40 Days of Prayer
During the season of Lent, we as a congregation will be joining together for a time of prayer each morning. As we pray together, it is my hope that we will be able to hear from God concerning the vision God has for us in this season. We are asking that God speaks while we build the foundations for a listening and praying lifestyle. Throughout the forty days, I will be writing a reflection and will be sharing them here. I pray that you are encouraged by the words shared. If you have a specific prayer request that you would like for us to pray over, please fill out the prayer request form on the website.
If you would like to join us for prayer, call 1-605-472-5529, and use the access code: 247121 at 7:00 a.m, every Monday thru Saturday.
Day 1 Reflection:
“When You Pray, Expect the Impossible to be Possible”
Mark Batterson, in his book Draw the Circle writes, “when you pray to God regularly irregularly things happen on a regular basis.” What does it mean for us to always expect the unexpected? Just think of how radical our faith would be if we did not place limits on the manifestation of God’s power. Such a thought totally changes what it means to say, “God can do anything!”
Do we really believe it? Do we believe that God can truly make the impossible possible? Prayer gives us the grounding to believe. Prayer gives us divine insight on how God is moving in, through, and around us in various unconventional ways. Ways that causes us to say, “it must be God.”
When we pray, we, through the Holy Spirit, connect with God to understand how God is truly the composer and conductor of our lives. Through prayer, we are literally handed the lens to see the ways in which God moves to demonstrate that God is God.
There is no other power that could cause cancer cells to disappear without treatment. No other power that could cause you to walk away from an accident injury free. No other power that could cause you to sleep just in the right manner that your mind does not descend into the grips of death. These are just a few ways that God shows us He is God. The more you pray the more God’s provision and providence is revealed in your life. That’s why it is important that your prayers be consistent.
Our vision is constantly seeking to be interrupt by chaos, confusion, and doubt. Prayer gives us the ability to see God ‘s presence and direction clearly. Even when you don’t hear God’s voice or feel God’s presence, prayer gives the assurance that your cares are being cared about.
Throughout these next 40 days, take time to pray that God will give you divine insight on the plan that God has for you? Pray that God will stretch your faith to believe the impossible is possible.
Don’t spend your time trying to manufacture a miracle or orchestrate opportunities, instead seek after God through prayer and watch God align with you with God’s will.
Day 2 Reflection:
“Who Are You Praying For?”
Recently, as a congregation we have been assembling and distributing care packages to the homeless. This hands on ministry has led many of us to have some powerful personal encounters with our brothers and sisters — or should I say our forgotten brothers and sisters.
In speaking with many of these individuals we hear about the horrific experiences they have encountered with their fellow man as a result of their poverty. Experiences of people denigrating them as a result of their condition. Unfortunately, we live in a word where people do not understand that your condition is not who you are. The more people equate conditions as prerequisites for the denial of humanity, the more we will have people who are both abused and forgotten.
We cannot look past people because they experience hardship nor can we become comfortable with seeing human suffering. Scripture reminds us that the poor, the sick, the depressed, the grieving, and the suffering will always be with us. We should never allow them to become forgotten. Instead, as followers of Christ, we must constantly engage those who are experiencing hardship, so that they may know that they are not alone.
Remember, after the resurrection of Jesus, people came to know Christ through the kindness of those who followed him. In fact, day by day, the early Christians would gather together in the temple to worship and to pray. Through their time with the Holy Spirit and with one other, they developed a level of compassion that allowed them to cheerfully sell their possessions and goods and distribute the proceeds to all who had need. They had goodwill towards all people; and day by day the Lord added to their number those who were being saved.
This is an example of how intimate prayer motivates us to respond to those in need. Even in our prayers we must be concerned about those suffering who stand in the need of prayer. Therefore, we must ask ourselves who are we neglecting in our prayers? Are we praying for the sick? Are we paying for the poor in spirit and the poor in finances? Are we praying for the countless men and women who walk this earth and do not yet know what it means to have peace? Are we praying for those who are hurting? Are we praying for those who chose to deny God? Are we praying for those who even hate us?
Who are you praying for?
