January 06 - 19, 2020

Quick Tip:

One of the best ways to enhance your fast is utilizing the journaling pages in the Year of Seeking publication to plan your fast, state your purposes, and set your goals for spiritual growth! Click below for the digital version and pick up your print copy at the Welcome Center this Sunday.

How it works.

1. Scripture reading 
—typically 1-3 verses
2. Short devotional
—about 150 words
3. Something to think about
—contemplate truth from God's Word
4. Something to pray about
—build on the prompt we've given you

DAY 01

Psalm 63:1, ESV

You, God, are my God, earnestly I seek you; I thirst for you, my whole being longs for you, in a dry and parched land where there is no water.
David wrote this Psalm from the Judean Desert. Physically, he was in a place where his body was longing for water. In this passage, David is suggesting that it is with the same desperation that his whole being longs for God. It is true that our bodies need food and water. But when we fast, we strip away something that we need in an effort to remind ourselves of the one thing we can’t live without. In a desert, your relationship with water is hardly casual. It is not a supplement to your journey, it sustains your journey. The same should be true of our relationship with Jesus. Over these next two weeks, let yourself become desperate for Him. Get comfortable with that longing, and seek God.

Something to think about:

Has Jesus become supplementary to your life? What are some ways you can increase your dependence on Him?

Something to pray about:

God, I am desperate for your presence. I need you.

DAY 02

Psalm 27:4-5

One thing I ask from the Lord, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple. For in the day of trouble he will keep me safe in his dwelling; he will hide me in the shelter of his sacred tent and set me high upon a rock.
The spiritual discipline of fasting helps us refocus our lives. We use the time and energy we typically  give to something else and instead direct it toward Jesus. But what if we also used this fast to redirect our affection toward Jesus? In this Psalm, David says the ONE THING he asks for, the ONE THING he seeks is to be near to the Lord. As a King, David could have anything, but above everything else he wanted to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord. Maybe, that language seems funny to you, but don’t we approach other things in our lives with a similar passion?  We would do anything for our pets, we cheer unashamedly  for our favorite sports teams, and we follow every move of the people we look up to. Today, don’t just rearrange your life to avoid whatever it is you’re fasting from. Instead rearrange your heart. Tell Jesus how much you love Him. Long to be in His presence. 

Something to think about:

Pick one characteristic of our God that resonates the most with you. Try to focus on this throughout the day.

Something to pray about:

God, you are FAITHFUL (insert characteristic). I love that about you!

DAY 03

Psalm 84:10, ESV

Better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere; I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of the wicked.
One of the goals of our Year of Seeking is to fulfill God’s will for our lives more faithfully than ever before, but this can be complicated. Choosing which college to attend, career path to take, or relationship to invest in can feel overwhelming. We should make these decisions prayerfully, but how can we be sure that we are going, doing, and even dating in line with God’s will? God’s ultimate plan for your life is to be near to Him. It’s not about a specific education, career, calling, or relationship. Confidence and clarity about your future is the product of your closeness!

Something to think about:

Have you prioritized God’s blessing, direction, or provision above his presence?

Something to pray about:

God, above any outcome, I just want you. If you’re not in it, then I don’t want it.

DAY 04

James 4:8, ESV

Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you.
God makes the first move. Romans 5:8 tells us that “while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Jesus didn’t wait around for an invitation to come, die on the cross for our sins, and forever bridge the gap between us and God. James is not disagreeing here. He is not suggesting that God just reacts, but rather that God is always pursuing us and as we turn to Him, He will come even closer. God makes the first move and the last move. Our opportunity then is not to simply be aware of God’s pursuit of us, but to draw near to Him in response and watch Him draw even closer!

Something to think about: 

Are you waiting on God, or is He waiting on you? Spend today responding to His initial move ⏤Him sending his Son to die for you.

Something to pray about: 

God thank you for loving me enough to make the first and last move. Help me draw closer to you today!

DAY 05

Psalm 23:6, ESV

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
In Psalm 23, David makes the case for the Lord being a shepherd. A shepherd’s role is not something that many of us are familiar with today, but there are some truly amazing parallels. Knowing, keeping, guiding, protecting, and comforting his sheep are just a few of the shepherd’s responsibilities. But the blessings that the shepherd has for his sheep can only be experienced if the sheep stay close. This is true of our relationship with our God as well. If we remain close to Him, then we will know His comfort. If we listen for His voice and His voice only, we will enjoy his guidance. Goodness and mercy “follow” us, because they are embodied in the Shepherd who walks with us. No matter where life leads⏤whether green pastures or deep valleys⏤if you’re near to the Shepherd, you will find goodness, mercy and so much more.

