Day Twenty One

Read Hebrews 11:30.


After 40 years of wandering in the wilderness, the Israelites finally reached the Promised Land. It was necessary to capture the city of Jericho. God told Joshua, “I have delivered Jericho into your hands along with its king and its fighting men.” From God’s point of view, the victory had already been won. God then instructed Joshua to have the army circle the city of Jericho seven times every day for seven days. When they’d circled for the seventh time on the seventh day Joshua cried, “Shout! For the Lord has given you the city!”


The Israelites obeyed the Lord's commands, and in the end — when the walls came crashing down — it was clear the enemy had been defeated. Today we have a similar assurance: when Jesus arose from the grave, he declared victory over death, and our ultimate enemy was defeated. We may face challenges and battles in our lives, but none as big as that one. We can now move forward with the assurance that our battle has ultimately been won.

 

Leading up to the takeover of Jericho, a prostitute named Rahab who lived in the city took a risk, courageously hiding two Hebrew spies in her house and protecting them from being captured. In return for her kindness, God took care of her and her family. God often uses people you and I might overlook or reject; Jesus was called “the friend of sinners.”

 

Who has God used to declare victory in your life? Who saw beyond your current circumstances and inspired you to believe you could rise above them? Who needs you to look past their brokenness and see their potential today?

 

On this last day of our prayer journey, let’s end it with a prayer of victory. As followers of Jesus, we can “shout” because God has already given us the victory. 


As we end our 21 days of prayer together, make a list of the people who have been part of your faith journey, the people who encouraged you and believed in you when you didn’t believe in yourself, and the people who have prayed for you and shared the love of Jesus with you. Thank God for them.

Day Twenty

Read Hebrews 11:29.


When the Israelites stood before the Red Sea, they were sure their end was near, but the Lord made a way. We find ourselves facing problems with no visible solution, in need of a miracle. Maybe someone you love is terminally ill, or you find yourself without a job and with bills to pay, or a relationship seems like it is ending.


In those moments, we need to be like Moses. We need to stand firm and watch the Lord rescue us. Write down where you need a miracle today.

 

God often uses people around us to meet our needs. Who around you is praying for a miracle? What could you do to provide help and assistance during these times? Perhaps an elderly neighbor is unable to go to the store, or someone in your small group has a financial need you could anonymously contribute to.

 

There is no bigger blessing than allowing ourselves to become part of a miracle God has planned for someone else. Miracles remind us that God is there, making a way.


Pray today to be part of someone else's miracle. Who needs help, encouragement, and prayer? Ask God to provide opportunities to be a blessing to someone today.


Day Nineteen

Read Hebrews 11:28.


The first Passover was held while the Israelites were slaves in Egypt. They quarantined in their homes and sacrificed a lamb, putting some of the lamb’s blood on the doorposts of their homes. This act caused the angel of death to “pass over” their homes, sparing them from the final — and worst — plague. This was also a foreshadowing of Christ — the Lamb of God — sacrificing his life so that we may find freedom from slavery to sin, and like the Israelites headed for a new life in the Promised Land, so we can now migrate toward a place of promise, a new life as followers of Jesus`.

 

Today Jewish families still observe Passover, remembering how God set them free from all the injustices they endured when they were slaves. As followers of Christ, we take communion to remember Christ’s sacrifice which made the same thing possible for us.

 

Communion is where we meet Jesus, remember what he has done, and thank him. But it’s much more. When we eat what represents Jesus’ sacrifice (his broken body and shed blood represented by the bread and cup), it tells us that his life energizes us like food does and he is resurrected in us!

 

We become his hands and feet. That makes us able to be a light to others each day and to be a voice for justice for those who can’t fight for themselves. Communion reminds us that we are part of God’s story taking place right now.


What unexpected place have you seen God's goodness in your life this week? Spend time thanking God and asking him to open your eyes to things you might be missing. Ask that your life would be a light to others.  

Day Eighteen

Read Hebrews 11:27.


Sheltering in place has tested our perseverance and required grit. Maybe you’ve experienced an “I can’t take it anymore” moment. You wouldn’t be alone.


Moses faced significant challenges and hardships; the Bible tells us he persevered. Wandering for 40 years in the desert required a lot of grit. He led a group of people who were prone to grumbling and ungratefulness. He must have battled with his own disappointment, discouragement, and irritation from time to time.


