Welcome, and thank you for joining this adventure of 21 days of prayer and fasting together!
For the next twenty-one days we are going to pray and fast together. While we will pray for needs, and build personal intimacy with the Lord, we want to focus on kingdom-centered prayer. Pray for your church, pray for the community, pray that the Lord will bring about His will and equip us to become a life-giving church. Pray for how God might want to use you in bringing about His will in your neighborhood, in your church, and in your sphere of influence.
We are also encouraging you to fast if you medically can do so, especially on Tue and/or Thu every week. These are the appointed days every week when we will be coming together to pray at the church. Church will be open 6-7 on Tuesdays, and 12-1 on Thursdays for prayer.
I am super excited as we go through this journey together in anticipation of what God is going to do!
Feel free to share testimonies, questions, or comments and feedback - either on facebook.com/bellevuecconline or email, email@example.com
Today we will gather for our worship service as we end our journey of 21 days together. Here is the link to the last message in our prayer series, "Holy Desire" - facebook.com/bellevuecconline.
And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people (Eph 6:18-19)
Paul instructs the Ephesian church to "pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people (Eph 6:18-19)." Notice the emphasis - all occasions, all kinds, and all people. In other words, Paul is saying develop a lifestyle of prayer. We are coming to the end of our 21 days of prayer focus, but we know that prayer is more than a 21 days of focus. So today, let us pray and make a plan on how we will continue giving prayer a primacy in our lives. Personally, I am planning to read through the Psalms slowly, and use them as a framework form personal prayer everyday. I urge you to make a plan for the rest of the year so prayer becomes our lifestyle.
Jesus' last words while ascending to His disciples were, "But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” Notice that God's vision for them was broad and extended to the ends of the earth, but it started with the community they lived in - Jerusalem.
Today, in our prayer, let us focus on our community. Let us pray for the leadership of our community - here is a link to the names who are on the council.
Pray for the prosperity of the community. In this time of the pandemic, many businesses are struggling. Pray for them today.
Pray for the schools, the school board, the superintendent, the principal, and the teachers and staff. Here is a link to those who are on the school board, and staff at Bellevue schools.
Jesus, speaking of His purpose said, “The Son of Man has come to seek and save the lost (Luke 19:10).” The essential purpose of Jesus’ coming was to save the lost. Before He went to the cross, he prayed, “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message.” That is, Jesus prayed that His purpose will be carried out by his disciples (which is us).
So, today as we pray, let us focus on those whom God has put in our sphere of influence - family, friends, co-workers who need to come to faith.
Think of specific names, and write them down, and pray for opportunity, the right words, and favor as you bring the light of Jesus to them in your relationships.
Pray that they will have others also share the love and message of Jesus to them.
Pray for their hearts to soften and turn to the Lord.
If you have been reading the news, you probably share the anxiety of our nation as we move towards the Inauguration Day. There is much fear and uncertainty and we have never been this divided and polarized as a nation.
But here is the good news (yes there is good news in all of this)- it is also the greatest opportunity the Church in America has to demonstrate clearly the values of the kingdom of God.
God reminds his people that “I have raised you up for this very purpose, that I might show you my power and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth (Exodus 9:16)” And again in Psalms we are reminded that through us, “His ways may be known on earth and His salvation declared among the nations (Psalm 67:2,3)”
So let us pray for these two days that God will enable us to be light in dark times, to not feed into the division but be willing to listen, to be gentle and kind even to those with whom we disagree, to not point fingers to the left or the right, but point them upwards to the Lord in whom is all our hope.
Here are some specific prayer points for the next couple of days:
1. Pray for humility - the famous verse in 2 Chronicles 7:15 starts by stating that the first action God’s people need to take is to humble themselves. It is tempting to take a stance in this climate in our nation by taking a posture of pride and acting like we know all the truth. Let’s pray that God will allow us to be in a posture of humility.
2. Pray for discernment. Humility is the gateway to discernment, and we need discernment more than ever. Remember, no one is without a bias, and we tend to believe what we would like to be true.
