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Seeking God First and Setting Your Course

Seeking God First and Setting Your Course

As the new year begins, no doubt you have many goals and priorities for the days ahead. Is seeking God your first priority? Is it your most important goal? Are you planning toward it, setting aside a specific time to seek God first above all else?

“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness,
and all these things will be given to you as well.”
Matthew 6:33

Seeking God First

We give God the first of our day, the first of our week and the first of our income. Why not the first of our year?

“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness…” (Matthew 6:33).

The beginning of the new year is an excellent time to commit to a season of prayer and fasting such as Pursuit 21.

When we give God the the first of our year in prayer and fasting, we reap the harvest all year long. During April, May, June … and even into December, we receive blessings that wouldn’t be ours if we hadn’t dedicated the first to God in January with a fast.

“…and all these things will be given to you as well.” (Matthew 6:33)

When you fast…your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you” (Matthew 6:17-18).

Setting Your Course

Do you have deep longings for the coming year—things you want God to do in your life, a loved one’s life … on your job or in your ministry? Would you like to live in the center of God’s will with greater hunger for Him?

Beginning the year with a Biblical fast will set the course for what God does in your life throughout the year.  It will bring you closer to God and release His wisdom, guidance and blessing in your life.

Just as beginning our day with prayer sets the course for the rest of the day and affects anything that might happen, so beginning the year with a fast affects our inner relationship with God and sets the course for the rest of the year.

Through the Secret of Fasting

Fasting is a secret that many Christians are missing. In his book Fasting, Jentezen Franklin writes:

When I feel myself growing dry spiritually, when I don’t sense that cutting-edge anointing, or when I need a fresh encounter with God, fasting is the secret key that unlocks heaven’s door and slams shut the gates of hell. The discipline of fasting releases the anointing, the favor, and the blessing of God in the life of a Christian.

Fasting helps us focus on God. When practiced rightly, fasting shifts our attention away from temporal preoccupations and places it where it rightfully ought to be—the face of God.

Jehoshaphat proclaimed a fast for his people so they could once again see the face of God. Similarly, there are times when we must proclaim a fast so that we can once again see the face of God.

When we combine prayer with fasting, it clears away the clutter in our daily lives that distract us keep us from deeper intimacy with Christ.

The things that rob us of intimacy with Him aren’t always evil things. Often they’re good things God has given us to enjoy—His gifts. John Piper writes:

It is not the banquet of the wicked that dulls our appetite for heaven, but endless nibbling at the table of the world.… The greatest adversary of love to God is not his enemies but his gifts. And the most deadly appetites are not for the poison of evil, but for the simple pleasures of earth. For when these replace an appetite for God himself, the idolatry is scarcely recognizable, and almost incurable

When we think of fasting, we think of hunger … deprivation … not getting to fill our stomachs with good things. But foregoing these good things allows us to be filled with something far superior—with God and His righteousness!

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they shall be filled” (Matthew 5:6).

Holy Expectations

After Jesus called his disciples, He gave them their first public teaching in the Sermon on the Mount. In it He explained to them the kingdom of God—its laws and life. He provided the pattern by which each of us is to live as a child of God. This pattern mentions three specific responsibilities: giving, praying and fasting.

In this passage Jesus said, “When you give…”, “When you pray” and “When you fast.” He made it obvious that fasting is to be a regular part of the Christian life. He did not say “if you fast” but “when you fast.”

Jesus doesn’t expect us, His modern day disciples, to do something He didn’t do. If the One who spoke this world into being found fasting necessary in God’s economy, then who are we to try to live by any other standard? Who are we to think that we can attempt to live without it? In Fasting, Jentezen Franklin asks a poignant question:

“If Jesus could have accomplished all He came to do without fasting, why would He fast? The Son of God fasted because He knew there were supernatural things that could only be released that way. How much more should fasting be a common practice in our lives.”

Jesus said in John 13:

”You address me as ‘Teacher’ and ‘Master,’ and rightly so. That is what I am … I’ve laid down a pattern for you. What I’ve done, you do … If you understand what I’m telling you, act like it—and live a blessed life.”

Expecting Results 

Prayer and fasting is a powerful combination! Need proof? Here it is:

The only time Satan tempted Jesus was not when He was healing the sick … or feeding the 5,000 …. or walking on water. No, it was when Jesus was fasting and praying!

As Angela Morgan has stated, “When we work, we work, but when we pray, GOD WORKS!”

Prayer is powerful. It’s how God works! If Satan understands the power of prayer, we should too! And we should exercise it!!

Prayer + Fasting = Exponential Results 

“The one concern of the devil is to keep Christians from praying. He fears nothing from prayerless studies, prayerless work, and prayerless religion. He laughs at our toil, mocks at our wisdom, but trembles when we pray.” – Samuel Chadwick

If Satan trembles when we pray, imagine how much he hates it when we combine our prayer with fasting.

Why does he fear this combination so much? Here are three reasons:

  1. Fasting with the right heart and the right motives brings a closeness to God that prayer and Bible reading alone cannot bring.
  2. Fasting takes prayer to a higher level of fulfillment.
  3. “Faith needs a life of prayer in which to grow and keep strong….[and] prayer needs fasting for its full and perfect development.” ~ Andrew Murray

Expecting God’s Ability

As we begin this New Year, I urge you to prayerfully consider giving God the first of your year through a season of prayer and fasting. Respond obediently to what the Holy Spirit tells you. If He leads you to fast, reply with a simple, “Yes sir.” Don’t worry first about how you are to fast … or whether you can make it twenty-one days. God wants your obedient reply. He will give you His ability to follow through.

“For God is at work within you, helping you want to obey him, and then helping you do what he wants” (Philippians 2:13, TLB).

All He wants now is your simple commitment to obey—made only in faith. God will honor your obedience and trust in Him. He will give you wisdom, direction, strength and grace for the fast.

Don’t panic! You don’t have to go without food the entire twenty-one days … unless you choose. Regardless of whether you’ve fasted before, I believe the Holy Spirit will enable you to fast in some manner, either partially or in full, (or a combination of both) for these twenty-one days. Just begin seeking God’s will and respond in obedience … trusting that He will give you the ability. … And He will!!

An Invitation

I invite you to join me in Pursuit 21—twenty-one days of prayer and fasting.  There’s nothing like this powerful, unrivaled spiritual launching pad for the new year!

I believe you will find it helpful to be a part of a corporate fast as opposed to fasting by yourself. Beginning and maintaining a fast is much easier when we join with others and fast with friends. This is the perfect opportunity for us to fast together—to reap spiritual benefit and have the support system of fasting with friends.

I’m excited for what God has in store for us individually and corporately as we begin the year with fasting and prayer! Join me in the pursuit and let’s experience God’s promised reward.

“…for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him” (Hebrews 11:6).

If you’re fasting with us, please take a moment to let me know. I want to pray for you specifically, so please include your requests and reasons for fasting so that I might agree with you in prayer.


  • We give God the 1st of our day, 1st of our week & the 1st of our income. Why not the 1st of our year? > Tweet
  • Seek first his kingdom & his righteousness, & all these things will be given to you as well. ~ Mt 6:33 > Tweet
  • ”When you fast…your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.” ~ Mt 6:17-18 > Tweet
  • Beginning the year with a Biblical fast sets the course for what God does in your life throughout the year. > Tweet
  • He who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. ~Heb 11:6 > Tweet

Questions: What comes to mind when you think about giving God the first of your year through prayer and fasting? Are you excited? Apprehensive? Afraid you’ll miss food? Filled with holy anticipation? 


Three articles to help you prepare:


Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, Shades of Grace will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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