21 Days of Prayer
August 5 – 25
At Victory, it’s a priority to seek God first in prayer. From August 5 – 25, we will faithfully seek God together as a church about taking our place as Kingdom Builders. We’ll also spend time praying specifically for the ministries and projects served through Kingdom Builders. Join us by participating in morning prayer and worship and by following along in our 21-day devotional, which will be available soon.
Morning prayer and worship will be held in the Main Sanctuary on weekdays from 6 to 7 am and on Saturdays in the Student Auditorium from 9 to 10 am. Prayer will also be streamed—LIVE—at live.lifeatvictory.com, and will remain on demand so you can join in at a time that’s convenient for you.
Day 1: Reach, Rescue, Restore
Isaiah 61:1-3 (NIV) – The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion—to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of His splendor.
A21 Campaign: The A21 Campaign was started by Christine Caine to abolish sex trafficking and slavery everywhere, forever. A21 outlines three methods by which they accomplish their mission:
- Reach: Resource people through events, presentations, and education programs to prevent slavery from happening.
- Rescue: Work closely with law enforcement to get victims out of slavery.
- Restore: Help victims to restore what has been lost. Victims receive housing, counseling, education, employment, and more.
The heartbeat of Jesus is displayed in those three areas: reach, rescue, and restore.
At one point or another in our lives, we’ve all needed to be reached, rescued, and restored. Think of a time in your life when Jesus brought you freedom from sin, shame, guilt, condemnation, or addiction. Now, realize that Isaiah 61 commissions us, the freed, to do the same for others.
As believers, we have Christ’s anointing and have been given the authority to reach the lost, rescue the captives, and comfort all who mourn. Our calling is to help individuals FIND FREEDOM in their everyday lives. In the busyness of life, it’s easy for us to be led by excuses.
I’m too busy. I don’t have enough money. I don’t know where to start.
Instead of trying to figure out the HOW, let’s ask God to show us the WHO. God is calling you to bestow a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair to the individuals around you. I’m sure that Christine Caine could have asked herself those same questions. Instead of allowing the HOW to stop her, she decided to focus on the WHO. Let’s be people who reach, rescue, and restore the lost and the broken. Let’s focus on the WHO.
Prayer Focus: Let’s pray for the victims of sex trafficking and slavery, that they would know God and find restoration in Him. Pray for their protection, freedom, and justice. Let’s be bold enough to pray for the traffickers. Pray for conviction, repentance, and salvation. Let’s pray for criminal networks to be dismantled and for the oppressors to be arrested and prosecuted. Pray for corruption within governments to cease, and pray that governments partner with the right people to end slavery. Pray against root causes that lead to sex trafficking and slavery: poverty, greed, and prejudice. Finally, let’s pray for global awareness and for people to be called to action to help prevent sex trafficking.
Day 2: Until the Whole World Hears
Mark 16:15-16 (NIV) – He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.
Messenger International: The story began in 1990 with John and Lisa Bevere trekking across the country to preach the Gospel in their Honda Civic. Since then, they’ve evolved into a multi-country, multi-site operation that impacts millions of people worldwide through discipleship studies, leadership development initiatives, traveling and speaking, publishing, and anti-trafficking/humanitarian work. John and Lisa are recognized globally for their boldness and uncompromising approach to Scripture. They are both best-selling authors, whose books have been translated into more than 100 languages.
The heartbeat of Messenger International is summed up in Mark 16:15. “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.” Their mission—Develop Uncompromising Followers of Christ Who Transform Our World. What an incredible calling! But it’s not just a calling for Messenger International—it’s for everyone who knows Jesus as Lord and Savior.
Mark 16 relays Jesus’ final words to the disciples before ascending into heaven.
Imagine being there in that moment; just days prior, the Messiah had been crucified, died, and was buried. It’s been just hours since hearing, not once but twice, that Jesus is alive! But doubt creeps in. How can this be? And now Jesus himself stands before you—and His final words to you before ascending to heaven are these: “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.” But he doesn’t stop there. He provides the domineering motive for these final words. “Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.” And so they went out and preached everywhere, and the Lord worked with them (Mark 16:20).
As believers, we’ve been commissioned to share the “Good News” of Jesus. We may not all be a John or Lisa Bevere, but we’ve been commissioned all the same to go into our world and share the gospel with those around us—family, friends, neighbors, and co-workers. As Kingdom Builders, we passionately step into this calling, knowing the stakes are high and eternity awaits.
Prayer Focus: Let’s pray for John and Lisa Bevere and those serving with Messenger International to have open doors to bring the gospel to every area of the world. Let’s pray that through the translated materials, uncompromising followers of Christ are developed who transform their world. Let’s pray that those called to pastor will step into their grace and rise up with boldness and authority as they proclaim the goodness in their towns and villages. Finally , let’s pray that each of us steps into the calling commissioned to us by preaching the gospel to our family, friends, neighbors, and co-workers, trusting that as we go out, the Lord goes with us.
Day 3: What Does It Mean to Be Approved of God?
2 Timothy 2:15 (KJV) – Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
Dynamis World Ministries: Christopher and Britta Alam are graduates of RHEMA Bible Training College in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Christopher is an Ordained Minister of the General Council of the Assemblies of God. They are the founders of Dynamis World Ministries, a worldwide mission organization with its headquarters in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, and with mission bases and offices in Sweden, Zimbabwe, and in a closed country in Southeast Asia. They hold large open-air crusades, train pastors, plant churches, provide humanitarian relief, publish literature, and train church-planters at their church-planting school. Crusades conducted in Africa and Asia are leading more than one million people to Christ annually.
Many Christians today believe that overcoming tests and trials will help them gain God’s approval or favor. They possess a belief that they must earn favor from God by doing things in their own strength and ability. When a mistake on their part is made (and there are always mistakes), there is a sense of shame and guilt. They often get this view from Paul’s instruction to Timothy.
“Study and do your best to present yourself to God approved, a workman [tested by trial] who has no reason to be ashamed, accurately handling and skillfully teaching the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15, AMP).
