In just a few days (March 11), we’ll begin our annual 21 Days of Prayer and Fasting leading up to Easter Sunday. It’s a time for us to come together as a church family and seek God. It’s a time to set a side the distractions of life and focus in on the atoning work of Jesus Christ that we celebrate not just on Easter Sunday, but every Sunday.
Heading into a time of prayer and fasting can be both exciting and intimidating. Many of us have never been on this journey and don’t know where to begin. 21 Days is intended to be a time of focus, a time to draw close to God in prayer and being in his Word. It’s a time to let go of some things that may hinder your walk with God or give up something for a season so you can grow closer to him. It’s a time of dedicated prayer, confession, and repentance.
To make sure that this time is everything it is intended to be, it is best to prepare now, while there are still a few days until we start. Here are three ways to prepare for our 21 Days of Prayer and Fasting.
Prepare your time
Don’t fall into the trap of “I’ll read and pray sometime today”. Find a designated time and place for you to get into God’s Word and pray. This should be a time with little to no distractions. It may mean waking up a little earlier or when the kids take a nap or in the evening with your spouse. Be strategic and intentional in planning your time.
One way to make the time more intentional is by journaling what God is doing in your life throughout our 21 Days. Find a notebook, a good pen, your Bible, and maybe a cup of coffee and find a place and time where you can have time alone with God.
Prepare your heart
The purpose of this 21 Days is to draw our hearts closer to God, but this doesn’t mean we can’t do this today. If there is unconfessed sin in your life, confess it today. Repent of your sin today and turn to Jesus. Forgiveness is available everyday. 1 John 1:9 says. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
Preparing your heart for the 21 Days means going into it with a clean heart. You’re preparing yourself for a time of growth, so now is the time to dig out the weeds. 1 Peter 1:13 says “Therefore, prepare your minds for action, keep sober in spirit, fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.”
Prepare for attack
During your 21 Days, you’ll be spiritually attacked. Ephesians 6 describes that our fight against sin and our Enemy is like warfare. But by God’s grace, he as equipped us to fight. You need to prepare for the attack. You’re going to be tempted to quit or question the value of participating in a fast. You’ll question your identity in Christ and you’ll be tempted to give into that sin that consistently brings you down. Prepare now for this not to be an easy task. Satan hates it when we pray and when we study God’s word. Between now and March 11th, I encourage you to read Ephesians 6 and to prepare your heart to fight.
Here’s where our encouragement comes from. In Matthew 4, Jesus, after spending 40 days in the desert fasting and praying, was approached by Satan and was tempted. Jesus stood against Satan by using Scripture and despite being physically weak, did not give into Satan’s attack.
As you head into 21 Days of Prayer and Fasting and as you begin to see the attacks, remember Hebrews 4:!5 – “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.”
I can’t wait to see how God will use this time to transform our hearts and draw us closer to him.