90 Days of Prayer

Aug 2 - 8, 2021

Nehemiah 9.12-21
Focus Passage of the Week:
They became stiff-necked and appointed a leader to return to their slavery in Egypt.
Nehemiah 9.17a

When you were a child traveling with your family, were you ever told, “Don’t make me turn this car around”? Maybe your family was on a vacation of a lifetime and you and a sibling were in the backseat arguing or fighting. Perhaps you were just out for a simple errand and you were grumbling about having to be there. A statement like this was never really about going back home to enjoy something better, it was a promise of a looming consequence.
The Israelites were enslaved in Egypt for more than 400 years. There were entire generations of Israelites who never knew what freedom felt like. Children who grew up thinking this is the way life was supposed to be. They heard stories of their ancestors living a life of freedom, but to them these were only stories, never a lived reality.
And what did the Israelites do while enslaved in Egypt? They made bricks. Hundreds and thousands of bricks. Everyday they had a quota for the number of bricks they were to make. If they didn’t meet their quota for the day they were beaten. And this went on day after day after day. There were no sick days, no vacation days, no days off, every day was a work day. They lived their entire life making bricks to be used by Pharaoh to build his empire, to overpower more people so they could serve him as well. This is what the Israelites wanted to return to? After God had rescued them? After God had led them with a cloud by day and fire by night? After God rained manna from heaven, and water from a rock? After God had given them a day to rest?
Have you ever met someone who has been rescued from a dangerous situation? Maybe they were trapped in a toxic relationship, or in a physical environment where they didn’t know if they’d survive. Those people never want to go back to those moments, they may even seek some form of therapy to overcome the trauma they’ve experienced. Unfortunately there are many who have experienced such things and do go back, hoping things will be different. There’s a false sense of security which makes a person believe this is the only way. This is where the Israelites were. While they knew they would be slaves, they have convinced themselves their enslavement and the assurance of provisions would be better than wondering through the wilderness for 40 years.
When we look back over the 57 year history of our church, we must acknowledge God has done some amazing things. We can acknowledge the thousands over the years who have come to know the Lord. We can tell stories of the many whose lives have been changed through opportunities to serve. No doubt, truly great things have happened here. So it’s natural to want to go back to those days, hoping by doing the same thing in the same way we will experience the same results. We want to go back because our memories of those days reveal God’s faithfulness, and it’s much easier to cling to what God did, rather than looking ahead to what God is going to do.
Our story of what has happened in our church’s history is much different than the history of the Israelites, but we still face the same temptation to want to go back, rather than to move forward. This can often be the greatest hindrance to our effectiveness in the Gospel movement. We live in a different day and time, but we serve the same God. Just as we have trusted Him in the past to do great things, we now look ahead to trust He is still at work doing great things today and tomorrow.

Last week we began praying for God to bring individual and corporate revival upon us and our church. Revival does not mean going back to the way things used to be, it is being brought into a new way of being. As we continue to make our way toward September 12, we not only pray for spiritual awakening, but also spiritual preparation.

Monday, August 2:
We cannot merely vocalize our hope for revival through our spoken word, we must also develop a heart which longs for revival within ourselves. This often comes through an awareness of the need around us. As you take time to pray today, ask God to give you a clear picture of the needs which exist around you. Seeing the pain which exists in our world should prompt our hearts for the redemptive work of Christ to bring redemption upon our world.
As you pray today, will you also remember our team in Greece? They’ll begin their day doing some cultural training before heading out to the parks to do ministry. Will you pray for their ability to form relationships with those they encounter. These relationships lead to Gospel-centered conversations.

Tuesday, August 3:
Just as we prayed for an awareness in ourselves yesterday, today we want to focus on our opportunity to be a part of God’s redemptive story. Often times we feel inadequate to share the Gospel with others because we feel we don’t have all the answers, or that others might reject us. Actively sharing our faith begins with a heart fully submitted to God. Will you spend a few minutes today talking with God about what it looks like for you to present your heart as a submissive sacrifice to Him? Perhaps this is an opportunity to verbalize your fears and concerns to God. Sometimes just as we verbalize them we find out how untrue they are. Sometimes we discover we creating false narratives as an excuse.
Our team in Greece will return to the same areas in which they ministered yesterday. They’ve begun to form relationships through various activities, and now they begin to build trust. Will you pray they will be able to build trust with the people they encountered?

Wednesday, August 4:
Today is an opportunity for recognized need and vocalized fear collide. At some point we have to be willing to take the first step in sharing our faith with other people. At some point in your life someone was bold enough to do this with you, and as a result you experienced salvation. Think of how life-changing this was for you. Will you take time to ask God to give you the opportunity to talk about Jesus with someone? But don’t just ask God for this, be willing to take action upon this request. Someone you will encounter today is needing to hear about Jesus.
As our team in Greece forms trusting relationships with those they encounter, they now have the opportunity to talk about Jesus. Will you pray for them as they do this? Pray for clear minds for them as they share, and for open hearts as others hear.

Thursday, August 5:
Revival doesn’t happen when the church put it on her calendar, or when a special time is set aside. No, revival happens when we begin to serve those around us. We live in a world where selfless acts of service are the anomaly. They leave people wondering why we do what we do, and provide us the opportunity to talk about Jesus. Revival doesn’t just begin with the sharing of the Gospel, it’s also when we are willing to humble ourselves to serve those around us.
As our team in Greece begins to make preparations to head home, they will do the work of connecting those who have made decisions to follow Christ with the local church. Will you pray for the local church leaders there in Greece as they begin to disciple these new believers? Will you also pray for our team as they begin to travel back home?

Friday, August 6:
This week we have pray for awareness, acknowledged our fears, sought opportunities to share our faith, and served those around us. These cannot be stand alone events in our lives which serve to make us feel good, they should serve as a catalyst to change who we are and how we live. Will you take time to pray today, asking God to create within you the spiritual disciplines necessary to live a life fully devoted to the Gospel movement? Revival comes about in the individual lives of believers before it transforms churches and communities and the world.

Saturday, August 7:
Just as it is important that we pray through the things we have this week, it is equally important to reflect on what God has taught us. What was the need we saw? What were the fears we had to face? How did others respond to the Gospel or through acts of service? In these moments God teaches us about what it means to trust Him more. As you reflect on these things today, ask God what He teaching you about what it means to live out the Gospel daily.

Sunday, August 8:
As we gather for worship this morning we do so in one of two ways. One, we approach worship with an awareness of the opportunities God has led, and is leading, us into to be apart of His redemptive plan. Or, we enter in worship tempted to believe we are incapable of living it out, less than good enough, or as if we’ve somehow failed throughout the week. So as we prepare for worship this today, will you ask God to help you resist the temptation to believe the outcome of any of this is solely up to you? Revival has nothing to do with what we can do, and everything to do with what God can do through us. So we are invited to worship today as a people whose lives are lived in full submission to Him. This mindset changes everything about how we gather.