30 Days of Prayer
We find ourselves in this season with uncertainties about the future and the events going on around us. For this reason, we are calling our church to pray. Our church family will be corporately praying together through the month of April, and we hope you will participate. To keep us all focused and encouraged, we are providing a 30-Day Prayer Guide. Starting April 1, you can join us back here each day for a short devotional and prayer points. This will allow us to be united around the same passage as we long to gather together again.
Day 1 - April 1
Psalm 34:8 - Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good!
Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him! (ESV)
Whether something is good or not often depends on the preferences of the person experiencing it. When we make a new recipe for dinner, it’s not until we taste it that we can declare whether it is good or not. That’s because we are experiencing its essence. The Psalmist encourages us to “taste and see” the goodness of God. In this case, it has nothing to do with our preferences. But rather, it is based on the essence of God, or His character. It’s something we can count on. Often, it’s in the midst of suffering, as was the Psalmist, that we can see it most clearly, if we are willing to take refuge in Him. There are many things that we can look to for comfort, but let me encourage you to seek the One who can provide the greatest refuge for our anxious hearts. Taste for yourself the goodness of God!
Pray and thank God for His unchanging character. Rejoice in the fact that you can experience His goodness in times of suffering and joy. Confess your tendency to take refuge in other things.
Day 2 - April 2
Job 42:2 - “I know that you can do all things; no purpose of yours can be thwarted.”
The current moment we are living in comes with a great deal of uncertainty. Many of us find ourselves anxious and wondering what will happen. And while it is good to use wisdom and prepare for the future, often in our preparing and estimating of things we leave God out of the equation. Job confessed the omnipotent sovereignty of God in the face of his affliction. Much of our fear and angst comes from the fact that our answers for these trials are too small. We hope this or that affliction will pass. Perhaps the odds are in our favor, and so we focus on that. Or perhaps we are someone who finds it easy to let burdens roll off our shoulders, at least until they don’t anymore.
But our true comfort and hope as children of God is that our Father is still on his throne. He’s not only good and wise, but he’s also powerful. He presides as a King over us and over our afflictions. He is always working according to his sovereign purposes. And we are being refined by his gracious, sovereign hands.
Thank God today for his presence in your life and his sovereignty over your uncertainties. He is “in your midst, a mighty one who will save, he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing” (Zeph 3:17).
Day 3 - April 3
Romans 11:33-36 – Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways!
“For who has known the mind of the Lord,
or who has been his counselor?”
“Or who has given a gift to him
that he might be repaid?”
For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.
The minds of children are inquisitive by nature. Of all the questions kids ask us, “Why?” is the toughest of all. No matter the context, the answer to the Why question tends to end up in a place where we must admit we don’t know the reason for things. This is true even when it is us asking the questions. And when the why question has to do with difficult or tragic circumstances, we may find that we reach the limits of our knowledge even more quickly. Ultimately, we must come to the place where we look to God with childlike faith and are content knowing we may never be able to answer this question. While the answer may not come (or it may not be the one we want or expect), we can always trust that God is working all things according to his good, sovereign will and with a purpose that brings him glory.
Praise God today for his wisdom. Confess to him that though you may not fully understand the Why behind his actions in the world, you trust that he is acting in his wisdom, for his glory and for our good.
Day 4 - April 4
Colossians 1:15-17 – He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. (ESV)
These verses describe Jesus, and their scope and magnitude are beyond comprehension. Every shred of the universe – from the tiniest organism on earth to the largest and most distant heavenly galaxy – is there because of HIM. Every ruler from every nation since the dawn of history and through the present day – from Hammurabi to Caesar to Napoleon to Washington to every head of state presiding in 2020 – is subservient to HIS rule and reign…and he laid all that aside, giving his life to make you his child.
We are heirs in a family relationship with the one who created and maintains the entire universe. The one by whom the world was created, the one who shed his blood for you, the one who is not bound by death or sin, is trustworthy. Just like all of history and all of creation are held together by his power and love, every single part of our lives can be trusted to his faithful care.
