So how are you doing on your 21 days of prayer and fasting? Have you totally nailed it,
not missed a day, and experienced the continual manifest presence of God everywhere you go?
If you have, then that is awesome. We celebrate and congratulate you and ask that you would
teach us your ways. For the rest of us this first week has been filled with highs and lows, and
has been up and down. Maybe it is the season we are in as a country where the spiritual attack
seems to be at an all-time high. Maybe it was a number of scheduling conflicts, unforeseen
interruptions, or the feeling of exhaustion after a long day. Whatever the reason has been, if
you have been less than perfect in this first week, you may be feeling discouraged.

If that is you let me encourage you and remind you that the goal is progress, not
perfection. The goal is getting better and growing closer to God, not getting it right 100% of the
time. I am reminded of the apostle Paul’s writing in Philippians 3:12-14. Paul writes, “Not that I
have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for
which Christ Jesus has laid hold of me” (v12). Paul continues as he says, “I do not count myself
to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching
forward I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (v13-14).
Paul readily admits that he is not a perfect man but rather a man who is committed to receiving
the grace of God fresh each day and continuing to move forward.

These 21 days of prayer and fasting are not about completion without failure, but rather
about intentionally pressing into the things of God in order to know Him more and experience a
closer and more intimate relationship with Him. Often times it is actually in our failure that we
are most aware of our need for Him and the power of His Spirit. Where self-discipline, will-
power, and determination fail, the power of the Holy Spirit picks us back up. So wherever you
are and however you have been doing in this first week of prayer and fasting, readily receive
God’s grace and mercy, allow Him to help you back up, and keep moving forward.

Here are some helpful tips for getting back up and continuing to move forward:

1. Reach up and reach out. Sounds silly, but there are a lot of people who are so focused
on getting it right they forget to recognize their need for God’s help and fail to ask Him
for it. Also, feeling embarrassed about missing the mark, many people are not honest
and open with those around them about their need for help and accountability. Reach
up to God and out to those around you.

2. Re-evaluate. Maybe you chose something that sounded good at the beginning but
wasn’t realistic. There is no shame in realizing that you have bitten off more than you
can chew and re-evaluating what these 21 days of prayer and fasting look like for you.
Re-evaluate and choose what you can actually do over something that will keep beating
you down.

3. Restructure. Maybe what you have chosen during these 21 days isn’t anything you need
to change, you just need to restructure your schedule in order to do it. For example,
maybe your intention was to get up early and pray in the mornings but you didn’t make
it. Restructuring your evening routine so that you can go to bed earlier may be the boost
you need.

4. Remember. Remember that God loves you, that His grace is upon you, that His mercy is
new every morning, and that His Holy Spirit is available. Zechariah 4:6 says that it is not
by our own might or power but by His Spirit. Keep reminding yourself of God’s goodness
and don’t allow yourself to become discouraged.

Hey, we have 2 weeks left!! Let’s press into God and continue to believe for His power and
presence to fill our lives.

Pastor Brandon