40 Days Prayer & Fasting
March 31, 2018 5:31 AM

Day 40

March 31, 2018 5:31 AM
March 31, 2018 5:31 AM

FOCUS: PRAYING THE SCRIPTURE, PRAYING GOD'S WILL

 


 

HARRINGTON: ‘And God hears your prayer, doesn't he? We hear Joy's getting better.’

LEWIS: ‘That's not why I pray, Harry. I pray because I can't help myself. I pray because I'm helpless. I pray because the need flows out of me, waking and sleeping. It doesn't change God, it changes me.’

William Nicholson, Shadowlands

Begin with Adoration

Day 40!! Oh my, it has flown by. Question:

Has it changed us?

Let’s conclude this final adoration by completing the following statements:

  • Oh, God, You are…
  • Lord, You have been…
  • And You will always be…
  • From the rising of the sun to its setting may I speak of Your…
  • Today, Father, may I rest because You…
  • Oh, God, You are…
  • Lord, You have been…
  • And You will always be…

Continue with Confession

Search me, O God, and know my heart;
Try me and know my anxious thoughts;
And see if there be any hurtful way in me,
And lead me in the everlasting way.

Psalm 139:23–24

As the Spirit brings any sin to mind, confess it (agree with God that it is sin) and turn from it (repent). Thank God that He forgives our sin and cleanses us from all unrighteousness on the basis of the finished work of Jesus and the promise of 1 John 1:9.

Now offer words of Thanksgiving

Add to your list anything that comes to mind you have yet to note that you are thankful for in 2017-18. Would you pause to review the list you have compiled, and note if there are any “hard, difficult, not what you hoped for” type of things on your list?

Don’t forget, He is our Sovereign God

See now that I, I am He, and there is no god besides Me; It is I who put to death and give life. I have wounded and it is I who heal, and there is no one who can deliver from My hand. Whatever the Lord pleases, He does, in heaven and in earth, in the seas and in all deeps. I am the Lord, and there is no other; Beside Me there is no God. The one forming light and creating darkness, causing well-being and creating calamity. I am the Lord who does all these.

Deuteronomy 32:29Psalm 135:6Isaiah 45:5,7

Our “thanks” for those things that are difficult are not a capitulation to the power of sin and evil. They are declarations of faith—a faith that says God is in control, He is all powerful, He is wholly good, and He loves us. For the cross and the Bible tell us so.

Let your thanks be all inclusive

Conclude with Supplication & Intercession…

God saved us, that through us He would save others. Pray for those who do not know Christ, that God would open their eyes to the grace of the gospel…

We have been praying Scripture this final week. If I could summarize the things we have been praying for our church as we look into this next season, I would be hard pressed to find a more appropriate prayer than Paul’s prayer in Colossians 3:12-17.

Make this prayer your own, and pray this prayer for us as a community of faith:

Colossians 3:12-17

12 So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; 13 bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you. 14 Beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity. 15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God. 17 Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.

Let’s end this 40 Days of Prayer & Fasting by going back to where we started. We entered this time because we are at a juncture. The past is behind us, and as we look into this next ministry season we desperately desire God to renew our hearts and our vision for what He wants for The Ascent moving forward.

We have experienced challenges from without and from within over the years, and they have taken their toll, even as God has used them to break us and shape us more and more into the image and likeness of Christ.

Humbly, in ongoing repentance and dependence, let us join with one accord and ask…

  • Pray that God—in His grace and by His Spirit—would make us to be “of one heart and soul” (Acts 4:32a).
  • God, please grant Spirit-directed clarity and direction around mission and vision.
  • God, we ask for Your wisdom, clarity and discernment for how best to structure our church and strategies with the two existing campuses.
  • God, may Your Spirit superintend the process of developing leaders, raising up men and women of character, full of the Spirit to shepherd and lead your people with integrity of heart and skillful hands (Psalm 78:72).
  • Pray that we may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so the we will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might, for the attaining of all steadfastness and patience; joyously giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in Light. (Colossians 1:9-12)

And we end this season with praise on our lips. Pray or sing along…

Praise God from whom all blessings flow;
Praise him, all creatures here below;
Praise him above, ye heavenly host;
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.

The Doxology, by Thomas Ken

If you have chosen to fast today, Saturday, March 31st, please read through our Fasting Guide to prepare your heart to engage in this spiritual discipline.

March 30, 2018 5:12 AM

Day 39

March 30, 2018 5:12 AM
March 30, 2018 5:12 AM

FOCUS: PRAYING THE SCRIPTURE, PRAYING GOD'S WILL

 


"Satan dreads nothing but prayer. His one concern is to keep the saints from praying.

He fears nothing from prayerless studies, prayerless work, prayerless religion. He laughs at our toil,

he mocks our wisdom, but he trembles when we pray."

~Samuel Chadwick

Holy Week

Today is Good Friday, the day Jesus Christ went on trial, was tortured, suffered like a common criminal and was killed, nailed to a wooden cross. We will be reflecting on His sacrifice on our behalf at 6:30pm this evening at our Good Friday service at the Woodmoor Campus. Please join us. And now, take a few minutes to meditate on John 18 & 19 and appreciate what Christ did on our behalf - to provide for us forgiveness of sins and a pathway to God.

