Prayer is essential for Christian growth. It was the power behind the apostolic Church of the first century. Acts 2 is a great example of the power of prayer. Most Christians, however, have taken prayer for selfish and personal self-interest. Whereas Jesus did say: "I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it." (John 14: 13, 14, NIV) Many forget to read the context of the Lord's statement: "Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father." (v. 12)
The text is clear, this prayer is within the context of being intimately involved in the ministry of Jesus. The question to ask is: What are the works that Jesus was doing? The answer in found in the Scriptures themselves.
The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
because he has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
and recovery of sight for the blind,
to set the oppressed free,
to proclaim the year of the Lords favor. (Luke 4:18,19, NIV)
We pray for the Spirit indwelling so we may be empowered for mission.
The Comforter was not sent to make anyone comfortable in their religious
knowledge. On the contrary, He comes to empower you for mission, Jesus
mission. This is clearly evident as we read the last few verses of
"Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day."
This is the Great Commission of Matthew 28:16-20 given to the Church,
not to the inanimate structure of the building where you worship, but the
living body of Christ, you. Not just for a select class of priests and
pastors, but for every believer, you.
True, prayer is also for personal benefit; we can see this in Acts 2:
42-47. Prayer empowered the early Christians to reach an entire
generation in their lifetime, but is also empowered them to live powerful lives in a
sharing community that genuinely cared for the needs of one another.
They were all of one accord (Acts 2:1) when the Spirit filled their
lives. Would you like to experience the Spirit in your life in a
similar way the early Christians did? Then, join us for 40 Days of
Prayer and Fasting. Prayer is to be done daily for 40 days. Food
fasting is to be done according to your health and through professional
advice. Other types of fasting may include, media, secular music, or
anything you recognize is taking you away from establishing a solid
relationship with your Lord.
Get Started Today!!!
Find A Prayer Partner Like anything in the Christian life, accountability is key for spiritual growth and for accomplishing the evangelistic task with which the Church has been entrusted. We encourage you to find a partner such as a trusted friend, your spouse, a family member, your family, or a group of friends and neighbors to enter into 40 days of prayer and fasting. Invite your local congregation to join you. The point is to find someone to whom you will be accountable for the next 40 days, so you may pray and fast together.
Pray for Guidance and Wisdom As mentioned above, our prayer
can be quite self-centered. When you pray for guidance, ask God to help
you discover His will in your life. Ask Him to lead you to people to
whom you can be a blessing. Finally, ask that God will give you wisdom
to make new friends and maintain a healthy relationship with your
spouse, family, friends and neighbors.
Make a List of People for Whom You Will Pray As you pray for
guidance and wisdom, the Lord will reveal to you whom you should include
in a list of people you will be responsible for praying during 40
days. Keep the list small, 5 or 12 names at the most. The list will
vary with time. New names can be included in new lists or names from
previous lists can be recycled. Preferably, pray for individuals close
to you so you can interact with them. As you get to know them
personally, you will build an honest relationship that will be healthy
and ready for sharing the Word of God with them.
Maintain A Contact Information Keeping track of new
relationships can be a challenge, especially when we are intentional
about establishing new relationships. No, we are not talking about
superficial relationships; we mean real simultaneous friendships as we
have never made in the past. In an index card, keep the following
information: Name, Phone, Email, Address, Prayer Requests, Personal
Interaction or Activities. Keep track of their needs; this is essential
if you are going to be a blessing to them.
Pray for Creative Ways to Reach Out Being intentional about
blessing others can be a serious task. Normally, we live our lives
thinking about our needs. These 40 days requires that you think about
others. As you pray, ask that God will lead you to find ways in which
you can engage your new friends in activities that you share in common. It is tempting to choose to do activities that interest you. It may be more fun, however, to explore possibilities for social interaction that interest your new friends. This might be a great opportunity to learn more about them, giving you a vision for ways in which you reach their heart and share their joys and fears.
Keep in Touch Make sure to regularly contact your new friends or
renewed relationships with family, friends and neighbors. Learn when to stay away and respect their space. In time,
invite them to share a meal with you and when appropriate share a
reading of the Scriptures with them. Find ways in which you can be a
blessing to them and offer your help when possible. Invite them to pray
with you or to attend any special activities in your local congregation. Engage others in your effort to do good to others. This is a great opportunity to quietly mentors those around you to care for the needs of others.
Pray for 40 Days Without Ceasing Jesus asked His disciples to pray prior to His betrayal. Sit here while I go and pray over there. (Matthew 26:36, NKJV) He warned them, "Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.
(Matthew 26:41, NKJV) 40 days of praying commitment is not easy given
the context of our modern generation. This commitment takes a
partnership as explained above. In addition, prayer must be entered
into along with study or devotional reading of the Scriptures. Allow
the Scriptures to guide you in your prayer life. Learn from its stories
to find creative ways to pray and insightful reasons for praying.
Examples of intentionality could be praying the Lord's Prayer or so God
may reveal Himself to you in your life. Pray that God will show you the
true meaning of eternal life. "This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent." (John 17:3, NKJV)