Some translations of this verse will include or emphasize being a “hard worker,” or as in the Amplified translation above, “tested and tried,” as ways we can earn God’s approval.
Paul wasn’t telling Timothy he needed to work harder or suffer tests and trials to prove to God he was worthy of His approval. We know Timothy was a young minister whom some despised because of his youth. His mother was Jewish, so he had knowledge of the Old Testament law, and Paul saw great potential in this young man who eventually would be part of Paul’s team in spreading the gospel.
Paul himself discovered something in the Scriptures that changed his life. He was pointing Timothy to the same life-changing discovery he had made. Paul tells Timothy to study the Scriptures to show “yourself” that you are approved of God! He wasn’t challenging Timothy to work harder at being a better Christian or to do his best to pass tests and trials to earn God’s approval. Instead, He wanted him to see from God’s Word that because of what Jesus did, he was already approved of God. What a relief to get off the treadwheel of religion to rest and relax in knowing that God approves of you already.
My children didn’t need to earn my approval to be my child. They already had my approval and acceptance. It isn’t the tests and trials that gave them their identity or the ability to overcome in life. It is knowing who they are that does. This is true when we, as believers, discover who we are in Christ. Our identity, approval, and acceptance with God do not come from overcoming tests and trials in life. They do not prove to God how worthy we are. We overcome in life because of who we are in Christ.
Paul had to discover this truth for himself when he studied the Scriptures. He wanted Timothy to make the same discovery that he already had God’s approval because he was in Christ.
Paul goes on to say, “a workman that needs not to be ashamed.” When you don’t know if God approves of you or not, you will feel ashamed. It shows your lack of confidence in God.
Paul reminds Timothy to “rightly divide the word of truth.” When you divide something, you cut it in two or separate it. Paul was reminding Timothy not to mix the Old Covenant law with New Covenant grace. The Apostle Paul was passionate about this point. He addressed these issues in his letter to the Roman churches and goes into detail in his letter to the Galatians. They had mixed the law with grace and produced a false gospel. They stopped seeing the miracle-working power of God in their lives.
If Timothy had made the same mistake as the Galatians, he wouldn’t have seen or experienced God’s approval of him. Condemnation, shame, and guilt would have ruled and reigned in his heart. His spiritual life would be one of frustration and uncertainty. Doubt would replace peace, and fear would replace faith.
Whenever we question God’s approval and acceptance of us, we live in denial of what Jesus did for us through His death, burial, and resurrection.
“To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God. For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him” (2 Corinthians 5:19-21).
If Jesus is your Lord, then God already approves and accepts you. Knowing this truth drives out guilt, shame, and fear and will give you the boldness to do what God has equipped you to do.
Prayer Focus: Pray that people realize and understand that God loves them unconditionally and that His approval is not based upon what they can do for Him but on what He has already done for us. Our study of His Word reveals the reality of this truth.
Day 4: The Law of Christ
Gal. 6:2 (NKJ) – Bear one another’s burdens and so fulfill the law of Christ.
James 1:27 (NKJV) – Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world.
Mutual Faith Ministries: Led by Keith Hershey, Mutual Faith Ministries builds and houses rescued orphan boys in General Santos City, Philippines. This ministry is also renovating a campus ministry in Beirut, Lebanon, where they’re providing food and housing for Syrian refugee families that come to Beirut. Keith’s ministry is actively fulfilling the two passages of scripture we’re looking at today.
The things closest to the Father’s heart—the things He views as precious—revolve around personal holiness AND caring for the need.
God’s majesty and power are best understood in light of His tender compassion toward orphans and widows. When His children care for the distressed, their actions are pure and faultless in God’s view because they reflect His heart and love.
We can love as He loves because His love has been shed abroad in our hearts (Romans 5:5). We are able to imitate Him (Eph. 5:1) because we have His same Spirit dwelling inside of us.
Look around, observe those in need, and then strive to extravagantly fulfill that need. In doing so, you will be fulfilled and live a satisfied life.
Prayer Focus: Let’s lift up Keith Hershey and Mutual Faith Ministries, as well as all the ministries with which they are involved. Let’s pray for those less fortunate than we are. Lift up the orphans and widows, the down and out, and those who feel abandoned. Pray that they would know God and experience His unconditional love. Pray that they would not allow life’s circumstances to define them but that they would instead discover their purpose. In doing so, they will come to a place where they can also help others in need and, in doing so, fulfill the Law of Christ.
Day 5: Living a Life Free of Fear
1 John 4:18 (TLB) – We need have no fear of someone who loves us perfectly; his perfect love for us eliminates all dread of what he might do to us. If we are afraid, it is for fear of what he might do to us and shows that we are not fully convinced that he really loves us.
R.E.A.C.H. Ministries (Reaching East Asia with the Commission of Christ): Pastor Scott Fletcher is the Director of Project: R.E.A.C.CH. Ministries that focuses on training and empowering Asian Nationals and launching those leaders to plant churches in unreached villages throughout Vietnam, Cambodia, and Myanmar. He has served for more than 15 years in missions, where he and his wife Krista enjoy life in Thailand raising their 3 kids, Zach, Madison, and Micah.
The Apostle John’s comments have to do with a believer’s relationship with God. If people believe God is going to judge or punish them for past or present sins and failures, they still have an incomplete understanding of God’s character. This lack of knowledge will hinder their communion and level of intimacy with their heavenly Father. It will also weaken their confidence in Him. People will stay away from the things that scare them.
“Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:16, NKJV).
Many Christians today confuse the meanings of grace and mercy. From the passage above, we can see they are very different and have totally different functions. Mercy is God’s power, passion, and desire to treat you better than you deserve, while grace is God’s ability working in you to fulfill His will. How could someone come with boldness or confidence if he or she expects harsh treatment and may even be put to death? Believers can have this confidence because of what Jesus accomplished at the cross on our behalf. He took our punishment upon Himself; the punishment for sin was poured out on Him, not us who deserved it. The Bible says God’s anger was satisfied, and the price for sin has been paid. The demands of justice have been met, and the justice of God today treats us with mercy, not wrath or rejection.
