Download the PDF of this content here. We are starting our 40 days of prayer this Sunday – January 3rd but you are welcome to start it anytime you like!
Prayer has been a core activity of the people of God since the beginning. Before we understand how to pray we need to know why we pray.
We pray because God is a personal God and He seeks relationship with us. Prayer is our end of a conversation with God. Prayer addresses God as someone we are in a real relationship with. We pray to God because God created us, loves us, and is listening for our prayers.
A Christian is someone who follows Jesus and part of following Jesus is having Jesus as our role model in all areas of life. One of the things we see in Jesus’ life is consistent prayer. This may seem odd because Jesus is God in the flesh and it seems odd for God to speak to himself in prayer, but Jesus modeled for us his deep need for connection with God the Father. If Jesus needs that then we certainly do as well! Jesus prayed constantly. There are many times in scripture Jesus escaped the crowd to find a solitary place where he could pray to his heavenly father (Luke 5:16). If Jesus, the Son of God, needed to pray so do we. To be “Jesus people” we must be people of prayer.
This prayer guide will usher us into a forty-day period of prayer together. In these forty days we will be praying over the same things and meditating on the same scriptures each day. Why are we doing this? Because we feel a profound since of dependence on God to guide us in all we do. We can’t rely on our own abilities or wisdom if we are going to move into a vibrant future together. Instead, we humbly submit ourselves to God, in prayer, on a daily basis to seek God’s guidance and blessing in all that we do.
Forty is an important number in the Bible. Moses spent forty years in the same wilderness God would later have him lead Israel through. Moses later spent forty days on Mt. Sinai receiving the Law from God. Jesus spent forty days in the wilderness where he fasted and was tested by the devil. Forty isn’t a magical number but it is a meaningful number. Forty days, as in these biblical stories, remind us to rely on God in all things. The forty days are divided into ten of specific things to pray about. This puts us in line with Paul’s instruction in 1 Thessalonians 5:17 that we are to “pray continually.” We hope that these forty days of praying together will be part of a movement that is constantly in prayer together.
Praying alone is fine but if you are able, find someone to pray with. Pray about these things together and then share your thoughts with each other on the things you are praying about. As we pray together we will find that as we draw near to God we will also draw near to each other. So let’s begin with Day 1 .
Section 1 (Jan 1-4): Prayers for direction and guidance
Day 1: Pray for God to guide our vision and direction. (Isaiah 58:6-12)
Day 2: Pray for God to open our eyes to see the harvest. (Matt 9:27)
Day 3: Pray God would guide each step and decision the church makes. (Psalm 25:4-5)
Day 4: Prayer for clarity of purpose and focus. (Isaiah 30:21)
Section 2 (Jan 5-8): Prayers for humility and submission
Day 5: Pray God would humble us and remove our pride. (Prov 16:18)
Day 6: Pray for us to discipline our hearts to be totally dependent on God. (1 Peter 5:6-7)
Day 7: Pray for us to be mutually submissive toward each other. (Eph 5:21)
Day 8: Pray for us to follow God’s lead rather than human “wisdom.” (Prov 3:5-6)
Section 3 (Jan 9-12): Prayers for fellow Christians
Day 9: Pray for our marriages and children. (Eph 5:22-6:4)
Day 10: Pray for Christians around the world. (2 Thess 1:3)
Day 11: Pray for the elderly, the widows and widowers. (John 15:12-17)
Day 12: Pray for church leaders – elders, ministers, and missionaries. (Rom 15:30-33)
Section 4 (Jan 13-16): Prayers for non-believers (John 17:20-23)
Day 13: Pray for co-workers and class mates. (Mark 12:31)
Day 14: Pray for opportunities to connect with them. (Matt 9:35-38)
Day 15: Pray for those with open hearts and seekers. (Acts 16:14)
Day 16: Pray for boldness that we can reach them with the Gospel. (Acts 28:31)
Section 5 (Jan 17-20): Prayers for God to empower and equip us
Day 17: Pray for God to help us identity our gifts and use them for the kingdom. (Eph 4:11-16)
Day 18: Pray for God to empower our ministries. (Acts 4:24-31)
Day 19: Pray for God to raise up leaders for the future. (2 Tim 2:2)
Day 20: Prayer that God would equip and empower us. (1 Thess 1:5)
Section 6 (Jan 21-24): Prayers for God to convict and convince us
Day 21: Pray that we would be convicted about what is right and wrong. (John 16:13)
Day 22: Pray that God would convict us about righteousness, holy living, and our sin. (John 16:8)
Day 23: Pray that God would convict us about our mission and purpose. (Eph 2:10)
Day 24: Pray that God would convince us of His will. (1 Thess 1:4-10)
Section 7 (Jan 25-28): Prayers for spiritual healing
Day 25: Pray for release from our deepest shame. (Rom 5:5)
Day 26: Pray for strength to endure temptation. (1 Cor 10:13)
Day 27: Pray for spiritual transformation in our lives. (Rom 12:1-2)
Day 28: Pray for healing, peace, and wholeness for each person in the
church. (John 14:27)
Section 8 (Jan 29-Feb 1): Prayers for physical healing
Day 29: Pray for those who are sick by name. (James 5:14-16)
Day 30: Pray for the end of COVID. (Psalm 91:1-8)
Day 31: Pray for God to use us to be people who bring healing to the community. (Matt 5:13-16)
Day 32: Pray for those workers who care for our sick for God to strengthen and use them. (Psalm 18:32)
Section 9 (Feb 2-5): Prayers for our love to grow
Day 33: Pray our love for the lost will grow. (Matt 28:19-20)
Day 34: Pray our love for one another will grow. (Philippians 1:9-11)
Day 35: Pray our love for our enemies will grow. (Matt 5:43-48)
Day 36: Pray our love for who we find most difficult to love will grow. (Luke 6:27-36)
Section 10 (Feb 6-9): Prayers for boldness (Acts 4:23-31)
Day 37: Pray we will speak of Jesus with boldness. (2 Cor 3:12)
Day 38: Pray for us to live boldly for the gospel in the world. (Acts 14:3)
Day 39: Pray for God to release us of our hesitancy and timidity. (2 Tim 1:7)
Day 40: Pray for the bold message we live and speak to be clear to those who hear and see it. (Acts 9:28)