40 Days of Prayer & Fasting: Week 5 Devotionals

Day 29 (May 3, 2020)

Should we pray to return to “normal”?

“God saw how corrupt the earth had become, for all the people on earth had corrupted their ways.” (Genesis 6.12)

In this time of crisis that we are living in, never has the Church and Christians united so much to pray and intercede so that God can act to cure the sick with coronavirus, so that the power of God acts to stop this pandemic and put stop the spread of the virus.

But the question I ask myself and which came as a result of various reflections (including mainly by an article sent by a Christian friend): do I have to pray for a return to normal, that is to say tell what we lived before?

Before the crisis, not more than 6 weeks ago, people spent without counting and on credit, went to make their purchase especially on Sunday (in Quebec the government closed all stores since 3 weeks on Sunday and this was not arrived in 28 years!), we knew little or nothing about our neighbor or we had little consideration of what he was going through, we did not pay too much attention to our elders in the homes of the elderly, etc. We lived our lives without too much worry and without asking too many questions…

Even as a Christian, we could attend Sunday worship and during the week we forget our fellowship with God, as well as with our Christian brothers and sisters.

But with the crisis, confinement, shutdowns of all non-essential services, closure of places of worship, we were surprised and we began to “pray”! So the question rests: do we really want to return to “normal” as before in this carefree attitude and in a spirit where even the Christian made his “little Christian life” without worrying about his neighbor, without sharing the hope of Jesus , without worrying that the world is going to perdition?

I believe that we must pray in this time of crisis, that God will remove our scales from our eyes in order to see what God’s plan is for us and for our society: to live a Christian life according to the Word of God, to purify the Church so that she can be ready when our Savior Jesus Christ returns, to care for lost souls to redeem them for Christ.

Pastor Philippe Reichenbach, Montréal

Day 30 (May 4, 2020)

“You will keep him in perfect peace whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you.

Trust in the LORD forever, for the LORD, the LORD, is the Rock eternal.” (Is.26:3-4)

We know that peace is not the absence of trouble but rather the calm, stillness in the midst of the trouble. It is knowing that our God is sovereign, faithful, LOVE.So how do I access that place of peace? It flows from our relationship with the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. All the promises of peace are made to believers so it is on the authority of Jesus that I can access and enjoy this peace; it is part of my inheritance.

John 14 is full of foundational truths that encourage and admonish us to know, trust and believe what Jesus taught. We have life through Him (v.6), companionship (v.21,23,26) and peace (v.27).

I find it interesting that Jesus repeated twice his encouragement to “not be troubled or afraid”. The disciples, just like us, needed reminders.

Although this peace is a gift, we have a responsibility in order to fully access the abundance of peace He offers. How is it possible to not be troubled or afraid?

Simply obey! Simple but not easy because it means we have to constantly refocus our thinking to bring it into alignment with truth (2 Cor.10:4).

Similarly, Is.26 reinforces the obedience and the result: perfect peace. Our minds must be anchored to trusting, minute by minute. It helps me to declare v.4, that “the LORD, the LORD is my Rock eternal”

May we all tap into His constant, endless, abundant flow of peace as we declare His goodness to us.

Prayer: Dear Lord, we acknowledge that You alone are sovereign, King eternal, HOLY, HOLY, HOLY, worthy of ALL our adoration and praise. Help us so focus on You and your love for us that there is NO room for anxiety, doubt or fear. Amen.

Gail Kerr, Barrie ON

Day 31 (May 5, 2020)

Psalm 59:16-17 (AMP) says, “But I will sing of Your mighty strength and power; yes, I will sing aloud of Your mercy and loving-kindness in the morning: for You have been to me a defense — a fortress and a high tower – and a refuge in the day of my distress. Unto You, O my Strength, I will sing praises; for God is my defense, my fortress and high tower, the God Who shows me mercy and steadfast love.”

If you are encouraged by the Psalms, then you know how often David wrote about God’s faithfulness, kindness and love. David’s heart was fixed, steadfast, and confident in God. He knew that God was for him and he could trust God’s promises for his life.

I know the same is true for my life. When I pray and seek the Lord, He is faithful and true. His Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path. He is trustworthy, loyal, and will never leave me or forsake me. He guides me through the storms of life and delivers me from the snare of the fowler. He is my protector and shield in all the battles that wage around me. When trouble comes, I am in the secret place of the Most High and He hides me in the shelter of His wings. His praises are in my mouth and I rejoice in His loving kindness and tender mercies over me. How great and awesome is our God!!

Spend time declaring Who God is in your life and praise Him continually. He alone is worthy of all our praise, glory, and honor!!

Mary Johns, Sault Ste. Marie ON

Day 32 (May 6, 2020)

“But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then you’re Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” (Matthew 6:6 NIV)

Sometimes when life gets really busy I often think of the “tuning cage” at head office.

I work in missionary radio. Our mission, Galcom Int’l, creates solar-powered, fix-tuned radios. These radios are only tuned to a Christian station. One of the final steps of creating these radios is the ‘tuning cage’. The radios are taken into a wire mesh ‘room’ that is constructed in such a way that as we tune and test the radios, there are no outside radio or electrical signals allowed to enter the room to interfere with the tuning process. That way, the radios are tuned purely to the desired frequency.