Many Christians rarely have any fellowship with God. They live in shame and unresolved guilt over their past sins and struggles. When Jesus said He would never leave you, He meant it! He didn’t say He will only be present when you are sinless. In Romans 8, Paul teaches that there is nothing that can separate you from God’s love. No demon or anything YOU may do will change His mind about loving you.
Knowing this, we can come with tremendous boldness and enter His presence seeking help for whatever we need. The very fact that God offers us mercy when we come to Him should tell us that He is fully prepared to handle all our failures and sins. It is also quite clear that the acceptance of His grace will enable us to rise above our failures and to win over sin. This can only happen in a healthy “fear free” relationship.
Your relationship with God is always a “No Fear Zone.” You have no sound reason to be afraid of Him or think that your sins disqualify you from knowing and experiencing Him and the benefits that go with that relationship.
Prayer Focus: Pray that all men may know and experience God’s love in a greater way than they have ever known. Pray that our first thought as Christians after we have failed in an area of our lives, is that we can come boldly to the throne of grace, where perfect love and peace are available to us instantly.
Day 6: Mind Renewal
Romans 12:2 (NIV) – Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing, and perfect will.
Living Water Ministries (Matt & Angela Catinella): Living Water is bringing a revolution to the youth of Uganda. They are seeking out the youth of Uganda in schools, churches, and even on the streets. Uganda has the youngest population in the world. 70% of the population is under the age of 30! The AIDS infection rate is 1 in 5 and 1 out of 10 are orphaned.
Living Water’s vision is to raise up a different generation—one that will not repeat the past and will instead become a generation that serves the Lord. To accomplish this, they are building a state-of-the-art youth center in Uganda to reach underprivileged youth and to provide a safe place for them to participate in sports and programs. They are also building a church to reach the community and to transform lives with the love of Christ.
As Christians, we should not conform to the culture or the pattern of this world. We are in this world but not of this world. We are called to be salt and light. When we made Jesus our Lord and Savior, we became a new creation in Christ. The old is gone and the new is here! So, we take up our cross daily. We are no longer slaves to past sinful behaviors.
We need to be governed by God’s Word. To renew our minds, we must take time daily to worship, pray, read the Bible, and listen for God’s voice on the inside. If you don’t have a daily appointment with God right now, make a commitment to start. Consistency—not perfection—is important. It doesn’t need to be lengthy. Start with what you can do and build on it.
The great thing about Living Water is that they are teaching the youth of Uganda to do this very thing. They know that this practice of spending time with God daily will bring a revolution to that country and raise a generation of people who will serve the Lord!
Prayer Focus: Let’s pray that we would not conform to the pattern of this world but that we would be transformed by the renewing our minds. Let’s pray that we would take the steps necessary to dedicate ourselves to consuming God’s Word daily. Pray also for a revolution to start amongst the youth of Uganda. Pray that Living Water Ministries would be the catalyst for this revolution and that their efforts would multiply the Kingdom of God.
Day 7: All Are Called
Mark 16:15-20 – And Jesus said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature. He who believes and is baptized will be saved, but he who does not believe will be condemned. And these signs will follow those who believe. In My Name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.” So then, after the Lord had spoken to them, He was received up into Heaven, and sat down at the right hand of God. And they went out and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them and confirming the Word through the accompanying signs. Amen.
Victory’s Annual Missionary Support: As a church, we support 36 global missionaries and ministries on a monthly basis.
As you can see in our scripture today, believers are called to go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. This isn’t a suggestion but rather a mandate for every believer. You may not feel qualified, but according to God’s Word, He has called you to be an ambassador for the Kingdom.
What most Christians don’t realize is that all people are called. Some will pack their bags and actually go, but many more will send. Missions require that the entire Body of Christ do their part. Discover your purpose and then make an impact. We need senders, goers, prayer warriors, and planners all working together to spread the gospel throughout the world.
Whether you send or go, every soul that is won, every person that is healed, delivered, and set free is credited to your account. There is no greater investment.
Prayer Focus: Let’s lift up our missionaries and the ministries that we support. Let’s pray for protection, provision, open doors, and favor in everything that they put their hands to. Let’s pray and seek God to know our part and pray that the entire Body of Christ would contribute and make an impact to further the Kingdom of God around the world.
Day 8: Partnering with God
Philippians 4:15-17 (ESV) – And you Philippians yourselves know that in the beginning of the gospel, when I left Macedonia, no church entered into partnership with me in giving and receiving, except you only. Even in Thessalonica you sent me help for my needs once and again. Not that I seek the gift, but I seek the fruit that increases to your credit.
Tony Cooke Ministries: Tony and Lisa Cooke understand the challenges and demands encountered by spiritual leaders. For that reason, Tony Cooke Ministries has a great passion for seeing ministers and local churches succeed. They are committed to helping pastors, church staff, and congregations achieve new levels of excellence, effectiveness, and productivity.
Supporting a ministry like theirs with prayer and financial gifts not only gives them what they need to keep ministering, but it also connects you to their blessing. You become their partner.
Paul notes that the Philippian believers were the only church to financially support him when he left Macedonia. Paul remembered their unwavering and unique support. The phrase “first preaching of the gospel” is not a reference to the start of the church, but rather the initial preaching of the gospel among the Philippians. In the early days of their congregation, they helped finance Paul’s work—a noble action which Paul made sure to thank them for even years later.
Interestingly, Paul refers to their financial gifts as a “partnership with me in giving and receiving.” They gave financially and received spiritual benefits. A similar relationship exists today between local churches and those they support in ministry and missionary activities. Through our giving to Kingdom Builders, we impact people through the ministries which it supports and the people which it assists. This support also benefits the spiritual lives of those who give.
When we support those who are proclaiming the gospel, we “enter into partnership” with them and with God in saving those who are lost.
Prayer Focus: Let’s pray for the funding for Tony Cooke’s ministry that strengthens churches and leaders in Africa, Asia, Europe, and Russia. Let’s also pray that we all partner with God so that the message of the gospel can be preached.
