DAY 13: LORD, HELP ME TO FOLLOW YOU – PASTOR HEIDEN RATNER

By 21 DAYS OF PRAYER, FASTING, AND FITNESS

PASTOR HEIDEN RATNER

SCRIPTURE

“And he said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” – Matthew 4:19 ESV 

DEVOTION

Growing up, did you ever play the game “follow the leader?” This simple game consists of one person serving as the leader and everyone else as the followers. All those contributing must carefully follow the leader’s actions, for failure to do so would result in being out of the game.

The journey of following Jesus is much like this game! Over 15 times in the New Testament, we see Jesus lead with the statement, “follow me.” For example, in Luke 9:23, Jesus challenges the people to deny themselves, take up their cross (prepare to sacrifice) and follow Him. Next, in Mark’s gospel (Mark 2:14), Jesus walks up to a tax collector named Levi and proclaims the call to follow Him. Levi (also known as Matthew) accepted Jesus’ invitation and later became a great evangelist and disciple-maker. Finally, in Luke 18:22, we find Jesus instructing a rich young ruler on how he could inherit eternal life. Essentially, Jesus called him to surrender his grip on his stuff so he could fully embrace following his Savior. Sadly, when it came down to it, the young man loved his stuff more than He did Christ.
Perhaps today, you are like the rich young ruler, curious about the things of eternity and what it looks like to follow Jesus practically. In John 10:27, Jesus declares, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.” If you put yourself in that young man’s sandals, what might Jesus ask you to surrender in following Him? Is anyone or anything in your life hindering you from going all the way in? I’m praying that you would hear His voice clearly and not just hear Him but lovingly follow Him wherever, whenever, and in whatever He calls you to do.
“It never cost a disciple anything to follow Jesus; to talk about cost when you are in love with anyone is an insult.” – Oswald Chambers

PRAYER

Lord, I pray that I will hear Your voice all the more clearly today. Speak to me through Your soft, still whisper and guide me in the right direction. Increase my faith to follow You in all things. Humble me when I get prideful and soften me when my heart gets hard. Help me not to swerve to the right or the left, and please help me keep my foot away from evil. I love You, Lord, and it’s my ambition and joy to follow You all my days. I pray You would use me to bring others along with me. In Jesus’ name, amen!

FITNESS

DAY 12: LORD, HELP ME TO RESIST THE DEVIL – PASTOR HEIDEN RATNER

By 21 DAYS OF PRAYER, FASTING, AND FITNESS

PASTOR HEIDEN RATNER

SCRIPTURE

“Then Jesus said to him, “Be gone, Satan! For it is written, “‘You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve.’” Then the devil left him, and behold, angels came and were ministering to him.” – Matthew 4:10–11 ESV 

DEVOTION

In the 1995 popular movie: “Usual Suspects,” actor Kevin Spacey who starred as Roger “Verbal” Kint in the film, delivered this powerful line: “The greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn’t exist.” And how right was he? Unfortunately, too many Christians today are ignorantly maneuvering through life, unaware and unguarded of the enemy’s attacks.

In John 10:10, Jesus refers to Satan as a thief who comes only to “steal, kill, and destroy.” Paul later writes to the Ephesian church, exhorting them to: “be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil.” (Ephesians 6:10-11) We have an enemy who loves to scheme against the Lord’s church and send his demonic forces to try and distract and destroy.

For these reasons alone, we must be prayed up, alert, and ready for battle. (1 Peter 5:8) As biblical commentator Warren Wiersbe once said, “The Christian life is not a playground; it is a battleground, and we must be on guard at all times.” We see this mentality modeled best by the Lord Jesus Himself in Matthew 4. Notice how He resists the devil on three different occasions and uses God’s Word to do it every time!

So today, I’m encouraging you to pray for supernatural strength to resist the devil and his demonic forces. Ask Christ to do it in and through you; He will empower you not to give the devil a foothold in your life again. Doing so will make you more joyful and will, at the same time, strengthen your faith and walk! Look at Satan and his tempters today and just tell him, “Be Gone!”

7 “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8 Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.” – James 4:7–8 ESV

PRAYER

Lord, I come before You in Jesus’ name, asking You to help me resist the devil, his demons, and the temptations of this world. I pray You would fill me in fresh ways with Your presence, strength, and discernment. Father, please help me to recognize when I am off and when the enemy is trying to trip me up. Please help me not fall into his traps and schemes; instead, allow me to lead through it, fixing my eyes on Jesus. Lord, I produce newfound endurance, boldness, and mental toughness. In Jesus’ name, amen! 