Begin with Adoration

We have today and tomorrow remaining in our 40 Days of Prayer & Fasting. Then, Sunday morning, we conclude our season of prayer and fasting together with an Easter Celebration!

As we conclude these daily prayers, I will prompt you with a word from Scripture and allow it to guide you in your adoration…

Isaiah 6:3

And one called out to another and said,

“Holy, Holy, Holy, is the Lord of hosts,
The whole earth is full of His glory.”

Continue with Confession

If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us.

1 John 1:8

Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.

James 5:16

As the Spirit brings any sin to mind, confess it (agree with God that it is sin) and turn from it (repent). Is there someone you need to confess your sin to? Confessing our sin to one another does not forgive the sin. The context of this verse is those who are spiritually weary and discouraged. To bring our confession to another is a means of our souls being encouraged, refreshed, to have our “soul” healed.

Don’t bypass this if you sense the Spirit prompting you to share your sin with a brother or sister. It will be an encouragement to them, and to you, and an invitation to walk and pray with you in your sin.

Thank God that He forgives our sin and cleanses us from all unrighteousness on the basis of the finished work of Jesus and the promise of 1 John 1:9, and, that our fellowship with Him is restored.

Now offer words of Thanksgiving

Continue to add one to two things to the list of things you are grateful for that have happened in 2017-2018.

Today, reflect on the work God has done in your life through your time at The Ascent. In what ways have you grown, your heart and character transformed? How has your understanding of God, His word and His ways deepened? What are some ways He shown Himself to you and your family, how are you following Christ more fully because of your involvement here?

Let’s give thanks for these things, for a community of faith–flaws and all–that we get to belong to…

Conclude with Supplication & Intercession…

First, let’s continue to pray for those that we know do not know Christ, and for any who are at The Ascent who may think they are Christians, but have not personally put their trust in Christ…

Second, pray that God—in His grace and by His Spirit—would make us to be “of one heart and soul” (Acts 4:32a).

Third, I’d like to continue to invite you to pray the Scriptures themselves. If we want to know God’s will and pray God’s will, this is one of the ways He make His will clear.

Here is Paul’s prayer for the Ephesian church. I marvel that when he could have prayed anything for them, he could think of nothing more important than a deepening and grounding in the love of Christ. Not our love for Him…but His love for us!

After reading this prayer, would you first of all make it your own, but would you also make this a prayer for us, for The Ascent Church? For as God answers this prayer, His love will rule in our hearts, in our relationships with each other, with everyone we know, and in this God is glorified.

Ephesians 3:14–19

14 For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, 15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name, 16 that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19 and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God.

Next, I want you to see how this prayer ends:

Ephesians 3:20-21

20 Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, 21 to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen.

Would you conclude your time of prayer by asking that God would do “far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or seek, according to the power that works in us.” May he do that which brings Him the most glory in our church, not just now, but for generations to come.

 If you have chosen to fast today, Friday, March 30th, please read through our Fasting Guide to prepare your heart to engage in this spiritual discipline.

March 29, 2018 5:59 AM

Day 38

March 29, 2018 5:59 AM
March 29, 2018 5:59 AM

FOCUS: PRAYING THE SCRIPTURE, PRAYING GOD'S WILL

 


 

"Prayer is beyond any question the highest activity of the human soul. Man is at his greatest and highest

when upon his knees he comes face to face with God."

D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones

Holy Week

Today is Maundy Thursday, the day Jesus Christ washed the disciples' feet and celebrated The Last Supper with them, before suffering for us the next day, Good Friday. Maundy is a Latin word related to the washing of one's feet and the new commandment He gave His disciples in John 13:34. Take a few moments to read John 13, focusing on John 13:34 when you get there, and think about how our love is to reflect that of Christ's.

Begin with Adoration

We have three days remaining in our 40 Days of Prayer and Fasting. As we conclude these daily prayers, I will prompt you with a word from Scripture. Allow it to guide you in your adoration…

Deuteronomy 10:21

He is your praise and He is your God, who has done these great and awesome things for you which your eyes have seen.

Continue with Confession

If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us.

1 John 1:8

Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.

James 5:16

As the Spirit brings any sin to mind, confess it (agree with God that it is sin) and turn from it (repent). Is there someone you need to confess your sin to? Confessing our sin to one another does not forgive the sin. The context of this verse is those who are spiritually weary and discouraged. To bring our confession to another is a means of our souls being encouraged, refreshed, to have our “soul” healed.

Don’t bypass this if you sense the Spirit prompting you to share your sin with a brother or sister. It will be an encouragement to them, and to you, and an invitation for them to walk and pray with you in your walk of faith.

Thank God that He forgives our sin and cleanses us from all unrighteousness on the basis of the finished work of Jesus and the promise of 1 John 1:9, and, that our fellowship with Him is restored.

Now offer words of Thanksgiving

Continue to add one to two things to the list of things you are grateful for that happened in 2017-18.

 

Conclude with Supplication & Intercession…

First, let’s continue to pray for those that we know do not know Christ, and, for any who are at The Ascent who may think they are Christians, but have not put their trust in, or are resting in the finished work of Christ…

Second, pray that God—in His grace and by His Spirit—would make us to be “of one heart and soul” (Acts 4:32a).

Third, I’d like us to keep praying the Scriptures.