Does this sound familiar? Tough times provide opportunities for us to grow stronger.


Moses persevered because he knew God. Think about the good things you are thankful for, the moments—big and small, where you have seen God at work recently as well as during other times in your life. We have a choice to have faith, press on, and trust God to see us through tough times.

So tell God how you feel and what you need. Grit isn’t doing it alone; it is trusting the God who is with you. Like Moses, you can persevere because you see the One who is invisible.


Praise God for all the little ways you have seen him at work lately. Ask him to give you a grateful heart. Invite him into your day and ask him to show you things to be thankful for.


Day Seventeen

Read Hebrews 11:26.


Moses chose to turn away from the life he knew, giving up the many things he enjoyed as the son of Pharaoh’s daughter. He didn’t know where that would lead him. Initially Moses didn’t want to lead the Israelites out of Egypt. He thought he wasn’t good enough.

 

We sometimes come to places in life where we have to select a different path. We might not walk away from our inheritance as Moses did, but maybe our decision to turn toward Jesus leads us away from the life we led before. Some of us have made the painful choice to walk away from relationships that were no longer healthy. Before becoming a follower of Jesus, we may have thought that life was all about status, money, and accomplishments. Moses came to see otherwise, and so do we. Focusing on what we don’t have or the shame of our past are traps designed to keep us from all that God has for us. Faith is looking forward, even in hard times, with trust in our loving Father.

 

In this season, many of us are isolated from people we love, struggling to keep things afloat amid financial uncertainty, wondering what lies ahead. Fulfillment can be found even amid turmoil because we have faith that God is always at work for the good of everyone who loves him. We can trust that “this too shall pass” and that God has a plan for our lives.

 

Today spend time in prayer and ask Jesus to help you let go of any rejection or shame you have experienced. Be specific and ask him to begin a new healing process in you. Close your eyes and picture yourself giving this wound to Jesus.

Day Sixteen

Read Hebrews 11:24-25.


Moses was raised by Pharaoh’s daughter, experiencing a life of luxury and privilege while his people suffered severe oppression as slaves to the Egyptians. One day, having an Ancestry.com moment, Moses went to check out his roots by paying a visit to the Israelites. The young prince witnessed firsthand the harsh treatment his people were enduring, and it changed him. He could have stayed in the palace and looked the other way, but Moses chose to take a different path, even though it meant sacrificing the comfort, wealth, and status he had been enjoying.

 

Have you ever witnessed something that forever changed you? Maybe you have gone on a journey to explore your family history. How did looking into your roots reshape your thinking?

 

Moses had both an adopted family and a birth family. Many kids in similar situations grow up wondering about their birth family and about what might have been had circumstances been different. There is a longing that draws them on a quest to find their birth families.

 

Like them, we experience hunger and longing to know more about Jesus. We learn from the Gospels that Jesus spoke angrily against injustices taking place around him. He reached out compassionately to the broken and hurting. Ultimately, he sacrificed his life that we might have eternal life.

 

Think of a time when you had an experience that shaped you and propelled you to take action on someone else’s behalf. What did it cost you?

 

Start your prayer time today thanking God for where he has placed you, and for the family he has given you. If your family situation has been painful, tell him about it and ask him to heal you and surround you with healthy family and friends.

Day Fifteen

Read Hebrews 11:23.


Moses was born while the Israelites were living in slavery. Pharaoh had ordered the midwives to kill all the male Hebrew babies as they were being born. The midwives however, feared God more than Pharaoh, and following God’s lead, compassionately allowed the babies to live. When Moses was born, his parents hid him for three months, and then they put the infant in a water-tight basket and placed it among the reeds along the banks of the Nile, trusting God to take care of him.

 

Our faith journey sometimes involves risk and courage, and it always involves trust. You don’t see the end; you only see the next step of faith God is calling you to take. Today a next step of faith might mean sitting in your home, waiting for God to provide. Can you think of two places in your life where you need to lean in and trust God?

 

One remarkable thing we learn from this verse is that whatever it was that Moses’ parents saw and felt regarding their baby, it overcame their fear of the king’s edict. And as they took the step of keeping him alive and then the next step of placing him in the basket among the reeds, they had no idea their baby boy would one day deliver the Israelites from slavery and Egypt, only a sense that he was different and that this was what they should do. They must have wondered why. 