Day 9: Encourage One Another
1 Thessalonians 5:11 (TLB) – So encourage each other to build each other up, just as you are already doing.
Significant Church Network: Pastor Jim Graff and the Significant Church Network are all about adding value to life and ministry through relational connections, resources, and helpful counsel and advice. They exist to remind the local churches in smaller communities of their SIGNIFICANCE! Together, we are empowered knowing that we are not isolated in how we are serving our communities. Knowing your significance will inspire you to continue the good work you are doing in your local church!
Loving others includes encouraging one another. In Romans 12:7-8, Paul lists encouragement among the gifts of grace. When people accomplish a common objective together, all are encouraged. Fellow believers encourage one another to “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” (2 Peter 3:18)
Encouragement is a gift in the home, the workplace, the church—wherever we find ourselves. We can come alongside others and be there for one another. We can listen, comfort, console, and affirm. It’s a way of living out the command to love one another.
Take time to recall the people who have been encouragers in your life. They’re the ones who were there when you thought you’d never laugh again. They were the ones who listened to you, whereas others just talked. Then ask yourself, “When was the last time I encouraged someone?” It’s not difficult, and the people you encourage are blessed by it.
Prayer Focus: Let’s pray for God to help us recognize the struggler or the lonely—anyone who needs the encouragement of love and hope today. Let’s pray that we continue to encourage each other and build each other up in the faith. And finally, let’s pray that we continue to inspire others to do good work in the local church.
Day 10: Why Plant Churches?
Matthew 28:18-20 (NLT) – Jesus came and told his disciples, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
Association of Related Churches: ARC, the Association of Related Churches, partners with church planters and church leaders to provide support, guidance, and resources to launch and grow life-giving churches in the Northeast.
Victory Family Church was founded more than 25 years ago with a primary mission of impacting the northeast region of the United States. Through the years, God has allowed us to assist countless churches in our region, and yet we always knew there was more to come. Within the past year, God has opened some amazing doors for us to greatly expand our impact in the Northeast, and ARC is one of those open doors. ARC has launched more than 840 churches to date, and we are positioned to be a catalyst for an increased focus on the Northeast. Through our relationship with ARC and by working with other key leaders and churches in the Northeast, we believe we’ll see a revival in the region.
Our scripture today is commonly referred to as the “Great Commission.” We are told by Jesus, the Head of the Church, to “go and make disciples.” Dozens of denominational studies have confirmed that the average new church gains most of its new members (60-80%) from the ranks of people who are not attending church. Church planting is a key element in evangelization (reaching the lost) and as a follower of Jesus, each of us is to participate in the expansion of His Kingdom. We are called to make an impact with our lives, and through your Kingdom Builders giving, you will impact the Northeast with the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Prayer Focus: Take time today to reflect on your role in expanding the Kingdom of God in the Northeast. Pray that every person that attends Victory will be a Kingdom Builder. Let’s pray that each of us will fulfill our God-given purpose—that doors will open throughout the Northeast for the expansion of the Kingdom of God. Pray that people will respond to the call of God upon their lives to be church planters and that the resources necessary to fulfill the Great Commission will be supplied.
Day 11: Shining the Light
Matthew 5:14-16 (NLT) – You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.
David Jones’ Book Project: David Jones is the Executive Director of Restoration Path, a Christian discipleship ministry that exists to restore through the power of Jesus Christ those trapped in sexual and relational sin. He is actively working on completing resources that will equip Christians and churches to help those caught in the crisis of sexual sin and sexual brokenness with the goal of restoration.
Jesus tells us that the way we influence the world around us is to let our good deeds shine. In fact, we are told to have such excellent behavior that people are ashamed to say anything negative about us (1 Peter 3:16). Our good deeds should give them a reason to glorify God (1 Peter 2:12).
Sadly, Christians are often marked by what we are against. While well-intentioned, we can fall into the trap of cursing darkness rather than reflecting God’s light. Though none of us has arrived at Christ-like perfection, people see God when our relationship with Him governs our behaviors. This is the highest honor imaginable—that we are His representatives on the earth.
The world around us is looking to see the reality of God through our behaviors. Are we truly more loving because of Jesus? Are our marriages stronger? Are we more dependable? Let’s take inventory of our lives and allow God to demonstrate His character through us. When we do, we will have a greater influence and impact upon the world.
Prayer Focus: Let’s pray that we, as the church, shine God’s character through our words and deeds. Let’s pray that our spheres of influence grow as we better reflect who God is. Let’s pray for boldness to shine our light in the darkest places with the Father’s heart.
Day 12: Meeting Needs Like Jesus
Philippians 4:19 – And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus. (ESV)
Urban Impact Foundation: Urban Impact has been serving the youth of Pittsburgh’s North Side for more than 20 years. Dr. Ed Glover and his wife Tammy lead an incredible team that is dedicated to investing in the lives of at-risk children, youth, and their families in order to develop responsible followers of Christ. They do this through several programs such as education, athletics, performing arts, and an options program, which helps students transition through and from high school. By working to meet the needs of the whole person through community outreach, Urban Impact is bringing transformative hope to Pittsburgh one person, one family, one block at a time.
Repeatedly, we hear that the world is full of people who are in need, but as Christians, how can we help? How can we meet the needs of so many people? In the field of psychology, Abraham Maslow’s theory ranks food, shelter, friendship, love, and security as our basic human needs. Whether Maslow realized it or not, this is a direct reflection of the way Jesus ministered to people–body, soul, and spirit. His ministry was comprehensive. He met many physical needs like healing lepers and providing food for the five thousand. Yet, he also ministered to emotional and spiritual needs as he interacted with children, temple leaders, tax collectors, and prostitutes, causing them to feel loved and accepted. Together with preaching the gospel, He interacted with his community. He lived and worked among the people. Jesus knew that healing and sustaining their bodies and mending their souls would give Him the opportunity to bring eternal life to their spirits.
So, where do we begin? Like Urban Impact, we can start in our neighborhoods, workplaces, grocery stores, and areas where we gather. This could be done through buying food for a single mom or spending time with an elderly neighbor. Sometimes, the most difficult part in ministering to the needs of others is just reaching outside of ourselves. Again, this is modeled by Jesus. In order to minister to the needs of those around Him, Jesus put aside considerations about reputation, status, and how others viewed him.
