Day 1:     14 if my people, who are called by my name, will humble
themselves 
and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways,
then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their
land.                                                                                         
         2 Chronicles 7:14

 “If you establish a prayer routine, your life will be anything but routine. You will go places, do things, and meet people you have no business going to, doing, or meeting. You don’t need to seek opportunity. All you have to do is seek God. And if you seek God, opportunity will seek you.” Let’s become persistent in prayer!

If you want God to do something new in you, you cannot keep doing the same old thing! You have to do something different. If you do, God will create new capacities within you.

There will be new gifts and new revelations but you’ve got to pray the price. You’ll get out of this what you put into it.

Go lock yourself in your room. Kneel down in the middle of the floor, and with a piece of chalk draw a circle around yourself. There, on your knees, pray fervently and brokenly that God would start a revival within that chalk circle.

Pray on this for today.

Join me at 7:14 am in the sanctuary every day for more or check the church website to find what to pray on each day. This may be the most important 40 days of your life.

Day 2         Acts 10:2     “He prayed to God regularly.”

Read the story in Acts 10. All we need to know about Cornelius are said in just five words: “He prayed to God regularly.” We don’t know when or where or how. We just know he prayed regularly. When you pray to God regularly, irregular things happen on a regular basis. You can live in holy anticipation that God is preparing and positioning us for divine appointments. Prayer is the way to discern the next move. Because Cornelius prayed regularly the door was opened to salvation to “Whosoever will may come”. That means you and me. Before that the Gospel message had only been shared with Jewish people. Don’t worry about meeting the right people. When you meet with God, God will make sure you meet the right people at the right time. Let God do the promoting and networking. Pray regularly with God!

Day 3         Proverbs 16:9    “In their hearts humans plan their course,
                                                          but the Lord Establishes their steps.”

God wants us to get where Get where God wants us to go more than we want to get where God wants us to go. And God is really good at getting us there. We only need to follow the script of the Holy Scripture and the improvisation of the Holy Spirit. We can’t create divine appointments. We can only keep them. We can’t plan God-ordained opportunities. We can only seize them. We can’t perform miracles. We can only pray for them. Our job is to hear His voice. God will always do his part!  

The word used for “establishes” in Proverbs can also mean, “determines”, “firmly decides”, “prepares”, “provides”, “sets in place”, “directs”, “makes secure.” It shows careful planning right down to the smallest detail. God redeems our past experiences and recycles them for future opportunities. God has everything in control.  

God is great not just because nothing is too big for Him; 
God is also great because nothing is too small. 

Day 4         Joshua 3:5    “Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the Lord
                                                        will do amazing things among you.”

Consecration means we no longer call the shots. We give God veto power. God’s word is the final word, whether it’s Holy Scripture or the Holy Spirit. Our spirituality is no longer OUR spirituality that asks God to serve our purposes. It becomes instead about serving God’s purposes so that God’s glory is revealed. Consecration is death to self! I know our first response is fear. If I give myself fully to God, there will be nothing left of me. Really the opposite is true. It’s not until we die to self that we truly come alive. The more we give to God, the more we have and the more we become. It’s only in losing our lives that we really find them. Consecration is a process of surrender that never ends. Prayer is the catalyst that begins with the sinners prayer where we confess our sins and surrender our lives to the Lordship of Jesus. Along the way, our spiritual journeys are marked by decisive moments of consecration. “Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the Lord will do amazing things among you.”

Day 5         John 9:3      “This happened so that the works of God might

                                                                be displayed in him”

There is a big difference between praying away and praying through. All too often we are too anxious to get out of difficult, painful or challenging situations instead of growing through them. We’re so fixated on getting out of them that we don’t get anything out of them. We fail to learn the lessons God is trying to teach us or cultivate the character God is trying to grow in us. We want to change our circumstances – God wants to change us! Instead of gaining ten or twenty years of experience, we have one year of experience repeated ten or twenty times. Sometimes we do need to pray “get me out” prayers, but many times we need to pray “get me through” prayers. We need the discernment to know when to pray which. If we are honest, most of the time our prayers are about our own comfort – short sighted prayers that may short-circuit God’s plan. I know I miss the mark many times because I get no many times. But I know God has heard me. Can our prayers change our circumstances? Absolutely! But when they don’t change, it’s often because God is trying to change us. The primary purpose of prayer isn’t to change circumstances; the primary purpose of prayer is to change us! And of course the chief objective is to glorify God in any and every situation!

Day 6      Habakkuk 2:2     “Write down the
revelation.”

“The shortest pencil is longer than the longest memory.” How do you keep track of your journey? Your revelations? Your prayers? So you can give God the glory when they are answered! Journaling is one of the most overlooked and undervalued spiritual disciplines. It’s a way of documenting what God is doing in our lives. Why should we do it? Because we have a natural tendency to remember what we should forget and forget what we should remember. Journaling is the best antidote to spiritual amnesia. Keeping a journal will help you pray consistently and strategically. Going back once and a while will enable you to see what you need to circle and keep praying through and also see God’s fingerprints throughout!

