Starting Thursday, May 14, our church family will begin a week of prayer. On the final day of the week of prayer, Wednesday, May 20, we will hold our first gathering as a church family since the coronavirus restrictions were put into place. This prayer gathering will occur at both Fegenbush and East Campuses.
The goal of this week of prayer is to earnestly pursue a deeper relationship with Christ as individuals, as families, and as a corporate body. As we begin the process of re-entering normal public life, we want the mission of Christ to be our central focus and the motivation for all that we do. Pastor Blake's devotional time for Wednesday, May 13 serves as the context for our week of prayer:
Day 1: Prayers of Worship
Thursday, May 14
When Joshua was by Jericho, he lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, a man was standing before him with his drawn sword in his hand. And Joshua went to him and said to him, “Are you for us, or for our adversaries?” And he said, “No; but I am the commander of the army of the Lord. Now I have come.” And Joshua fell on his face to the earth and worshiped and said to him, “What does my lord say to his servant?” And the commander of the Lord’s army said to Joshua “Take off your sandals from your feet, for the place where you are standing is holy.” And Joshua did so. (Joshua 5:13–15)
1. In this passage we see that the Lord is the ultimate authority, warrior, and king of His people. Praise and thank Christ that he has all authority and is in control of all the events in our world.
2. The Lord responds in this passage with a command to worship—a command for Joshua to consecrate himself (set himself apart). Pray that we would pursue holiness as a church like never before, that God would lead each of us individually to set ourselves apart from the world for His glory.
3. The purpose of this encounter was to lead Joshua and the people to join in God’s victory in God’s mission. Our encounter with the Lord Jesus is also intended to propel us toward God’s mission, the mission to see salvation of the nations. Pray for God to use you to reach friends and coworkers with the gospel.
Day 2: Prayers of Confession
Friday, May 15
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9)
1. This verse promises that when we confess our sin (based on the work of Christ), he is faithful and just to forgive us and cleanse us of all unrighteousness. Examine your heart and life and take time to confess your sin before the Lord. When you confess, believe that “he is faithful and just” to forgive because of the cross of Jesus Christ!
2. Not only does God forgive, but he cleanses us of sin. Spend time praying that God would strengthen your desires for Him so that you would put sinful desires and struggles away. Pray for supernatural help to “walk in the light as he is in the light.”
3. Ask the Lord to search you and know your heart; ask Him to show if there is any sinful way in you that you are not aware of. Praise and thank the Spirit for His convicting power and ask that your convictions would strengthen.
Day 3: Prayers of Thanksgiving
Saturday, May 16
I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy, because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now. And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. It is right for me to feel this way about you all, because I hold you in my heart, for you are all partakers with me of grace, both in my imprisonment and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel. For God is my witness, how I yearn for you all with the affection of Christ Jesus. (Philippians 1:3–8)
1. Thank God for your partners in the gospel at Highview, lift them up by name. Thank Christ for uniting you together by the power of His blood.
2. Express great thanksgiving to the Lord Jesus that he both initiated the work of salvation within you, and that he will bring it to completion (1:6). Rejoice in Him knowing that your salvation is secure because of His faithfulness to you.
3. In verse 7, we see that Paul was separated from his church family because of imprisonment, but he was holding them in his heart. Thank the Lord that your physical separation changes nothing of your relationship with your brothers and sisters; call out to God as you long to see them.
Day 4: Prayers of Surrender
Sunday, May 17
And calling the crowd to him with his disciples, he said to them, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel's will save it. For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul? For what can a man give in return for his soul? For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him will the Son of Man also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.” (Mark 8:34–38)
1. Ask Jesus to empty you of yourself. Plead with Him to give you the strength to deny yourself completely and bear your cross, to put all your sin to death.
2. In verses 35-36, Jesus shows the hopelessness and worthlessness of hanging on to the things of the world. Pray that Jesus would so radically transform your desires, that all your desire would be to know and follow Him. Pray that he would give you a distaste for the things of the world.
3. Pray that God would do whatever is necessary in your life to bring you to total surrender. Pray that you would only boast in His name, that you would never be ashamed. Pray for boldness to give everything to Him.
Day 5: Prayers for the Kingdom of God
Monday, May 18
We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love that you have for all the saints, because of the hope laid up for you in heaven. Of this you have heard before in the word of the truth, the gospel, which has come to you, as indeed in the whole world it is bearing fruit and increasing-—as it also does among you, since the day you heard it and understood the grace of God in truth, just as you learned it from Epaphras our beloved fellow servant. (Colossians 1:3–7)
1. Verse 6 tells us that Jesus was doing an awesome work in Colossae through the power of the gospel: “…in the whole world it is bearing fruit and increasing.” Cry out to the Lord for the advancement of His kingdom! Pray that he would use all the current events in our world so that people would hear of Christ.
