Prepare and Heal Our Hearts
40 Days of Prayer & Fasting
“So I say to you: ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. -Luke 11:9 (NIV)
We are grieving right now. As a church and a community and a nation, the weight of injustice and loss is heavy. We are grateful for you as together, we immerse our church in prayer during this very important time of living through a global health pandemic (COVID-19) while preparing our church to launch safe and accessible pop-up campuses, and our community to begin the reopening process. We also immerse our church, our nation, and this next generation in prayer to bring radical justice to our brothers and sisters of color, and the families and communities that are impacted by this injustice. I hope you’re expectant for God to bless your efforts to support our community and our city, as you say “yes” to Him in this impactful way.
During this time of grief, visible injustice and global health pandemic, we must be reminded that our God is a God of hope. Our hope. Please pray that through this time, we see opportunities to share this hope with our families and friends, that we see needs in our neighborhoods that we can be a part of filling and finding solutions, that we see our church family come together to be the Church that God has called us to be. The promises Jesus makes to those who come to him in prayer are breathtaking - and you will explore some of them in this guide. We have every reason to press forward in hope!
If you have not signed up for a day to pray, and would like to do so, please sign up at this link
We encourage you to set aside significant, specific times of prayer during your 24-hour period, beginning the evening BEFORE your signup date. The guide below provides material for about 30 minutes of prayer, 4 different times in your 24-hour period: Sundown the evening prior, Morning, Lunch, and Evening. Feel VERY free to modify to fit your time. If you are able to commit 15 minutes, 4 times during the day, then by all means do that and modify the parts of the guide that you use.
The Fasting Option
You do not have to fast in order to participate, but fasting is a powerful way to practice placing our faith in what is beyond our physical senses - and the promises Jesus made for the prayers prayed in faith are breathtaking! If you have not fasted before, I highly encourage you to identify a small step you could take in practicing FAITH in this way.
The fast will begin at sundown the night before the date you’ve signed up to cover in prayer. Feel free to contact Barb Bristow with any questions before, during, or after your fast.
- If sundown to sundown is not a feasible possibility, perhaps do a "dinner to dinner" fast. Eat dinner the night before the fast and then break the fast immediately before dinner the day you’re signed up to fast.
- If going without food becomes difficult, you may consider drinking juice or milk to get you through.
- If you are unable to fast from food, consider only eating fresh fruits or vegetables. Any denial of something we normally look to for fulfillment is a reminder of our dependence on God and that we live by faith and not by sight.
- As you pray, remember John 14:13 where Jesus tells us, “And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father.” I challenge you to pray boldly, believing that God will lead us to ask things He wants to bring about in our community.
The following is only a guide, not a requirement. Please pray and spend time in God’s Word and His presence however you feel led. There are some specific things we’re asking God for as a church. Please take a moment to look them over before and during your fast. You can print a PDF version of the guide, here.
In partnership with the 40 Days of Prayer Guide for the individual person, Kirstin and Kelly have written a supplement to the guide that can be completed by families within our church body. A PDF of the Family Supplement can be found here.
The 24-Hour Guide
Preparation. At sundown the night before your assigned date. Begin your Fast
- Reflection on Truths about God – Read Isaiah 40. Write down some of the truths about God you see here. Spend time in reflective worship for Who He is.
- Individual Repentance – Read Isaiah 59:1-2, 2 Chronicles 7:14, and Psalm 139: 23-24. Ask God to search your heart for sin that is separating you from Him. Confess those, repent of those, ask His forgiveness, receive His forgiveness, and make restitution.
- Community Repentance - Pray through the “Liturgy for Lament” (used with permission from www.bethebridge.com). If you live with others, invite them to pray with you.
- Restoration – Read Psalm 103, thanking God for His great mercy. Write some of these expressions of His mercy to you mentioned in this passage.
- To further prepare yourself for tomorrow, spend some time reflecting on our theme verse above (Luke 11:9). Attempt to commit it to memory so that you can meditate on it throughout your fast.