3. Pray for the leaders. Our nation is going through a leadership change. But, ultimately, the Lord is sovereign, and in control. He is the One who allows those who are in authority over us. Pray for wisdom for our new president, and the rest of his staff. Pray that they will have godly voices that they will listen to. Proverbs 21 says, “The king’s heart is like channels of water in the hand of the Lord; He turns it wherever He pleases.” In other words, God has control over hearts of those in leadership. Pray that God will direct their hearts in ways and decisions that are godly.
We are in the last week of our 21 days of prayer and fasting. Last week we focused on praying for the Church. This week we will focus on our neighbors, our community, and our nation.
Today, let us start praying for our neighbors. By that I mean praying for our literal neighbors. Paul in Acts 17:26-27a says, “From one man he made every nation of the human race to inhabit the entire earth, determining their set times and the fixed limits of the places where they would live, so that they would search for God... and find him..” Paul is implying that our places where we live are divinely ordained and that It is in that context there are those who are searching will find God.
You are not in your neighborhood by accident! God has placed you to be the light. The way kingdom life comes to neighborhoods is through those that God has placed there and who are living intentionally for Him. So today let us focus on praying for our neighbors.
Pray for your immediate neighbors by name. I hope you know some of your neighbors by name. If not, make plans to get to know them.
Pray that God might use you to bring the Gospel truth to them by the way you live and pray for opportunities and divine appointments with those who live near you.
Pray for the favor of God in your interactions and pray for any specific needs that you know that they might have.
We all have a nature to become self-centered and apathetic. So, pray that your heart will remain open to the stirrings of the Holy Spirit and that you will not become apathetic to the neighbors God has put around you.
Today we will gather for our worship service as we continue in our 21 days of prayer and fasting. The subject today is "How to deal with unanswered prayer" Go to facebook.com/bellevuecconline to listen to today's message.
Paul asks the Ephesian church to pray that "whenever I open my mouth, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains (Eph 6:19-20)."
To the church in Rome, he again urges them that "by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the Spirit, to join me in my struggle by praying to God for me. Pray that I may be rescued from the unbelievers in Judea and that my service in Jerusalem may be acceptable to the saints there Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should. (Romans 15:30-33).
Paul, the super missionary, knew he could not do without the prayers of the church. He knew as the leader he would face opposition to the Gospel. The Gospel work is carried on the backs of praying saints.
So, today as we continue to pray for the church, will you join me in focusing on praying for:
1. Our missionaries and their families.
2. Pray for your local church leaders including your pastor, leaders of ministries, and their families.
Pray that they will have wisdom, courage, and favor of God. Pray for their protection and pray for opportunities for the Gospel in every conversation. Pray for fruitfulness. Pray for their families, and pray for God to bring a refreshing of the Spirit as they continue to labor for the Gospel.
Want to get superpowers? If you believe in the legends, superpowers are developed when something happens to you - like being bit by a radioactive spider, or being exposed to gamma radiation - and your human powers are enhanced, or augmented and you can do what normally no one can do! But there is an easier and more guaranteed way than that! There is a promise in the Bible that tells us we can get what I see as superpowers if we learn to do one thing - Wait!
Yes! Wait on God in prayer!
Hard to believe? Look at what Isaiah says - "But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength;
They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint (Isaiah 40:31 NKJV)."
In other words, while normally you can't quite fly, and would grow weary after running for a while, and eventually faint after walking long; Those who can persevere in prayer will gain something like superpowers because God will ensure that they can do things which they cannot do otherwise! I was just reminded of it again this morning when I went to speak at the Barry County Christian School Chapel, and it was their memory verse! What a promise! The 21 days of prayer and fasting are not a wasted effort! Something supernatural is happening as God gives the strength to do what we would never be able to do on our own. So, let us continue to pray.
Today as we pray for the church, I would urge you to pray by specifically focusing on each of these groups of people in the church - families, singles, young adults, teenagers, kids, and the elderly in our church. As you focus on each category, pray specifically for those whom the Lord lays on your heart. Pray for the unique challenges that they may be facing in this season. Perhaps some are feeling weary - emotionally, physically or spiritually - pray that as they wait on the Lord, they will gain their superpower - the power that comes from God Himself and the only one that counts!