Jesus tells us to take time to be quiet and pray. In Matthew 14:23 we read: “After he had dismissed them, (feeding of the 5000) he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. Later that night, he was there alone.” He does not let the demands of life or his ministry to people keep him from that quiet place.

I feel like we all need to have a tuning cage. We need quiet, away from the busyness of life and pressing ministry needs. We need a time and place to focus on our relationship with Jesus without distractions.

Perhaps if there is any silver lining in this Covid-19 situation it is that we have an even greater chance to start the habit of going into the ‘tuning cage’. We need it desperately.

Dave Casement, Kingston ON

Day 33 (May 7, 2020)

“Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.” (Revelation 3:20)

E.M. Bounds says, “If prayer puts God to work on earth, then, by the same token, prayerlessness rules God out of the world’s affairs, and prevents him from working.”

Sometimes we think God will do what God will do because he’s God and he’s sovereign. He’s in control, so what difference could I make? What does my little prayer do? I’ll leave prayer to the prayer warriors and deeply religious thinkers that really know the right words to say to turn God’s ear.

I never thought before that if I neglect to pray, that I am actively preventing him from working; I am working against what God wants to do. I have locked him outside the door. It’s like the saying, “If you’re not moving forward, you’re sliding backward.” But this says, “If you’re not praying for Me to work, you’re actively working against Me.”

Prayer is like a key that opens the door. Jesus says to the lukewarm Christians of Laodicea, “I’m knocking. Do you hear my voice? Will you open the door? I want to talk with you, fellowship with you. I want to heat up your lukewarm prayer life. I want you to have a victorious life!”

Kathy Casement, Verona ON

Day 34 (May 8, 2020)

Choose Joy

Earlier this year, as I sought the Lord’s guidance regarding the months ahead, a theme emerged that had me confused. He quietly spoke to me about joy and that I should expect it. I was coming out of a barren wasteland, a season of heavy rebuke, and was slowly being built back up again… but to have joy? This seemed out of reach if I’m honest. I was nervous to hope. Joy was not part of my life and hadn’t been for some time. Would I even recognize it?

As David wrote, “Sing praises to the Lord, O you his saints, and give thanks to his holy name. For his anger is but for a moment, and his favour for a lifetime. Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning” (Ps. 30:4-5).

These words rang true in my head, but in my heart, I felt shackled to hopelessness and fear. However, as promised, joy began to present itself in my life, in small ways at first, and then in larger ways, or so I thought.

What really happened was those small moments of joy became big moments as my heart opened to accept and my eyes opened to see. I realized I was beginning to choose joy. And all of a sudden, I wasn’t a slave to my regrets and mistakes. I wasn’t stuck thinking I deserved the rebuke of the Lord endlessly, which is where the hopelessness and fear stemmed from.

James spoke to this in writing, “Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So, let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing” (1:2-4).

In the season of dryness, I had failed to see the beauty in the trials. I couldn’t see the blessing in it. How often does this happen? We think our prayers aren’t being answered because we aren’t receiving the answer we think we need. When things are going well, it’s so easy to be hopeful and faithful. It’s so easy to praise and give thanks and have joy and think we have everything under control. But how many of us can honestly do that in the dark times?

I’m not saying I never revert back to that place of faithlessness, but I can now say beyond a shadow of a doubt that I have power in the Spirit to make a choice even when it’s hard. If Paul can say in Romans 12:12, “Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying” amongst his turmoil than why can’t I? If he can again proclaim, “Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again—rejoice!” (Phil. 4:4) then why shouldn’t I?

I challenge you to choose joy today, tomorrow and every day, even when there doesn’t seem to be a reason. Even when you can’t fake the smile, joy comes in the morning. We walk forward knowing we are one step closer to our Father’s house. We can walk knowing He knows what’s best.

Sarah Houston, Ottawa ON

Day 35 (May 9, 2020)

Hoisting Our Prayer Sails:

“And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.” (Eph.6:18) 

Sarah Maynard, a Canadian prayer mobilizer, says that the Lord’s Prayer is like…“a tall ship, beautiful to look at when sitting at dock, but when the sails are unfurled and the wind begins to blow it’s more than an admirable piece of craftsmanship, it becomes a mighty vessel moving with grace, power, and speed. It’s a vessel that takes you somewhere!” That is a beautiful picture not only of the Lord’s Prayer, when prayed in faith, but also of the Church in prayer.

The church has its own beauty, even when its prayer sails are down, but when they are hoisted and the wind of the Spirit catches them, it is a power to be reckoned with. As Oswald Smith, founder of People’s Church in Toronto, once said: “The function of the prayer of faith is to turn God’s promises into facts of experience.” May God help us do more than know about prayer, but by faith lift up all kinds of prayers, on all occasions, at all times, for all God’s people, and see the Spirit move us with grace, power and speed to where He ( and we ourselves) wants us to go.

Pastor Ken, Ottawa ON