Here is the prayer we recently studied in Acts 4:24-30. It is a prayer the early church prayed, that God answered, and that we so desperately need to pray today…make it your own…and pray it for Fellowship…

Acts 4:24-30

24 And when they heard this, they lifted their voices to God with one accord and said, “O Lord, it is You who made the heaven and the earth and the sea, and all that is in them, 25 who by the Holy Spirit, through the mouth of our father David Your servant, said,

Why did the Gentiles rage,
And the peoples devise futile things?
26 The kings of the earth took their stand,
And the rulers were gathered together
Against the Lord and against His Christ.’

27 For truly in this city there were gathered together against Your holy servant Jesus, whom You anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, 28 to do whatever Your hand and Your purpose predestined to occur. 29 And now, Lord, take note of their threats, and grant that Your bond-servants may speak Your word with all confidence, 30 while You extend Your hand to heal, and signs and wonders take place through the name of Your holy servant Jesus.”

If you have chosen to fast today, Thursday, March 29th, please read through our Fasting Guide to prepare your heart to engage in this spiritual discipline.

March 28, 2018 5:03 AM

Day 37

March 28, 2018 5:03 AM
March 28, 2018 5:03 AM

FOCUS: PRAYING THE SCRIPTURE, PRAYING GOD'S WILL

 


 

"I used to think the Lord's Prayer was a short prayer; but as I live longer, and see more of life, I begin to believe there is no such thing as getting through it. If a man, in praying that prayer, were to be stopped by every word until he had thoroughly prayed it, it would take him a lifetime."

~Henry Ward Beecher

Begin with Adoration

We have four days remaining in our 40 Days of Prayer and Fasting. We celebrate the culmination of these 40 Days together on Easter Sunday as we celebrate Christ's resurrection!

In this last week, I will prompt you with a word from Scripture. Allow it to guide you in your adoration…

1 Chronicles 16:29

Ascribe to the Lord the glory due His name;
Bring an offering, and come before Him;
Worship the Lord in holy array.

Continue with Confession

While all our sin—past, present and future—has been paid for by the death of Christ, and we are forgiven of all these sins, our current sin still bears a cost. We feel guilt, and our fellowship* (not our relationship!) with God is broken and hindered. Confession is God’s gift of grace by which we acknowledge our sin, we confess it (agree with God that it is sin) and thereby experience forgiveness and restored fellowship with God.

(*My children will always be my children, my relationship with them is unchangeable: I am their father and they are my children. Nothing changes that. However, when one of my kids (when they were younger) disobeys, rebels, and chooses their own way, our fellowship—our experience of closeness, the joy of communion and life together—is broken and hindered. Again, our relationship remains unaltered in the slightest.)

Here in Psalm 66:16-20, we are reminded of the terrible cost of unconfessed sin, and the wonderful gift of confession:

Psalm 66:16-20

16 Come and hear, all who fear God,
And I will tell of what He has done for my soul.
17 I cried to Him with my mouth,
And He was extolled with my tongue.
18 If I regard wickedness in my heart,
The Lord will not hear;
19 But certainly God has heard;
He has given heed to the voice of my prayer.
20 Blessed be God,
Who has not turned away my prayer
Nor His lovingkindness from me.

As the Spirit brings any sin to mind, confess it (agree with God that it is sin) and turn from it (repent). Thank God that He forgives our sin and cleanses us from all unrighteousness on the basis of the finished work of Jesus and the promise of 1 John 1:9, and that fellowship with Him is restored.

Now offer words of Thanksgiving

Start by adding one to two things to the list of things you are grateful for that happened in 2017 and the beginning of 2018..

Today, let us corporately give thanks to God for our Global Partners:

  • Nelson (Pablo Paulino) with Semillas de Esperanza (Seeds of Hope) in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic (VisionTrust)
  • Jaime Lopez and Pastor Valerio through One Challenge’s ministry SEPAL in Guatemala
  • Pastor Richard Makani and his wife Hellen with Seeds Ministry in Kitale, Kenya
  • Wondimu Endale at Mehale Ketama Kale Heywet Church in Debre Zeit, Ethiopia (ROTOM and Compassion International)
  • Rev. P.F. Moyo with Zimbabwe National Evangelism Task (ZIMNET - One Challenge) in Zimbabwe

Conclude with Supplication & Intercession…

First, let’s continue to pray for those that we know do not know Christ, and for any who are at Fellowship who may think they are Christians, but are not.

Second, pray that God—in His grace and by His Spirit—would make us to be “of one heart and soul” (Acts 4:32a).

Third, I’d like to invite you to pray the Scriptures themselves. One of the most life changing ways that we can pray is by learning to pray the prayers of Scripture. As you learn to make the prayers of Scripture your own prayers, you can be confident that you are asking for that which is in the jet stream of God’s will.

My prayer is that praying like this will become a habit of heart, soul, mind and strength, that we pray these prayers for ourselves, and for others till the day we die—when these prayers will be completely fulfilled, becoming our eternal reality.

Here is the prayer that Jesus taught the disciples when they asked Him to teach them to pray. Read it, then make it your own prayer:

Matthew 6:8–13

“So do not be like them; for your Father knows what you need before you ask Him.

“Pray, then, in this way:

‘Our Father who is in heaven,
Hallowed be Your name.
10 ‘Your kingdom come.
Your will be done,
On earth as it is in heaven.
11 ‘Give us this day our daily bread.
12 ‘And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.
13 ‘And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.’

