Just over 2000 years ago, Jesus was living His life knowing that as Passover was approaching, His life and indeed the World would be forever changed. He was headed to the Cross to offer His life in exchange for offering a New and Living way for every single person who would choose Him! We can look at history and understand what was happening to Jesus as He was about to be crucified. We understand now that it was God’s plan for Jesus to submit to the cross in order to become our Savior! But imagine the chaos, confusion, anger, fear and all the turmoil for those living at that time who saw Jesus, the man who was their living miracle worker die on the cross! They thought they had lost everything. They could not see into the future to understand that their life with Jesus was now on a new track.
Now, about 2000 years later, as we approach the 2020 Easter/Passover season, we suddenly find ourselves in a place of uncertainty most of us haven’t experienced in our lifetime. Life today, with quarantines, food and supplies in high demand and economic uncertainty-we can maybe understand and identify with those living in the time Jesus was crucified. Feelings of loss, worry, fear or depression.
These feelings are certainly natural-but we can choose to remember that Jesus didn’t stay dead! Even though Jesus was separated by death at the cross from His Father and those living at the time, He rose up!
Easter/Passover reflects the time that has allowed us to choose to receive what Jesus completed at His resurrection and rise up above the natural circumstances. Jesus defeated sin, sickness, poverty and death at the cross! II Timothy 2:10. When we choose to turn our focus on Jesus and His completed cross experience, we choose life! Every fear, failure, loss, sickness or defeat gets swallowed up by the abundant life in Jesus Christ! Jesus came and went to the cross so we could have life and life more abundantly!! John 10:10. The thief, Satan, is exposed with his false crown (corona in Spanish) of lies, sickness and death. John 10:9.
So, this Easter/Passover season, let’s choose to focus on the abundant life through Christ, fast and pray with your brothers and sisters in Christ! Choose something you daily like to eat or you daily like to do as part of your normal routine and let it go! Time you would spend enjoying this activity, focus on what Jesus has done for you and focus on His way, His truth and His life! John 14:6. Spend time with Jesus each day and join with us on this journey of drawing nearer to Him by fasting and praying and following along this daily devotional and corporate prayer.
Let us draw closer to God, our families and our Church. This time of fasting from April 1 to Easter Sunday on April 12, we will follow Bible readings from Ezra, a prophet of God. Ezra, led by the Spirit of God, showed the people how to pray and get miraculous results that brought deliverance during times of great trouble! God is no respecter of people and He will do the same for us today!
Day 1 – Consecrate a Fast
Ezra called a fast!
Ezra 8:21 (NLT) - And there by the Ahava Canal, I gave orders for all of us to fast and humble ourselves before our God. We prayed that He would give us a safe journey and protect us, our children, and our goods as we traveled.
What was happening was that Ezra was in the process of leading a second group of Israelites out of Babylonian captivity and back to their land in Israel. The book of Ezra describes their struggle to survive, to rebuild the destroyed temple, to learn to work together again after being exiled out of their land and not see themselves as slaves any longer. Most importantly, to find their faith again in their God. Today, we Americans are finding our Nation naturally being held captive by a virus. The truth is that Jesus came to lead the captives out of bondage, sin and death to freedom! It is time for Christians to fast, pray and let the Holy Spirit lead us into God’s truth that MAKES us free! We declare freedom and victory!!
Prayer of Cleansing and Dedication
Dear God in Heaven, today as I fast and pray, I examine my heart and confess my sins. (Speak to God about any specific things in your life that you know are wrong). Lord, I am truly sorry for these actions and I choose to turn away from these things. I ask that the blood of Jesus cleanse me from these sins and I ask for your help to put these actions behind me. I receive help from the Holy Spirit to have the strength to overcome these sins and not repeat them and now, walk uprightly before you. Help me to draw closer to you and may my conversations and actions today and everyday glorify you! Thank you, Father that I am the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus! Amen.
Scriptures to Read
Psalm 32:5; II Corinthians 5:21; Ezra 9:5-8
Day 2 – Seek God First
The book of Ezra recounts the story of the Israelites returning from captivity and the struggles they faced to regroup as a nation and rebuild the destroyed temple. They sought God to lead them and protect them during this time of turmoil.
Ezra 8:31 – Then we departed from the river of Ahava on the twelfth day of the first month, to go unto Jerusalem: and the hand of our God was upon us, and He delivered us from the hand of the enemy, and of such as lay in wait by the way.