Through making connections with people, we can build relationships and thereby find opportunities to meet a variety of needs, ultimately pointing them to the one who can meet all of their needs—Jesus.
Prayer Focus: Let’s pray that Urban Impact’s influence in the North Side of Pittsburgh would continue to expand as they serve thousands of children and their families. Let’s pray that, as every physical and emotional need is met, they are drawn closer to their Heavenly Father who can supply all their needs. Finally, let’s ask God to show us the opportunities to meet the needs of those around us, and in humility, give of ourselves so that Jesus can be seen in us and through us.
Day 13: Do You Notice Me?
Matthew 25:34-36;40 (NIV) – Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me . . . Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.
Light of Life Rescue Mission: As a ministry of Jesus Christ, Light of Life Rescue Mission provides a home for the homeless, provides food for the hungry, and builds disciples for the Kingdom of God among the poor, addicted, abused, and needy. It’s led faithfully by Craig Schweiger and Victory’s very own Doug Smith.
Throughout the Bible, God calls us to notice others. There is a good chance that all of us have had someone “notice” us at a time in our lives when we felt despair or hopelessness. God doesn’t want us to simply identify a need; He wants us to meet it! How many times have we asked the church or someone else to meet a need that God has called us to meet?
Think about the story of Jesus and the Samaritan woman at the well in John 4. Jesus traveled to Samaria and found a well where he could take a moment to relax. There were no crowds, no opinions, and no people. He probably thought, “Finally, a moment where I can be alone.” Shortly after Jesus sat down by the well, a Samaritan woman came to draw water. At that time, Samaritans were looked down upon by Jews. Even worse, she was a Samaritan woman. Hebrew men did not talk with women in the streets, especially Samaritan women. An exhausted Jesus still took the time to speak to the Samaritan woman. He didn’t meet a physical need, but a spiritual one.
Think about how many times we are out in public and see someone we know. Sometimes we are in a rush and don’t have time to talk. We may even turn down a different aisle in the market to avoid the person. Jesus could have done the same with the Samaritan woman, but he didn’t. We should be “Jesus with skin” to others. We should be asking: “How can I care for others and MAKE AN IMPACT?” Take time to notice the people and the needs around you. Remember the words of Jesus in John 4:40: “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.”
One way we, as the church, are MAKING AN IMPACT is by supporting the Light of Life Rescue Mission. We are funding all meals that Light of Life provides for all Urban Impact after-school programs in 2019.
Prayer Focus: Let’s pray for Light of Life to have the resources and volunteers needed to reach as many people as possible. Let’s pray that every person who receives support from Light of Life would know God and find freedom in their life. Let’s pray that families would be made whole and restored in the city of Pittsburgh.
Day 14: Victory Family Church Campus Expansion
Matthew 28:19 (NKJV) – Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.
Victory New Castle Campus: This February, Victory Family Church will launch its first satellite campus in New Castle, PA. When we launch that campus, John and Kara Owens will be the Campus Pastors. Jesus tells us in the Gospel of Matthew that the local church is the light of the world. We are committed to expanding the local church by launching our own campuses and ministering to the hurting in our own backyards. We do this to help more people come to know a loving Heavenly Father.
In our key scripture, we are being called to plant churches. To “make disciples of all nations and to baptize them” is done in a local church. Acts 2:41-47 shows that this baptism was joining a community of believers. The only true way to be sure we are increasing the number of Christians in a city is to increase the number of churches there. C. Peter Wagner said, “Planting new churches is the most effective evangelistic methodology known under heaven.”
The greatest missionary we know, the Apostle Paul, went from city to city planting churches. Paul showed us that the most influential way to impact a city is to plant a church. Paul would plant a church, raise up leaders to take it over once he left, and then move on to the next city. By operating this way, he knew that when he left, the rest of what needed to take place in that church and with those new believers would happen.
Dozens of church studies have confirmed that the average new church gains most of its members (60–80 percent) from the ranks of people who are not attending church at all. Planting new churches is a proven strategy to evangelize the lost. These new churches are best equipped to reach new generations, new residents, and new people.
Prayer Focus: Pray as we launch the New Castle campus to make disciples of all nations that provision is made for the people needed to serve at our new campus, the properties we need to do the ministries to which God is calling us, and all that is needed to reach the world through this campus. Pray that we are a revitalizing light in every area of New Castle—that as we come, businesses and jobs return, the economy improves, crime decreases, and the entire city comes to know that God loves them unconditionally and they make Jesus their Lord and Savior.
Day 15: More Than Just a Gift
John 13:34-35 (ESV) – A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.
Christmas Blessing: For more than 10 years now, Victory’s Christmas Blessing has existed to bring joy to those in need at Christmas time. What was birthed out of a heart to help single parents and families has grown into a flourishing ministry aimed at organizations such as Glade Run, Father’s Heart, Victory Group, and Missionary Kids. Christmas Blessing provides an avenue for Victory Family Church to share the unconditional love of God both locally and globally as part of Kingdom Builders. Through the generosity of our Victory family, those who are experiencing challenging times are reminded that someone cares for them.
For some of us, Christmas is a wonderful time of the year. Freshly fallen snow promises the arrival of friends and family to help celebrate the season. A warm fire crackles and lights up the room as Nat King Cole reminds us of the joy that chestnuts bring. An awe-inspiring tree filled with twinkling lights provides the backdrop for tiny voices to marvel at its majesty and await the arrival of Old Saint Nick. Yes, for many, Christmas can be magical.
Yet for others, the frosty December air that fills the lungs with each breath is a reminder of the heaviness and burden that accompany the season. You may have loved ones whose embrace is far from your reach. Maybe you’ve been separated by an untimely passing. You might have past-due notices in the mail that take precedence over neatly wrapped gifts for the little ones.
The prophet Isaiah calls our attention to the fact that we serve a life-giving God who binds up the brokenhearted, proclaims liberty to the captive, and gives freedom to those who are bound. “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor; he has sent me to bind the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound.” (Isaiah 61:1) How many times has the Lord stepped into our lives to heal our hurts and to deliver us from bondage? How often has He reminded us of His unconditional love and unmerited favor?