Today, talk to God. When things are tough and the walls feel like they are closing in, you may feel overwhelmed and hopeless. Talk to God and tell him everything. Tell him your fears and what you are trusting him for in your life right now. Choose faith over fear.

Day Fourteen

Read 2 Corinthians 3:18.


We were created for community and belonging. We all have an inherent desire to belong to something that is bigger than ourselves and as we search, we find this belonging in a community of like-minded individuals. As followers of Jesus, we can find a great sense of belonging in the church where we all strive to become more and more like Jesus, both individually and collectively. It is in a community of believers where we can confess our sins to one another and pray for one another (James 5:16). This is where we encourage each other and warn each other (Hebrews 10:25). In a community, we all have the same love, in full accord and of one mind (Philippians 2:2) with each other in Jesus. 


Those who share a common belief in Jesus with each other often look uncommon in the world and that’s not a bad thing. As Jesus is praying to the Father in John 17:14-17, he speaks of his disciples as not being of the world. Yet Jesus follows this by saying that we are send into the world. Right now the ways we have been sent into the world likely looks different than it used to. It may be a temporary shift or it may be permanent change. So let’s move into uncommon situations in uncommon ways, always remembering that even permanent on this side of heaven is temporary not eternal.

 

Pray for God to bring you a like-minded community of believers. Pray that you would be able to show uncommon grace, in every situation, to a world that desperately needs to see Jesus. 

Day Thirteen

Read 2 Corinthians 3:17.


When Harriet Tubman escaped slavery in 1849, she knew she had to help others escape slavery and experience the same freedom she was able to experience. Within a year she returned to guide slave after slave to freedom. It is no surprise that she became known as "Moses,” the name of another unexpected and unassuming person who brought untold numbers of slaves into freedom. This isn’t an endeavor reserved for a chosen few. This is something that Jesus invites us all to do: live in freedom from our sin and show others the way to that same freedom. Jesus gave his life to purchase this freedom for us, so why would we not want to share that with others?


Paul, who wrote this letter to the Corinthians, understood exactly what freedom meant. As a Jewish leader (originally named Saul), Paul lived a life of a slave, chained to the rules and restrictions of the law, yet he punished and even killed others who found freedom from the law in Jesus. Once he encountered Jesus on the road to Damascus, Paul saw clearly, for the first time, the freedom that Jesus’ death on the cross has purchased for all who were a slave to the law.


We know that freedom is never free; it always comes with a cost. The cost for our freedom, the forgiveness of our sins, was paid by the ultimate sacrifice of Jesus. Yes, Jesus gave his very life to purchase our freedom, and not just freedom for a chosen few, but freedom for everyone who accepts him as Lord. If you have freedom in Jesus, wouldn’t you want others to experience that same freedom? 


Pray for God to show you someone who needs to experience the same freedom that you have experienced. Then begin by sharing your story of freedom with them.

Day Twelve

Have you ever watched a video of a child who was born deaf and, upon receiving cochlear implants, can for the first time? The absolute delight in watching someone hear for the first time is a guaranteed tear-jerker. Imagine how confusing it must be like to see people around you, even people who care deeply for you, but not be able to hear a mother’s reassuring voice. The same is true for babies who cannot see well from the day they were born and are given glasses for the first time. Imagine being able to see their father clearly for the first time! 


We may not be able to every fully appreciate what that is like physically, but we can fully appreciate what it is like spiritually. It’s hard to imagine making a choice to stay deaf or blind, but that’s exactly what the Israelites did by choosing to remain veiled in the Old Covenant. Here Paul is saying that by truly turning to the Lord, by choosing Jesus over the law, the veil is removed. 


We are not so different from the Israelites and we have a choice to make as well. We often choose to remain spiritually deaf and blind rather than choosing freedom in Jesus. We do this by choosing worry over Jesus. Or choosing to numb instead of trusting Jesus. We choose control over Jesus. We even choose comfort over Jesus. But if we turn to the Lord, the veil will be taken away from us too and we will have ears to hear and eyes to see. 


