40 Days of Prayer and Fasting: COMMUNITY

Week 5 (March 27 – April 2)

“And you see and hear that not only in Ephesus but in almost all of Asia this Paul has persuaded and turned away a great many people, saying that gods made with hands are not gods.”

Acts 19:26

The early days of the church in Ephesus give us a glimpse of the extensive power of the gospel.

Ephesus was home to the temple of the Greek goddess Artemis. In the city was a group of craftsmen who would make shrines of Artemis to sell for profit. After Paul planted the church in Ephesus, it continued to grow as men and women responded to the gospel message. As one of the craftsmen alluded to in the verse above, Paul’s message of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus was turning many people away from worshiping false gods to worshiping the one true God—so much so that these craftsmen that once profited from the selling of idols now found themselves in financial despair.

Imagine the gospel having such an impact that entire segments of our community were drastically impacted. What if the power and spread of the gospel put an end to the drug epidemic? What if the foster care system ceased to exist because Christian families adopted children into their families, just as they had been adopted into God’s family (Romans 5:15-16). Do you believe the gospel has that kind of power? If so, let’s pray together towards that end.


Let’s pray this week that the power of the gospel would transform our community. Pray for the many churches in our community that are laboring to see men, women, and children reached with the gospel message. Pray for our leaders (1 Timothy 2:1-2) as they exercise their God-given authority in leading and serving our community.

Also, look for opportunities to support groups and ministries that are seeking to impact our community. Below are just a few examples:

  • Clarity Solutions: provides a variety of services and resources to families experiencing unplanned pregnancies.
  • Helping Hand of Hope: provides food and additional assistance to families in need
  • Hope Academy for Kids: nurtures and restores hope to at-risk children by providing educational, emotional, physical and spiritual support

Download the full guide as a pdf here.

40 Days of Prayer and Fasting: NEIGHBORS, COWORKERS, ETC.

Week 4 (March 20-26)

“And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. There is no other commandment greater than these.”

Mark 12:30-31

I love me some me. So do you. By nature, we are prone to think of ourselves before anyone else and more often than anyone else. We can’t help it. But Jesus is no respecter of persons. He steps into our personal space and commands us to love others to at least the same degree that we love ourselves.

Jesus calls us to love those that God, in His sovereignty, has placed around us (Acts 17:26). Paul, inspired by the Holy Spirit, admonishes us to “count others more significant than [ourselves] . . .[looking] not only to [our] own interests, but also to the interests of others” (Philippians 2:3-4).

Loving others as ourselves isn’t easy. But if anyone knows that, it’s Jesus “who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross” (Philippians 2:6-8).


How can you show the love of Christ to those in your circle of influence this week? Maybe it’s encouraging a coworker by taking them to lunch. Maybe it’s helping your neighbor with a project. Perhaps you could invite a coworker to attend church with you. Or it could be that you need to meet your neighbor for the first time! 

Whatever that looks like for you, strive this week to build relationships with neighbors, coworkers, and others in your circle of influence—and pray that God would provide opportunities to share the good news of Jesus in those relationships.

Download the full guide as a pdf here.

40 Days of Prayer and Fasting: CHURCH

Week 3 (March 13-19)

“But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first. Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first.”

Revelation 2:4-5

The church in Ephesus was crushing it. They worked hard, they patiently endured persecution and trials, they hated sin, they knew their doctrine and could spot false teaching from a mile away. But there was a problem: in all their striving, working, enduring, knowledge, etc., they had forgotten their first love—Jesus Christ. They got everything else right, yet they got the most important thing wrong.

Reading that today, we’re prone to think to ourselves, “How could they miss the most important

thing?!” However, it’s easier than it seems. It’s easy to let serving and “doing ministry” surpass our love for Jesus. It’s oftentimes more exhilarating to boldly denounce cultural immorality than to spend the quiet moments of our days cultivating our relationship with Jesus through prayer and meditating on Scripture. We’re all prone to let our head knowledge surpass our heart’s affections for the One who loves us most (John 15:13).

As we pray together this week, let’s pray that we would be a people who love Jesus more than

anything else (Matthew 10:37). Let’s trust that if we get that one thing right, everything else will fall into place (Matthew 6:33).


Spend time praying for your church this week. Pray for the people in your Life Group. Pray

for the people you shared a row with last week. Pray for our pastors, staff, deacons, Life Group leaders, and other ministry leaders.

Also, what are some things that stir and awaken your love for Jesus? It may be reading Scripture and other solid Christian resources. Maybe it’s spending time with your church family. Maybe it’s listening to and singing worship music. Whatever it is for you, try to make plans for that this week. Imagine what our corporate worship would be like on Sunday if we all came together after a week of growing and cultivating our love for Christ!

Download the full guide as a pdf here.

40 Days of Prayer and Fasting: FAMILY

Week 2 (March 6-12)

“And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the Lord, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”

Joshua 24:15

Chances are you or someone you know has the last sentence of this verse on display somewhere in their home. In our home, it’s written on a sign hanging in the hall between our kids’ rooms. While this verse adds a nice “spiritual touch” to our homes, it is so much more!