FITNESS

DAY 11: LORD, HELP ME TO HUNGER FOR YOUR WORD – PASTOR HEIDEN RATNER

By 21 DAYS OF PRAYER, FASTING, AND FITNESS

PASTOR HEIDEN RATNER

SCRIPTURE

“But he answered, “It is written, “‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” – Matthew 4:4 ESV

DEVOTION

My wife, Neena, recently had an intense craving for movie theatre popcorn. And not just the kind you buy at the store that says, “Just like the movies!” Instead, the actual popcorn you can only get at the theatre. Fast forward, and I am in line at the movies buying popcorn. When I got home with the goods, she was excited and grateful that she could now fulfill her popcorn craving.

The truth is that we tend to get the things we crave the most. What would your life look like if you strongly craved God and His Word? I believe this could lead to the breakthrough you need. As the author of Hebrews writes, “So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.” (Romans 10:17 ESV) The more we read, the more we believe! This is my prayer for you – that you wouldn’t just read the Bible for information but for transformation! 

In our primary passage today, we find Jesus rebuking Satan, declaring: “…Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” (Matthew 4:4b ESV) Did you catch it? Jesus indicates in this passage that we not only read the Word, but we live off the Word. This “living and active” (Heb. 4:12) book is peace for our souls, fuel to our walk, conviction when we sin, and guidance for our everyday decision-making. Paul brings even more clarity to this thought in his letter to his disciple Timothy, writing: 16 “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:16-17 ESV)

“Get in the Word until the Word gets in you.” – Robbie Galaty 

PRAYER

Father, I pray You would help me grow in my hunger! That I wouldn’t just hunger for the bread of this world. Rather, I would cultivate a deeper hunger for You and Your Word! As I open Your book, please give me fresh insights and interpretations. Help me to understand Your Word. Help me to memorize Your Word. Help me to find Jesus in every story and bring Him glory in that. 

Lord, I ask that from the Old Testament to the New Testament, You reveal Yourself clearly through Your Word. And that we would fall deeper in love with the reading of Your Word. In Jesus name, Amen!

FITNESS

DAY 10: LORD, HELP ME TO FOLLOW YOUR LEAD – PASTOR HEIDEN RATNER

By 21 DAYS OF PRAYER, FASTING, AND FITNESS

PASTOR HEIDEN RATNER

SCRIPTURE

Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.” – Matthew 4:1 ESV

DEVOTION

One of the most fascinating moments in the entirety of the Bible is when Jesus went up into the wilderness for 40 days. It was during this 40 day fast that Jesus was tempted by the devil on at least 3 different occasions, and on all 3 he past every test and temptation.

And who’s bright idea was it it to go on a 40 day fast in the wilderness? You guessed it – the Holy Spirit’s idea! In Matthew 4:1, we’re reminded that the Holy Spirit will get us out of our comfort zones, just to get us into a more God-dependent zone. I’ve found that prayer and fasting will help get you there. Being tempted by the enemy and speaking truth back to his lies will help get you there. Getting alone with the Father for the sake of deeper intimacy with Him, will help get you there. And Jesus models all of these items in this passage.

When it comes to praying “Lord, help me to follow Your lead” we must pray it with a sense of readiness, willing to do whatever the Lord may lead you to do. For Peter and John, this looked like following Jesus wherever He went. And, for the once demon possessed man out of Mark 5, the Lord led him back to his hometown to proclaim the amazing works of God. On a different occasion, the Apostle Paul desperately wanted to bring the gospel to Asia and he even started making his trip there until the Spirit of God led him to go somewhere else. (Acts 16:6) The point here is that the Spirit’s calling on our lives may look vastly different from each other, however the primary purpose will always remain the same, that being to glorify and lift up the Son – King Jesus. (John 16:14)

Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever You would call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Saviour” — Oceans, Hillsong United, 2013

PRAYER

Father, today I ask You to help lead me. I acknowledge that I need Your guidance, grace, leadership, and conviction for when I get off the right path. Lord, I pray You would lead me to do exactly the things You are calling me to do, as well as go to the places You are calling me to go to. 

Help me to trust Your leadership, and know that regardless of where You send me, You are already there. Thank You for being there, Father. And thank You for being for me and not against me. Lead me today, O God. I’m ready to walk with you and in you.

In Jesus name, amen!

FITNESS