Something to think about: 

When we are near to God we can live with this assurance! Think about a time when God revealed His goodness despite your situation.

Something to pray about:

[Psalm 23:1-3] The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name sake.

DAY 06

Proverbs 3:5-6, NLT

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not depend on your own understanding. Seek His will in all you do, and He will show you which path to take.
We’ve already talked about how our closeness to Christ should be our priority but when it comes time to pray about our future, how can we do it in a way that honors God? It’s possible that Proverbs 3:5-6 is the answer. Prayer is not our way of asking God to do what we want, rather it is our way of asking God to help us want what He wants. Can we get comfortable depending less on ourselves and more on Him?  As you fast this week, start to ask God about His will , and let Him show you which path to take.

Something to think about: 

Having plans and dreams and ambitions is not bad, it’s holy! We just need to submit them to the Lord in prayer.

Something to pray about:

Lord, thank you for the strengths, passions, and dreams you’ve given me. I want to use these gifts to do your will for my life. Show me which path to take.

DAY 07

Matthew 6:33-34, ESV

But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself.
If you’re someone that has every detail of your life in a planner, don’t freak out. Making a plan of what you will do tomorrow or next weekend or next year is not bad at all. It’s obviously very helpful when it comes to organizing your schedule and maximizing your time. I don’t think Jesus is advocating for us to ditch all of our plans. On the other hand, I think there is a refreshing and timely truth here. It is very easy to be consumed by tomorrow. While some planning can be healthy, the stress and anxiety that can come attached to it has the potential to derail and distract us. Jesus is trying to simplify our today. Seek first His Kingdom. Narrow your focus, don’t get swept away by peripheral things.

Something to think about: 

Fasting is a good time to focus on His Kingdom. Today, don’t invite Jesus to be apart of what you’re doing. Instead, tell Him you want to be included in what He is trying to accomplish.

Something to pray about:

God, I trust you to take care of me and my needs. Help me to worry less about tomorrow and focus more on you and your Kingdom today.

DAY 08

Matthew 21:22, ESV

And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith.
Have you ever felt the tension that comes with “praying in faith”? You want to be bold and proclaim that God will move mountains and do miracles, but then you feel the need to qualify your request in order to not step on God’s toes. When Jesus teaches us how to pray in Matthew, He explains that we should Worship, Surrender, and Ask. Asking God to move on our behalf is something that He invites us to do, and we should ask knowing good and well that he has the power to accomplish anything. But in general, asking for something doesn’t require faith. So where is our faith (or lack thereof) evident? It’s in our surrender.

Something to think about: 

As you ask God for his provision/guidance/blessing, don’t forget that your faith comes in the surrender! It’s our willingness to give up control of our situation that gives God the room to move.

Something to pray about:

God, I trust you. I believe that you are a good God, and that your plan for my life is better than my own. I know I have been holding on to ______________, but right now I surrender it to you. Have your way in my life.

DAY 09

Joshua 3:5, ESV

Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the Lord will do amazing things among you.
We have all heard a story about an unexplainable healing, a last minute check in the mail, or maybe an inconceivable job offer. If you’re anything like me, when you hear a story like this, you long to have that happen to you. Not necessarily because you're envious, but because you just want a front row seat to watch God do something amazing. But how do we get that seat? In this verse, Joshua is preparing the people of Israel to cross the Jordan River into the Promised Land. Joshua knows that Israel will need a miracle to get across safely, but God has already promised to help. Instead of stressing about the logistics or taking the night off, Joshua encourages the Israelites to consecrate themselves. In short, consecrate just means to commit. This is a simple command, but it also lays out an important equation for our walk with Jesus.

Something to think about: 

It is our job to consecrate, and it’s God’s job to do something amazing. Denying our part or trying to do God’s will both result in issues.

Something to pray about:

Jesus, you are Lord. I commit myself to you and your will. Despite what trials wait for me tomorrow, I will choose YOU today.

DAY 10

Acts 16:25-26,  ESV

About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them. Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everyone’s chains came loose.
Paul and Silas were stripped of their clothes, beaten, and tossed in prison.  Maybe it feels like your current situation is following the same trajectory. And maybe, in this season you are more concerned about keeping your head above water than you are about figuring out what's next. This does not disqualify you from the Year of Seeking! In fact, this is a great time to seek God. Instead of giving up and losing faith, Paul and Silas began to worship despite their circumstance.  

