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.”
PRAY AND ACT
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.