By Brandon Lemons
Each year during the six weeks leading up to Easter, Friedens has a season called 40 Days of Prayer. It’s technically 42 days, but we round it to 40, because 40 is more memorable and has a nice ring to it. The timetable of 40 Days of Prayer corresponds with Lent, which many churches observe as a way of preparing their hearts to celebrate Jesus’ death and resurrection.
The focus of 40 Days of Prayer is praying daily for at least five people, that they will become followers of Jesus. Praying in this manner is based on two biblical truths: 1) the only way a person can have a reconciled relationship with God and eternal life is through faith in Jesus (e.g., John 14:6; Acts 4:12; Ephesians 2:8-9), and 2) God’s power and grace are necessary to draw a person to faith in Jesus (e.g., John 3:1-8; John 6:44; 1 Corinthians 3:6). Because of the importance of trusting in Jesus (biblical truth #1) and the power source behind people trusting in Jesus (biblical truth #2), we pray for God to work in people’s lives to draw them to faith in Jesus – a faith that leads not only to eternal life but also to loving God with all of their heart, soul, mind, and strength (Matthew 22:37).
Ideally, we are consistently praying for those around us, including that our family, friends, neighbors, co-workers, classmates, acquaintances, and more will come to faith in Jesus. Within this broader context of prayer, 40 Days of Prayer serves as a catalyst for increasing our focus on intentionally praying evangelistically – meaning that people will come to faith in Jesus. A beautiful aspect of the 40 Days of Prayer is that it unites us corporately in our prayers; although we may be praying for different people, we are all praying for the same topic during the same timeframe.
One of my prayers each year is that our intentionality during these six weeks will create a habit that carries over into the rest of our lives so we will always be people who are intentionally praying for others to know and follow Jesus. Also, as we pray for people’s salvation, it helps us be more cognizant and intentional in how we represent Jesus in our interactions with the people we’re praying for; in this manner, our words and actions when we’re around them can sow more seeds and open more doors for the Gospel. We may find ourselves playing a key role in God’s answer to our own prayers!
We will launch the 40 Days of Prayer during this Sunday’s worship services. I encourage you to participate, whether you engage in-person or online. In preparation for Sunday, please be prayerfully considering who will be on your list. I encourage a list of five people, yet you can certainly add more if you’d like.
Throughout the 40 Days of Prayer, Friedens will be sharing ideas and encouragement for our prayers.