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“And He came to the disciples and found them sleeping, and said to Peter, “So, you men could not stay awake and keep watch with Me for one hour?” Matthew 26:40 (AMP)

Prayer is an area in which many Christians struggle with. They are either easily distracted, not motivated, lazy or they genuinely don't know what to say. Prayer simply put, is communication with God. This simple definition for prayer is often practiced amongst ourselves, rather than with God. Two lovers can spend hours and hours speaking to each other on the phone yet when it's time to speak to our ultimate lover we tend to find we do not have the stamina to spend hours communicating with Him like we do with our physical lovers.

As an ex-athlete I was always told that it is essential to stretch before any competition. Coaches place a high level of importance on stretching to avoid injuries and to enhance the performance of the individual. There have been times where I had not spent enough time doing a thorough stretch which made me only 50% ready for my match. My muscles felt stiff and as a result I couldn’t push my muscles to work at the rate my mind was telling me. My stamina was affected as a result of my inability to prioritise my key stretches.

God wants us ready to start our day with the right mind and to have performed our spiritual stretches so that we can give 100% effort to push through today and come out victorious. One of the spiritual stretches we can perform today is prayer. Stretch your prayer time and enhance your stamina! If you are used to praying for 15 mins then stretch to 25 mins. God wants you spiritually ready for today so that you will have enough energy and power to fight the schemes of the enemy and a stronger desire to go deeper in fellowship with God. Make spiritual stretching in prayer the key to having a successful day. Don’t allow anything or anyone to slow you down. Remember the key is to enjoy prayer not endure it.

Further study: James 5:16, 1 Thessalonian 5:18 and Romans 8:26

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“Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established.” Proverbs 16:3 (ESV)

At this time of year, it's easy to go overboard with New Year's Resolutions, making many ambitious plans and no real method on how to get there. But in many things, there's a saying that rings true; ‘Less is More’.

We tend to have a lot of aims and goals in life and by no means is that a bad thing - Proverbs 21:5 says “The plans of the diligent lead surely to abundance...” - but in our goal setting and ambitious pursuits, we should remember to prioritise God. The well known scripture, Matthew 6:33 captures the essence of this perfectly; “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”

To 'omit’ is to exclude or to leave out. Omitting food in order to commit to God during this fast is only the beginning. As we journey together, let's commit to omit the things that are hindering us from committing our most treasured resources to God - our effort, our attention and our time.

  • Let's omit fear - less fear means more boldness to step out and do what the Lord has called us to do. We will see doors opening in all directions.

  • Let's omit doubt - less doubt means more faith, which is pleasing to God. We will see Him work wonders in our situation, our friends and families and the church.

  • Let's omit distractions - less distraction means more focus, looking to Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith. We will be able to lay aside every weight and run the race that is set before us!

You're waiting on God and trusting Him for something new this year. It may even be something you were waiting on since last year or beyond. But God is saying that He wants you to really prioritise Him now. Seeking God's Kingdom and righteousness is like having a shopping bag. Trying to hold all of the added things will get really tricky if you haven't got your bag ready!

Omit the things that are getting in the way of you committing to making God top priority in your life, and watch how God blesses your 2022.

Further Study: Matthew 14:26-29, Hebrews 11:6-10, Hebrews 12:1-2

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“Enlarge the place of your tent, stretch your tent curtains wide, do not hold back; lengthen your cords, strengthen your stakes. For you will spread out to the right and to the left; your descendants will dispossess nations and settle in their desolate cities.” Isaiah 54:2-3 (NIV)

This year, the theme for Alive City Church is growth and expansion. This is not just the theme for the church but for you and your family also. God wants to increase everything concerning you in 2022. Isaiah 54, is the main scripture for our fast. We are standing on God’s Word to expand our territory, our spheres of influence and to give us the nations. God wants to grow the church upwards and outwards so that we can impact the community and spread the gospel to the nation. He also wants to expand your business, grow your family and increase your wisdom.

However, when we look carefully at the scripture, there are instructions for us to take action. We must prepare ourselves appropriately for this type of growth and expansion. We cannot live the same way and act the same as we did at a certain capacity. If we want to experience expansion we must do the following: ‘enlarge’, ‘stretch’, ‘do not hold back’, ‘lengthen’ and ‘strengthen’. Preparation is key and the onus to prepare for what is coming is on us, not God.

This year we need to stretch ourselves and out of our comfort zones. Growth and Expansion is not just a prayer request that goes up to heaven, but it comes with preparation from us. Action is required from us if we want to see the church grow. We need to enlarge our capacity to serve and to give. We need to stretch ourselves in prayer and in fasting. Not holding back our gifts and talents, to lengthen and strengthen us so that we are ready for the outbreak and the overflow.

Further Study: Deuteronomy 28, Proverbs 24:27

#Obiedience #Faith

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