May 17


Ezra 8:23

So we fasted and petitioned our God about this, and he answered our prayer.

Scripture Insights

The principle of fasting figures high in today’s text. I could go in many directions to plumb the riches of fasting, but my focus is on its aid to fervency in prayer. James 5:16 gives us a three-part formula for availing prayer. I liken these three to the necessaries of fire (fuel, heat, oxygen). The first essential of prayer is praying for the right things, or praying in the will of God. Scripture calls this “effectual” (KJV) prayer (this is the fuel). The second essential is praying with the right spiritual temperature, or “fervent” (KJV) prayer (the heat). The third is praying in right relationship, “the prayer of a righteous person” (oxygen). Throughout much of my life’s journey I have valued “effectual” and “right relationship” prayer, but I hadn’t searched the power of “fervent” prayer. Of late, however, I consider this to be the primary of the three components for availing prayer. Fervent prayer is not about working ourselves up emotionally. Rather, it is spiritually recognizing our need to get a hold of God. It is recognizing our desperate need of God!

Today’s Prayer

Dear Father, open our spiritual eyes so that we may see our desperate need of you. Help us to hunger and thirst after you. Give each of us a heart like Jacob’s—a heart that cries, “I will not let you go unless you bless me” (Gen. 32:25).

Prayer Journal Reflections

What is the Holy Spirit saying to you today about the Lord’s protection, direction, and revelation for your life and the life of the church?

—Dan Gilmore, District Superintendent, Northern Michigan


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