Turning to Jesus is a choice we make daily, even multiple times a day. Repentance is making the decision to turn away from our sin of choice whether it be the sin of worry, addictions, control, anger, or any other sin, and choosing to turn directly to Jesus. Will you choose to remain spiritually deaf and blind or will you choose to remove veil and hear all that God is telling you and see all that God is showing you? 


Pray for God to show you what sin you are choosing over Jesus. Pray to see and hear God with new clarity.

Day Eleven

Read 2 Corinthians 3:15.


Anytime you want to repair something you typically need to take it apart, fix the problem, then put it back together again. “Demo Day” might look like fun to the casual observer, but the process can be lengthy and difficult. This can be doubly true when we are referring to the heart and soul of a person, and we begin to wonder if it is worth the pain. It is amazing how easily we adjust to things functioning poorly. After all, it’s a lot easier to lower our expectations or put a bandage over a problem rather than go through the hard and often messy work of deconstruction. But we need deconstruction in our lives to repair or remove those areas in our heart and soul that are hold us back from living a full and abundant life.  


A bandage can sometimes hide the seriousness of a wound, where uncovering a wound can lead to appropriate treatment and healing. In the same way, the veil that served to cover the hearts of the Israelites were actually preventing them from experiencing the power of God’s Spirit. Upon honest reflection of your heart, can you say with confidence that you are not wearing a veil? Have you tried to put a bandage on a soul wound that that requires healing from The Great Physician?


What are some ways we can go about deconstructing our hearts so that they can be repaired and restored? One way is by staying in God’s word which is how he talks to us. Another way is to talk to God through prayer. These 21 Days of Prayer can serve to provide a rhythm to the practice of connecting with God through daily Scripture reading and praying thoughtful and heartfelt prayers. Finally, being in community with other believers can help keep you accountable and point you back to Jesus when they see you covering something that should be unwrapped and healed. The components of reading Scripture, spending time in prayer, and remaining grounded in a community of believers are the best recipe for keeping things functioning ideally. 


Pray that God would show you areas in your life that could some deconstruction. Pray for the humility required to expose those areas and offer them to God for ultimate healing. 

Day Ten

Every day there seems to be new rules and guidelines to which we need to adapt. In the midst of being confused, overwhelmed, and frightened, we are also in a season of grief over what we have lost, both temporarily and permanently. They say there are five stages of grief, yet somehow it feels like we have gone twelve stages in the last week! It might seem easier to stick our heads in the sand rather than face a “new normal” but is it possible that a “new normal” might be even better than what we had before?  


Paul refers to the Israelites as feeling much the same way. They didn’t want to let go of the “Old” covenant that was made between God and the nation of Israel, to the “New” covenant, which came with the sacrifice of God’s one and only Son (John 3:16-17). This new covenant doesn’t discriminate by nationality, race, gender, age, or even a person’s past. It is a covenant of unity in the name of Jesus; a new normal that has delivered us from our past sin and separation from God. 


Unity seems to be hard to find today. With the constant source of information from both news and social media, it is easy to focus on things that divide us, even among Christians. But unity can be found in God’s love. The word used for this type of love in the Bible is phileo, which is “brotherly love”  (the same root word used in the name for Philadelphia, the city of brotherly love). Phileo may require some extra effort, but should by no means be considered optional. 


During this season of isolation and social distancing, it is more important than ever to show phileo to friend and stranger alike. You may have to be creative and try something new and different. But just like the new covenant, God can bring about a renewal in this season as well. A renewal that flourishes in phileo and community. Who is that community for you? Write those names down and thank God for them. 


Pray that God will reveal the relationships you need to invest time in. Pray that God would show you at least one new person to which you can demonstrate phileo.

Day Nine

Read 2 Corinthians 3:13.


A veil is something that is meant to hide or conceal something. In this verse, Moses wears a veil to conceal the fact that the radiance of God was fading from his face after he had been in the very presence of God. Let’s face it; we all want to appear as though we reflect the full glory of God. And when we fall short, we prefer to conceal that part.


If we are honest, we know that when we are no longer reflecting God full radiance to those around us it is tempting to conceal it. But that is the worst thing we can do.  It may save some embarrassment in the short term, but one way or another, the genuineness of our faith will come to light. And it typically comes to light when it is needed most. The best thing we can do in those moments is to remove the veil. The reward of community and connection with our fellow believers is well worth the cost of vulnerability and the exposing of our sin.