2. God had used Epaphras to share Christ with his friends, family, neighbors and others. God desires us to be faithful servants like Epaphras and to share our faith continually. Pray and ask God to give you opportunities and boldness to share the Gospel. Ask God to fill you with such power in the Spirit that you cannot help but speak of Him.
3. “Who’s your one?” If you have a particular person you are seeking to win for Christ currently, spend time praying for them by name. If not, identify someone who does not know Jesus and commit to praying for them and sharing with them.
4. Jesus said that there would be few who invested their lives to share the gospel (Luke 10:2). Pray earnestly to God that he would raise up laborers, pastors, missionaries, and others who will give themselves to the work of God’s kingdom.
Day 6: Prayers for Faithful Prayer
Tuesday, May 19
[Pray] at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel. (Ephesians 6:18–19)
Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving. At the same time, pray also for us, that God may open to us a door for the word to declare [Christ]. (Colossians 4:2–3)
Finally, brothers, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may speed ahead and be honored. (2 Thessalonians 3:1)
1. These verses are not suggestions, they are commands. Call out to God that he would humble you and teach you how to truly pray. Ask Him to strengthen you with His power to be faithful in prayer.
2. Paul commanded that we make “supplication for all the saints.” Cry out to God on behalf of our church; plead that the Lord would make us a people of prayer and dependence on Him. Pray for your own family, and commit yourselves to be a family of prayer.
3. Notice that in each of these verses, praying for others is tied to their sharing of the gospel. Pray for those close to you at Highview, that “God would open to them a door for the word to declare Christ,” that “words would be given to them to boldly proclaim Christ.”
Day 7: Corporate Fast
Wednesday, May 20
If you are physically able, please join us in a corporate opportunity to fast. Through fasting, we have an opportunity to cultivate a deep awareness of our complete dependence upon Jesus! After eating dinner at the end of Day 6, refrain from eating food until after our prayer gathering Wednesday evening, May 20. In essence, you will skip breakfast and lunch on the 20th, and you will not eat dinner until our prayer gathering ends.
Important things to keep in mind while fasting: Remember that fasting in itself does not make us righteous; only Jesus and His work at the cross justify us before God! Fasting is a physical act that is intended to bring about an intensified spiritual pursuit of God. Also remember that Jesus encourages us to do this as a private act (see Matthew 6:16–18). While we will be aware that others within Highview are fasting, it is not something we should boast about or talk about pridefully.
For day 7, there are two prayer guides instead of one. Please utilize these two guides in place of the times you would normally eat breakfast and lunch; spend time drawing near to Jesus through His word and prayer.
Day 7 (Breakfast): Praying for Holiness
In the year that King Uzziah died I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up; and the train of his robe filled the temple. Above him stood the seraphim. Each had six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one called to another and said:
“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts;
the whole earth is full of his glory!”
Andthe foundations of the thresholds shook at the voice of him who called, and the house was filled with smoke. And I said: “Woe is me! For I am lost, for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts!” Then one of the seraphim flew to me, having in his hand a burning coal that he had taken with tongs from the altar. And he touched my mouth and said: “Behold, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away, and your sin atoned for.” And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” Then I said, “Here I am! Send me.” (Isaiah 6:1–8)
1. We are commanded in Scripture to, “Be holy as he is holy.” Pray for the Lord Jesus to transform your life and lives of all men and women at Highview. Pray He would change us radically through His word.
2. Praise and thank Christ, for he is the prophetic and ultimate fulfillment of the forgiveness Isaiah is granted in verse 6. Praise His name for making you holy through faith in His death and resurrection.
3. Isaiah’s response to this entire encounter is a surrender to mission: “Here I am! Send me.” Would you commit yourself like this to the Lord? Pray that God would do whatever is necessary in your life so that you would be used and sent for His glory.
Day 7 (Lunch): Praying for Revival
Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen. (Ephesians 3:20–21)
1. Pray just as verse 20 says! Pray that Jesus would do above and beyond we could ever imagine. Pray that his word and gospel would work in power like we have never seen.
2. Cry out for revival in your local community and in our city at large. Pray for God to save and transform lives through our witness of His gospel!
3. Pray for a radical movement of men and women who give up their comfort, treasures, and lives for the glory of Jesus. Pray that this movement would begin in you.