ePray Global - Mobilising Prayer for Every Young Person
Global Day of Prayer and Fasting
Just under two years ago, I started a devotional. It was prompted from a phone conversation I had with a good friend who said, "Lyndal, you should write a book! You have so many awesome testimonies to share." At the time I remember thinking, "I don't know about a book, but I could do a devotional." And thus began the adventure of writing and publishing a devotional book. Two years, and lots of joys and challenges later, I'm happy to introduce you to Intimacy, Intercession and Increase: A 31-day adventure with Jesus to explore a life of prayer. (The image above isn't an actual photo of the book...just a graphic designer's model. Read down further to see the Fasting and Prayer devotional from the book.)
I'm grateful that Youth for Christ International wanted a prayer director that desired to develop resources, so hopefully this will be the first of many (well, a couple at least) that will help young people to truly know God and the access we have to Him through prayer.

Here is part of the introduction:
This book is a devotional aimed towards youth and young adults to help them understand and grow in a life of prayer. It can be used as an introduction to prayer for those who are new believers or a refresher for those who have been walking with the Lord for a longer period of time. The author draws upon personal experience and decades of work with young people to explore this vital area. It is not a theological treatise, nor an exegetical study, yet at times it will ask the reader to think deeply about certain issues. It doesn't exhaust the topic of prayer by any means but gives a taste for further discovery. The devotional is 31 days so that it can be completed by reading one per day for a month. It is set out in three sections: intimacy with God, intercession, and increase, with John 17 being a guiding passage. Within each day there are scriptures to read, thoughts to consider and reflections to ponder, and sometimes, further discovery through using online media. Interwoven throughout are real-life stories that give testimony to the work of God and the power of prayer in people's lives. The desire is that these will inspire the reader to see what is possible through a life of prayer and obedience.
Our desire and belief is that this book will be a great resource for you and the young people you reach and disciple. It is available both in print and eBook form through Amazon and eBook on iBook. You can also email j17devo@yfci.org to order your copies. Youth for Christ International in Denver will have printed copies to order, as well as Youth for Christ Australia. They will work with you to figure out the best way for you to order because shipping costs are a factor. Special discounts are available for ministries or organisations working with youth who want to bulk order. And, all the proceeds of this book go directly back into the mission of Youth for Christ!

As we fast and pray on the first Monday of each month for young people around the world, I wanted to offer you Day 29 of the devotional: Fasting and Prayer.
Matthew 6:16-18; 9:14-17

Luke 4:1-13

Acts 10:30-31; 13:1-3
I heard a pretty cool story when I spent three months in Canada in 2019. A Youth for Christ chapter in Central Alberta desperately wanted to see young people come to know Jesus. Seven of the staff felt led to fast and pray for a week for twelve young people in their community to give their lives to Jesus. Not long after this week, they ran an outreach event and invited the young people to put their trust in Jesus. And guess how many young people responded? Yes, twelve. Now was that just a coincidence or is there a correlation between fasting and prayer and seeing answers?

Fasting is simply abstaining from food or certain types of foods, and sometimes drink, for a specified amount of time. Fasting was a normal part of life for a Jew, mainly on the Day of Atonement (see Leviticus 16:29-31), but at other times, fasts were done to mourn or show deep repentance (e.g., 1 Chronicles 10:8-12; Daniel 9:3). In modern times, we may fast from other things we have an attachment to, for example, our phone, TV, social media, or video games.

In the time of Jesus, different groups, such as the Pharisees, fasted religiously, and they were curious as to why Jesus's followers did not fast. Jesus's response indicated He was ushering in a new way. He shared how, in a Jewish wedding feast, a massive celebration goes on for seven days and is free to all those who come, paid for by the bridegroom's family [Green, M. The Message of Matthew (The Bible Speaks Today Commentary). (Leicester, England, Intervarsity Press, 2000), 125.]. Jesus is the bridegroom, and He was with His disciples so there was much rejoicing and celebration, but there would be a time for fasting when He was no longer with them (Matthew 9:15). His parable about not using a piece of new cloth to patch an old garment and not putting new wine in old wineskins (Mark 2:21-22) meant His way wasn't going to be like the Jewish religious system. The new way was incompatible with the old. So while we don't see specific incidences of the disciples of Jesus fasting, we do see it in Acts once Jesus had departed.

In the Christian life, there are no specific stipulations or obligations to fast, but at certain times we can fast to be solely focused on time with the Lord and prayer. This act of self-discipline shows we mean business with God, and if done with the right heart motive, brings reward (Matthew 6:16-18). Is that reward answered prayer? Is that reward being more in tune with God's voice (Acts 13:2)? Is that reward being empowered by the Spirit (Luke 9:1-2)? Stories like the one from Canada would indicate it very well could be all of those things.
Have you ever tried fasting? What was it like? The appetite for food is one of the strongest desires in a human, but eating can be resisted for a period of time without harm - medically speaking. Opinions vary, but between twenty-one and forty days is considered possible. If you feel the Lord asking you to do a fast, ask Him for how long. If you plan to do an extended fast, you should make sure you have the knowledge of how to begin and end properly.

Bill Bright has written extensively on fasting with practical guidelines, as mentioned by Chris Hodges [Chris Hodges, "Prayer and Fasting." Posted December 4, 2013. Church of the Highlands. www.churchofthehighlands.com. (Accessed November 11, 2020.)], but please make sure you consult a doctor for guidance if in doubt or if you have certain medical conditions. If you are under eighteen, I would also recommend getting the blessing of your parents and listening to them if they have concerns.

For more advice and guidelines on fasting, see the Youth for Christ International fasting guidelines by clicking here.
Thank you for your service to young people through prayer and evangelism. May we see a great harvest come in as we seek the Lord of the harvest for more harvest workers and for every young person to hear and respond to the gospel.
God bless,

Lyndal Walker
International Prayer Director