Finally, using the prayer Jesus taught the disciples above, pray this prayer for our Global Partners. They are giving their lives away to bring God’s kingdom to places most of us will never go. They do so at great cost to themselves and their families. Along these lines, pray for our Global Christmas giving in December, that God’s generosity through us would continue to be evident as we give to enable these partners to extend God’s kingdom.

If you have chosen to fast today, Wednesday, March 28th, please read through our Fasting Guide to prepare your heart to engage in this spiritual discipline.

 

 

March 27, 2018 5:30 AM

Day 36

March 27, 2018 5:30 AM
March 27, 2018 5:30 AM

FOCUS: PRAYING FOR OUR OURSELVES, FOR OTHERS, FOR OUR CHURCH,

FOR GOD’S WILL AND FOR HIS GLORY

 


 

"Be not forgetful of prayer. Every time you pray, if your prayer is sincere, there will be new feeling and new meaning in it, which will give you fresh courage, and you will understand that prayer is an education."

~ Fyodor Dostoyevsky, from The Brothers Karamazov

Begin with Adoration

We have five days remaining in our 40 Days of Prayer and Fasting. In this last week, I will prompt you with a word from Scripture. Allow it to guide you in your adoration…

Exodus 15:2

“The Lord is my strength and song,
And He has become my salvation;
This is my God, and I will praise Him;
My father’s God, and I will extol Him.

Continue with Confession

While all our sin—past, present and future—has been paid for by the death of Christ, and we are forgiven of all these sins, our current sin still bears a cost. We feel guilt, and our fellowship* (not our relationship!) with God is broken and hindered. Confession is God’s gift of grace by which we acknowledge our sin, we confess it (agree with God that it is sin) and thereby experience forgiveness and restored fellowship with God.

(*My children will always be my children, my relationship with them is unchangeable: I am their father and they are my children. Nothing changes that. However, when one of my kids disobeys, rebels, and chooses their own way, our fellowship—our experience of closeness, the joy of communion and life together—is broken and hindered. Again, our relationship remains unaltered in the slightest.)

We find in Isaiah 59 one of the most comprehensive, heart-rending confessions of the nation of Israel. Read these words slowly, and rely upon the Holy Spirit to bring to mind any sin that has passed your lips, resides in your heart, occupies your mind, or has been done in deed or spirit…

Isaiah 59:12–13

12 For our transgressions are multiplied before You,
And our sins testify against us;
For our transgressions are with us,
And we know our iniquities:
13 Transgressing and denying the Lord,
And turning away from our God,
Speaking oppression and revolt,
Conceiving in and uttering from the heart lying words.

As the Spirit brings any sin to mind, confess it (agree with God that it is sin) and turn from it (repent). Thank God that He forgives our sin and cleanses us from all unrighteousness on the basis of the finished work of Jesus and the promise of 1 John 1:9, and that fellowship with Him is restored.

Now offer words of Thanksgiving

Start by adding one to two things to the list of things you are grateful for that happened in 2017-18.

Conclude with Supplication & Intercession…

First, let’s continue to pray for those that we know do not know Christ, and, for any who think they do, but have not put their faith alone in Christ alone…

Second, I’d like to invite you to pray the Scriptures themselves. One of the most life changing ways that we can pray is by learning to pray the prayers of Scripture. As you learn to make the prayers of Scripture your own prayers, you can be confident that you are asking for that which is in the jet stream of God’s will.

My prayer is that praying like this will become a habit of heart, soul, mind and strength, that we pray these prayers for ourselves, and for others till the day we die—when these prayers will be completely fulfilled, becoming our eternal reality.

Below is Moses’s third prayer in Exodus 33:12-23. Read it, then make this prayer your own. For example, “Lord, let me know your ways so that I would know You. Would you grant me favor: God, help me to know Your presence is with me…”

Exodus 33:12-23

12 Then Moses said to the Lord, “See, You say to me, ‘Bring up this people!’ But You Yourself have not let me know whom You will send with me. Moreover, You have said, ‘I have known you by name, and you have also found favor in My sight.’13 Now therefore, I pray You, if I have found favor in Your sight, let me know Your ways that I may know You, so that I may find favor in Your sight. Consider too, that this nation is Your people.” 14 And He said, “My presence shall go with you, and I will give you rest.” 15 Then he said to Him, “If Your presence does not go with us, do not lead us up from here. 16 For how then can it be known that I have found favor in Your sight, I and Your people? Is it not by Your going with us, so that we, I and Your people, may be distinguished from all the other people who are upon the face of the earth?”

17 The Lord said to Moses, “I will also do this thing of which you have spoken; for you have found favor in My sight and I have known you by name.” 18 Then Moses said, “I pray You, show me Your glory!” 19 And He said, “I Myself will make all My goodness pass before you, and will proclaim the name of the Lord before you; and I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show compassion on whom I will show compassion.” 20 But He said, “You cannot see My face, for no man can see Me and live!” 21 Then the Lord said, “Behold, there is a place by Me, and you shall stand there on the rock; 22 and it will come about, while My glory is passing by, that I will put you in the cleft of the rock and cover you with My hand until I have passed by. 23 Then I will take My hand away and you shall see My back, but My face shall not be seen.”