The story doesn’t end there though. Yes, God offers His love and affection for us, but He also calls us to a life of example, compassion, and servanthood. He tells believers that they are the light of the world. “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but a stand and it gives light to all the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:14-16)
God has provided each of us with the authority to reach others with the life-changing news of the gospel. It’s through us that others may know God, find freedom, discover purpose, and make an impact. By making a difference in someone else’s life, we are providing them with more than just a gift.
Prayer Focus: Let’s pray for those who are lost, broken, or hurting. Pray that they will know and experience the unconditional love of God. Let’s pray for workers who are willing to serve others, not just at Christmas but during the entire year. Let’s pray for God’s provision to bless others through Christmas Blessing, both locally and globally. Let’s pray for eyes to be opened and hearts to be receptive to Jesus as the ultimate gift. Let’s pray that our focus would be less about “ME” and more about serving others in need. Lastly, let’s pray that our example would be a call to action for others to make a difference in the lives of those who are struggling.
Day 16: Multiplication in the Northeast
Acts 16:9 (ESV) – And a vision appeared to Paul in the night: a man of Macedonia was standing there, urging him and saying, “Come over to Macedonia and help us.”
Matthew 5:14-16 (NLT) – You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.
Victory Multiplication Network: Victory Multiplication Network is a ministry of Victory Family Church that primarily exists to impact the Northeast. We focus on leadership development within the local church and on the revitalization of existing churches, empowering them to reach their communities with the love of God.
Every community needs a living, vibrant, local church. Yet, so many churches struggle to impact their community. Fifty percent of all churches in America average fewer than 100 in worship attendance, and many churches are just simply trying to exist for another week. As believers, we are called by our heavenly Father to be the light of the world—impacting the lives of those around us with the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ. The church is the vehicle God chose to reach the world. As members of the church, each of us has a role to play in making its work effective.
As you reflect on our scriptures today, ask yourself how you are being used as a light. Have you stepped into the ministry God has called you to in the church? Are you using the gifts God gave you to serve others? 1 Peter 4:10 tells us “Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in various forms.” As each of us takes our place in the Body of Christ, the church expands, grows, becomes more effective, and becomes more alive. A church that is alive and vibrant is full of people who are alive and vibrant. A church like that can’t help but impact the community in which it lives.
Prayer Focus: Let’s pray that each of us will use the gifts with which our heavenly Father has graced us to serve others. Pray that God will continue to open doors for us to assist the local church in the Northeast and to see churches revitalized, becoming vibrant, living reflections of the love of God in their community. Also, as Jesus instructed in Luke 10:2, pray for leaders and laborers to enter the plentiful harvest fields.
Day 17: The Character Gap
Proverbs 11:5 (TPT) – Those with good character walk on a smooth path, with no detour or deviation. But the wicked keep falling because of their own wickedness.
Unaltered (formerly Silver Ring Thing): Unaltered is bringing healing and wholeness, through the gospel, to a generation trapped in sexual sin, brokenness, and bondage. This year, Victory gave toward their new tour bus, which carries their team around the nation to more than 60 events per year.
As Christians, we should always be trying to close the gap between who we are and who we want to be. It’s called a character gap. We should desire to close that gap and have integrity ingrained into our character.
What is integrity? Integrity means to be whole. We all want to be wholesome. What hurts a lot of Christians though is not having character—good, upright, godly character. If you have kinks or flaws in your character, do your best to start addressing those flaws. For example, if you struggle with lying, you should work on speaking only truth and discover what it is in your heart that’s negatively influencing you.
Let’s be honest, we all have issues within our character. Let’s strive to be the best Christians we can be, and let’s work on closing the gap between who we are and who we want to be. The great thing about Unaltered is that they don’t just want young people to live better lives, they also want to help them live godly, wholesome lives.
Prayer Focus: Let’s pray that we all grow to fully comprehend God’s goodness and grow in godly character. Let’s pray that the leaders of Unaltered have the wisdom and the clarity needed to witness to the next generation.
Day 18: Waiting for Workers
Matthew 9:35-38 (NIV) – Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the Kingdom and healing every disease and sickness. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.”
Waymaker School of Ministry: Waymaker prepares and propels the next generation of ministry leaders so they can make a significant impact for the Kingdom of God. It combines theory and practice through hands-on ministry training, a foundation in biblical study, and the opportunity to earn a degree from Southeastern University. This fall, Waymaker is launching an evening program to increase its reach.
Sometimes, we assume the world is not interested in receiving Jesus. While there are those who are not open, Jesus tells us there is not a harvest shortage. In fact, the harvest is greater than our capacity to reap it. The problem is lack of workers.
Are you a worker in the field or are you on the sidelines? You will never fulfill God’s purpose for your life apart from helping others know God, find freedom, discover purpose, and make an impact. So, what is your next step as God’s worker?
Maybe you need to make church attendance a priority, or maybe you need to start telling your story at work. Maybe it’s time to lead a small group or to join a Dream Team. Perhaps you need to attend Waymaker School of Ministry.
Do not allow fear or apathy to hold you back. The only result of that path is regret. On the other hand, someone’s life can be forever changed because of your faithful obedience.
Prayer Focus: Let’s pray that God will send out workers to help others know God, find freedom, discover purpose, and make an impact. Let’s ask God what our part to play is and what step we need to take. Let’s pray for boldness to speak and to act as He leads us.
Day 19: Unplanned—Alexa & Steve’s Story
Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV) – “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
Women’s Choice Network: Founded in 1985 and restructured 2009, this impacting ministry serves the most vulnerable of our next generation. They provide rescue for those who are yet unborn and in danger of being aborted by their mothers. They also provide care and support for moms who chose to keep their babies.
WCN’s mission is to empower those most vulnerable to abortion to choose life with a vision to build a culture of life in Pittsburgh by defending unborn children, meeting the needs of those at risk and unprepared for pregnancy, healing those traumatized by abortion, and inviting local communities to embrace a biblical view of sexuality.
