Reflecting on 21 Days of Fasting & Prayer

For the last 21 days our church has corporately led us in fasting and prayer. I was cautiously optimistic when I learned our staff would be facilitating this 21-day challenge in January.

Our lead pastor resigned in November, leaving us in a time of transition. His resignation came in a season where God had already begun to shift the culture at our church. We’d gone from a harvest season to a sowing season to what was beginning to look like a desert season.

I’ve never fasted outside of Lent or from food, but God laid heavy on my heart His desire for me to commit fully to this fast. Not to check it off a Christian to-do list but to truly draw near to Him in a time of so many unknowns for our church family and for me personally.

January 13 we kicked off our 21 days.
February 3 we celebrated all God did and will continue to do.

I went in weary, worn out, ready to quit. Entering the fast, I had very specific prayers and petitions to bring before God. I did my best to hold these petitions out humbly, knowing fasting increases our awareness of our need for God to revive our hearts.

Revival. That’s what we need. That’s what I need.

The enemy swooped in with various schemes early in the 21 days. I could not press on any longer. Tears like a river came flowing one Sunday morning during service and my mentor took notice. As a woman who’s been in ministry for many years, she’s always faithful to point me back to God and the scriptures. 

What she said that day stuck with me the duration of our 21 days. 
She said: God is conditioning you character.

Really, it felt more like God was scrubbing away at my character. Sin and pride were revealed, repented of and handed over to the One that revives the broken and contrite heart.

Though I had a list of specific petitions, I began to simply pray:
God, align my affections with your will. I don’t know what to do but my eyes are on you.

The scriptures reminded me the battle isn’t mine, it’s God’s (2 Chronicles 20). I needed to stop striving and step back into rhythm with the Spirit with praise and thanksgiving. When we’re in the family of God, we don’t fight for victory rather we’re fighting from a place of victory. 

We can call on the name of the Most High and He will hear us from heaven and is faithful to respond. When fasting we rely on the steadfast love of God to bring us deliverance. The same is true for our daily lives. We can stand firm, hold our position and see the salvation of the Lord on our behalf all the while praising His great name.

The way God answers or instructs His people isn't often the answer they expected or even in the realm of what they requested. God’s response will always be one that accomplishes His eternal mission, and for that I’m so thankful. Such was the same for my time of fasting and prayer.

So often the specific solutions I propose to the God of the Universe would only satisfy my current discomfort. How prideful of me; yet, how kind of God to gently lead me to a place of deeper instruction. A place where my contrite heart is revived and redirected toward His greater purposes amidst afflictions.

Over and over God met my pleas and prayers with affirmation and resolution. In His goodness, He provided just the smallest revelations to allow understanding in the right next step. I easily forget that little by little is so often the way God instructs us to move forward.

There are still many unknowns at the close of these 21 days, but there has been a shift in my heart and mind. Where disconnect and despair ran ramped, there’s renewed unity from myself to God and especially from myself to our local church. And that, friends, is wholly the work of the Spirit.

My greatest takeaway from 21 days of fasting and prayer with my local church would be this:

God is more loving and more holy than I can ever imagine.