Day 7   Luke 11:8    “…yet because of your
shameless audacity he will
                           surely get up and give you
as much as you need.”

Have you ever mustered up the faith to tag your prayer with, “It’s not my name that’s at stake.” When we act in faith, we aren’t risking our reputation; we are risking God’s reputation because He’s the one who made the promise in the first place. Are we willing to risk our reputation to establish God’s? Why do we mistakenly think that God is offended by our prayers for the impossible? The truth is that God is offended by anything less! God is offended when we ask Him to do things we can do ourselves. It’s the impossible prayers that honor God because they reveal our faith and allow God to reveal his Glory.

When we pray, we relieve ourselves of responsibility. We let go and let God. God can handle whatever we put in His hands. Sometimes we’re afraid of praying for miracles because we’re afraid God won’t answer, but the answer isn’t up to us. We never know if the answer will be yes, no, or not yet. It’s not our job to answer; it’s our job to ask. Jesus tells us, “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” The three words – ask, seek, and knock – are present imperative verbs which means they aren’t something we do once; they’re actions repeated over and over and over again.

Keep asking! Keep seeking! Keep knocking! And as I talked about on day 1, keep circling!

Day 8     Mark 16:20 KJV     “They went forth and
preached every where, the Lord…
confirming the word with
sings following.”

God is honored when we act as if He is going to answer our prayers! And acting as if means acting on our prayers. After hitting our knees, we need to take a small step of faith. And those small steps of faith often turn into giant leaps.

Jeanne and I know this well. If we had not taken small steps after praying about going to India, we never would have gone. We prayed about it, discerned we should go, but knew we couldn’t afford it and probably couldn’t get the time off work (3 weeks). If it’s for the will of God, we need to ask off work and for money. If it’s not for the glory of God it’s a waste of time, energy, and money. We had two months to get everything in order. It sounded impossible for a young couple with three young children.

The last two words of Mark’s gospel are “signs following.”

We want it to say “signs preceding.”

We want God to go first so we don’t need to exercise any faith at all. But we’ve got it backward. If we want to see God move, we need to make a move. If it seems like God isn’t moving in our lives, maybe it’s because we aren’t moving. If we make a move, God will move heaven and earth to honor our faith.

What I’ve noticed is that first step is always the hardest and longest. It requires the most faith. It feels the most awkward. But if we step out in faith, signs will follow. If fact, an avalanche of blessing will overtake us and overwhelm us. We’ll be buried in God’s blessings!

Day 9      Job 12:8     “Speak to the earth, and it
will teach you.”

There is a difference between good ideas and God-ideas. We don’t get a vision from God by going to conferences. We might get some good ideas, but God-ideas are only revealed in the presence of God.

Everyone needs help and counseling of some sort at some point in their lives, but our biggest problems are only solved in the presence of God.

Planning is important. After all, failing to plan is planning to fail. But don’t just brainstorm; pray-storm! The best plans are birthed in the presence of God.

At some point in our lives, the best we can do isn’t good enough. Our best solutions, ideas, and efforts aren’t good enough. That’s when we need to hit our knees and trust God to do what only God can do. For prayer is the difference between the best you can do and the best God can do. And that’s a BIG difference!

If we hit our knees, the Holy Spirit will do the heavy lifting. If we hit our knees, the Holy Spirit will reveal things that can only be discovered in the presence of God. If we hit our knees, the Holy Spirit will give us God-ideas for our lives, family, business and ministries.

Our biggest problem is our small view of God. That is the cause of all lesser evils. And a high view of God is the solution to all other problems. Until we come to the conviction that God’s grace and God’s power knows no limits, we will draw small prayer circles. But once we embrace the unlimited power of God, we’ll draw ever enlarging circles around our God-given, God-sized dreams.

How big is your God?

Day 10        2 Corinthians 10:5
“We take captive every thought
to make it obedient to Christ.”

It seems we always hear this verse interpreted in negative terms. Really that’s just half the battle. If we only see the negative implications and no positive possibilities, it becomes a half-truth. This verse isn’t just about capturing sinful thoughts and getting them out of our minds; it’s also about capturing creative thoughts and keeping them in our minds. It means stewarding every word, thought, impression, and revelation inspired by the Spirit of God.

This morning as I prayed, thoughts came to mind. I believe God gave me some wonderful insights. Thoughts I needed to share. If I hadn’t written them down there is no way I would remember what they were to share with you later today. One of the best ways to take captive every thought is a prayer journal. Sometimes I’m very exact in what I write and sometimes I draw pictures. It depends on what comes to me. I think sometimes they are my ideas but sometimes I know they are God-ideas. They are the ones that take an act of obedience.

The creator of the Atari video game system, Nolan Bushnell, once said this, “Everyone who’s ever taken a shower has had an idea. It’s the person who gets out of the shower, dries off, and does something about it who makes a difference.”

Never underestimate the power of a single prayer, especially once you’ve taken captive of every thought and made it obedient to Christ. Amen.