Sycamore Baptist Church
Saturday, July 26, 2014
Exists To Grow As Disciples And Be Disciple Makers

40 Days of Prayer

Introduction

40 Days of Prayer is an event inspired by the longsuffering and abundant mercy of a holy God and modeled after the dedicated period of fasting and effective, intercessory prayer of Moses. Moses led and lived among a rebellious people destined to perish under God’s wrath. Sound familiar? Like Moses, we desire to seek and apply God’s wisdom as the world hopelessly applies man’s wisdom to address cultural, social, economic, political and spiritual matters.  We invite you to partner with us in a focused and fervent 40 days of prayer.

We have organized the following resources we hope you find useful. These include:
 
Tip: Click on the blue links above to jump to that heading.

7 Daily Devotions to Prepare the Heart

40 Days of Prayer participants are encouraged to spend 7 days of preparation, March 25th - March 31st. The following plan is designed to help you get the most out of this preparation period. We also encourage you to include a day of fasting in this 7 day period. 

Day 1 - The Heart of Moses (Deuteronomy 9)

Deuteronomy 9 puts Moses’ heart front and center. Moses recounts Israel’s history of unfaithfulness despite God’s faithfulness to His covenant promises. Starting with the Golden Calf and continuing with their failure to take the Promised Land, Moses confronts Israel with their idolatry, unfaithfulness, and lack of fear of and trust in God.

The Golden Calf
If you remember, the Lord redeemed Israel from the hand of the Egyptians in the Exodus. A clear indication that He is an all-powerful God worthy to be worshipped. Instead of recognizing God’s power and worshipping the One True God, Israel fashioned a Golden Calf and bowed down to it.

The Failure to Take the Promised Land
If confronting them with their idolatry was not enough, Moses also reminds Israel of their failure to trust and fear God. God had promised them and their forefathers - Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob - a land of their own possession. At the site of it’s inhabitants, Israel shrunk back. Instead of trusting God to provide military victory, they feared the people.

Forty Days of Prayer
After each failure, Moses prostrated himself 40 days before the Lord for the people. Why intercede for a rebellious people, asking the Lord to preserve them?

Moses did so because he loved and cared for them. He desired they experience the Lord’s blessings. As well as he was zealous for God’s glory. For those reasons, Moses twice spent forty days and nights in prayer for the nation of Israel.

The Challenge
Shouldn’t we care for and love those in our nation? Shouldn’t that love drive us to our knees praying the Lord would change their hearts? We think so. For that reason, we want to challenge you to intercede for your nation, your state, your city, your community, your neighbors, your church family and your immediate family. Won’t you join us as we first ask God to change our hearts to be more like Moses’ and then by interceding in prayer for those around us from April 1st - May 10th? 

Day 2 - Work for the Good of Your City (Jeremiah 29)

Jeremiah 29 provides a copy of Jeremiah’s letter to the exiles after Nebuchadnezzar had been taken from Jerusalem to Babylon. The purpose of Jeremiah’s letter is twofold. First, keep Israel from being apathetic. Second, to keep Israel from being deceived by the prophets and diviners who told them they will return to Jerusalem soon.

Instead of returning soon, Israel would spend seventy years in Babylon. Jeremiah did not want them to waste that time. He writes starting in verse 4:   

Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, to all the exiles whom I have sent into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: Build houses and live in them; plant gardens and eat their produce. Take wives and have sons and daughters; take wives for your sons, and give your daughters in marriage, that they may bear sons and daughters; multiply there, and do not decrease. But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare.

The Challenge

The Bible tells us we are like Israel. We are foreigners and aliens in this world (1 Peter 2:11; Hebrews 13:14). We live in a land that is not our home. Even so, like Israel, we are to work, build, plant, eat, marry, multiple, and seek the welfare of the cities in which we live. Prayer is one way to seek the welfare of our cities.

Starting April 1st you have the opportunity to join us and others for 40 Days of Prayer. During this time, we will focus on praying for the welfare of our cities. We hope to be praying alongside you then. 