Prayer of Commitment
Dear Heavenly Father, I come to you today in the name of Jesus to declare my commitment to make Christ my Center and daily follow Jesus! I know that to do this, I need to seek God first and acknowledge God in all my ways. Your Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path. Holy Spirit, you are my helper and you help me to understand God’s Word and how to apply it to my everyday life. Thank you, Holy Spirit, for leading and guiding me into all truth. I purpose from this day forward to seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness. As I do this, you said in your Word that all these things shall be added unto me. Thank you, God that you keep your Word to me always! I declare these things in the name of Jesus, Amen.
Scriptures to Read
Matthew 6:33; John 16:13; John 8:31-32; Psalm 119:105
Day 3 - Be a Living Sacrifice to God
As the Israelites came to Jerusalem from Babylon, they made offerings to God. They understood that when they went before their Holy God, they brought sacrificial offerings. These offerings were commanded in God’s Word and they made the way for them to go before God and draw near to Him! Under the new covenant, we bring ourselves as an offering to Him!
Ezra 8:35 – Also, the children of those that had been carried away, which were come out of the captivity, offered burnt offerings unto the God of Israel, …
Prayer of Sacrifice
Dear God, by your Word, I offer myself as a living sacrifice to be used by you. I understand that as I give myself to you, you provide for me all my needs for my household and you also grant me the desires of my heart. Lord I pray that you continue to change my heart so that I am not seeking fleshly desires but that I would truly seek to please you and fulfill your will for my life! I am thankful that you are completing the good work you have begun in me! Lord, I love you and bless your Holy Name! Amen.
Scriptures to Read
Romans 12:1; Philippians 4:18-19 and 1:6; Psalm 37:4-5
Day 4 –Separate Yourself from the Ways of the World
As the Israelites began rebuilding and settling in after their exile, their leaders realized that the people who God had delivered and brought back into their land were looking more and more like the ungodly settlers who had taken over their land! Does the Church look/act different from the culture of the World today?
Ezra 9:1 – Now when these things were done, the princes came to me saying, the people of Israel, and the Priests, and the Levites, have not separated themselves from the people of the lands, doing according to their abominations, even of the Canaanites, Hittites.
Prayer of Separation
Father, I see in your Word that you instructed Moses to tell the children of Israel that they shall be unto God a kingdom of priests and a holy nation. You instructed Paul to tell the Corinthians to ‘come out from among them, and be ye separate and touch not the unclean thing.’ Lord, I see what the world is seeking and how the world is acting. As I continue to fast, Lord, help me to be a light to all those around me and to be a reflection of your goodness. Help me to not lean unto my own understanding like the world does, but to have the mind of Christ! As your Holy Spirit is working in me, create in me a clean heart and restore the joy of my salvation. I commit to not conform to this world, but to be transformed by the renewing of my mind through your Word! Praise the Lord! Thank you Jesus! Amen.
Scriptures to Read
Exodus 19:6; II Corinthians 6:14; Matthew 5:16; Proverbs 3:5-6; Psalm 51:10
Day 5 – Grace for this Time
When Ezra heard the report of the leaders about the Israelites, he became very heavy of heart and he fell to his knees in repentance and prayer to God on behalf of the people. Are we as concerned today about the State of the Church? Ezra prayed the following:
Ezra 9:8 (NLT) - But now we have been given a brief moment of grace, for the Lord our God has allowed a few of us to survive as a remnant. He has given us security in this holy place. Our God has brightened our eyes and granted us some relief from our slavery.
Prayer for Grace and Enlightening
O Father - thank you that your grace that is always sufficient for whatever state I am in. I am thankful that you never leave me nor forsake me. You are always with me to deliver me in times of trouble. In Christ Jesus, you said, and I agree that I am more than a conqueror! With your help and by the blood of Jesus, I overcome all fears, anxiety, depression, failures, sickness and disease! I understand through your Word that it is Your Will that I prosper and that I am in health. Thank you for the divine plan you have for me and I continue to press into that high calling – out of the world’s darkness and into your marvelous light! I cooperate with you O God, as you continue to complete the good work you began in me. In Jesus’ name I pray! Amen.
Scriptures to Read
II Corinthians 12:9; Hebrews 13:5; Psalm 50:15; Romans 8:37; Revelation 12:11; III John 1:2;
Philippians 3:14 and 1:6.
Day 6 – God’s Unfailing Love
As Ezra continued to seek God and pray, God began to show Ezra how God was working through the natural circumstances to bring about His plan for the children of Israel. As the song goes, even when we don’t see it God is working!
