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. You can shut him up for a fool, you can spit at him and kill him as a demon or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God, but let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about his being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.” In John chapter 4 we read the well-known story of Jesus and the Samaritan woman. This woman has heard of the coming Messiah, and Jesus says to her: “I who speak to you am he.” She leaves and tells everyone she can about the man, the Messiah, she has met. That day many people believed in Jesus. Just a few verses later Jesus tells an official that he may go, his son will live, and we are told “the man took Jesus at his word and departed.” In this world we live in, the truth of the Gospel and the Messiah is no easier or harder to believe than it was all those years ago. Everyone of us has the same choice the Samaritan woman and official had – do we take him at his word?
Pray this prayer today: Jesus, I take you at your word. I know that you are who you say you are. I know that you are the Messiah, the savior of the world. Help me to stand firm in my faith in you.
DAY 5 – John 5
The Pharisees didn’t like the fact that Jesus was healing people on the Sabbath. I mean you would think the magnitude of healing a man who had been an invalid for 38 years would be a big enough deal that it wouldn’t matter what day it was, but that was the rule. No working on the Sabbath. “Jesus said to them, My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I, too, am working.” (John 5:17) When I read this verse recently, it reminded me of the verse in 1 Corinthians 3 that says “so neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow.” God is always at work. He is always healing, loving, showing compassion, growing, guiding, and on and on. We don’t always see his work right away, and it doesn’t always show up when or how we want it to. Don’t put limits on God! It can be easy to say, “well he hasn’t shown up yet, he must not be coming,” but don’t forget God is always working.
The Pharisees were not only mad that Jesus was healing on the Sabbath, but also because he was calling himself the Son of God. All throughout the book of John, we find Jesus confirming whole heartedly who he is. He doesn’t leave room for any doubt. There is no doubt that he is the Son of God, and he and his father are working. “For just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, even so the Son gives life to whom he is pleased to give it.” (John 5:21)
Pray this prayer today: Dear God, thank you for continuously working on me. Help me not to doubt who you are or to question whether you have forgotten me. I know your word is true – you are always working. Thank you for raising us up and giving us life.
DAY 6 – John 6
Chapter 6 is feeding five thousand and walking on water. Those are some big moments. We learn that little is much in the hands of Jesus, and he can walk into the middle of any storm and his presence will calm the winds around us. People followed Jesus and they asked him for a sign. Their forefathers received manna from heaven – what would Jesus offer them? In verse 35 he says “I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty.” There is a hunger in all of us. A hunger for connection, for truth, for purpose. There are a lot of things that can dull those hunger pains for short periods of time, but they never really satisfy us. It isn’t until we begin to fill ourselves up with Jesus that that gnawing hunger can be satisfied. In Ecclesiastes it says that “He has also set eternity in the human heart.” That desire for eternity, for what is real beyond this temporary world, is a desire God has placed in each and every one of us. It’s what we hunger for in our souls and what only he can satisfy. The parched, thirsty deserts of our heart are quenched by him. He provides for us, he shows up in our storms and walks right through the waves to reach us. He is the bread of life, the water that never runs dry. Come to him today and be made full.
Pray this prayer today: God help me to fill up my hungry heart with you. Quench my thirst with your presence. I know you have placed eternity in my heart, and I know that it is only you who can fill that longing. Come and fill me today.
DAY 7 – John 7
“Whoever believes in me as the scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.” (John 7:38) If you have been following these devotionals from the beginning then today is Sunday! Our first week or prayer and fasting is done. At this point in John, Jesus finds himself on the last day of the Feast of Tabernacles and it says that the verse we just read was said by Jesus in a loud voice. The Pharisees were already trying to arrest him and kill him. He was making sure he was heard. Those who believed in him would not have stagnant lives any longer. The Holy Spirit was coming and those who believed in him would receive it. That Holy Spirit lives in us. Those streams of living water flow within us. As you finish this first week, remember who Jesus is, let faith be built in you, remember he is always working in you, it is Jesus who satisfies, and it is his Spirit that flows within us.
Pray this prayer today: Lord, let your streams of living water flow within me today and every day.