Finally, would you conclude your time of prayer by praying some of these very things for our church leaders. For example, “Lord, would you help these leaders to know Your ways. May each one know what You want for them, what you want to do through them… In mercy, may they know Your favor as they care for and shepherd our church family…”

If you have chosen to fast today, Tuesday, March 27th, please read through our Fasting Guide to prepare your heart to engage in this spiritual discipline.

 

March 26, 2018 5:46 AM

Day 35

March 26, 2018 5:46 AM
March 26, 2018 5:46 AM

FOCUS: PRAYING FOR OUR OURSELVES, FOR OTHERS, FOR OUR CHURCH,

FOR GOD’S WILL AND FOR HIS GLORY

 


 

"Prayer is…a renunciation of human means. It is not merely the point beyond which I could not go,
the limit of my power which dissolves into impotence, but it is indeed a stripping bare,
the abandonment of all human apparatus in order to place myself,
without arms or equipment, into the hands of the Lord,
who decides and fulfills."

~Jacques Ellul

That is another statement worth reading again. Ellul articulates the “dependent” nature of prayer so eloquently. And while I would not agree with all that Ellul proposes in his theology, his words here are nonetheless spot on and true.

Begin with Adoration

This week we are going to continue to let the great hymns of the Church teach us about adoration. After reading the lyrics to this hymn, use it like an Old Testament Psalm, allowing the words to become your own words of adoration and praise.

All Creatures of Our God and King

All creatures of our God and King
Lift up your voice and with us sing,
Alleluia! Alleluia!
Thou burning sun with golden beam,
Thou silver moon with softer gleam!

O praise Him! O praise Him!
Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!

Thou rushing wind that art so strong
Ye clouds that sail in Heaven along,
O praise Him! Alleluia!
Thou rising moon, in praise rejoice,
Ye lights of evening, find a voice!

Refrain

Thou flowing water, pure and clear,
Make music for thy Lord to hear,
O praise Him! Alleluia!
Thou fire so masterful and bright,
That givest man both warmth and light.

Refrain

And all ye men of tender heart,
Forgiving others, take your part,
O sing ye! Alleluia!
Ye who long pain and sorrow bear,
Praise God and on Him cast your care!

Refrain

Let all things their Creator bless,
And worship Him in humbleness,
O praise Him! Alleluia!
Praise, praise the Father, praise the Son,
And praise the Spirit, Three in One!

Refrain

Francis of Assisi (1225)

Continue with Confession

This week, we will trust the Spirit to use Proverbs 28:13 to prompt our confession. Remember the power of sin is its secrecy. You are not alone in your sin, and confession brings not condemnation, but forgiveness in Christ. If the Lord so prompts you, confess your sin to a Christian brother or sister, for in so doing you will experience the grace and love of Christ…and freedom (James 5:16).

Proverbs 28:13

He who conceals his transgressions will not prosper,
But he who confesses and forsakes them will find compassion.

As the Spirit brings any sin to mind, confess it (agree with God that it is sin) and turn from it (repent). Thank God that He forgives our sin and cleanses us from all unrighteousness on the basis of the finished work of Jesus and the promise of 1 John 1:9.

Now offer words of Thanksgiving

Start by adding one to two things to the list of things you are grateful for that happened in 2017 and the beginning of 2018.

Continuing with Psalm 116:12

What shall I render to the Lord
For all His benefits toward me?

Psalm 116:12

We render thanks. Consider the “benefits” of God toward you, and thank him specifically for them. For example, another benefit of God toward us is that He is the source of every good gift (James 1:7). “God, thank You that what You give is only and always good…”

Conclude with Supplication & Intercession…

…if prayer is the heart of religion, then petition is the heart of prayer.

Herbert Farmer

Remember, supplication is making our own needs known to God and asking that He meet them. Intercession is making the needs of others known to God, and asking Him to meet them. Both are petitions and are “the heart of prayer.” God invites and delights in our asking.

Let’s begin by praying for those we know who do not yet know Christ…

Secondly, let’s continue to pray for people who may think they are Christians, but who have not personally put their trust in the life, death and resurrection of Christ.

Now, considering your own needs, is there something you need from God for this day? Ask Him…

Including today, we have six more days in our 40 Days of Prayer and Fasting. This season of seeking was prompted by at least two things. First, over the past several years we have come through some pretty tough waters, including several leadership changes. We wanted this time of prayer to acknowledge our dependence and need for God.

And secondly, we've looked forward to concluding our season of Prayer and Fasting by celebrating Christ's resurrection on Easter Sunday. As we've now entered into Holy Week yesterday, let's be mindful of Christ's sacrifice on our behalf, and all that He accomplished through His perfect life, His death, burial and resurrection. We walk in freedom and grace because Jesus Christ declared victory once and for all over sin, shame, death and the grave!

We want to be in lock step with the Holy Spirit. While anchored in the unchanging Word and unstoppable purposes of God, we recognize that the next ministry season will require us to adjust to the challenges and changes of our local and global context.

And so as we finish out the final six days, let’s join together to pray for some of the most critical and pressing challenges and opportunities before us…

  1. Pray for clarity and direction around mission and vision.
  2. Pray for God’s wisdom and clarity for how best to structure our church and strategies with the two existing campuses.
  3. Pray that God would lead this process as He has placed His called and qualified men into roles as pastors, leaders and elders to prayerfully and dependently follow where He leads our church and leadership.
  4. Paul knew contentment in much and in need. May we do the same. We are experiencing significant challenges in giving, and we are taking appropriate steps of stewardship and planning. God knows our needs and all we have is His. Pray that we will all walk in this season of financial challenge with faith, wisdom and generosity, trusting God to provide for His work, His way and in His timing.

