40 Days of Prayer

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40 Days of Prayer2020-10-04T09:19:45-04:00

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2910, 2020

Day 40

By |October 29th, 2020|Categories: 40 Days of Prayer|Comments Off on Day 40

Today is not the last day of your prayer journey, but it is the culmination of 40 Days of Prayer devoted to learning more about prayer and diving deeper into the prayer that our Lord taught us to pray. I hope it has been a challenging and fruitful journey. It has helped establish a new daily habit of prayer for some of you, and for that, I am extremely thankful. For others, you may still be struggling with prayer. Don't be discouraged. If there is one activity, the enemy will try to disrupt, attack, and diminish; it will be your personal prayer life. Your communication with your Heavenly Father is one of the greatest threats to his ability to trip you up and drag you down. When you pray the Lord's prayer, you are inviting God to meet your deepest needs, your physical needs, and to help you overcome the traps of the evil one. Don't expect it to be easy and challenge-free. That just isn't the way our enemy works. It was "easy" when you were not praying because the devil didn't have anything to disrupt because you were already doing (or not doing) what he wants. So on this [...]

2810, 2020

Day 39

By |October 28th, 2020|Categories: 40 Days of Prayer|Comments Off on Day 39

8 Powerful Displays of Prayer in the Bible How can changing your posture intensify your prayer life? by Alex and Stephen Kendrick Is it necessary to bow when we pray? Should we lift our hands and kneel? The answer is simple: prayer is not dependent on body positions. God’s clear emphasis is not on externals but on the heart. Yet He’s created us to be a complete, unified whole—body, soul and spirit. All of our various components feed and affect all the others. We hear of professional golfers who study with coaches to make even slight alterations in their stance or grip, hoping to achieve another fifteen yards off the tee or better control around the greens. How much more should we study the Word to see how our posture might intensify our praying? 1. Bowing To bow is a physical expression of honor and allegiance. The action of bowing is associated with worship. Even just the bowing of our heads communicates to our mind that we’re addressing the One to whom we’ve pledged our complete loyalty. When the Lord came down in a cloud around Moses on Mount Sinai, "Moses made haste to bow low toward the earth and worship" (Exod. [...]

2710, 2020

Day 38

By |October 27th, 2020|Categories: 40 Days of Prayer|Comments Off on Day 38

Three days left on our 40 Days of Prayer journey together. I received an email this past week from Keystone's member with a list of ways our prayers can become ineffective. I really liked the list and want to share it with you in the category of 10 Ways Not To Pray 1. Praying in any other name than Jesus “Jesus said to him, ‘I am the Way, and the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through me.'” – John 14:6. (NIV) In that day you will no longer ask me anything. Very truly I tell you, my Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete. - John 16:23-24 (NIV) 2. Praying while ignoring the scriptures If anyone turns a deaf ear to my instruction, even their prayers are detestable. –Proverbs 28:9 (NIV) Dear friends, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God and receive from him anything we ask, because we keep his commands and do what pleases him. –1 John 3:21-22 (NIV) 3. Praying to impress others “And when you pray, [...]

2610, 2020

Day 37

By |October 26th, 2020|Categories: 40 Days of Prayer|Comments Off on Day 37

As we continue to look at the last line of the Lord's Prayer, we pray the words: And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from the evil one. Yesterday we focused on the first part of that line, and today, we are moving on to the last six words. For just six words, they communicate a lot of information. First, we need ongoing, daily deliverance. When evangelicals speak of someone beginning a relationship with Jesus, praying a prayer of repentance of sin and faith in Christ, we call that being "saved" or "born again." The challenge with the term "saved" is that it seems to carry with it a sense of "I did that, so it's done." In one sense, yes, you are saved, and like a birth, it happens once. In another sense, you and I need continual saving. We still have an enemy set on our destruction. Even if he can't take us down with him, he would love nothing more than trip us up and make us ineffective in being faithful to God along the way. Yes, as a follower of Jesus, you are saved, but God continues His saving or rescuing work in your life [...]

2510, 2020

Day 36

By |October 25th, 2020|Categories: 40 Days of Prayer|Comments Off on Day 36

Today we focused on the last portion of the Lord's Prayer with the words: And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. Of all the items Jesus could have added to His prayer list for us, He ends the prayer with a very sobering request. It is essentially a request for guidance and rescue. Why would this be? Because we know what it is to experience temptation, we also know the pain of giving in to the temptations we experience. We all feel we should be better at resisting temptation, but we experience a different reality time and time again. Jesus addresses this weakness by reminding us to include within our prayer a petition that our Heavenly Father would not lead us into temptation, which can actually be stated another way, lead us away from temptation. We all need our Father's help in that regard. There was a little boy named Bobby who desperately wanted a new bicycle. His plan was to save his nickels, dimes and quarters until he finally had enough to buy a new 10-speed. Each night he asked God to help him save his money. Kneeling beside his bed, he prayed, “Dear Lord, please [...]

