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21 Days of Prayer & Fasting

Why should you kick off 2023 with prayer and fasting? Pastor Ricky shares how important it is to start the year with healthy rhythms. Prayer and fasting is the roadway to spiritual renewal in our lives and is crucial in how you will finish this year. Be sure to join us each morning for a special devotional from pastor Ricky as we journey nearer to Jesus in 2023! Text swfast to 94000 to receive a special daily devo link or follow them each day at the links below.

Day 1

Stealing Away to Jesus

Happy New Year! And this year you’ve decided to start your year off differently—immersed in prayer and fasting. You know your spirit, and perhaps your mind and body as well, needs something. And you realize that going through the same old routines of life won’t get you that something that you need. Then you heard us (okay, you heard me) talk about the proven Christian discipline of fasting. But questions remain, right? What exactly is a fast? Why should I do one? And how do I do it?

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Day 2

Rhythms. Not Numbers (Matthew 6:33)

Last July, while enjoying our summer vacation, I invested a morning at a coffeeshop up in the Pinecrest Lake Mountains. It was a quaint little place with Christian owners who treated me like a visiting King. My bible and laptop were open. My noise cancelling headphones were filled with some enriching gospel music. And they served made to order crepes. Yeah, I was happy as a tick on a hound.

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Day 3

Confession & Community (James 5:16)

How are you doing with your fast? Day 3 is, typically, the TOUGHEST day! If you’re fasting from food or certain types of food this is the day the brain and the body say, “Okay what are you doing? We’re experiencing some withdrawal here!” But stay with it. You’ll feel 100% better in just a little while. Keep praying. Keep pressing. Keep trusting. God is going to do great things!

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Day 4

Standing on the Word (2 Timothy 3:16)

Were a fire ever to break out at our house, God forbid, upon rescuing my wife and children, the next thing I’d go after is my Mom’s old Bible. I imagine that Bible was printed in the late 80s or early 90s meaning it’s about 40 years old. And my Mama, God rest her soul, read that Bible every day, literally. And though it’s in the King James Version, I often sit with that Bible many a day to be encouraged in the same way Mom was decades ago. What really encourages me is when I see some of her handwritten notes she jotted down next to so many passages.

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Day 5

The Story of Stuff (Philippians 4:11)

Perhaps I should’ve done more to prep you for this fast. We worked hard to set up the why and the what of it, right? And we’ve celebrated many of the benefits of fasting by now. That fasting is a fruitful enterprise is unquestioned—this WILL help you. O but can I get a witness that sometimes the Lord Christ helps us a lot by allowing us to get hurt a little? O if you know where I’m going you ought to go ahead right now and say amen!

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Day 6

Grace, Grace (Matthew 1)

Christmas is behind us and we’re off and running into the new year. But I’m one of those who like to marinate in the Christmas message long after the season has passed. One morning I was enjoying devotion in Matthew chapter 1. If you’re an old school bible reader you know this chapter as the chapter of the begats. In the old King James Version this is Matthew chronicling the ancestors of Jesus. And it would go like this, And so and so begat him, and so and so begat him, and so on and so forth. There’s a good 20 or so begats in the chapter. I heard one preacher say Matthew chapter 1 is the world’s first ancestry.com. Ha!

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Day 7

God Can Do It (Zephaniah 3:17)

I’m from the old hymn singing church. Can I get a witness? There was one hymn they’d sing entitled, “Jesus is mighty to save.” It went like this:

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Day 8

Taking Inventory (Matthew 5:29-30)

Congratulations Family! You’ve completed ONE ENTIRE WEEK of the fast! That means we’re 33% complete! One third is behind us! GOOD JOB!

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Day 9

Another Chance (Psalm 51:7)

If you get nothing else from this vulnerably laden devotional today please get this—God loves you. And in case you didn’t know it, some of the sweetest sounds in our Father’s hearing is when you and I confess our sin and repent. Our God is eager to purify us and forgive us of all our sins. This is the good news of Jesus Christ!