To set the context, Joshua is nearing death. As Moses’ successor, Joshua has led the people of Israel through highs and lows. In some of his last recorded words, Joshua gives the nation of Israel an ultimatum: you can waste your lives worshiping idols and false gods, or you can choose this day to worship and serve the one true God.

Though the context is different, we face the same choice today. We can choose to give ourselves and our families over to the worship of “lesser things”—wealth, material possessions, sports, etc.—or we can choose to give ourselves and our families over to the worship of the one true God, who willingly gave His son to redeem us from the penalty of our sin. 

Choose this day whom your family will serve.


Make it a point to pray with your family this week—whether it’s before bedtime, in the morning before work and school, or some other time that’s convenient for your family’s schedule. Ask each person in your family how you can pray for them this week, and then actually pray! Be intentional to pray for them by name and by request. If you have young children, pray that they would one day surrender their lives to Jesus. If you have a child or even a spouse that is far from the Lord, pray that He would begin to draw them near to Himself.

If your children are grown or no longer in the home, consider giving them a call and asking how you can pray for them this week. If you’re without children or a family of your own, consider reaching out to extended family or even members of your church family to ask how you can pray for them this week.

Download the full guide as a pdf here.

40 Days of Prayer and Fasting: SELF

Week 1 (March 1-5)

“‘Yet even now,’ declares the Lord, ‘return to me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning; and rend your hearts and not your garments.’ Return to the Lord your God, for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love; and he relents over disaster.”

Joel 2:12-13

Anne Graham Lotz once wrote, “Revival begins when you draw a circle around yourself and make sure everything in that circle is right with God.” In the passage above, God, speaking through the prophet Joel, is pleading with His people to return to Him—not with their religious rituals and external behaviors, but with their hearts.

According to Donald Whitney, “Fasting is little more than a ‘dead work’ if we have persistently hardened our hearts to God’s call to deal with specific sin in our lives.” We begin these 40 days in prayer and fasting in focused prayer for ourselves—our own hearts and souls. Why? Because we are broken, sinful men and women in desperate need of God’s transforming power.

While the bad news is that we are broken and sinful, the good news is that God invites us to return to Him. It is through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, we learn that God is “gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love.”


Prayerfully read through Psalm 139, asking the Lord to reveal to you where there may be sin that needs to be confessed and repented of.

Also, consider keeping a journal over the next 40 days. Write down what you’re learning and what the Lord reveals to you. Keep a record of prayer requests and answered prayers.

Download the full guide as a pdf here.

40 Days of Prayer and Fasting: Introduction

Thank you for joining us as we fast and pray together over the next 40 days. We are asking and expecting the Lord to work in a powerful way both in and through our church. 

Fasting can be a confusing and maybe even overwhelming concept. That’s why we’ve provided you with this guide to help walk you through the next 40 days.


In his excellent book on spiritual disciplines, Donald Whitney offers the following definition of fasting: “Fasting is when we hunger for God—for a fresh encounter with God, for God to answer a prayer, for God to save someone, for God to work powerfully in our church, for God to guide us or protect us—more than we hunger for the food God made us to live on.”

Essentially, fasting is giving up something of significance (usually food) for the purpose of more fully devoting ourselves to God through prayer and other spiritual disciplines.


Many of us are familiar with the Lord’s Prayer in Matthew 6. But chances are we’re not quite as familiar with what Jesus says next: “And when you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites…But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, that your fasting may not be seen by others but by your Father who is in secret” (Matthew 6:16-18).

Do you see what is implied here? Jesus expects his followers to fast! Just like prayer, reading Scripture, and worship, fasting is a spiritual discipline that should be consistently practiced by followers of Jesus. But not only did Jesus teach on fasting, he practiced it! In Matthew 4, we read that Jesus fasted for forty days and nights prior to being tempted in the desert. 

In short, we fast because Jesus himself fasted and expects his followers to do the same.


In Scripture, fasting is generally understood as abstaining from food. While abstaining from food is the primary method of fasting, the concept of fasting can take a variety of forms. As we begin our 40 days of prayer and fast, here are some considerations of things to fast from:

  • Food (i.e., one meal per day for 40 days)
  • Social media
  • Television and other forms of media
  • Sleep (waking up earlier/staying up later to spend more time in prayer)

The important thing to remember is that the goal of fasting is not just to “do without” something.

The goal of fasting is to give something up in order to more fully devote our time and attention to prayer and worship. Donald Whitney reminds us, “Fasting must always have a spiritual purpose—a God-centered purpose, not a self-centered one.”


“Blow the trumpet in Zion; consecrate a fast; call a solemn assembly; gather the people.”

Joel 2:15-16

This passage in Joel gives us a picture of a congregation that has been called together to fast and pray. The purpose of these 40 days of prayer and fasting is that we would likewise be united as a congregation for the purpose of praying and fasting together.

These 40 days of prayer and fasting will be divided into six week-long segments. Each week will have a corresponding prayer focus. This serves to not only help you pray over the course of 40 days, but also to unite our church in praying toward the same end. 