If you have chosen to fast today, Monday, March 26th, please read through our Fasting Guide to prepare your heart to engage in this spiritual discipline.

March 24, 2018 4:16 AM

Day 34

March 24, 2018 4:16 AM
March 24, 2018 4:16 AM

FOCUS: PRAYING FOR OUR OURSELVES, FOR OTHERS, FOR OUR CHURCH,

FOR GOD’S WILL AND FOR HIS GLORY

 


"The great fault of the children of God is, they do not continue in prayer; they do not go on praying; they do not persevere. If they desire anything for God’s glory, they should pray until they get it. Oh, how good, and kind, and gracious, and condescending is the One with Whom we have to do! He has given me, unworthy as I am, immeasurably above all I had asked or thought."

~George Mueller

Begin with Adoration

This week we are going to continue to let the great hymns of the Church teach us about adoration. After reading the lyrics to this hymn, use it like an Old Testament Psalm, allowing the words to become your own words of adoration and praise.

O For a Thousand Tongues to Sing

O for a thousand tongues to sing
My great Redeemer’s praise,
The glories of my God and King,
The triumphs of His grace!

My gracious Master and my God,
Assist me to proclaim,
To spread through all the earth abroad
The honors of Thy name. 

Jesus! the name that charms our fears,
That bids our sorrows cease;
’Tis music in the sinner’s ears,
’Tis life, and health, and peace.

He breaks the power of canceled sin,
He sets the prisoner free;
His blood can make the foulest clean,
His blood availed for me.

Hear Him, ye deaf; His praise, ye dumb,
Your loosened tongues employ;
Ye blind, behold your Savior come,
And leap, ye lame, for joy.

Charles Wesley (1739)

Continue with Confession

This week, we will trust the Spirit to use Proverbs 28:13 to prompt our confession. Remember the power of sin is its secrecy. You are not alone in your sin, and confession brings not condemnation, but forgiveness in Christ. If the Lord so prompts you, confess your sin to a Christian brother or sister, for in so doing you will experience the grace and love of Christ…and freedom (James 5:16).

Proverbs 28:13

He who conceals his transgressions will not prosper,
But he who confesses and forsakes them will find compassion.

As the Spirit brings any sin to mind, confess it (agree with God that it is sin) and turn from it (repent). Thank God that He forgives our sin and cleanses us from all unrighteousness on the basis of the finished work of Jesus and the promise of 1 John 1:9.

Now offer words of Thanksgiving

Start by adding one to two things to the list of things you are grateful for that happened in 2017-18.

Continuing with Psalm 116:12

What shall I render to the Lord
For all His benefits toward me?

Psalm 116:12

We render thanks. Consider the “benefits” of God toward you, and thank him specifically for them. For example, another benefit of God toward us is the light of His word to guide us (Psalm 119:105). “God, thank you for putting a light—the light of truth, the light of Your Word—on the path, to show me which way to walk…”

Conclude with Supplication & Intercession…

"…if prayer is the heart of religion, then petition is the heart of prayer."

~Herbert Farmer

Remember, supplication is making our own needs known to God and asking that He meet them. Intercession is making the needs of others known to God, and asking Him to meet them. Both are petitions and are “the heart of prayer.” God invites and delights in our asking.

Let’s begin by praying for those we know who do not yet know Christ…

Secondly, let’s continue to pray for people who may think they are Christians, but who have not personally put their trust in the life, death and resurrection of Christ.

Now, considering your own needs, is there something you need from God for this day? Ask Him…

Including today, we have seven more days in our 40 Days of Prayer and Fasting. This season of seeking was prompted by at least two things. First, over the past several years we have come through some pretty tough waters, including several difficult transitions and leadership changes. We wanted this time of prayer to acknowledge our dependence and need for God.

And secondly, we've looked forward to concluding our season of Prayer and Fasting by celebrating Christ's resurrection on Easter Sunday. As we enter into Holy Week tomorrow, let's be mindful of Christ's sacrifice on our behalf, and all that He accomplished through His perfect life, His death, burial and resurrection. We walk in freedom and grace because Jesus Christ declared victory once and for all over sin, shame, death and the grave!

And so as we finish out the final seven days, let’s join together to pray for some of the most critical and pressing challenges and opportunities before us…

  1. Clarity of mission, vision and core values —mission is why we exist, vision is a clear and compelling statement of what we do and our desired future and core values state those qualities that are central to fulfilling our mission as a church. As we enter our next ministry season as a church we sense God calling us to adjust, sharpen and renew our mission and vision in ways that help us align and move forward with greater focus, clarity and synergy. Pray for clarity and direction around mission, vision and core values.
  2. We are currently one church with two locations: Woodmoor (Monument) and Northgate (Colorado Springs). In order to streamline communication and strategies, to most efficiently allocate resources, and most effectively achieve the mission/vision God calls us to, we need wisdom and clarity as we organize each congregation to be effective and fruitful. Pray for God’s wisdom and clarity for how best to structure our church and strategies with our two existing campuses.
  3. As part of this season of renewal, we've completed the transition of three new elders and are refreshing our staff team. There are a number of crucial staff positions we are seeking to fill. Pray that God would lead this process and put His called and qualified leaders into their proper roles to help lead us into this next season.