- Read Galatians 5:13-26. Paul is encouraging the Galatian believers to remain free so that they can love others well. Consider some of the things that keep us from being free (verses 16-21). Are any of these things something you need to repent and be free from?
- Pray that our church body would turn from the desires of the flesh and receive freedom from the Spirit (2 Corinthians 3:17 says “...where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.”).
- Pray for God to develop within each of us the Fruits of the Spirit found in verses 22-23. These fruits are necessary for us to EMBRACE each other as fellow believers.
- What are some ways that you see our church embrace each other? Spend some time thanking God for those. What are some ways we could do this better? Ask the Holy Spirit to transform us into people that EMBRACE well.
- Pray that God would grant wisdom, provision and the multiplication of his kingdom for Discovery as we continue to host virtual worship experiences in response to COVID-19
- Pray for those who find Discovery through the virtual experiences and that they will take significant steps of community and mission following our return to in person services
- Pray that Discovery would have soft ears to the recommendations of our healthcare officials and to the requests of our church body as we begin to build pop-up campuses around the community - for a spirit of unity within our Body
- Pray for great movement into generosity, service and leadership
- Read 1 Corinthians 2 where Paul is explaining to the Corinthian church where true wisdom comes from.
- What are we dependent on the Spirit of God for? (Verses 10-11)
- Pray that the Holy Spirit would help you understand God and His Word more. Pray this also for our church family and our community.
- Verse 9 imparts a very encouraging promise. Pray that God would help Discovery be people that love Him.
- For God to do amazing things in our church, in our neighborhood, and in our city, it must first start with individuals. Pray that each of us would respond to the Spirit with every decision. What are some ways God is asking you to respond to Him in your life?
- Pray for the Spirit to EQUIP you to love and serve Him and others. Where do you need to be equipped? How can you serve in order to EQUIP others?
- As you pray through this, read Revelation 7:9 where we are reminded that we come before God clothed equally in robe, but in celebration of our own identities from every nation, tribe, and tongue
- Pray for the Spirit to EQUIP you to love and serve our brothers and sisters of color. How can we be present in tough conversations? How can we EQUIP others to be present in those conversations?
- Pray for redemption, for healing, and for justice for our brothers and sisters of color. Pray for peace over their communities
- Pray for the Spirit to remind us daily of His call to love our brothers and sisters of color boldly. Pray for Him to EQUIP the next generation to be the generation that will eradicate the injustices impacting our brothers and sisters of color
Breaking the Fast:
- Read Isaiah 43:1-21, meditating on and praising God for His power and His willingness to pursue and redeem us (verses 1-7).
- Read verse 10 again as if God is speaking to you. Are there people in your home, your small group, within your extended family, or in your workplace that God wants to use you to speak to? Are there people you minister alongside that God wants to ELEVATE to a place of leadership? Is it time for you to be elevated by stepping into a new leadership role? Ask God to show you how to pray for ELEVATION of folks to happen around you or in you.
- Pray for God to open our hearts to the ripe harvest in our community. Ask God for spiritual awakening and healing in our church body and our city. Pray that He would use us to bring freedom over darkness in each other’s lives through prayer and the study of His Word.
- Pray for God to bring justice to our fallen brothers and sisters of color. Ask God for spiritual awakening and healing to the communities directly impacted, and to our entire nation as we continue conversations about equity and race. Pray that he would bring comfort and healing to those who need it most through the power of prayer and the study of His Word.
- Spend time in thanksgiving for how God is already at work and how He will choose to answer our prayers. The victory is His, and He graciously allows us to take part in it!
Please take this time to pray for the next person on the list (included in email). Also, spend some time reflecting on your experience. Please take some time to provide feedback by emailing Carly, [email protected], or anyone on the prayer team. We want to hear how you felt about it, what you learned, what you would suggest doing differently next time, and most importantly - anything that God laid on your heart. We want to continue to pray with you and for you.
