40 Days Prayer & Fasting
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.

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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.