 

If you have chosen to fast today, Saturday, March 24th, please read through our Fasting Guide to prepare your heart to engage in this spiritual discipline.

March 23, 2018 5:24 AM

Day 33

March 23, 2018 5:24 AM
March 23, 2018 5:24 AM

Prayer Guide | Friday, March 23rd

FOCUS: PRAYING FOR OUR OURSELVES, FOR OTHERS, FOR OUR CHURCH,

FOR GOD’S WILL AND FOR HIS GLORY

 


"Don’t seek to develop a prayer life — seek a praying life. A ‘prayer life’ is a segmented time for prayer. You’ll end feeling guilty that you don’t spend more time in prayer. Eventually you’ll probably feel defeated and give up. A ‘praying life’ is a life that is saturated with prayerfulness — you seek to do all that you do with the Lord."

~ Dallas Willard

Begin with Adoration

This week we are going to continue to let the great hymns of the Church teach us about adoration. After reading the lyrics to this hymn, use it like an Old Testament Psalm, allowing the words to become your own words of adoration and praise.

I Sing the Mighty Power of God

I sing the mighty pow’r of God,
That made the mountains rise,
That spread the flowing seas abroad,
And built the lofty skies.
I sing the wisdom that ordained
The sun to rule the day;
The moon shines full at His command,
And all the stars obey. 

I sing the goodness of the Lord,
Who filled the earth with food,
Who formed the creatures through the Word,
And then pronounced them good.
Lord, how Thy wonders are displayed,
Where’er I turn my eye,
If I survey the ground I tread,
Or gaze upon the sky.

There’s not a plant or flow’r below,
But makes Thy glories known,
And clouds arise, and tempests blow,
By order from Thy throne;
While all that borrows life from Thee
Is ever in Thy care;
And everywhere that we can be,
Thou, God, art present there.

Isaac Watts (1715)

 

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March 22, 2018 5:52 AM

Day 32

March 22, 2018 5:52 AM
March 22, 2018 5:52 AM

FOCUS: PRAYING FOR OUR OURSELVES, FOR OTHERS, FOR OUR CHURCH,

FOR GOD’S WILL AND FOR HIS GLORY

 


 

"The truth of the matter is, we all come to prayer with a tangled mass of motives—altruistic and selfish, merciful and hateful, loving and bitter. Frankly, this side of eternity we will never unravel the good from the bad, the pure from the impure. But what I have come to see is that God is big enough to receive us with all our mixture. We do not have to be bright, or pure, or filled with faith, or anything. That is what grace means, and not only are we saved by grace, we live by it as well. And we pray by it."

~Richard Foster

I don’t know about you, but I’d say that is a paragraph worth reading again, to be reminded that all is of grace, and to be encouraged to pray not based on our worthiness or qualification, but coming only in the finished work of Jesus on our behalf. We pray, by grace.

Begin with Adoration

This week we are going to continue to let the great hymns of the Church teach us about adoration. After reading the lyrics to this hymn, use it like an Old Testament Psalm, allowing the words to become your own words of adoration and praise.

O Worship the King

O worship the King, all glorious above,
O gratefully sing His power and His love;
Our Shield and Defender, the Ancient of Days,
Pavilioned in splendor, and girded with praise.

O tell of His might, O sing of His grace,
Whose robe is the light, whose canopy space,
His chariots of wrath the deep thunderclouds form,
And dark is His path on the wings of the storm. 

Thy bountiful care, what tongue can recite?
It breathes in the air, it shines in the light;
It streams from the hills, it descends to the plain,
And sweetly distills in the dew and the rain. 

Frail children of dust, and feeble as frail,
In Thee do we trust, nor find Thee to fail;
Thy mercies how tender, how firm to the end,
Our Maker, Defender, Redeemer, and Friend.

William Kethe (1561)
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March 21, 2018 5:40 AM

Day 31

March 21, 2018 5:40 AM
March 21, 2018 5:40 AM

Prayer Guide | Wednesday, March 21st

FOCUS: PRAYING FOR OUR OURSELVES, FOR OTHERS, FOR OUR CHURCH,

FOR GOD’S WILL AND FOR HIS GLORY

 


‘Why has God established prayer?’ asked Pascal. And Pascal’s first answer to his own great question is this: God has established prayer in the moral world in order ‘to communicate to His creatures the dignity of causality.’ That is to say, to give us a touch and a taste of what it is to be a Creator.

~ Alexander Whyte

Begin with Adoration

This week we are going to continue to let the great hymns of the Church teach us about adoration. After reading the lyrics to this hymn, use it like an Old Testament Psalm, allowing the words to become your own words of adoration and praise.

Praise to the Lord, the Almighty

Praise to the Lord,
The Almighty, the King of creation!
O my soul, praise Him,
For He is thy health and salvation!
All ye who hear, now to His temple draw near;
Praise Him in glad adoration. 

Praise to the Lord,
Who over all things so wondrously reigneth,
Shelters thee under His wings,
Yea, so gently sustaineth!
Hast thou not seen how thy desires ever have been
Granted in what He ordaineth? 

Praise to the Lord,
Who doth prosper thy work and defend thee;
Surely His goodness and mercy
Here daily attend thee.
Ponder anew what the Almighty can do,
If with His love He befriend thee.

