Acts 4:23-31 describes an early church that prayed in unity, was filled with the Holy Spirit, and spoke the Word of God with boldness! That is our prayer for Grace Bible Church. Follow this guide to pray unified prayers for our community and our world. There are 40 days marked in blue for unified prayer and fasting as the church “scattered”. Sundays are marked in red for celebrating and worshipping as the church “gathered”.
If you would like to extend your prayer time, an additional prayer guide can be downloaded as an app for $1 called “Seek God 2017”. This guide follows a different format.
This year we will celebrate Jesus’ Resurrection on Sunday, April 16th, 2017. In reality, Christians depend on the resurrection everyday of our life, but this is the anniversary day that is widely recognized around the world. We usually welcome more visitors on Easter than on any other Sunday throughout the year. Since it’s a big day, we offer an extra service at sunrise and we offer a video overflow room during the other morning services. We always love to share Jesus with people who don’t know Him, and Easter is our largest opportunity to do that. I’d like our church to be unified in seeking to love our community well. Let’s try these three ways to prepare for Easter at Grace Bible Church.
1) Pray & Fast for 40 Days
Not counting the Sundays, there are 40 days from March 1st to Easter Sunday on April 16th. This 40 day period is sometimes called “Lent” (for the “lengthening” of days in the spring). Let’s spend these 40 days praying for others to see and follow Jesus. We have included Scriptures and suggested prayers in this guide to get you started. Fasting is a great way to focus our prayers. Use the Sundays as days to temporarily break your fast as you feast and gather with God’s people. Many Christians experience an increased sensitivity to God’s goodness through fasting. Fasting is not a form of self-punishment. Fasting is giving something up temporarily to recognize that Jesus is our ultimate joy. If you have never fasted before, we recommend that you start small. Do not give up all food for 40 days. Perhaps you could give up sugar, coffee, or soda. If you are more experienced you might skip one meal per day. The idea is to turn your heart to Jesus in prayer every time you miss whatever it is you are giving up. Many fast from food, but you might give up TV, or Facebook. The point is not to make yourself miserable, the point is to run to Jesus in prayer. Spend 40 days praying for our friends and neighbors to follow Jesus.
2) Cultivate Deeper Relationships
If we love others well, we will care about what they think and how they see the world. If Christ brings us hope, we will want to share that with others. The best way to share with others is to genuinely understand them. It is always encouraging when we value someone’s perspective. Seek to understand the motivations and heart beliefs of others. Ask the Spirit to tell you when to speak and when to listen. Ask good questions and listen well.
3) Invite Others to Church
Invite someone who is not following Jesus to visit church and hear about Him. Offer to meet them and sit with them. Our worship services are designed to remind us that Jesus is better than anything else. The Holy Spirit uses the proclamation of Jesus to change people. In Romans 1:16, Paul says, “…the gospel…is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes.” The Gospel has the power to push competing loves out of our hearts. Our gatherings are designed to remind disciples of the greatness of Jesus, but also to help people consider Jesus for the first time. Invite someone to church this spring.
In 1 Corinthians 15:7, Paul says,
“If Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins.” The resurrection of Christ is our guarantee of hope in a world of grief and pain. Our faith is not just a weekend hobby, but it is our reason for getting up every day. Grace changes everything! Let’s spend the next 40 days praying that Jesus will be more evident in our lives as well as in the lives of those around us.