Alongside of our new series entitled “Coming to Terms with Resistance,” Aspen Ridge Church will be engaging in a 40-Day prayer emphasis. Each time the number 40 appears in Scripture God does something huge. Moses stayed on the mountain with God for 40 days. After Noah built the ark, it rained for 40 days and nights. Goliath challenged the Israelites for 40 days. Jesus fasted and prayed for 40 days. 40 Days seems to represent a block or season of time that allows for personal or group saturation so that God’s purposes may be realized. Prayer is a vital means of receiving what God intends to give.
Further, 40 days seems to fit seamlessly with our church and teaching calendar this year. Beginning March 2, our church will give attention to Romans 10, an important chapter of evangelism. Our church mission is inviting neighbors to find a home in Christ together. Some 40 days later we will celebrate Easter, an important weekend for attendance and evangelism. Thus, we will have the opportunity to spend these days in prayer for the fulfillment of our mission in our lives and neighborhoods. Then on Easter Sunday, I will present an evangelistic message entitled “Has Science Disproved Christianity?” We will be inviting neighbors and friends to make a faith commitment in Jesus Christ.
Another factor seems to make this an excellent fit. I will be taking a month of sabbatical beginning March 2, around the theme of “Enrichment to Finish Well.” This enrichment will include a personal prayer retreat. It will also include investments in my marriage and vocation. I will covet the prayers of Aspen Ridge Church as we seek God’s blessing on our future.
Just how are we planning on going forward? The following will include four dimensions of this prayer emphasis during these 40 days.
First, we will build additional and different prayer opportunities within our regular weekend services. This will include having different kinds of prayers in our services, folding prayer opportunities into a window near the end of the service, and formally inviting prayer response and participation for all.
Second, we will publish content for concerted prayer within our small group network. This will provide content and support for our small group leaders in giving direction to prayers during small group life during this time. Near the end of this blog will be the first draft of such prayer content (see below).
Third, we will offer a prayer meeting on Wednesday Nights at Aspen Ridge church. We discern a need to pray for all of church life and ministry, but especially our Wednesday Night outreach to children. We look forward to hearing an update on prayer needs, opportunities, and challenges for our Awana ministry. We will use rotating leaders and will meet in the church library beginning March 4 and conclude on Wednesday, April 8, meeting from 6:30 to 7:30PM.
Fourth, we will provide a 24-hour prayer vigil, seeking full and wide participation in our church family. This will begin on Maundy Thursday (April 9) at 6PM and extend through Good Friday (April 10) until 6PM. I will invite each of you to sign up for a block of time in that 24 hour period, at which time you can pray from any location!
Prayerfully, Jeff Clark