Day 3 - Pray for Your Leaders (1 Timothy 2:1; 1 Peter 2:13-17)

Given the current political and social climate in our nation we might conclude that evangelicals are at odds with our culture. While there may be an ever increasing divide between evangelicals and secular society, withdrawal is not the answer. It is not the answer because it breeds an us against them mentality.

Instead of withdrawing from society, we are to live in it, honor our leaders, and pray for those over us. Both Peter and Paul agree.

Peter writes,

Be subject for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether it be to the emperor as supreme, or to governors as sent by him to punish those who do evil and to praise those who do good. For this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people. Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God. Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor (1 Peter 2:13–17).  

Paul writes,

"First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth (1 Timothy 2:1–4).  

The Challenge

As believers, even though we are often at odds with the world; told not to marvel if the world hates us (1 John 3:13); and told that friendship with the world puts us in conflict with God (James 4:4); we are not to withdraw from society. Conflict between God’s wisdom and man’s wisdom should not drive us to seclusion; rather it should motivate us to prayer and action that the world might know Christ. 

Day 4 - Be Devoted to Prayer (Acts 2:42)

Acts 2 recounts the beginning of the church, as we know it. God blessed Peter’s preaching, so that thousands were saved. Those who remained in Jerusalem formed a church.

According to Acts 2:42, the Jerusalem church devoted themselves to four things:

(1) The Apostles teaching
(2) Fellowship with one another
(3) The Breaking of bread
(4) Prayer 

The Challenge
Prayer is the focus of 40 Days of Prayer, so we want to challenge you to devote yourselves to prayer like the church in Jerusalem. While demands on our attention are great - children, work, church, etc - we believe we need to be devoted to the things of God. Devotion is not half-hearted effort, but it is characterized by persistence, perseverance and focus.

We desire you devote yourselves to participating in 40 Days of Prayer beginning April 1st. Knowing this will require persistence, perseverance, and focus on your part, we encourage you to use this day to prepare your minds for action (1 Peter 1:13).  

Day 5 - Be Persistent and Alert in Prayer (Colossians 4:2-4)

Before Paul closes his letter to the Colossians, he encourages them in their prayer life by telling them to:

  • Be devoted to prayer - Praying with persistence, perseverance, and focus.
  • Be alert in prayer - Praying with exactitude, engagement, and involvement.
  • Be thankful in prayer - Praying and thanking God for what He has done for you.
  • Be intentional in prayer - Praying your leaders would have an open door to spread the Word of God.

The Challenge
The prayers of the saints are an incense and a sweet aroma to God (Revelation 5:8). Intentional prayer for thanksgiving, for others, and for service opportunities requires us to put aside selfish desires and humble ourselves before our holy God. This can be difficult for an hour (Matthew 26:36-46), much more so for 40 days. Use this day to understand the need and prepare for the commitment necessary for 40 Days of Prayer. 

Day 6 - Praying in Confidence (Proverbs 21:1; James 5:13-18; 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18; 2 Chronicles 7:14)

Why prayer? Wouldn’t a petition or letter writing campaign to political leaders, to those who can really make a difference be more effective? While appealing to national leaders can be an effective means of driving change, the intent of the 40 Days of Prayer is to address sin - the root cause of the reason we need change. Meaningful, lasting change starts in the heart of each individual. Through prayer, we make an appeal to the only One who effects this change, the One who can direct the ways of our leaders (Proverbs 21:1). 

More importantly, God instructs us to pray. Knowing this is His will, we may pray in confidence that He will hear our cry (James 5:13-18; 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18; 2 Chronicles 7:14).

The Challenge

Effective prayer requires faith, humility, and repentance. Take this day to confess sin and seek repentance. Humble yourself before God and give thanks for the atoning work of Christ. Make prayer your first priority, not your last resort.

Day 7 - The Challenge Before Us

As we end this week of preparation, we hope you have benefited from the daily devotionals. It is our prayer that you share our desire for national healing, revival in the church and salvation for the lost in our community.

Tomorrow starts our 40 day event of focused prayer. We anticipate struggles with maintaining this schedule. It is easy to be excited and motivated during the planning and early days but our schedules are full. Work, family and even church commitments can drain our energy and distract us from obedient service to God. 

