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21 Days of Fasting & Prayer

Jun 03, 2024

Our church recently completed a thing where, for the past 21 days, the members of our church all wrote down a prayer request, and distributed them amongst other members of the church. Men received prayer requests from men, and women received prayer requests from women. During those 21 days, we all fasted, read a chapter from the book of John, and prayed for the person whose prayer request we received.

I wanted to write down some thoughts from this process, specifically around my prayers, and how those prayers evolved over the three weeks.

I want to protect the privacy of the individual I was praying for, but their prayer request was this:

“For me to have unconditional Agape love with Jesus. That the vertical relationship with the Father would have priority over the horizontal relationships of this world.”


For the sake of anonymity (and so I don’t have to keep typing “this individual”), I will henceforth refer to this individual as “Jim”.

When I first started praying for “Jim”, my prayers were pretty well inline with what his request was.

“Lord, I want to lift up Jim, and ask that you help him to make his relationship with you the most important and precious relationship in his life. And may all of the other relationships in his life improve, because of his relationship with you.”

This was more or less my prayer for the first couple of days.

After a few days of this however, I found myself starting to expand on that prayer. Perhaps it was my own awkwardness of feeling like I was just repeating the same words, or perhaps it’s just a natural human tendency – but, as time went on, the nature of my prayers began to shift.

I think the first “A HA” moment happened, when I found myself praying the following:

“Lord – for the past few days, I have been praying that you help Jim to make his relationship with you the most important relationship in his life. Today – my prayer is that you help him to start to identify what changes would have to occur in order for him to draw closer to you. Help him identify what a closer relationship with you would look like, and help him to put those findings into action. Help it not to just be an idle prayer, but a prayer rooted in actionable steps.”

I found it interesting that as I continued to pray for “Jim”, I started to identify things that I also needed to be praying for myself.

It was interesting because it took me praying for someone else to recognize that these were things that I also needed. So, a lot of my prayers for “Jim” ended with me saying “... and all of the same goes for me too, Lord.”

From there, my prayers for “Jim” continued to expand, and become more nuanced.

I started to specifically target things that would prevent “Jim” from having a deeper relationship with Christ.

“Lord – please remove any strongholds in Jim’s life that are keeping him from enjoying a close relationship with you.”

“Lord – please give Jim strength, courage, stamina, and energy to be a Godly man, husband, father, and Christian.”

“Lord – help Jim be mindful today of his prayer request, and help him to be intentional about pursuing a closer relationship with you. Don’t let it be an afterthought.”

As my prayers continued to expand, it really had the effect of making me realize how Jim’s prayer request is something that men in general need prayers for.

Not only were the things I was praying for relevant to myself – I eventually realized that I could (and should) be praying these things for all of the men in our church.

As you might expect, I also submitted a prayer request that another member of our church was praying for me over the past 21 days.

I didn’t write it down, but my prayer request was basically that I would do a better job of keeping my sights and focus on Christ – and to not allow worldly distractions (work, social media, news, politics, etc.) to distract me from pursuing Christ.

In keeping with the spirit of my prayer request, rather than fasting from food, I decided to do a social media fast for the 21 days.

I will admit, towards the end of the fast, I started to let social media creep back in – but... despite these infractions, I definitely noticed myself staying more focused, less distracted, and generally happier without social media in my life.

Interestingly (but perhaps unsurprisingly), in the first couple of days, I ended up getting sick and spending the first day and a half in bed. This was followed by some concerns over the health of some family members... and topped off by one of my long-standing clients dropping off, putting us in a somewhat precarious financial situation.

Looking back – it’s pretty clear that first I needed rest. Second, I needed a reminder of what is important in life. And third... recognizing that God will sometimes remove things in our lives that are distracting us, or keeping us in sin.

It is worth noting that even though losing this client put some extra strain on us financially – I wasn’t actually that sad to see the client go.

My wife even observed that every single time I mentioned that I had to meet with this client, it was followed by me grumbling and complaining.

Ultimately – I realized that despite the rough start to the 21 days, God is good, and any discipline that we experience from Him is something we should be thankful for.

And so – in addition to my prayers for “Jim”, eventually my prayers included “and thank you Lord for taking away things in my life that were drawing me away from you, and helping me to remember where my focus needs to be.”

All-in-all, this exercised proved to be insightful, meaningful, and helpful, and something that I look forward to doing again.