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Day 10

Slow Down (Psalm 27:14)

In many ways fasting is about intentionally slowing yourself down. I’ve spoken with so many of you who’ve shared how God has led you to fast and pray in this season. I’m so encouraged to see how you guys are being stretched by God. I’ve heard of ‘nothing but juice” fasts. No “streaming tv” fasts. No “sugar” fasts. And the list goes on. However God has led you, I’m certain that for most of you He’s led you the way He has in order to slow you down a bit.

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Day 11

An Anointed Song (Psalm 96:1-2)

Our church staffers will tell ya I’m always singing. Always. What’s really funny is that I can NOT sing. I’ve got a voice that should always be sung in the key of “B Quiet!” But I love to sing. I just love it. My mother, God rest her soul, always had a song on her heart. Always. I guess that’s where it comes from.

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Day 12

Get Set. Go! (Colossians 3:2)

I remember a commercial for a college fund that was popular in the 80s. The tagline would famously say, “Because a mind is a terrible thing to waste.”

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Day 13

Pray for Someone Today (Colossians 1:9)

Ever been guilty of hearing about a need from a friend or a coworker who asked, “Will you pray for me about that…?” And you forget to do so? Yeah, that’s happened to me a time or two. In fact, to this day, when someone says, “Pray for me.” I literally pray for them right after they walk away. That way I never forget! Ha!

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Day 14

Two Weeks Down! WAY TO GO! (2 Timothy 2:8)

Can you believe we are 2/3 done? God is so good! I’m praying that your season of fasting is blessing you immeasurably. And I can’t wait to hear all about it! Keep going!

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Day 15

Faith is… (2 Corinthians 5:7)

Paul said in God’s word that you and I walk by faith and NOT by sight. You know what that means? It means that often our Lord will allow us to go through situations where we literally cannot see His hand moving in our lives. There’ll be times where we can’t see how the money is going to arrive. We can’t see how our bodies might be healed. We can’t see how this marriage might be restored. We can’t see any possibility of this kid returning to faith. We can’t see how this career is going to turn around.

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Day 16

Take Your Time (Luke 11:3)

There’s a T-shirt that became really popular several years ago that read, “Everything I really need to know I learned in kindergarten.” This makes sense does it not? We learned to share back in those days. We learned to color between the lines. We learned to follow the leader. The list goes on. But I imagine for many of us those years are the first time we heard our parents, or someone loving and kind, say to us, “One day at a time.”

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Day 17

Being WITH People (John 13:34)

Back in the day I was something called a “campus pastor.” The church had different site locations and I led the one that was in the cool, hip, downtown area of Memphis, TN. Our church was filled with young professionals—law school and med school students, corporate types, college students, etc. And if you know this season of life you also know that they’re in their transient years meaning as a pastor, I only had 2 or 3 years to win them to Christ and disciple them before they were onto the next season. This caused somewhat of an urgency in me. Sunday services were the fat of your bat for making an impact so I took those services seriously. But even more seriously than I took the sermons and the music were those chats right after service. Hanging out in the lobby. Inviting them to small groups or to service opportunities.

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Day 18

Get Back Up Again (Proverbs 24:16)

Scripture says “a just man falls seven times, and rises up again.” The idea is that because of our sinfulness and this fallen world in which we live, we’ll be prone to mess up. Sheesh. I hate it too. But the good news is that THIS is why Jesus came to save us! We can look to Him when we mess up.

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Day 19

JOY! (Nehemiah 8:10)

Grandmother used to sing, “Isn’t it grand to be a Christian isn’t it grand?” I love that old song. Because it reminds us that in Christ there is a joy that the world didn’t give us. And so the world cannot take it away.

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Day 20

What Did You See? What Did You Hear? (Matthew 7:7-8)

Mr. Rogers was a splendid man of God and one of the greatest teachers ever. He’d always ask children, “what did you see and what did you hear?”

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Day 21

Let’s Go Change the World (Matthew 28)

Yesterday we asked you what do you now see and what have you heard from God amidst this season of fasting. Today? I’m asking what are you going to DO about it?

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