For many of you, today, Easter Sunday, will be filled with activities celebrating the resurrection of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Let the gospel truth of His redemptive work motivate and strengthen you. As part of your worship today, meditate on the things God has shown you this week. Be encouraged with the knowledge that you have a High Priest who can sympathize with our weakness and in all points has faced the temptations, which beset us.

Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” (Hebrews 4:16)

40 Day Prayer Guide 

 Day 1 - Pray for faith.

 Day 2 - Pray for your Pastor, Church Staff, Teachers, and Volunteers.

 Day 3 - Pray for your local congregation.

 Day 4 - Pray the Lord would stir your heart to reach the lost and unchurched in your community.

 Day 5 - Pray for the global church and denominations that we would boldly hold fast to God’s word and repent of false teaching.

 Day 6 - Pray for your local business owners. Ask God to provide a relationship so you can reach them with the gospel. 

 Day 7 - Pray for the teachers and administration at the local Elementary, Middle, and High School.

 Day 8 - Pray for God’s continued mercy and longsuffering toward our nation, that He would stay His hand from judgment.

 Day 9 - Pray for local missions.

 Day 10 - Pray for international missions.

 Day 11 - Pray for those imprisoned and persecuted for their faith in Christ. 

 Day 12 - Pray for those that persecute the church. 

 Day 13 - Pray for the executive branch of our national government. President Barack Obama, Vice President Joseph Biden and Cabinet departments and members 

 Day 14 - Pray for the legislative branch of our national government - http://whoismyrepresentative.com

 Day 15 - Pray for the Judicial branch of our national government and that the Supreme Court would uphold the sanctity of marriage and have godly wisdom in all their duties. Chief Justice John Roberts Jr, Antonin Scalia, Anthony Kennedy, Clarence Thomas, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Samuel Alito, Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan.

 Day 16 - Pray for state leadership - http://www.fyi.legis.state.tx.us

 Day 17 - Pray for your local city leaders. 

 Day 18 - Pray for our military - leaders and soldiers.

 Day 19 - Pray for your immediate family - spouse, parents, children.

 Day 20 - Halfway through, pray for those participating in this effort. 

 Day 21 - Pray for our police.

 Day 22 - Pray for those in our prisons and those that run them.

 Day 23 - Pray for our firefighters.

 Day 24 - Pray for our widows and orphans.

 Day 25 - Pray for your workplace - bosses, employees and co-workers.

 Day 26 - Pray for the homeless and poor. 

 Day 27 - Pray by name for specific lost people you know.

 Day 28 - Pray for victims of abuse and the abusers. 

 Day 29 - Pray for followers of false religions. 

 Day 30 - Pray thanksgiving for God’s mercies and provisions. 

 Day 31 - Pray for personal and global revival. 

 Day 32 - Pray for broken families. 

 Day 33 - Pray for women who have had or are considering abortions and the child’s father.

 Day 34 - Pray for the wealthy of this world. 

 Day 35 - Pray for your neighbors and neighborhood.

 Day 36 - Pray for those with addictions - alcohol, drugs, gambling, pornography. 

 Day 37 - Pray for the next generation.

 Day 38 - Pray for students in our public school system; private schools and home schooled. 

 Day 39 - Pray for parents that they would seek God’s wisdom as they carry out their responsibilities.

 Day 40 - Thank God for His promises and faithfulness.

Social Media

In order to benefit fully from 40 Days of Prayer and receive a reminder, like our Facebook page. There you will receive a daily reminder and encouragement to pray. As well as you can interact with others participating in 40 Days of Prayer. You can access our page at www.facebook.com/sycamorebaptistchurch

Day 41 Event

Sycamore Baptist Church invites you to join with fellow believers who have participated in 40 Days of Prayer. On Saturday, May 11th at 10:00am, we will host a time of prayer and fellowship with 40 Days of Prayer participants. Meet brothers and sisters in Christ who share your compassion for a lost world and desire to be salt and light.

Need directions to our church? Click here.

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Service Times

Sunday

10 a.m. - Sunday School, Various Locations
11 a.m. - Morning Worship Service, Sanctuary
 

Wednesday

7 p.m. - Bible Study, Gathering Room