Something to think about: 

It’s natural to respond to a miracle by praying and singing. But it will build your faith so much more if you’re already worshipping before the miracle happens!

Something to pray about:

God, I know you see me and I know you are aware of my situation. I am going to worship you anyway.

DAY 11

Daniel 6:10, ESV

Now when Daniel learned that the decree had been published, he went home to his upstairs room where the windows opened toward Jerusalem. Three times a day he got down on his knees and prayed, giving thanks to his God, just as he had done before.
The decree that had just been published stated that anyone praying to someone other than King Darius, would be thrown into a den of lions. Yet, Daniel goes back to his home, gets down on his knees and prays regardless. But did you catch the best part? The last 6 words of verse 10 should stick with you for awhile—“just as he had done before.” It’s significant that Daniel prayed even though they threatened to kill him for it. That takes a lot of faith! But what’s amazing is that Daniel wasn’t praying in response to his problem, Daniel was praying in response to having a pulse. Daniel had created a routine that no matter what each day brought he was going to pray. So when the unthinkable happened, he didn’t have to change his schedule and plan a prayer meeting, he just did as he had done before.

Something to think about: 

Daniel’s prayer life wasn’t reactionary. One of our goals for Year of Seeking is to make fasting normal, similar to how Daniel had made prayer normal. Think of this fast as a way to build that routine.

Something to pray about:

God, I do not want my relationship with you to be reactionary. I want to seek you no matter what season I’m in. Help me be in tune with your Holy Spirit every single day.

DAY 12

Psalm 16:11, ESV

You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.
Have you ever sought something that you thought would bring you fullness of joy only to be disappointed? Maybe it was a promotion you spent years striving for or maybe it was just a hot pepperoni pizza you had delivered last weekend. Either way, you can probably relate to the reality that even the things we want the most tend to leave us unfulfilled. But this is not true of God. We serve a God that sees us, loves us, and comforts us. In Him, we find neverending JOY. Church, this is not an empty promise to get you through a tough time. Even as the fast winds down, find time to test this truth. Jump up and down on it. Pull it. Push it. Test it. Seek God and see if you don’t find joy!

Something to think about: 

Joy is found in His presence. If your life is lacking joy, you might try spending more time with Jesus. Brainstorm ways you can spend more time with Him (even after the fast is over)!

Something to pray about:

Jesus, I believe your word when it says that fullness of joy is found in your presence. Help me to experience that kind of joy in a real way today.

DAY 13

Lamentations 3:22-23, ESV

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.
These verses famously state that the Lord's mercies are “new every morning”. In my head, I used to think about a waiter or waitress at a fancy restaurant refilling my drink. Every time the ice hits the bottom of the glass, he or she comes over and fills it to the brim again and again and again. The contents are being consumed but they never run out. I think that’s true of God’s mercy, but recently I learned that the word for new used here means different. God’s mercies aren’t just a refill. They’re not yesterday’s grace repackaged with a new date. They’re NEW. God isn’t just a waiter providing never ending refills, He’s a baker who, every single morning toils in the kitchen for hours so that his mercies are fresh.

Something to think about: 

Sometimes we focus too much on our situation. When life gets stale, it is easy to believe that God has us on hold. Today, live in the truth that the God of the universe is doing something new in your life.

Something to pray about:

God, your mercies are new every morning. It doesn’t matter what happens today, I know I can trust you to show up again tomorrow. Do something new in my life during the Year of Seeking!

DAY 14

Ephesians 2:10,  ESV

For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so that we can do the good things that he planned for us long ago.
If you’ve never heard this verse before or you’ve not yet taken the appropriate amount of time to let this sink in, do it now. God’s resume is endless—each accomplishment more impressive than the last, but His masterpiece? You. He has specifically planned good things for you. Over the last two weeks, we’ve studied how to seek proximity to Christ, pray in faith, respond to trials, and trust God with our future. Where do we find the courage to do all of this? In Ephesians 2:10. This is the heart behind the Year of Seeking.

Something to think about: 

We all want to do God’s will for our lives but it is easier said than done. When it’s difficult to live this out, hold tight to the fact that you are God’s masterpiece and that the plan he has for you is GOOD.

Something to pray about:

God, I am your masterpiece. I know you have good things planned for me. Help me to live in a way that I can accomplish these things and bring you glory.