Praise to the Lord,
O let all that is in me adore Him!
All that hath life and breath,
Come now with praises before Him.
Let the Amen sound from His people again,
Gladly for aye we adore Him.

Joachim Neander (1680)
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Guide to Prayer and Fasting

By Pastor Brian Petak

As we've begun this new year with a powerful teaching series on prayer and now look to what God has in store for The Ascent in this next season, we believe there is nothing more important for us to do than seek God’s heart, wisdom, direction and blessing. It has been, and will always be His will above our own! Through this season of prayer and fasting, we trust that God will renew our hearts for all that breaks and delights His own.

We invite you to pray with us throughout this 40-day season and, in addition, choose a day to fast between Febuary  14th and April 1st. May we be changed, that we might change the world for His glory.

If you haven't done so already, text 40DAYS to 555888 to receive a link to our daily devotional each morning during the 40 days, beginning February 14 and concluding on Easter Sunday, April 1. 

If you'd like to receive the devotional via email, click here


 

What is prayer?

Prayer at its essence is an ongoing talk with God. It is hearing and it is speaking. It is words spoken and words received. It is a quiet heart. It is a crying heart. It is foundational to life, the “abundant” life that Christ promised.

Like God’s people before us, we are choosing to designate a season in which we individually and corporately make “talking with God” our first priority.

Why should I pray?

We do so because we need Him. We do so because we need to know His will, His power, His direction, His favor, His blessing. In John the Baptist's words, we want more of Him and less of us.

We pray because we are following the Servant King, and it was His habit to pray—it was His life. Jesus says in John 5:19-20, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, unless it is something He sees the Father doing… For the Father loves the Son, and shows Him all things that He Himself is doing…”

How was it that Jesus lived with such clear intentionality, able to navigate the chaos and demands of life, such that in 33 years He accomplished all He was meant to accomplish? Surely it was His constant communion with the Father—seeing, hearing, and knowing the heart of God the Father.

And this points us to the essence of prayer: communion with God. Deepening our relationship with Christ. Knowing God.

We embark upon these days of prayer and fasting not to “get something from God,” but to know God better and deepen our relationship with Him. There is no higher calling in life and there is no other foundation in prayer. While prayer does involve our “asking” of God, our requests flow from our relationship. In this way, our requests become a reflection of our relationship with God, not our wish list to God.

How will we pray?

We see the Early Church growing and expanding in the Book of Acts - a good reminder of the fundamental elements of talking with God, the acronym: ACTS. Over the course of the 40 days, we will use this outline in each day’s prayer guide, beginning with adoration, then adding each subsequent element in the weeks that follow.

Adoration

We always begin by recognizing and simply sitting in awe of the character and actions of God.

Confession

Seeing God for who He is allows us to truly see ourselves, thereby confessing the ways we fall short of His character.

Thanksgiving

Giving thanks unlocks gratitude in our hearts and enables us to see and experience the mercies, kindness and provisions of God.

Supplication

Supplication is asking God for what we need, what we desire and what we hope for others. This is our response to Jesus’s invitation to “ask” for what we need.

"The key to Christian living is a thirst and hunger for God. And one of the main reasons people do not understand or experience the sovereignty of grace and the way it works through the awakening of sovereign joy is that their hunger and thirst for God is so small." ~ John Piper, A Hunger for God

What is fasting?

Abstaining from food for spiritual reasons.

Why fast?

We fast not to get something we want from God, but for God to change our wants. We fast because Jesus fasted, He expected we would fast, and we see that the early church fasted.

We are fasting because in this new season in our church's story, we want what God wants more than ever. It is a season in which we are placing this desire into concrete action. In fasting, we choose a period of time in which we forsake what we need to live physically (food), in recognition that our greater need is to live spiritually, and that means we need God.

How are we going to fast?

We are inviting everyone to pray throughout the 40-day season and to choose one day between February 14th and April 1st to fast. (By the way, prayer and fasting are never separated in the Scripture.) Whether you are skipping a meal or skipping all meals for an entire day, take that meal time (or a specific, scheduled time) to pray, read your Bible, listen to God, meditate, and reflect.

How do I fast?

Here are some possible fasts you may wish to do:

  1. Normal Food Fast - Going without food for a predetermined period of time. It could be one day or several days. One must drink water, and be cautious of existing medical conditions.

  2. Partial Food Fast - Going without a meal during the day, or multiple meals for one day. A partial food fast may also mean going without a certain kind of food for a set period.

  3. Juice or Fruit Fast - Choosing only to have a certain juice or fruit for a meal for a period of time (adapted from a fast guide from Perimeter Presbyterian Church, Atlanta GA).

  4. Other Fast - You can also fast from various activities that you may sense the Lord prompting you to go without for a time: watching TV, social media, texting, consuming alcohol and many others. Especially if you have issues related to food, this may be a way God may prompt you to fast during this time.

Our prayer is that individually and corporately the fruit of our time of prayer and fasting is a deeper hunger and thirst for God, that results in a greater hunger and thirst for the things of God – His glory made known through the gospel that changes lives, that change the world.

Learn more about the what, why and how of biblical fasting from Richard Foster's article.

Content adapted from Fellowship Bible Church, Brentwood, TN, Pastor Lloyd Shadrach.