Day 3 Reflection:
“Pray Like It Depends On God”
On the night that Jesus would be betrayed, he takes a moment after supper to go off to the garden of Gethsemane to pray. While in the garden, Jesus is confronted by the pressure of the task that lies ahead of him. He is aware that the time has come for him to make the greatest sacrifice. Under intense stress he prays to God saying, “’Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done’”(Luke 22:42 ESV).
What does he mean by saying, “not my will, but yours, be done?” Could it be that Jesus faced a time where what he wanted to do may have been different than God’s plan? Yes!
Jesus recognized the internal struggle that he was encountering. He knew that he wanted another outcome. Therefore, he went to God in prayer. He went to God to be reminded that he was an instrument for a greater purpose. He went to God to pray in order to be reminded that it was not he in his own humanity that was saving humanity, but it was God who was at work. He too had to follow God’s plan.
While we may think we have things figured out, and we may have ambitions to provide wonderful solutions to problems, we must be clear that it is God who orchestrates all plans. When we pray, we must do so knowing that all our requests depend on God. Not our will, but God’s, be done. We are not the captains of our ships, instead we are crewmen who rely on the direction of the true captain—God!
Therefore, pray without stress; pray without worry; pray without fear. The answers to your prayers do not rely on you. The answers are created by, implemented by, and sustained by God. You just have to be willing to follow wherever God leads you.
Remember, your help comes from God. Your healing comes from God. Your salvation comes from God. Your peace come from God. Your joy comes from God.
Now, pray knowing that all that you need depends on God working it out. Good News—God always works it out!
Day 4 Reflection:
“Two or Three”
In Matthew 18: 19-20 (NRSV) Jesus tells his listeners these words, “‘Again, truly I tell you, if two of you agree on earth about anything you ask, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them.’” Jesus mentions these words as he was giving them instructions on how to restore a relationship that was torn apart by sin. As he is speaking, what becomes clear to the listener is prayer being a certain part of a relationship.
Often times, we view prayer as just being a time to commune with God, but Jesus demonstrates that prayer is also a time to commune with one another. “For where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them.” Jesus explicitly reveals that our time of corporate prayer invokes the presence of Jesus Christ. In hearing these words, we must grasp the true significance of Emmanuel; God with us!
What a beautiful image —God with us when we are with each other. In creating a community undergirded by prayer, we are able to see that we truly are never alone. God is walking with us, God is talking with us; and when we have a praying community, our brothers and sisters are walking and talking with us too.
No wonder our ancestors declared, “A family that prayers together, stays together.” This wisdom holds true because we learn that it is Jesus who keeps the relationship strengthen by his presence. It is Jesus who constantly binds our hearts in love. It is Jesus who promises to never leave nor forsake us and gives us a means to never be alone — prayer. And not just individual prayer, but corporate prayer.
Here is the kicker: Jesus declares, “if two of you agree on earth about anything you ask, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven.” When you prayer in communion with someone, meaning you are both together and in agreement with them, God grants you the request. What joy that brings, to know that our unity grasps the attention of a generous God.
Therefore, let us move forward praying together in communion.
Day 5 Reflection:
In Matthew 6:9-13, Jesus gives a template on how to pray in a responsible and mature manner. This template was not based on human desires or selfishness, but on God’s wisdom. It focuses on God providing for our daily necessities that we might be equipped daily to do God’s will. Therefore, when we pray in a manner that follows that which Jesus taught, we affirm that God knows what we need, and we too affirm our confidence in God’s power and God’s provision.
Our prayers are tools used in the fulfillment of God’s will. Jesus’ disciples were charged with the task of bringing in the reign of God into a society that had only known Roman rule. We too have a similar purpose: to show a different way of life in a world that does not understand it. We are to demonstrate how to love our enemies and pray for those who wrongfully mistreat us; and with the continued presence of evil in the world, there is work for us to do in showing people how to live in the kingdom.
Therefore, we should know that prayer is never passive. In fact, prayer is active in that it should sparks us to get out of our seat and do something about that hardships that are going on in the world. When we pray, we have to pray knowing that all our resources come from God. God creates, God sustains, and God provide. However, take note that God’s provision is not just for one individual.
God provides for us all. Within God’s provision we are given the ability to support one another that we all might have resources. Therefore, when we pray we just can’t pray for the resources to sustain one, we must pray that God opens our eyes to see that what He gives is for all around us.