Today, we are half way in our 21 day journey of prayer and fasting, and I am sure you have testimonies of what God has been doing in your life as you have intensified your focus on Him. I know I have! Today, I would like to encourage us, if you haven't already, to add fasting to your prayer. In Matthew 6, Jesus gave instructions on fasting, and started by saying, "when you fast..." Jesus expected us to fast or else he would have used a less mandatory declarative word than "when."
Fasting is more than missing a meal. It is spiritual battle (Matthew 17:14-21). Fasting intensifies our focus on seeking Him and His will. It allows us to disconnect from the distractions and routine we have, and connect to the presence of God to bring supernatural refreshing to our souls.
So I urge us as a church to make some plans to fast along with praying. Although most fasting involves abstaining from food, it does not only have to be food. It can be social media, or TV, or anything that makes you more intentional about focusing on God and His Word.
Here is a resource from campus crusade for Christ that is helpful in understanding how to fast
The theme for this week in our 21 day journey is prayer for the Church. There is one prayer Paul prays in Romans 15:13 that I urge us today to make our focus. Paul prays, "May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Paul is essentially praying the same prayer that Jesus prayed before He went to the cross - a prayer for unity in the church. Jesus prayed "I pray … that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us that the world may believe that you have sent me (John 17:20)." Jesus pins the success of His mission to bring about His life and salvation to the people to unity of the church! Most certainly unity matters to God, and it should matter to us! Max Lucado makes this observation that "nowhere in the scriptures are we told to build unity, but rather we are asked to keep unity. From God's perspective, there is but "one flock and one shepherd (John 10:16). Unity does not need to be created; it simply needs to be protected."
So today will you join me as we pray that "we will make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace (Eph 4:3)" and that God will join us together to be united in purpose and mission, and the community around us will witness a harmonious chorus that glorifies our God.
I hope to see you all tonight at 6 pm at our Connect group at the church!
As we continue this week in praying for the Church, I am reminded of Jesus' words - “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest." Jesus says this in Luke 10:2 as he is sending his disciples on a mission. While there is a lot to meditate on in this verse, here are three things that I observe, and hope that today they become our focus for prayer.
One, there is a time aspect we cannot ignore. There is a sense of urgency in Jesus' words. There is only so much window of time until the harvest is good. After that the harvest will be lost forever. Further, the work of those who planted and toiled with the hope of that harvest is also lost.
Two, there is a human aspect we cannot ignore. There is a sense of dependency in Jesus' words. That is there is something we must do. God alone can give us the harvest, but he needs laborers to bring it in. He wants you and me to participate.
Three, there is a community aspect we cannot ignore. That is, we cannot do this alone. Jesus says this to his disciples to pray for laborers as they themselves are preparing to go. In other words he seems to be saying to his disciples - the need is greater than the 12 of you can meet. No one is superhero in the kingdom of God. You need others, so pray for the Lord of the harvest to send laborers.
So, today, first, will you join me with this focus in prayer?
1. Pray that the Lord would make us sensitive to the harvest around us, and put in us a sense of urgency.
2. Thank God for the privilege that he has given us, and be awed by the fact that God has made Himself dependent on his people to bring in the harvest.
3. Pray for laborers to join you as you be a laborer yourself.
"Lord there is a great harvest around me, and the need is urgent, and you are dependent on laborers who are willing, and a few people cannot do it alone. You are the Lord of the harvest - will you send laborers so we can together have the privilege of bringing the harvest in."
I would also love it if you can come join together at 6pm at the church for our prayer night tonight!
Paul describes one of the purposes of the church in Ephesians 3:10 - His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms,” What a glorious purpose!
As we begin week 2 of our journey in prayer and fasting let us focus on praying for the church. Let us start with one of the most eloquent and beautiful prayers for the church that Paul prays after he declares the purpose of the church.
“For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name.
I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith.
And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.”
Ephesians 3:14-21 NIV
Here are some of the prayer points based on Paul’s prayer today:
Pray that God will open your eyes and heart to grasp the amazing privilege and responsibility we have been given as a church to proclaim the good news
Pray and seek God on how God may want to use you specifically to display His goodness to those around you
Pray for God to open up opportunities for you to be able to do that today
Pray that we as a church will be rooted and established in love that flows from experiencing the love we have experienced in Christ, and pray that God would enable you to make others around you the beneficiaries of this love.