Ezra 9:9 (NLT) - For we were slaves, but in His unfailing love our God did not abandon us in our slavery. Instead, He caused the kings of Persia to treat us favorably. He revived us so we could rebuild the Temple of our God and repair its’ ruins. He has given us a protective wall in Judah and Jerusalem.
Prayer of Rejoicing in God’s Love for Us
Today Lord, I trust in your unfailing love. I rejoice because you have rescued me. I sing to you Lord because you are good to me! I know that I am being rooted and grounded in love as I continue in your Word and in fellowship with you. God, you are love and this love is beyond my natural understanding. Your love never fails. This love fills me with all the fullness of God. May your love in me flow out to all those around me. My mind is renewed to these truths. I praise you for doing exceedingly abundantly above all that I can ask or think in my life according the power that works in me. Unto you O God, be glory in the church by Christ Jesus, throughout all ages, world without end! In the mighty name of Jesus! Amen.
Scriptures to Read
Psalm 13:5-6; Philippians 2:13; Ephesians 3:17-21; I Corinthians 13:8 (NIV)
Day 7 – God’s People Humble Themselves and Pray!
Ezra was one of many mighty men that God has used through generations to change the heart of a Nation. He did it by staying faithful to God through prayer! God uses our prayers to not only change ourselves but stir the hearts of those we pray for. In Ezra’s case, God used him to change the course of Israel by stirring the hearts of the people to gather and in one voice and one heart, humble themselves and pray. Are we using our prayers to stir and change the heart of our Nation?
Ezra 10:1(NLT) – While Ezra prayed and made this confession, weeping and lying face down on the ground in front of the Temple of God, a very large crowd of people from Israel – men, women, and children – gathered and wept bitterly with him.
Prayer to Heal Our Land
O God – I come before you today, to stand for my family, my church, my State and my Nation. I know I am a child of God and I am called by your name. I humble myself and I pray as I seek your face that we as your people would turn from our wicked ways. I know according to your Word that as we do humble ourselves and pray that you hear us from heaven and that you are faithful and just to forgive our sins. You cleanse us from all unrighteousness and you heal our land! Our nation is in the midst of a crisis, but you God have all the answers. We do not lean on our own understanding of any of this, but we put our faith and trust in you to make every crooked place straight and get our nation as a whole back on track. In the name of Jesus, no weapon formed against us can prosper. Thank you God that Jesus has defeated the devil and all of his works. As an ambassador of Christ, every place where my foot has tread, my God has given me the land! I stand and pray for this land! We are one nation, under God, indivisible and there is justice for all. To God be all the praise and glory! In the name of Jesus – Amen
Scriptures to Read
II Chronicles 7:14; I John 1:9; Proverbs 3:5-6; Isaiah 45;2-3; Colossians 2:15; 11 Corinthians 5:20;
Day 8 – Follow the Commands of God
Scripture tells us in Ecclesiastes 1:9 that ‘what has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.’ People have been hardening their hearts to God’s Word and His commandments since Adam and Eve. What is interesting in Ezra’s account was how they handled their return to God following their disobedience to God’s commands. From the following scripture we see that the people were willing to do whatever it took to be in right standing with God and not in rebellion. Are we as committed today?
Ezra 10:2- 4 (NLT) We have been unfaithful to our God, for we have married these pagan women of the land. But in spite of this there is hope for Israel. Let us now make a covenant with our God to divorce our pagan wives and to send them away with their children. We will follow advice given by you and by the others who respect the commands of our God. Let it be done according the Law of God.
Prayer for Obedience
Dear God, when Jesus was teaching His disciples about prayer, he told them to pray that God’s will be done in Earth as it is done in Heaven. Lord hear my cry. If I know you, I am supposed to keep your commandments and that is your will! Forgive me when I fall short and help me to be willing to follow your commandments even when it means great sacrifices to me personally. I praise you God for all your commandments are right and I choose to delight in the law of the Lord and meditate in your Word! As I do this, Lord you say that I become like a tree planted by a river of water. I bring forth fruit and my leaf does not wither! Thank you, Lord for being my refuge and my strong tower. I follow the new commandment that Jesus left – that I love others as you love me. In the name of Jesus. Amen.