Remember the fruit of the Spirit that Paul mentions in his letter to the Galatians (Gal. 5:22-23)? Fake fruit can look a lot like real fruit until the moment someone asks to take a bite. Then we are found out. Paul reminds us not to let the radiance of God fade, but to lift the veil that we have used to cover the parts of us we don’t want others to see.


Do you sense God’s glory fading from you? Have you been covering your sin or carrying shame hoping others will not look behind the veil into your heart?


Pray that God would reveal those areas where you are hiding behind a veil. Pray that God brings you a community of believers that is based on authenticity and accountability.

Day Eight

Read 2 Corinthians 3:12


The last few months have highlighted the fact that we don’t seem to be our best selves when we are alone and just biding our time. If we can’t move forward, we seem to by default move backward. We start backsliding into bad habits, reopening past wounds, or simply disengaging in any sort of forward movement. Those giants we slayed in Jesus’ name, seem to be getting a second wind leaving us feeling defeated and without hope. 


This passage tells us that we can have hope right now, in this very moment, no matter what our circumstances want to tell us. We don’t have to wait for some time in the future: we have hope today. Remember the feeling of hope when you became a Christian? Or the hope you felt when you were able to conquer that giant? That kind of hope is not just reserved for an event or even a season. Because that kind of hope is not a feeling, but a person. Yes, hope’s name is Jesus.


Isaiah 40:31 tells us that “Those who HOPE in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary; they will walk and not be faint.” Have you been feeling depleted lately? You don’t have to get through each day in your own strength. Since we have hope in the Lord, we can trust that he will give us the strength we need to get through the next hour, the next day, the next week and even the next year. 


Yes, God will sustain you. But you might have noticed that the verse says “we” not “I”. The reality is that God works through people. He created us for community and it is that very community that will bring light and life into your situation. Are you feeling tired, weary, or completely depleted? Have you felt utterly alone in your struggles? If so look around you, then look up and ask God to show you who he has put in your path to walk alongside you during a difficult season.


Pray for God to sustain you and give you strength to get through difficult times. And pray that you see will have eyes to see the ways God has sustained you through other people.


Day Seven

Read Psalm 90:17.


A prayer of rebuilding has three focuses: foundation, framing, and roofing. In order for God to establish the work of our hands, we need to build on the foundation of Jesus. It also means that what is built on this foundation frames up how people can experience the love of Jesus. Lastly, it means putting a shelter above it all that provides a covering of God’s promises, many of which are conditional upon the construction that came before. 


As we are about to enter our second week of prayer, let us begin to focus on prayers of community.


Is Jesus really your foundation? Ask God to reveal to you what you’re building your life on.


Pray that God would cover, shelter and protect everything in you’re life right now by praying Moses’ prayer today (Ps. 90:17).

Day Six

Read Psalm 90:15-16.


A definition of restoration is “returning to an unimpaired condition.” If a marriage is restored, it is because two people were removed from each other for a time. If someone’s health is restored, it is because something vital to their health was removed or missing at one point. When we visualize a family, culture, or world restored, it has been reunited with something it had been separated from that was necessary to its function.


God entrusted this world to the care and management of the human family. When our ancestors disconnected from God in ancient times, they disconnected the world from the life force and energy source it was meant to run on: God. No wonder Moses prayed for the days of brokenness to be replaced with days of splendor for our future children and grandchildren!


That’s why the Bible ends with a picture of restoration in Revelation 22:1-5 that looks a lot like what we had been separated from in Genesis 2:8-10. Similarly, that is what happens when a person, a marriage, a family, a friendship, a business, an economy, and a community is restored to the God whose absence has resulted in heartbreak, need, and scarcity. That’s why Jesus Himself will influence our prayers today as we join Him in praying that God’s will be done again “on earth (including your part of it) as it is in heaven.” 

 

Where does God’s kingdom (the reign, rule and ordering of Jesus) need to come most in your life right now? Pray for His kingdom to come to the patch of physical and relational real estate that you have been put in charge of or are most connected to.

Day Five

Read Psalm 90:13-14


When we try to get out of a penalty we deserve, we are asking for mercy. When we try to get out of a penalty we don’t deserve, we are after justice. When was the last time you asked for forgiveness for something you actually deserved?