Additional Resources and Specific Prayers
Consider using the following prayer list as a guide to continue praying throughout the entire summer. Perhaps pick one of the Specific Prayers to focus on each day and pray for that focus all throughout the day. Or use them for a family or Disco Group prayer time.
Here is a way that we can be praying for our global family: World Vision's Response to COVID-19
- Pray that God would build Discovery into a multiplying mosaic movement - and that we would see this dynamic at every level… in Groups, in Ministry Teams, in Campuses
- Pray for wisdom for Pastor Jon as he shepherds and makes decisions for our church
- Pray for wisdom for Pastor Tyler as he also shepherds and makes decisions for our church
- Pray for health and deep sleep for them and for those within their homes
- Pray for our staff as we begin the process of build pop-up teams and campuses throughout our city; pray for men and women to give prayerful “yes’” to the call to lead or serve a pop-up campus team
- Continue to pray for physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual protection for the healthcare workers in our church and community
- Pray for our students who are celebrating their educational accomplishments in unexpected ways
- Pray for our community and family businesses that have been financially impacted by COVID-19
- Pray for educators and the leadership of our school systems as they build plans for students for the coming school year
- Pray for the teams of scientists working diligently to identify treatments and a vaccine for COVID-19
- Pray for a spirit of hope in our city and for the ones who are sitting in fear to feel the hope wash over them
- Pray for our generation of believers - and the next and the next, that they would be a people for radical justice for all marginalized communities
- Pray for the communities that have been the most impacted by these injustices; pray for justice, healing and restoration. Pray especially for the families and communities of those who have unjustly lost their lives.
- Pray that God will equip the people of Discovery to be a people of justice and mercy - and that he will use us to bring about the justice and love of his kingdom, on earth as it is in heaven
- Pray for our church family and our community to communicate their needs, and for Groups and the Body as a whole to respond with radical generosity
- Pray for the government officials as they make decisions to reopen our community and our nation
- Pray that each one of us would earnestly seek Him with all that we have. Pray that each of us would be godly and generous stewards with our time, energy, and resources.
A Liturgy of Lament
Consider using the Liturgy below either with your family or Disco Group - or just on your own - as a way of praying richly for racial justice (used with permission from “Be the Bridge” www.bethebridge.com)
Leader: In the name of God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit.
If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.
But if we confess our sins, God, who is faithful and just, will forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
Let us then confess our sins to God:
God of mercy, justice, reconciliation, and peace, we confess to you that we are unmerciful, unjust, and have often settled for a false sense of peace to avoid confrontation. -Silence for reflection.
We have sinned against you as individuals in our actions and inaction, our words and our silence, and our thoughts and beliefs. - Silence for reflection.
We have sinned against you as a community, a society, and a culture that embraces racial bias, white supremacy, and hierarchical norms instead of your ways and your kingdom. - Silence for reflection.
Reveal to use the truth of our past and communities, the ways we have hurt each other, and the ways that we ignored the voices of the hurting. - Silence for reflection.
Make clear to us the areas where we have been complicit or have participated in the oppression of those who bear your image. - Silence for reflection.
We silence the stories that make us uncomfortable or challenge our viewpoint, and ignore the people who tell them. - Silence for reflection
We have not loved you with our whole heart and we have not loved our neighbor as ourself. - Silence for reflection.
We do not love all people equally, but prioritize those who are like us, agree with us, and make us feel good about ourselves. - Silence for reflection.
For the sake of your Son, Jesus Christ, have mercy on us. Forgive us, renew us, and lead us so that together we may delight in your will and walk in your ways of mercy, justice and peace to the glory of your holy name. Amen.
Leader: In the mercy of almighty God, Jesus Christ was given to die for us, and for His sake God forgives us of our sins, as individuals and as a community. To all who believe in Jesus Christ, God gives the power to become the children of God and gives them the Holy Spirit so that we might live as faithful witnesses of God’s grace, mercy, justice and peace. May the Lord who has begun this good work in us, bring it to completion. Amen.
(used with permission from www.bethebridge.com)
Contact Info: Barb Bristow; [email protected], 253-278-2472