Day 6 Reflection:
We must come to understand that the only prayer that goes unanswered is the prayer that was never prayed. Our conversation with God must be a time where we share everything with God who hears, cares, forgives, and provides. Therefore, we must pray in all seasons of our life. We should never take for granted prayer by only praying when we individually want something.
Instead, prayer should be used to strengthen our relationship and connection with God. We come to understand the value and power of peace when we pray. We come to understand what it means to say that “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in the times of trouble,” when we pray.
Through consistent prayer, we develop a lifestyle of prayer. This lifestyle is transformative. It changes your understanding to know what it means to walk with God. It gives you an awareness of God’s presence in your daily life. It also gives you an awareness of your weakness, and those moments where you must ask God to make His strength perfect in your weaknesses.
Therefore, my brothers and sisters, just pray!
Day 7 Reflection:
“Faith Lived Out”
As we pray, God begins to speak clearly, both to our present and future situations. Often, we can understand and accept what God is saying concerning now because we are living through it. However, there are times where what God is saying about both our current and future situations does not make any sense to us. In theses instances, we must remember that prayer and faith are partners.
When we pray we must have the faith to believe and receive what God reveals. We too must be open to the fact that God will say some things that are out of our norm. In fact, God often gives us a response that stretches our perceived limitations. God has a way of reminding us that we can do all things through Christ that strengthen us. We just have to accept the “all;” for the “all” demonstrates the radical power of God.
Therefore, pray knowing that you will have to exercise faith in your petition and in your response. Faith lived out is taking risks and making sacrifices. Living out faith constantly has us in uncomfortable situations where we have to fully trust in God. It causes us to understand that our only security and stability come from God. Therefore, even when God tells us to stop everything we may be doing and follow Him, we will know that God has us in His hand.
We just have to ask ourselves, are we willing to sacrifice it all and take the greatest risk to live out our faith. Our prayer should be that our answer will be, “yes, Lord yes.”
Day 8 Reflection:
“How Do You See Your God?”
How do you see God? If you have never asked yourself this question, during this season of intentional prayer, take the time to reflect on it. Understand that how you see your God plays a crucial role in how you will pray and what you will pray about.
Do you see God limited in His power? Do you see God as being preoccupied with other situations? Do you see God not wanting to do anything about what you are going through?
Or do you see God as being able to do all things? Do you see God having unlimited power and resources to provide? Do you see God caring about all that you are going through?
However you see God determines the level of faith your put in God. It determines how you approach God in prayer. Therefore, spend time reflecting on how you see your God?
Day 9 Reflection:
“It’s About God!”
Yesterday, I had a the privilege of seeing someone that I had not seen in a while. While conversing with her, she expressed her gratitude to me for praying with her that the last time I had seen her. To be honest, I could not remember that encounter. However, she expressed to me that the last time we saw one another she had lost her job and received a bad health diagnosis. Since that time, she had been blessed with a new job that was better than her previous job and she was in good health. As she was speaking, I was reminded that God is the one that works through our prayers. Prayer is not a tool that is used to bring about glory for ourselves. Prayer is a way to communicate to God that the situation will not get fixed unless God fixes it.
Thus, as she thanked me for praying, I told her to instead thank God for working! Prayer is not about us, it is about God’s presence and power becoming the central focus of our lives.
Day 10 Reflection:
“Then Jesus told them a parable about their need to pray always and not to lose heart. 2 He said, “In a certain city there was a judge who neither feared God nor had respect for people. 3 In that city there was a widow who kept coming to him and saying, ‘Grant me justice against my opponent.’ 4 For a while he refused; but later he said to himself, ‘Though I have no fear of God and no respect for anyone, 5 yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will grant her justice, so that she may not wear me out by continually coming.’” 6 And the Lord said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says. 7 And will not God grant justice to his chosen ones who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long in helping them? 8 I tell you, he will quickly grant justice to them. And yet, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?” (Luke 18:1-8 NRSV).
Don’t allow the impossibility of a situation prevent you from persistently praying. Call on the Lord day and night and God will respond. Remember delay is never denial. A delayed response is meant to strengthen your faith through your continuous prayer. Keep the faith and keep praying!