Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

21-Day Prayer/Fast – Day 2

1 Chronicles 21:26

David built an altar to the Lord there and sacrificed burnt offerings and fellowship offerings.  He called on the Lord, and the Lord answered him with fire from heaven on the altar of burnt offering.

01032015 RayIt is day 2 of our 21-day prayer/fast.  I hope your New Year has started well.  Have you made resolutions for the year?  Are they still unbroken – LOL?  We talked a little about resolutions on Sunday.  My prayer is that we will continue to seek His face – while desiring His grace.  Carolyn and I have cleaned the atrium (taking down our Christmas decorations) and I put a kneeler near one of the sliding doors so we could kneel to pray and look out into the woods behind our home.  I plan to spend a lot of time on that kneeler during these 21 days.  Make yourself a place to pray and spend time in God’s presence.  Create an altar area where you can worship God and offer yourself to Him.  Make a place to sacrifice self before the Almighty!

Today’s passage is about building an altar and sacrificing on that altar.  David was ordered by an angel to go and prepare an altar and to sacrifice to God upon it.  As David was following his directions he made a point of paying for the altar and the sacrifices.  David didn’t want to offer God something that was cheap or easy!  He wanted his offering to cost him something.  I love that Biblical truth!  1 Chronicles 21:24 – But King David replied to Araunah, “No, I insist on paying the full price. I will not take for the Lord what is yours, or sacrifice a burnt offering that costs me nothing.”

21 day fastSo here is a question for us to ponder.  During the 21-Day Prayer/Fast – what will we offer God?  What sacrifice will we make that will cost us something?  A fast is a time of showing spiritual control over the physical world around us (like our hunger or our desires).  I am fasting from social media for personal use (it wasn’t easy yesterday).  I am also adding two sermons to my daily devotional life.  This will cut something out (personal) and add something (spiritual) to my daily walk.  I’m also on a very restrictive diet – cutting out loads of things I desire. Today I will reduce my intake even further.  The plan is to get to a place where I can say I eat to live – rather than live to eat.  I want total control over my stomach and desires – yielding that control to Jesus!

What is it that might cost us something more than an inconvenience?  What if for some – our fast was not eating during the daylight hours.  What if those who followed this fast offered God not only the sacrifice of not eating – but also gave Him the time we would have spent eating in prayer and devotion?  What if we also took the money we would have spent on the food and snacks we would have eaten during the daylight hours and gave it to a food bank – or our church Good Samaritan Fund – or another charity?  Denying self is part of a fast.  The challenge is to spend more time in God’s presence – seeking His face while desiring His grace.

Today’s larger reading – 1 Chronicles 21:18-27 – touched my spirit and mind – not only for the 21-Day Prayer/Fast but also in my daily walk with Jesus.  It caused me to think – what am I offering God on a daily basis that costs me something?  A tithe of my income is one thing – but what about a tithe of my time – or of my talent?  Why stop at a tithe – what about giving Jesus my all – not just what I offer on the altar as a sacrifice but all that I have as well?  When folks join the church – at least in our denomination – they promise to support the church with their prayers – time – talents – and gifts.  If that is a base for a new disciple – a new follower of Jesus – what additional sacrifice – what additional offering – might we make to God during this prayer/fast and as we mature in our faith?  Just a thought.

What will our sacrifice be during this fast?  Part of the answer given is to – make sure it’s a sacrifice that will cost us something.  The encouragement is for us to make our commitment in writing and sharing it with someone who will help to hold us accountable (several people put their fast on Facebook for others to help hold them accountable).  We can do that through the comment section to this blog post or more privately with someone.

I’m praying for you as you walk this walk – please pray for me.  I know of some other folks who are walking through this 21-Day Prayer/Fast with us.  I hope there are folks I’m unaware of as well.  I pray your day goes well today.  If you have removed some or all food – I have found that the first 3-4 days are the hardest.  Drink plenty of water.  God bless you today and every day.  I would love to read or hear what God is doing in your life through this prayer/fast.

Just something to think about today as you go on your way.

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January 6, 2015 - Posted by | Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, Fast, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Sermons, Theology | , , , , , , , , , ,

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