Today we will gather for our worship service as we continue in our 21 days of prayer and fasting. The subject today is "How to persist in prayer and not lose hope." Go to facebook.com/bellevuecconline to listen to today's message.
Have you ever become impatient when you send someone an email, a text, or a voicemail and have not got a response back? Our minds start with the hope of a response, then turn impatient, and as time goes by disappointment, and perhaps even anger and frustration set in. After a certain time, we conclude that the person on the other end does not care and simply give up.
We can have the same attitude toward God in prayer. Daniel prayed and fasted for three weeks, and it seemed like his message was not getting through. From a human perspective, nothing had changed, and God was ignoring his voicemails (Daniel 10:1-4). But Daniel did not give up. Later we are given a glimpse of what was going on in heaven. Daniel hears these words - “Since the first day you set your mind to gain understanding and to humble yourself before God, your words were heard.” (Daniel 10:12 NV)
As we come to the end of our first week of 21 days of prayer and fasting, I want to encourage us to continue praying and not give up. God does not ignore our prayers. Since the first day you began this journey, God is working. Do not quit praying and seeking Him.
This weekend as we pray and fast, I am asking God to renew and strengthen our resolve and build our hope in the One who never fails. Look up and meditate on these verses (click on the link and it will take you to that verse) that will help us to persist in prayer.
There is a revealing insight into Apostle Paul's heart found in the narrative in Acts 17. Acts 17:16 tells us that "while Paul was waiting for them (Silas and Timothy) at Athens, his spirit was provoked within him as he saw that the city was full of idols" (Acts 17:16, ESV). What is interesting is that he was just passing through. He was on his way to Corinth. It was a quick stop to allow his companions to catch up. In a sense he had no agenda for Athens, he just was doing what people who pass through towns do - sightsee. And, when he saw the idols, his heart was provoked - the word indicates a deep emotional reaction. In other words, it broke his heart to see people in Athens who had a desire for God but did not know Him. It broke his heart that life in God's kingdom was available, but they were oppressed and blinded. So even though he was on a break, in a sense, his passion would not allow him to stand by and do nothing. For the short time he waited in Athens he started speaking to people about Jesus, and it changed the lives of two individuals - Dionysius and Damaris (Acts 17:34).
So here is a question - What breaks your heart? "What passion has God put in your life that moves you to action? What gifts has God given you that energize you when you use them for Him? The interesting thing is that there were Jews there who were not given over to idols, but they were too wrapped up in their own religious experience to be motivated to do anything. We can easily be wrapped up in our desires, needs, and experience with God, and let it consume us that nothing really breaks our hearts.
I believe this is not unique to Paul, but God has given each one of us a unique passion that motivates us, gifts that enable us, and a role to play to bring about His life-giving kingdom purposes on earth.
So, this morning as we continue our 21 days of prayer and fasting through the upcoming weekend, can we focus on asking God to open our eyes, and soften our hearts that he will revive our passion for His kingdom in us? As we pray let God speak to you and motivate you into action for we can't but help respond to what breaks our heart.
I had a hard time writing this prayer prompt today as I had planned. My heart is grieved over the events that happened in our country yesterday.
We are fractured as a nation as both sides are driven by fear and anger over what they believe is the deterioration of the future of this great country. The need for us as a church to humble ourselves and pray has never been more evident.
Will you join me today as a church to pray and fast for the healing of our nation?
Pray for wisdom for our nation’s leaders. Pray that they will speak words of healing and not further dissension.
Pray for the Church to not be distracted and diverted into controversies that obscure the real hope we have - the Lord Jesus.
But most of all let us repent of our part in our complacency, our self-centeredness, and apathy towards the things of God. Let us ask God to revive us and enable us to be fully yielded to Him. Pray that our words will be gracious and life-giving, that our actions will be motivated by the desire to see His kingdom come and His will be done.
A reminder - we are meeting today from noon to 1pm at the church to pray together. Hope to see you there.