As we progress through the next 40 days, it is most helpful to think in terms of concentric circles. We’ll begin in week one by praying for ourselves and continuing praying “outward” until we finish with a week of praying for the nations.

In this guide, you’ll find a brief introduction to set up each of the next six weeks. Each week will include a brief devotion as well as suggestions for how to pray and act in accordance to our prayer focus for that particular week. 

This guide is meant to be a resource to help you as you fast and pray—but it is certainly not the only guide you have over the next 40 days. As you fast and pray, be mindful of your ultimate Guide, the Holy Spirit (John 16:13). Respond to Him as leads and guides you over the next 40 days and beyond.

Download the full guide as a pdf here.

1 Corinthians 12

Read 1 Corinthians 12.

Variety is the spice of life–or so they say. And according to the apostle Paul, variety is also the beauty and strength of the church. To paraphrase Paul, the church is a gathering of different people from a multitude of backgrounds. If that weren’t diverse enough, the Holy Spirit spices things up by bestowing a variety of gifts upon an already diverse community.

Different folks with different experiences and different stories, equipped with different gifts to accomplish distinct purposes. On the surface, it sounds like a recipe for division, dissension, and dysfunction.

Instead, in God’s infinite wisdom, it’s the diversity that actually highlights the unity of the church. There are numerous gifts, yet they are given by the same Spirit (v. 4). There are countless ways to serve, but it’s all in service to the same Lord (v. 5). The activities of the church vary, “but it is the same God who empowers them all in everyone” (v. 6). There are many individual members, but they are interdependent as members of one body (v. 12).

So what does this mean for you, practically? It means that whatever your story, whatever your abilities and gifts, you have an important, indispensable role to play in the church of Jesus Christ. Your story and your gifting might be very different from the brother or sister sitting next to you on a Sunday morning. But take heart: variety is the spice of life strength of the church!

1 Corinthians 11

Read 1 Corinthians 11.

Paul has identified some behaviors in the church gatherings that were causing strife, division, and broken relationships. He uses this passage to correct the believers and remind them of who they are in Christ. The believers’ words and actions were powerful and whether they intended to be divisive or not, they certainly were doing more harm than good to the body of Christ. The spirits of greed, pride, and entitlement were acting as weeds strangling the love by which the believers were called to live. As we go about our days, let’s take time to humble ourselves and examine our own hearts so that our words and actions might be aligned with the love of our Savior and work as an encouragement to our brothers and sisters. Let’s care for those less fortunate, encourage those fighting to just make it through another day, and treat everyone with the kindness that our Father has lavished upon us.

1 Corinthians 10

Read 1 Corinthians 10.

For our anniversary in August, my wife and I took a trip to Red River Gorge to hike trails and eat pizza. On our second day of hiking, we trekked a particularly difficult trail that included a lot of steep inclines and a less-than-sturdy looking bridge. When confronted with trail bridges, my job as the big guy is to cross first. If it holds me, it’s good. If, by chance, it were to collapse during my attempt, it would not be ideal for my wife to try it out.

1 For I do not want you to be unaware, brothers, that our fathers were all under the cloud, and all passed through the sea, and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea, and all ate the same spiritual food, and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank from the spiritual Rock that followed them, and the Rock was Christ. Nevertheless, with most of them God was not pleased, for they were overthrown in the wilderness. Now these things took place as examples for us, that we might not desire evil as they did. 

1 Corinthians 10:1-6, ESV

Paul writes in this passage of 1 Corinthians about the examples given by past generations. They are examples of what not to do. Because we are able to read the Bible in its entirety, we also have access to those examples. Just as it is obvious for us to not attempt to cross a trail bridge that didn’t withstand the weight of the person who went first, it should also be clear to us that we should not make the same spiritual mistakes of those who were before us.

1 Corinthians 7

Read 1 Corinthians 7

Marriage–marriage is what brings us together today. (IYKYK)

Anyways, here’s my best attempt at a one-sentence summary of Paul’s teaching on marriage in 1 Corinthians 7: marriage is a gift from God, but marriage is not a god.

Marriage Is A Gift

After admonishing the Corinthians for tolerating the kind of grotesque sexual immorality “that is not tolerated even among the pagans” (1 Cor. 5:1), Paul commands the Corinthians to flee from such sexual immorality (1 Cor. 6:12-20). 

But God offers gifts to help his people flee such immorality and live in greater holiness–and one of those gifts is marriage (vv. 1-5). 

Marriage Is Not A God

Marriage is a good gift from a gracious God, but marriage is not a god–that is to say, marriage is not ultimate. Or, said another way, singleness is not second-class citizenry. Paul was single. Jesus was single. When you read your Bible, do you find yourself thinking Paul and Jesus would’ve been better off if they were married? Neither do I.

Glorify God In Your Marriage/Singleness

Which brings us to the application–whether you are married or single, your objective remains the same: to bring God the glory and honor due his name. Consider today how you might better leverage your marriage or singleness to bring God the glory he deserves.