This week I’m participating in a Week of Prayer and Fasting at Suburban Church. Suburban joins other area churches that select a week in the month of January to pray and fast before the Lord. This year Suburban’s theme is “Looking to Jesus”. For this week I will share devotional thoughts gleaned from the scripture passages and prayer times our Elders and other prayer leaders will share.
READ: Hebrews 12:1, 2; John 15
Honestly, as I began this day I felt a little fretful. I’m a creature of habit. I like my quiet time and the places the Lord takes me. As I begin the Week of Prayer and Fasting there is a Prayer and Fasting 2016 Devotional booklet in my hand. The booklet has a message from one of Suburban’s Elders for each day. Each message includes scripture to consider. In addition each day the devotional booklet includes recommendations from our Prayer Ministry team for how to pray and with that is a potentially different scripture focus. And then there is a guided morning prayer time with another scripture focus. And a guided evening prayer time with the possibility of another scripture focus. Can you say drinking at the fire hose?
My heart and mind changed after enjoying the guided prayer time this morning. The 2016 Devotional booklet had me focused on Hebrews 12:1,2. I didn’t have much time to spend in it before heading to the church, but a couple of messages came through loud and clear. Eyes on Jesus. Throw off that which hinders you. Throw off the sin that so easily entangles you. There is joy set before you. YES LORD! As I drove to church, the crystalline and nearly full moon was a beacon in the west that seemed to lead me there. Even if I wasn’t looking directly at it, I couldn’t help but see it anytime I traveled in a westerly direction. So beautiful and so compelling. It felt like a tangible picture of the pleasure of eyes on Jesus – following Him.
Then at church we focused in on John 15. The vine and branches. Remain in me. I’ll do the pruning. Produce fruit that lasts. All of a sudden the commands of Hebrews 12 and the rich story of remaining in Jesus, a branch of the vine, came together in a sweet synergy that just makes sense. I am to throw off that which hinders me and throw off the sin that so easily entangles, but the way for that to happen is to keep my eyes on Jesus, to remain firmly attached to the vine. I know that He is the great husbandman and he will cut off that which sucks life and diminishes fruit. He will also dig out the sin that wraps itself around me, almost becoming one with me to where I can’t even recognize it. But He knows and He will tear it out at the root and destroy it.
I came home filled and refreshed and excited for this week. This may be a Week of Prayer and Fasting, but I’m hearing a sweet invitation to a spiritual feast! There is a banquet laid before me, a smorgasbord in fact, and God will direct me into the nourishment that is what He has for me each day.
Lord, Wow! How I praise You for Your Word and for the way you are marking the race before me. Lord You’ve set a path for me to follow and this week that path comes through others that You have directed and led. This feels like a gourmet spiritual adventure. Thank You so much! Praise You for the table You have set before me!
Would you like to participate in the 2016 Week of Prayer and Fasting? You can download the 2016 Week of Prayer and Fasting Devotional Booklet below.
2016 Prayer Fasting Booklet