Welcome to day 3 of our prayer and fasting together as a church! This week our theme has been preparation. The last two days we have prepared our hearts by reminding ourselves of His faithfulness, we have spent time identifying things that might have caused our passion to diminish. Today let’s continue this act of preparation by learning to listen to God.
Job exclaimed, “I have not departed from the commands of his lips; I have treasured the words of his mouth more than my daily bread” (Job 23:12 NIV). Early in my journey as a Christian when I was anxious and struggling to understand how to listen to God, the words of a missionary who I spoke to were liberating. He said, ‘God loves you too much to not speak to you.’ He has given us His Word and His Holy Spirit! We just have to be willing to listen, quiet our own hearts that tend to be distracted by our own desires.
The problem with not being sensitive to God’s voice leaves us open to listening to lies. Amy Groeschel while writing on this topic, referring to Genesis 3:5-6 when Adam and Eve fell, makes an important observation. She writes, “most sins are just symptoms of the root which is not listening to the truth of God and instead listening to a lie.” The Genesis story reminds us that not learning to listen to God has consequences to more than just ourselves - we can drag others into our deception.
So, let us use today in opening ourselves to listening to the Lord. What are some things in your life that you anxious and troubled about? What are you most afraid of right now? These are good areas to ask God to speak into our lives. Read Psalm 139 and ask God to search your heart and speak to you today.
In Romans 12:11-12 Paul describes the normal Christian life as one of continual fervor, service, joy, patience, and filled with steadfast prayer! Does this describe your daily life? If we are honest then we have to admit that more often than we like our normal Christian life would be better characterized as busy, lackluster, distracted and impatient, occasionally joyous, and inconsistent hurried prayer.
Perhaps the root cause for this is the Lord’s diagnosis for the church in Revelation 2:4 - the “loss of the fervency of love you had at first.” Do you find yourself where you sense that your heart has hardened to the spontaneous and continual joy you first felt when you started following the Lord? This is our natural tendency - the Ephesian church was in general doing good but had lost their initial fervor. But there is a cure! The Lord tells the church in the very next verse to do three things to recover their first love - “Consider how far you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first.” Consider, Repent, and Do. If we are to think about God’s kingdom and yield ourselves to being used to become that life giving church, then it must flow from that passion of the “first love,” otherwise it will seem like duty, and soon become drudgery.
So this morning, as we continue to prepare in prayer, and fasting, let us do these three things and ask God to revive in us that first love. Let us Consider, Repent, and Do. That is, bring to memory the way you felt and behaved when you were full of that fervor for Him, ask the Lord to show you the obstacles in your way that are barriers to experiencing that fervor and passion you had at first, and then as the Lord reveals, determine what things you must do that you did at first. Perhaps it is an offense that is stealing your joy, perhaps it is dashed expectations from another has made you a cynic and has diluted your passion for God, or maybe it is an addiction, or a challenge to physical, or emotional health.
Pray today that God helps revive that passion of the “first love” we experienced, and make that fervor a part of our normal Christian life. As you pray, I encourage you to write in your prayer journal the things that the Lord reveals to you.
As we begin these 21 days of prayer and fasting, let us begin this journey by preparing our hearts by doing three things today.
Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and feed on His faithfulness. (Ps 37:3 NKJV)
First, let us prepare our hearts by reminding ourselves of His past faithfulness to us. Let us take a few minutes to remind ourselves of what He has done in our lives, and how he has been faithful to us. Spend some time praising Him for salvation, for the grace He has shown us, and the times He has intervened in our lives and shown us His favor. Let this nourish our souls and draw us near to Him.
Know that the Lord has set apart his faithful servant for himself; the Lord hears when I call to him (Ps 4:3).
This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us (1 Jn 5:14)
Second, let us clothe our minds with the confidence that He hears us. As we pray and remember his past faithfulness, let it fill our minds with confidence that He hears us when we call on Him. Let the Holy Spirit build that confidence and anticipation that this time we are going to spend is going to be fruitful to bring about His will in us, and for His kingdom.
Third, let us start a prayer journal for the 21 days, and start recording the insights you receive, the leading for specific things the Lord asks you to pray about, the passion he stirs up in you for your part in His work, and any testimonies with answers to prayer
Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my strength and my Redeemer (Psalm 19:14).