Those who promote abortion have shaped a culture in which families will abort for any reason—or no reason at all. It’s not only single mothers who are contemplating what steps to take when finding out they are pregnant. “Unplanned” describes many of the pregnancies occurring in our area. Here’s one couple’s story shared by the Women’s Choice Network:
“Alexa and Steve have a stable marriage and a comfortable life together. They both have good jobs, but a pregnancy wasn’t part of their immediate plans. And, because they felt a baby should be planned, when the test was positive, they were strongly considering abortion. They felt it would be more responsible to wait and have a baby later—when they could plan for it.
Our team specializes in communicating the value and sanctity of human life. Our ultrasound program, resources, and staff training uniquely equips us to provide reassurance, support, and a safe place to reconsider the options. We open parents’ eyes to the plans God has for them—plans for wellbeing, a future, and a hope.”
So, what became of Alexa and Steve’s plans?
“We had our baby! He was born in April, and we are all doing wonderfully. He is a great baby; he has been perfectly healthy. When we visited your office in August, we were so worried that he wouldn’t be healthy, as my pregnancy was unplanned. Your staff was such a great resource for us. Can’t tell you how much we appreciated the help!”
Praise God for this amazing outcome! But, not only does God know the plans He has for Alexa and Steve’s baby, He also knows the plans He has for each of us. Only when we step into the ministry calling God’s placed on each of our lives can we fulfill those plans and make an impact in our world.
Prayer Focus: Let’s pray for the Women’s Choice Network as they continue to minister God’s love to the most vulnerable of our next generation. Let’s pray for the Holy Spirit to minister to those faced with an unplanned pregnancy, guiding them to biblical ministries like the Women’s Choice Network. Let’s pray for God to bind up the brokenhearted, and bring peace, comfort, and healing for those traumatized by abortion. Let’s pray for a culture of life to be present in Pittsburgh and our surrounding areas and for our local communities to embrace a biblical view of sexuality. Finally, let’s pray that we passionately step into the plans and purpose God has for each of us, and as Kingdom Builders, we discover our purpose and make an impact in our region and the entire Northeast.
Day 20: Love Others
Mark 12:30-31 (NIV) – Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these.
Victory Student Mission Trip Fund: This fund fully covers the cost for high school juniors and seniors to participate in an overseas mission trip, as well as a project directly associated with the trip. This experience enables them to actually become Kingdom Builders and to use that as a foundation for a truly abundant life.
As Christians, the two greatest commands Jesus gave us were to love God and to love people. A fully mature Christian realizes the full measure of how much God loves them, and, in response, they live their life loving God and loving people.
How do we love people? A few simple ways are to serve them, to help them take steps toward Christ, and to pray for them. For people who are in your circle of influence who are not saved, this might mean inviting them to church and/or sharing the gospel with them yourself. Serving people who are not in your current sphere of influence might mean going on a mission trip. It will change your life, and it will make an eternal impact on someone else’s life.
This is the essence of loving your neighbor. That is why it’s so important that high school juniors and seniors go on a fully funded mission trip. It will impact their lives as they walk out one of the most important commandments in the Bible—the commandment to love others.
Prayer Focus: Let’s pray that we become others focused. Let’s pray that we would love our neighbors well and that people would see the love of God when we are around them. Pray that our high school juniors and seniors make an eternal impact on the people to which they minister on their mission trips. Finally, pray that these trips teach our students to live lives of love and service.
Day 21: Step Out
Acts 1:8 (TPT) – But I promise you this—the Holy Spirit will come upon you and you will be seized with power. And you will be my messengers to Jerusalem, throughout Judea, the distant provinces-even to the remotest places on earth!
RHEMA Bible Training College: The purpose of RHEMA is to empower Christians to take the gospel to the ends of the earth. Since 1974, they have trained nearly 60,000 for the harvest. Rhema graduates minister around the world from the pulpit, on the mission field, or as active believers supporting God’s work in local churches. The alumni have gone forth and have established 253 Bible schools in 51 nations around the world.
While we are thankful for those who are working in full-time ministry, we cannot forget that we all have been called to be ministers. Your mission field may not be Africa or even the run-down area of your town. However, everywhere you go, there are people still living without the hope of Jesus.
Each of us has people in our lives that have not given their lives to Christ yet. We must rise up and be that example to them. You have specific giftings and tasks that God has called you to accomplish, but the enemy will try to make you believe that you have nothing to offer. He wants you to think you have no purpose. He will try to stop you before you even start, and he’ll seek to make you think that you are ill-equipped.
Remember, you have the same power that raised Christ on the inside of you. When Jesus left this earth, He gave His power and authority to us, his children. He did not leave us with nothing but instead gave us everything. Don’t let fear hold you back anymore. Let the love of Jesus shine wherever you go, knowing that you may be the only light with which someone comes in contact.
Take a moment and think about who in your life is unsaved—family, co-workers, friends. Ask God how you can show His love to those people around you, and ask Him to reveal to you anything that has been holding you back from sharing the gospel.
Prayer Focus: Let’s pray blessings over the leaders and teachers of RHEMA Bible college. Pray that they will walk in wisdom and guidance as they invest in the next generation. Let’s pray over the graduates. Pray that they will be confident as they step out into their God calling. Finally, let’s pray and ask God for guidance as to who we can be ministering to in our daily lives.
Interested in learning more about prayer? This guide presents 7 models of prayer from the Bible. Download the guide today and start learning how to create a lifestyle of prayer.
As you devote yourself to prayer and fasting, you’ll actually be modeling these two powerful tools for your children. You can help them better understand and even participate by downloading our kids prayer guide.