2410, 2020

Day 35

By |October 24th, 2020|Categories: 40 Days of Prayer|Comments Off on Day 35

We are just six days away from completing our 40 Days of Prayer journey. Before we turn our attention to the final section of the Lord's Prayer, I want to share a little bit about a companion practice to prayer, which is fasting. In Matthew 6, Jesus talks about how we are to pray, give us a prayer to pray, and provides teaching where He expands on the topic of forgiveness. Immediately after that teaching, Jesus continues with the following instructions: When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show others they are fasting. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full.  But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face,so that it will not be obvious to others that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. - Matthew 6:16-18 (NIV) Wouldn't it have been nice if Jesus gave more specifics about fasting? He begins this teaching by saying, "When you fast..." and not IF you fast. The assumption on the part of Jesus is that His followers, [...]

2310, 2020

Day 34

By |October 23rd, 2020|Categories: 40 Days of Prayer|Comments Off on Day 34

Today we are continuing to look at the section of the prayer where Jesus teaches us to say: Forgive us our sins for we also forgive everyone who sins against us. - Luke 11:4 (NIV) As I consider those words, I cannot help but think about the conditions I tend to put on the forgiveness I'm willing to offer. I am a person who can forgive rather quickly. I don't think this is an overly saint-like quality because, in all honesty, I haven't been hurt or betrayed in ways that have caused deep wounds as other people have, including some of you who are reading these words. There are times I do not feel qualified to talk about forgiveness because I feel I have been in greater need of asking forgiveness than granting it. That is part of the reason why I shared Corrie Ten Boom's story yesterday. If she can forgive a Nazi prison guard, why can't I forgive the person who lied to me, took advantage of me, or maligned me? Even though I haven't had to forgive something major, I still have one condition: I expect to forgive a person who asks for my forgiveness. It's even better [...]

2210, 2020

Day 33

By |October 22nd, 2020|Categories: 40 Days of Prayer|Comments Off on Day 33

Corrie Ten Boom was a part of a Christian family in the Netherlands who helped to hide Jews from the Nazis after they invaded and occupied their country in 1940. Her family was ultimately betrayed by an informant and they were arrested. She was sent to a labor camp and due to clerical error, nine months later, she was released, only to learn that a week later, all the women in her age group were sent to the gas chamber. You can find the story of her life in the book she authored called The Hiding Place.  I highly recommend you take the time to read it. Years after the war had ended, she became a popular and notable Christian teacher and speaker. On one occasion when she was preaching in Munich she was approached by a man she immediately recognized as one of the cruelest guards in her labor camp. She was then confronted with the challenge of forgiveness that most of us will never have to face. I'm including an excerpted recording of a sermon she gave describing this event. It has always been a powerful example of the conflict we all face when trying to forgive.

2110, 2020

Day 32

By |October 21st, 2020|Categories: 40 Days of Prayer|Comments Off on Day 32

As we look at this very challenging section of the Lord's Prayer on forgiveness, we need to consider an important point. Do you notice that Jesus does not teach us to pray for the forgiveness of other's sins?  I can grant forgiveness of sins committed against me, but I cannot forgive the sins of someone that were not committed against me. I know this is where we will run into different Christian traditions. If you were raised in the Roman Catholic Church, Eastern Orthodox, or some higher church protestant denominations, the priests are given the authority to pronounce absolution on a repentant sinner. The passage of scripture offered as a defense of this practice is found in the Gospel of John when Jesus says to His disciples: If you forgive anyone's sins, their sins are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven. - John 20:23 (NIV) Now, there is plenty of theological discussions that can be had about the topic that isn't the purpose of this blog, so we won't go there, but I also didn't want to leave anyone with the impression that there isn't a biblical rationale for this practice. Suffice it to say, I [...]

2010, 2020

Day 31

By |October 20th, 2020|Categories: 40 Days of Prayer|Comments Off on Day 31

Have you ever considered why Jesus would include a request for the forgiveness of sin in a daily prayer He was teaching His disciples? I can fully understand why we would be asking for daily bread because up until the past 200 years, bread was a daily need and didn't come with an expiration date weeks away. Daily requesting that God's will be done and His kingdom to come also makes a lot of sense. But why a daily prayer of forgiveness? Does Jesus expect His followers to sin each and every day? Do we need to be saved each and every day again and again? I would love to say that there is an easy answer, but this is where Christians come up with slightly different answers. Here is how I answer the questions: No, Jesus doesn't expect His followers to sin each and every day intentionally. No, we don't lose our salvation when we sin, requiring us to get saved each and every day. Yes, Christians do sin, intentionally and unintentionally, more than we would like to admit. Yes, when we sin, we should confess those sins to God and repent (which means turn around and walk the other [...]