40 Days of Prayer: Week One

In the lead up to Spring Harvest, we invite you to join us for 40 Days of Prayer. We will be posting a blog post once a week with a week’s worth of inspiration for those daily prayers. We chose 40 days because we will be celebrating 40 years of Spring Harvest at the event this year.

As you are probably aware, our theme this year is ‘Unlimited: When You Pray’. We are busy putting the final touches to the programme but we also want to take time each day to stop and remember what this year’s event is all about. We often find that our busyness gets in the way of our prayer life.  The demands of the day make it hard to take a few moments and be still and remember why we do what we do. It is our hope that this will help you carve out a few minutes each day to prepare for this year’s event.

Below is the first of six instalments….

 

Thursday 28th February: Draw Near

‘Let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water.’ Hebrews 10:22

QUOTE: ‘Relying on God has to begin all over again every day as if nothing had yet been done.’ C S Lewis

BOOK RECOMMENDATION: The Lord and His Prayers by Tom Wright

ACTION: As you set yourself up for the next 40 days, can you find a quiet place that is just for you? There might be a chair in your office (away from the computer screen) or a corner in your home where you can create your secret place. Let that be the place where you meet with God. Make it comfortable (but not too comfortable). Have a pen and paper with you so that you can write down anything that God wants to tell you or that might be getting in the way and needs dealing with later. Ideally, take a Bible that’s not on your phone so you can leave that outside of your secret place. This is for you and God alone. Now take a few minutes just to sit quietly and wait for God’s presence.  Don’t worry!  He’s with you. This is about getting yourself ready and making yourself ready for him.

 

Friday 1st March: The Lord’s Prayer

This, then, is how you should pray: “‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.Matthew 6:9-13

ACTION: Set your phone/watch/clock to a specific time each day.  When it goes off, pray the Lord’s Prayer – wherever you are and whatever you are doing.  Do this every day for one week.

 

Saturday 2nd March: Praying with the Psalms 

‘Answer me when I call to you, my righteous God. Give me relief from my distress; have mercy on me and hear my prayer.’ Psalm 4:1

BOOK RECOMMENDATION: Praying the Psalms: Engaging Scripture and the Life of the Spirit by Walter Brueggemann

 

Sunday 3rd March: Thanksgiving

‘With praise and thanksgiving they sang to the Lord: “He is good; his love toward Israel endures forever.” And all the people gave a great shout of praise to the Lord, because the foundation of the house of the Lord was laid.’ Ezra 3:11

ACTION: Make a list of the things that you are thankful for.  How has God answered your prayers? Provided for your needs? The needs of your family, friends, community?

 

Monday 4th March: Contemplative Prayer

And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.’ 2 Corinthians 3:18

ACTION: Can you spend 10 minutes in silence?  Turn off the television, the radio. Take yourself to a room at home, the office where you can be alone.  Listen to the silence. Can you give 5 more minutes to God at this time? Think about the awesomeness of God and in that silence, sit and contemplate his glory.

 

Tuesday 5th March: Julian of Norwich Prayer 

Whether it is favourable or unfavourable, we will obey the Lord our God, to whom we are sending you, so that it will go well with us, for we will obey the Lord our God.’ Jeremiah 42:6

In you, Father all-mighty, we have our preservation and our bliss.

In you, Christ, we have our restoring and our saving.

You are our mother, brother, and Saviour. In you, our Lord of Holy Spirit, is marvellous and plenteous grace.

You are our clothing; for love you wrap us and embrace us.

You are our maker, our lover, our keeper.

Teach us to believe that by your grace all shall be well, and all shall be well,

and all manner of things shall be well. Amen.

ACTION: Commit to reciting this prayer three times today.

BOOK RECOMMENDATION: Revelations of Divine Love, St. Julian of Norwich

 

Wednesday 6th March: Pray for the poor and needy in this land

‘Defend the weak and the fatherless; uphold the cause of the poor and the oppressed.’ Psalm 82.3

ACTION: Do you see homeless people around you?  On the way to work?  Do you know their name? Ask their name and commit to praying for them today.

 

For week two, click here.