Scriptures to Read
Matthew 6:10; I John 2:3; Psalm 1:1-3; 61:3; John 13:34-35
Day 9 – Be Doers of the Word and not Hearers Only
The book of Ezra is all about the struggles of God’s people to not only hear and believe God’s Word but to then put His Word into practice! Ezra lived in a time where God was asking for His temple to be rebuilt. A command went out from the King asking the people to sacrifice with time and finances to see that the temple was fully restored. We are living in such a time where God is raising up believers to put aside their own desires and seek God first to bring awakening and revival to our land! To rebuild God’s Temple in Us!
Ezra 1:2-4 Thus saith Cyrus king of Persia, The Lord God of heaven hath given me all the kingdoms of the earth; and He hath charged me to build Him a house at Jerusalem which is in Judah, and build the house of the Lord God Of Israel, He is the God, which is in Jerusalem. And whosoever remaineth in any place where he sojourneth, let the men of his place help him with silver, and with gold, and with goods, and with beasts, besides the freewill offering for the house of God that is in Jerusalem.
Prayer for Action
Dear Heavenly Father, I come to you today in the name of Jesus to commit to be a true disciple of Christ. I know this requires that I lay down my will and desires and seek you for wisdom and direction in all my activities – today and always. Your Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path. Holy Spirit, you are my helper and you help me understand God’s Word and how to apply and walk it out in my everyday life. I purpose from this day forward to seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and to be a doer of the Word! I know that it takes faith to please you, but faith without works or action is dead. Thank you, God, that your eyes are on me and you strengthen me because my heart is committed to you! Bless the wonderful name of Jesus! Amen.
Scriptures to Read
Psalm 119:105; Matthew 6:33; John 16:13, 8:31-32; 14:15-18; James 1:22; Hebrews 11:6
Day 10 – Know the Exceeding Greatness of His Power
How great is our God! Reading through the book of Ezra is just a small snapshot of time and how miraculously God moves through people, through time, through Nations, always working to show His love and deliverance to whoever will turn and follow Him! Ezra learned to tap into the greatness of God’s power by submitting to God and yielding to Him in prayer and fasting. You can read three great prayers recorded in the Bible by Ezra, Daniel and Nehemiah that made the way for God to show the power of His goodness to deliver His people!
Ezra 9: 5-15
Prayer to know God in a Greater Measure
Dear Lord, today I am seeing that as you have begun a good work in me, you are completing it. You are changing me more into the image of Christ as I am continuing to pray and stay in your Word! As II Corinthians 3:18 says, I am changing from glory to glory! The work you are doing in me is equipping me to understand how to use the great power you have given to every believer. You are opening my eyes to understand the authority you have given me over all the power of the enemy and that nothing shall harm me. You have seated me together with Jesus in heavenly places, far above all evil forces. Because you are for me God, who can be against me! Thank you for giving me the mind of Christ and blessing what I put my hands to. In the name of Jesus, Amen.
Scriptures to Read
Philippians 1:6; Romans 8:28-29, 31; Ephesians 1:19-23, 2:6, 3:17-23; Luke 10:19; Deuteronomy 28:8; I Corinthians 2:16
Day 11 – Unto Him Be Glory and Praise
As we approach the celebration of Easter and end our time together of fasting and prayer, we can be so thankful for the amazing life our God has provided for us – even in the midst of trials and storms! God continues to make a way for us as we continue to stand on His Word and trust in Him!
Prayer of Praise and Thanksgiving
Father in Heaven, I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made! Your works are wonderful. You have crowned me with glory and honor and appointed me over the works of your hands. Over these last few weeks, you have changed me. I understand more every day how much every believer has to celebrate as I remember the price you paid for me at the cross. When you were raised up out of the grave, you completed the work your Father gave You. You made a way for me to live that I could never have imagined before I became born again. Thank you for giving me a new and living way and transforming me into a new creation in Christ Jesus. I’m so glad old things have passed away and you made me new! I bless you and praise you with all that is within me, in the name of Jesus! Amen!
Scriptures to Read
Psalm 139:14; Hebrews 2:7; 10:15-25; II Corinthians 5:17
Day 12 – Jesus is Alive – Happy Resurrection Day!
Today, we break our fast! Congratulations and thank you for joining with us on this journey as the Body of Christ! Remember to daily spend time with our Heavenly Father and stay in His Word. As you do, you will continue to grow even stronger in the Lord!
Our Prayer for You Today!
May the Lord bless you and protect you. May the Lord smile on you and be gracious to you. May the Lord show you His favor and give you His peace. Numbers 6:24-26 (NLT)
Shalom Shalom- We love and appreciate you!
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