04 Jan Awakening Champions 8 Days of Prayer & Fasting
“Awake, awake, clothe yourself in your strength, O Zion…
the LORD restores Zion…
that the ends of the earth may see the salvation of our God.” Isaiah 52:1,10b
Day 1: AWAKENING PASSION/HUNGER
Hunger and passion are means to an end. What do we hunger for? What are we passionate about? The short answer is the heart of the Father. There are reasons God’s people do not hunger for Him as they should:
- They spoil their appetite on carnal and worldly things.
- They fail to do the things that create an appetite for God.
“Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.” -Jesus (Mt. 4:4)
Jesus gave us a PATHWAY that graduates (i.e. Psalm 24, who shall ascend the hill of the Lord?) in PHASES in order to stop spoiling our appetite with wrong things and start creating an appetite for the right things. The Beatitudes (Matt. 5:3-16) are the teachings of Jesus on how to bring heaven to earth and have the will of God be done on earth as it is in heaven. It is the kingdom manifesto of how to develop the state of the kingdom in the temple of the Holy Spirit moving in the people of God.
Each Beatitude was not intended to stand alone rather its condition and promise was set in an order to be followed. You allow the Holy Spirit to bring fullness of one condition then you bring that condition with you to the next stage. You do not leave one to go to the other. The greater fulfillment of one stage the greater the entry into the next. The effect of praying through the Beatitudes is that it is a process by which each Beatitude says “Blessed”!
The first three stages of our prayer journey:
- Empty Yourself
- End Yourself
- Transfer self-will to God’s will
Takes us up the pathway to the fourth stage: “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled.” –Jesus (Matt. 5:6 NKJV)
Here is where we arrive and can say: “O taste and see that the LORD is good.” (Ps. 34:8)
OUR JOURNEY OF PRAYER BEGINS:
STAGE ONE: TO EMPTY YOURSELF
“Blessed are the poor in spirit; for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” (Mt. 5:3 NKJV)
Father in heaven,
According to Your word…
- To be poor in spirit means to be aware of our absolute bankruptcy or total depravity.
“Our righteousness is as filthy rags.” (Is. 64:6-7)
- We come to the place of the beginnings of confession.
“Without you we can do NOTHING.” (Jn. 15)
- We understand that we exist in a state of abject poverty spiritually without your mercy and grace reaching to our low estate.
- We confess that we are “poor in spirit” but we AWAKEN ourselves to realize this is the place along the pathway where you can reach us and you can hear our confessions.
“Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened,
That it cannot save;
Nor His ear heavy,
That it cannot hear.
But your iniquities have separated you from your God;
And your sins have hidden His face from you,
So that He will not hear.” (Isaiah 59:1-2 NKJV)
The Message Paraphrase renders it:
“You’re blessed when you’re at the end of your rope. With less of you, there is more for God and his rule.” (Matt. 5:3)
FATHER, today we EMPTY OURSELVES BEFORE YOU
“Pour out your hearts to him, for our God is a refuge.” (Ps. 62:8)
“…Pour out your heart like water in the presence of the LORD.” (Lam. 2:19a)
On the FIRST STAGE of our PRAYER JOURNEY we confess:
Without you we can do nothing—but through Christ we can do all things.
STAGE TWO: TO THE END OF SELF
“Blessed are they that MOURN; for they shall be comforted.” (Matt. 5:4 KJV)
Our Prayer Journey brings us to the place of mourning—it is “blessed”.
Father, we come before You to mourn our sins:
- Our personal sins:
“Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.” (2 Cor. 7:10 NIV)
- The brokenness of fallen humanity – like Your Son wept in sorrow in Gethsemane.
- To identify with the lostness, brokenness, and depravity of those around us who need to know the message of mercy and forgiveness to find the comfort we have been comforted with. (2 Cor. 1:2-4)
Father, we realize to find ourselves we must first lose ourselves.
“For whosoever seeks to save his life will lost it; but whosoever loses his life for My sake will find it.” (Luke 9:24 NKJV)
Father, this pathway leads closer to You.
“I humbled myself with fasting, and my prayer returned to my own bosom.” (Ps. 35:13 KJV)
“The Lord is close to those who are broken hearted; and saves such as have a contrite spirit.” (Ps. 34:18 NKJV)
“But on this one will I look: On him who is poor and of a contrite spirit, And who trembles at My word.” (Is. 66:2)
“I wept and chastened my soul with fasting.” (Ps. 69:10)
“Even now,” declares the Lord, “return to me with all your heart,
with fasting and weeping and mourning.” Rend your heart and not your garments.
Return to the Lord your God, for he is gracious and compassionate,
slow to anger and abounding in love, and he relents from sending calamity. (Joel 2:12-13 NIV)
Father, we mourn not just because we are sorry but because our sins have broken Your heart and caused your Son to be sacrificed on a cross to save us!
Today, we not only mourn our sinfulness we turn away from our sins and turn to You.