Why should we pray and fast? What’s the purpose of prayer and fasting? Or, you might ask, “What’s the use?” Does my prayer or fasting somehow compel God to do something He doesn’t want to do? If God desires to do something, then why doesn’t He just do it? Why would He need me to ask Him? Does my refraining from eating really impact God? Can’t He remember what He wants to do if my stomach is full? If you lack a biblical understanding of prayer and fasting, these questions will negatively impact you and you’ll quickly see prayer as futile and unnecessary. Jesus said to His disciples in Luke 10:19, “I have given you authority (exousian) to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power (dunamin) of the enemy; nothing will harm you.” The Greek word for authority in this verse is exousian. Authority is delegated power. It’s what a policeman exercises when he puts up his hand and stops an eighteen-wheel truck. He doesn’t have the physical power to stop the truck, however, he does have the authority to stop it. The driver is responding to the authority or delegated power that the officer possesses, not to his physical power. If he disobeys that officer or runs him over, the full force of all local, state, and federal authorities will come to bear upon the driver. The driver doesn’t fear the officer, but he fears the power behind him. The Greek word in this verse for power is dunamin. It’s where we get the English word for dynamite. Jesus actually said, “Behold, I have given you authority, or delegated my power to you, and enabled you to exercise authority over all the power or abilities of the enemy, Satan.” After the resurrection, Jesus said to his disciples in Matthew 28:18-20, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore, you go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
These two verses, along with many others, relay a critical truth that every Christian must know. That truth is that Jesus delegated His authority to the church, and whether that authority gets exercised on the earth is no longer in God’s hands but in ours. He has commissioned us, in His name, to act in His stead. This is why we pray in Jesus’ name. We, His Body, are the part of Christ that remains upon the earth. We are the part that has been entrusted and enabled to act in His name. The usage of “the name of Jesus” is a type of a power of attorney. When we pray, we are bringing to bear the power of God upon a dark and sin-stained world. This is not only true for prayer, but also for the preaching of the gospel. God will not share the gospel with our generation, nor will angels. The sharing of the gospel has been commissioned to the Church— specifically, you and me! The command for us to preach the gospel to every person is one of the last things Jesus said before he ascended into heaven. Always remember, there is a God side and a man side to every spiritual equation. The difficulty occurs when we don’t understand the all-important balance between the two.
Fasting doesn’t move God, but it does change us. Fasting helps us recognize that we are not physical beings, but spiritual beings who are temporarily living in a physical body. The reason we fast is very simple. Fasting is when you purposely deny your flesh or outer man. It is in doing this over an extended period of time that something incredible occurs. You will begin to clearly see the difference between your inner and outer man. The part of us that is eternal is the inward man. The part of us that is temporal, mortal, or death-doomed is our body, or our outer man. The Scripture calls our inward man the “hidden man of the heart.” Fasting permits us to purposely let the inward man gain the ascendancy over the outer man or our flesh, and “come out of hiding.” Most Christians live and die and never learn to live from the inward man or learn to distinguish the difference between the spirit and the flesh. They begin to think that the way they feel is the way they are. What a terrible and costly deception. Our feelings don’t define us. Rather, who we are in Christ, God’s view of us, and His plan define who we are. The Scriptures tell us that our inward man delights to do the will of God, but our flesh rebels against it. Fasting lets you learn to hear the voice of your inward man and quiet and deny the voice of the outer man.
Fasting does not impress or move God. God does not move in our lives because we choose to deny ourselves and fast. Fasting does not change God! Fasting changes us! We are the ones in need of changing. Be cautious to not connect the experiences of intimacy and blessing with God during your fast to God touching you because of your efforts. Actually, it’s just the opposite. Fasting provides us with the opportunity to experience the fullness of Christ and His redemption by simply letting the life of God within us find an expression in our everyday lives. When we live out of our inward man, led by the Holy Spirit, it changes the metrics from which we choose. Our choices are largely responsible for the quality of life that we live. When we choose out of the inward man, we are choosing in line with the will of God. Fasting helps us step into the blessings that are already hovering over God’s will and plan for our lives. Otherwise, we invoke or plead with God to bless our plans and purposes. Remember, His will is already fully empowered with His grace, favor, and blessings!
How to Fast
There are so many different kinds of fasts. Instead of listing the numerous types of fasts, I prefer to suggest options for you to consider. Sometimes people do very extreme things when fasting, thinking that the extreme nature impresses or moves God. IT DOES NOT! Remember, fasting is about denying your flesh and becoming sensitive to your inward man and to the Holy Spirit. It’s about being governed by God’s Word and His Voice. If you follow through with the suggested fasting options, you are going to have a lot more time on your hands. Invest it in feeding your inward man with God’s Word, prayer, and spending time with those who you love. Look for ways to be unselfish with family and those you interact with. Look for ways to meet the needs of others in very intentional ways. Take the money you save from eating less and give it to someone or a family in need. For the next 21 days, consider doing some or all of the following:
- Don’t watch any television or movies.
- Don’t use the internet for anything other than work or necessity.
- Stay off of all social media.
- Use your phone only for needed communication.
- Eat only what is necessary to provide adequate nourishment.
- You can skip meals, but it isn’t necessary. Denying yourself each time you eat is actually harder and more effective in teaching you to deny yourself (flesh).
- Drink a lot of water and only water.
- If you drink coffee in the morning, continue to do so. The 4-day headache you will get coming off of caffeine is not what fasting is about.
- Don’t eat any sugar, sweets, bread, or processed foods.
- Eat less than you would normally eat at every meal.
- Read at least two books that are about enhancing your spiritual life.
- Start each day with a daily devotional that you will continue after your fast ends (ex. set a time and a DAILY appointment, be still and worship, pray, read the Word, listen and write).
- Read Scriptures throughout the day or read a book that enhances your spiritual life when you normally would be filling it with other things.
- Pray throughout the day. (If you are filled with the Holy Spirit, then pray in the Spirit. If you are not, then come forward at the end of a church service and receive the Baptism of The Holy Spirit.)
- Write down the meaningful things you learn or that the Lord may speak to your heart throughout your day.
- Write down specific things that God directs you to do and follow through with them. His direction is sacred, and remember, the very God of the universe is speaking to you.
- Be careful not to use your words to speak negatively about anyone. Don’t engage in conversations that tear others down.
- Use your words to intentionally lift and build others up.
- Don’t be legalistic. If you fail and indulge yourself, simply move on and continue your fast. This isn’t about perfection, but an opportunity to put God first in your life.