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.

Acts 27:1-28:10

by Shaun Caudill

It only takes one person who is obedient and has faith in Christ to change things. In Acts 27, things were bleak. Paul was traveling as a prisoner on a ship headed to Italy. The centurion, the owner of the ship and the captain had set sail against Paul’s dire warnings that everything and everyone might be lost in the storms at sea. The storm was horrendous and it seemed that all might be lost, but then Paul spoke. Starting in verse 21, Paul states that he had heard from an angel of the Lord that no one would perish, but the ship would be lost. Paul was not commanded by God to share this message with the whole ship, but he did so in order to do two things: 1) proclaim his God as the one true God and 2) to give comfort to those on the ship. When the time was coming closer for the ship to crash, Paul encouraged everyone to eat because they would need the strength, and that is exactly what the group did. They ate and were encouraged. There are times when we will be in bleak circumstances and we will encounter people who have no hope. As Christians, what are we to do? We should not give people false hope that sounds good in the beginning, but later reveals itself to be empty. We should not lie, telling others God has told us something, if in fact He has not. We should, however, be quick to give people the truth of the Bible and speak that which gives hope. Because Paul spoke up in that dark moment, the entire crew’s attitude changed, and they began to live in hope. It only takes one person. Will you choose to be that person?

Acts 25:1-26:32

by Doug Bratcher

I am envious of students today and the ability to do many, if not all, of their classes online. Don’t get me wrong, I think sitting in a lecture hall and listening to a professor in college is still an immensely valuable experience. At seminary, however, there was one thing I tried to avoid at all cost…the other students. Seminary is like every other institution, it trends to breed and draw in a particular type of student, and I didn’t fit in.  

I would sit for hours as the bow tied students waxed poetic about semantics and minute theological debates. To hear the audacity in their voice when they thought someone had an opinion that differed from their own still gets me fired up to this day. They loved to debate and quote and write papers. I’ll never forget in one of my classes, one I didn’t particularly like, the professor would always ask, “Who taught/preached this week and what was it over?” In a class of 40+, only 5-8 would raise their hands. I would be shocked every time.

I started taking classes in the Church Ministry department. They had their own building at the edge of campus and when you walked in the words “WHERE MINISTRY HAPPENS” was plastered prominently on the walls. I liked to convince myself it was a dig at all the “theologians” that were debating and not sharing, but I know deep down it wasn’t.  

I was in hours and hours of theological, ministry, history, spiritual disciplines, and educational classes, but the most powerful tool for sharing the good news came early in my time as a believer when I was told “no one will argue your story of what Jesus did in your life.” I think that is one of the reasons I would get so angry in those classes. I saw all these people, with all that knowledge, doing (what I felt) was not enough (yes I was too judgy).

Reading the story of Paul going through the judicial ringer reminds me of the advice I was given long ago. Paul lets us know throughout about his credentials as a Jew and a scholar, yet when he is asked to speak in his defense he doesn’t get into a theological debate, argue semantics, or try to disprove the opposition. He simply tells his story of how a risen Jesus changed his life to the point that he could do nothing else besides tell the world.

Over the last few years, it seems as though the art of debate has devolved from two sword masters trading parries to people slamming each other over the head with clubs (I’m looking at you social media). Today there is no “winning” an argument. My recommendation to you is to follow Paul’s example. Tell people how Jesus changed your life for the better. Tell them about the peace you have that passes all understanding, the patience you are cultivating, and how you can forgive and love others because Jesus forgave and loved you first.

Acts 23:12-35

by Crystal Townsend

Just the night before, Jesus stood with Paul and encouraged him to testify and share the good news of the gospel, going so far as to tell Paul that he would be going on to testify in Rome. The next morning, he listened as his nephew reported to him of the plot the Jews had formed to have him killed. His own people despised him so much so that they were willing to starve themselves of food and drink until they achieved their goal…ending Paul’s life. Paul sent his nephew to the commander to pass word of the threat, resulting in a covert nighttime transfer to save Paul from the uprising and get him to Governor Felix to stand trial. Paul was successfully moved and then kept under guard as he waited for the next chapter in his story to unfold. 

The entirety of this ordeal that Paul was undergoing must have been exhausting and frustrating to say the least. If Paul were anything like me, he’d have been racking his brain for logical solutions and ways to use diplomacy to his advantage, all while being rather put out that his own people hated him. However, we don’t read of any diplomatic pleas or arguments given by Paul. We don’t read of moping and quiet rants. We are only privy to one reaction that Paul has, he simply sends his nephew on to report to the commander. I can only imagine the comfort his encounter with Jesus the night before brought to him and the impact it made on his reactions. Yes, this was a ludicrous situation and he was in the hands of the Romans, but Jesus had told him to take courage. Jesus had told him he’d need to testify in Rome. So he waited as the story unfolded, ready and willing to testify in obedience to his Savior whatever the cost may be. This leads me to ask myself a few questions. Am I willing to trust Him with my next chapter? To follow Him in obedience no matter the cost? To boldly testify at every opportunity He provides? These are questions we should ask daily amidst the unpredictable and sometimes confusing landscape of our lives as we take comfort and courage in the power of our God.

Acts 21:1-36

by Shaun Caudill

There are times when we are so fearful of dying that we forget to live! Life is such a beautiful gift, but we must remember that a long life is not the goal in and of itself–but a life well-lived by faith to the glory of God. The Bible also tells us that there are some things worth dying for in order to find life. Jesus’ own words in Luke confirm this, “For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it.” Paul was prepared to die, but that doesn’t mean he was recklessly seeking after danger. There were times when his mission meant he wisely escaped threats to his life, just like it is wise for us to avoid unnecessary danger during this pandemic. After having received salvation on the road to Damascus by placing faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, Paul had been given a ministry to proclaim this same message to others. For years, he had been faithful in this endeavor and then in Acts 21, as Paul and those accompanying him arrived in Caesarea, a prophet came to reveal to him that if he went to Jerusalem, he would be bound and turned over to the Gentiles. It would seem from this warning that suffering and possibly death was implied. You would expect for Paul to receive the warning with gratitude and make plans to travel away from the danger, but that is not what Paul did. God had already revealed to Paul (Acts 20) that in Jerusalem he would experience affliction and possibly worse, yet Paul stated, “But I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.” Paul was confident in what the Lord had revealed to him and wanted nothing more than to please God.

The Bible makes this clear when Paul states, “For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” (Phil 1:21) Are you living a life that is pleasing to the Lord in all areas? Do you need to stop today and repent of attitudes, actions, or thoughts that are in rebellion to God? Are there things God has called you to be obedient about but you have resisted out of fear? Is there someone that God has placed on your heart to share the Gospel with, but you have been too scared? The Bible encourages us to seek after God and be about living a life that is pleasing to Him. Remember, it’s never too late to start living!