“He who conceals his sins does not prosper, but whoever confesses and forsakes them finds mercy.” (Prov. 28:1)
“If we confess our sins he is faithful and just to forgives all our sins and cleanses all unrighteousness.” (1 Jn. 1:9)
The Message Paraphrase renders it:
“You’re blessed when you feel you’ve lost what is most dear to you. Only then can you be embraced by the One most dear to you.” (Matt. 5:4)
Father our PRAYER JOURNEY brings us to THE END OF OURSELVES where we can find You—comforted by You—this is a “blessed state” here in our confession and repentance we find comfort—we find approval—we find our way forward to the next phase.
STAGE THREE: THE TRANSFER OF SELF-WILL TO DIVINE-WILL
“Blessed are the MEEK, for they shall inherit the earth.” (Matt. 5:5)
Meekness (praús) translated: deep humility that is demonstrated, not just in a change of behavior, but in a change of attitude and heart. Humility was the greatest virtue of Moses and Jesus.
- Moses: “the meekest man on the earth.”
- Jesus: “humbled Himself, took on the form of a slave…”
FATHER, our meekness makes us ready to receive Your Word.
“…receive with meekness the engrafted word which is able to save your souls.” (James 1:12)
- Our humility takes up the path to the place of grace.
“God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble. Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God that He may lift you up.” (1 Peter 5:5-6)
- It is in our repentance we find rest and salvation.
“In repentance and rest is your salvation
In quietness and trust is your strength.” (Is. 30:15 NIV)
- We transfer the reins of power and ownership to Your hands.
“Nevertheless, Father, not as I will, but let thy will be done.”
We have come to this place on this JOURNEY OF PRAYER TO DO YOUR WILL and no longer ours.
“Not everyone that says to me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven: BUT HE THAT DOES THE WILL OF MY FATHER which is in heaven.” (Matt. 7:27)
We come to the END of OURSELVES where YOU CAN BEGIN.
The Message Paraphrase renders it:
“You’re blessed when you’re content with just who you are—no more, no less. That’s the moment you find yourselves proud owners of everything that can’t be bought.” (Matt. 5:5)
Father, we realize that we are “blessed” not if we are swallowed up with pride, full of self-righteousness, greed, envy, and anger. We are blessed if we acknowledge our ignorance, limitations, weakness, faults, and needs—for here is where you give grace to help us in time of need. (Heb. 4:14-16)
We desire to live the life He intended for us—not this life we intend for ourselves. (Gal. 2:20)
Our life only has meaning when it is hidden with God in Christ—and Christ lives through us. (Col. 3:1-3)
Father, now that:
- We have EMPTIED OURSELVES
- We have come TO THE END OF OURSELVES
- We have transferred the reins of SELF-WILL to YOUR WILL
We now arrive at the “blessed” place of where filling takes place after the emptying and pouring out.
STAGE FOUR: THE PLACE OF FILLING FORWARD
“Blessed are those who thirst and hunger for righteousness, for they shall be filled.” (Matt. 5:6 NKJV)
On our PRAYER JOURNEY this is the “blessed state” of hunger and thirst. Here is where we discover a means to an end. The laborer’s appetite works for him: his hunger drives him on. (Prov. 16:26 NIV)
Our Emptiness led to our Brokenness which led to our Yieldedness which results in our Godliness.
Terms: “hunger” (peiaō); to crave intensely; to starve; famished
“thirst” (dipsaō); utterly dry; parched; acutely dehydrated
The promise: “You shall be filled.”
Father, here is where we learn:
- Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God. (Matt. 4:4)
- You are our daily bread –Jesus you are the Manna from heaven.
- You are the fountain of living waters.
We confess what you have said:
“My people have committed two evils, they have forsaken Me the spring of living water and have dug for themselves wells—wells that can hold no water.” (Jer. 2:13)
- We live in a dry and weary land where there is no water. Our souls thirst for you. (Ps. 63:1-2)
- As the deer pants for the water so our souls long for you. (PS. 42:11)
- Your words were found and we did eat them and they were the joy and rejoicing of our hearts. (Jer. 15:16)
Today, we hunger/thirst for:
- Intimacy with the Father: to have His heart and know His mind.
- Finding favor in the Father’s eyes: feeling His pleasure because we do things pleasing to Him.
- Fresh revelation of the Word of God.
- Access to the power of God.
- Interpretation of the will of God.
- Fellowship of the believers of God.
- Yearning for His returning- to be with Him.
This STAGE OF OUR JOURNEY brings us to Your passion.
- We “fan the flame” of passion and desire for the living God and His will for us.
- From this “Blessed State” of Hunger and Thirst we are filled and our cup runneth over.
- We can move forward in learning to be merciful, not self-righteous and judgmental.
- We can find the place called “pure in heart” where we can see You as You are.
- We journey through to be “peacemakers” and able to overcome persecution for righteousness sake with joy—because we have learned what it means to be blessed.
- We become salt and light—agents of change—leaders of influence to our generation and beyond.