“Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. And after He had fasted forty days and forty nights, He then became hungry. And the tempter came and said to Him, "If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread." But He answered and said, "It is written, 'MAN SHALL NOT LIVE ON BREAD ALONE, BUT ON EVERY WORD THAT PROCEEDS OUT OF THE MOUTH OF GOD.' " Matthew 4:1-4
We have been praying for you during this Lenten and Lengthened Season of Prayer that began last week. If you did not see the article last week that invited you to join us in praying up to 40 minutes during the 40 days leading up to Easter, please look back in your email or on our website as we invite you to join us now. We have given you a Scripture and prayer practice and prompt to add to your prayer time each day with a heart-goal to lengthen our prayer time to at least 40 minutes each day as we prepare our hearts for Easter.
We know that some of you have chosen to fast from something during this season. Whether it is a certain food, entertainment, habit, or something else that is a small reflection of Jesus’ sacrifice for us, know that we are praying for your perseverance in this commitment. Jesus expects His followers to fast. In Matthew 6 :17 Jesus says, “when you fast,” not “if you fast.” A fast is a very personal decision between you and Jesus but a unified public fast is also a powerful display of submission and declaration of dependence on the One True God as you seek Him together.
We often get questions and requests for information about fasting. Currently, many of our coordinators and members of our leadership team are participating in a national call to fast and pray throughout 2020. We often do things together in unity to strengthen our relationship with God and one another. As we began the past couple of months we felt a need to open the invitation to all of our NDP prayer warriors to participate with us, if you feel called, to fast one day each month as we seek to have one year of uninterrupted intercession to ask that “The Lord’s will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”
Simply respond by choosing a speciﬁc date of the month, 1-31 for example, to fast and pray for the rest of the year, then email Gwen Bradley at [email protected] which date (1-31) you will fast and pray. Please note that you should always get your doctor to approve a fast to determine that you do not have any medical conditions that would deem fasting unsafe for you. If you sign up to join us Gwen will send you more information on fasting and prayer.
This is only an invitation as we deepen and lengthen our prayer life in this season of preparation for Easter and the National Day of Prayer on May 7th. It is always our prayer that God uses us in His service to encourage and equip you to pray. If you do not feel called to fast at this time do not allow the enemy to tempt you to feel guilty. Again, fasting is a very personal and intimate time with Jesus in various circumstances, decisions, tragedies, and triumphal seasons of our life. Jesus fasted and prayed for 40 days in the wilderness before beginning His public ministry. Ask God what HE would have you do to prepare your heart in these days, season, and year and know that we are praying and thanking God for you.
Please join in unified prayer now.
Jesus, we love you! You are the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. You are our Creator and Author of our days and destiny. We seek to please You, to delight Your heart in prayer, obedience, and submission to all that You will in our lives. You call us to different prayers and actions in the different season and situations of life and we ask now that You clarify what You would have each of us do separately and in unity to spread Your glory across the earth. We do pray for constant, uninterrupted intercession to fill heaven; that our praise and thanks would constantly fill Your ears and heart. Speak and show us Your desire for Your Kingdom and will to be done in our lives and on earth as it is in heaven.
Preparing our Heart’s in Prayer: A Lenten and Lengthened Season of Prayer
Day 9: Feed Faith: Matthew 4:1-4 Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. And after He had fasted forty days and forty nights, He then became hungry. And the tempter came and said to Him, "If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread." But He answered and said, "It is written, 'MAN SHALL NOT LIVE ON BREAD ALONE, BUT ON EVERY WORD THAT PROCEEDS OUT OF THE MOUTH OF GOD.' "
Pray about the areas of your life that are vulnerable to temptation. Where are you “hungry;” or feeling a lack or unmet desire? Pray Scripture verses that “feed” your faith such as Philippians 4:19, “And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.”
Day 10: Fast for Strength: Matthew 17:21. "But this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting."
What situation or time of preparation in your life may be requiring prayer and fasting? Ask God to prompt you in the situations and seasons of life that He calls you to show your submission and sacrifice in a time of fasting. Ask God to show you what you show fast in a day or even a season such as Lent or leading up to a decision, event, celebration or situation where you are crying out for God to speak or move.
Day 11: Faith: Matthew 17:20 And He said to them, "Because of the littleness of your faith; for truly I say to you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there,' and it will move; and nothing will be impossible to you.”
Pray through the areas of life where your faith is being challenged. Express your faith to God and ask Him to respond to your “mustard seed sized faith.” Ask and submit to the Spirit to grow faith and faithfulness in your life knowing that God is able to move mountains, or if He chooses, to help you climb and conquer mountains.
Day 12: Sing, Seek, and Speak: 1 Chronicles 16:9-11 Sing to Him, sing praises to Him; Speak of all His wonders. Glory in His holy name; Let the heart of those who seek the LORD be glad. Seek the LORD and His strength; Seek His face continually. Remember His wonderful deeds which He has done, His marvels and the judgments from His mouth,
Continue singing songs of praise and thanks to God. Pause and remember one or two awe-filled, jaw-dropping times you experienced His wonder and wonderfulness. Express your gratefulness and awe of Him in prayer and then ask Him for the opportunity to share this story and glory with at least one person.
Day 13: Willing: Psalm 51:10-12: Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me away from Your presence and do not take Your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of Your salvation and sustain me with a willing spirit.
Pray and ask God to search your heart and life to point out sin, fear, or anything that stands between you and Him. Nothing can separate you from His love but sin and things we put above Him in our life will stand between us and His blessing and favor. Are you fearful or have you delegated spending time with God and serving God to your pastor, spouse or missionaries? Spend time praying about the joy of your salvation and ask God to give you a willing spirit in all He inspires and requires.
Day 14: Able and Available: Matthew 26:40-41: And He came to the disciples and found them sleeping, and said to Peter, "So, you men could not keep watch with Me for one hour? "Keep watching and praying that you may not enter into temptation; the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak."
In addition to asking God to renew a willing spirit as an obedient follower of Jesus you also need to be able and available. Confess the weakness of your flesh and profess your desire to do all that He has designed and destined you to do for His Kingdom plans. Ask God to rule over your calendar and schedule so that you have time to do what He designed for each day. Ask Him to interrupt your plans with His.
Day 15: Hold Fast: Titus 1:8-9 …but hospitable, loving what is good, sensible, just, devout, self-controlled, holding fast the faithful word which is in accordance with the teaching, so that he will be able both to exhort in sound doctrine and to refute those who contradict.
These attributes describe an elder of a city in the early Church but also someone of good and godly character today. Pray through these and thank God for His work in your character as He sanctifies you. Imagine for a moment how it will feel to be perfected in His presence and then hold fast to that promise. We are not perfect now, but we will be with Him. Hold fast to His Word; His promises, His commands, every Word from Genesis to Revelation.
Serving Him with Gladness,