Suppose you get a traffic ticket. If you skip out on fines and penalties for long enough, you can be arrested and have to go to the judge to make your case.

When people ask in a way that looks like they think they deserve forgiveness, they often have to pay the full amount immediately. But when people are honest, and share the truth about their weak finances and ask for mercy, they are more likely to receive it.


Are you going through any consequences in your life that are directly tied to a decision you made? Instead of asking for justice or help, try asking for mercy. After all, someone once said “Mercy triumphs over judgment” (James 2:13).


Think about some unpleasant situations that your choices have brought you to. Pray to God about these choices and your understanding of them. If you need to, even ask God for mercy now.

Day Four

Read Psalm 90:10-12.


We call it sobriety when life makes us realize that we haven’t taken something seriously that we really should have.


There was once a student ministry volunteer who was teaching high schoolers at his home. This night they were (not surprisingly) goofing off more than usual and not taking much seriously. Te volunteer then grabbed a ball of yarn, colored the first inch red with a marker, and gave it to the students to completely unravel. hat didn’t take long at all.


When they were done, the volunteer told them to look at the red inch. “This is how long your life is compared to the eternity that God has planned for you. What are you doing with it? Because as you can see, the direction of that first inch sets the pace for all the rest of it.”


With this sober mind, Moses asked God to help us see how short our life is on earth compared to eternity. Do you like the direction your life is heading? DO you like the destination? 


Thank God for moments of sober reflection. Consider giving yourself a reminder (an object, note on a calendar) of how brief life is and the importance of staying focused on things that matter deeply.


Pray for wisdom for what the best focus of this season in your life should be.


Day Three

Read Psalm 90:7-9.


When we spend long periods of time with God, our issues tend to get our attention. Things like harsh words, regretful actions, unhealthy addictions rear their ugly heads.


This is the moment when a prayer of contrition can be its most powerful!


Moses knew he was accountable to God and expected to see His judgment. But we get to enjoy a different relationship to God than Moses did because we have Jesus! Paul tells us there is no condemnation for those of us who trust Jesus (Romans 8:1). We also don’t have to be afraid because Jesus’ perfect love casts out all fear (1 John 4:18).


You have sin. Everyone does. But here’s a question for you…where do you fall on the fear/love spectrum? Do you fear God more than you love Him? Or do you love God more than you fear Him?


Are you carrying any regret right now? Take it to God and ask Him to cleanse and restore you.


Do you need to enter into contrition with a relationship? Pray for God to give you the words and courage to see it through.

Day Two

Read Psalm 90:3-6.


In the book The Power of Moments, the authors write about how time seems to move more quickly as we get older. When we encounter new information or experience new things, our brains slow things down because it wants to be cautious of the unknown. Because of this, we take notice of a lot more than we normally would with things we’re familiar with. Ever notice how when you drive from work to your home, you can’t always remember the trip?


When we’re young, everything is new so time moves slower. When we’re old, few things surprise us so it feels like time flies. Can you imagine being God who knows everything and is incapable of being surprised? A thousand years would be like a day!


Scripture uses flowers, grass, dust and other parts of creation to illustrate how short our lives really are from God’s perspective. What does coming from the earth and one day returning to it make you think and feel? What does it feel like knowing mountains and rivers existed before you and will continue so after you’re gone?


Pray to have faith that God does not worry over you and for knowing exactly how He will fulfill His promises to you during your current circumstances.

Day One

Read Psalm 90:1-2.


When the Israelites were in the desert, God told Moses to build a tent in the middle of camp to symbolize that he was among them. This was a reminder that there was someone with them who was bigger and stronger than any struggle or enemy they could ever face.


Can you imagine how God has been with you without you being aware of it? During your lowest times? Your highest?

 

Moses acknowledged that before there were mountains, before there was a world, there was God. What does it mean to you that God predated you? That He is “up to date” in this season of your life, and will postdate your current situation as well? How can your circumstances—as you face the unknown— be informed by a God who is present in this way?


Moses acknowledged that God was here before any rivers, mountains, trees, people—everything. How does it feel to know God was here before you? What’s it like to acknowledge he knows all about your life right now?


Pray that you can acknowledge God’s dwelling place is in your midst. 


Pray that at the end of these 21 Days of Prayer, you will be a more anchored Jesus follower.