Pray and thank Jesus for his rule and reign over all things; pray to submit fears, anxieties, and control to him alone. Stand in awe as you meditate upon the amazing magnitude of Christ’s trustworthy power and control. Rejoice in the amazing grace, love, and hope that are ours because of him.
Day 5 - April 5
Exodus 2:23-25 - During those many days the king of Egypt died, and the people of Israel groaned because of their slavery and cried out for help. Their cry for rescue from slavery came up to God. And God heard their groaning, and God remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob. God saw the people of Israel—and God knew. (ESV)
Have you ever been in a situation where you had a new injury that caused significant pain? Maybe you hurt your leg or wrist or shoulder. When you found yourself around people you might let out a little extra moan or your limp might become a little more pronounced. Your actions are to make sure that other people know and have an opportunity to express concern and care. The Israelites had gone from welcome guests in Egypt to slaves placed into hard labor by Pharaoh. Centuries earlier God had provided by bringing them to Egypt, now centuries later they wondered if God even cared. God heard his children and was fully aware of his children’s situation. The people of God were broken, tired, and helpless. You might be facing days of struggle with your health, finances, family, employment, or friendships. You might be broken, tired, and helpless. God has not changed. He loves you and because he loves you, he hears you, sees you, knows your situation, and will provide. Trust that he is not far but is near. Rest in his steadfast love.
Lord, you are the God who never changes. You love your children, care for your children, and provide for their needs. I am facing struggles in my life and I cannot hide them from you. Lord, hear my struggles, see my struggles, and give me the grace that I need to endure these struggles. If it be your will, release me from the struggles now. If you choose to not release me from these struggles now, give me the strength to endure and the wisdom to see how my faith can grow amidst these trials. Be gracious to me O God! Amen.
Day 6 - April 6
Mark 16:6 – And he said to them, “Do not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has risen; he is not here. See the place where they laid him.” (ESV)
Can you imagine the despair and hopelessness on the part of Jesus’ followers when he breathed his last breath? The man, the mission, the cause for which they had given their lives was gone. Everything they had placed their faith and hope in for three years was lost – or so it seemed. Then, the two Marys visited the tomb and Jesus’ body was not there. He had risen just as he said he would! And just like that, hope was restored!
The resurrection of Jesus Christ makes all the difference in the world. Our hope is not in a restored financial system, the end to social distancing, or even a cure for COVID-19. Our hope is in Christ and Christ alone. The one who experienced all of the pain and suffering that humanity currently experiences conquered the grave and lives!
Thank God today that Christ is risen and that, as believers, we have the hope of eternity with Him. Then, ask God to give you the strength today to live in the truth of that hope rather than as those who have no hope (1 Thess. 4:13).
Day 7 - April 7
John 11:25-26 – Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?” (ESV)
What must it have been like to see Jesus stand before Lazarus’ shut tomb? Imagine seeing your teacher, savior, and Lord weeping over the death of his friend. After the men heaved the massive stone revealing the mouth of the cave, Christ uttered the command, “Lazarus, come out.”
In this passage, Christ consoles Martha who is wracked with grief over the death of her brother. Though she has faith that her brother Lazarus will live again, Jesus makes a powerful promise to all who believe. The promise of salvation radiates from these words. We see Jesus proclaiming His authority over life and death in this passage and through the miracle He performs. Lazarus’ resurrection is a prelude to Christ’s, a first fruit of the resurrection to come for those who believe.
Pray and thank God that with Christ, we will also live again. Rejoice in the fact that He alone holds authority over life and death. Thank God for the hope we have in the One who is the resurrection and the life.
Day 8 - April 8
1 Peter 1:3 - Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.
Where do you search for hope? Today it is easy to place hope in returning to work, our economy, or our government. If we lived in Asia Minor during Peter’s life, we may have looked for hope in relief from persecution. However, Peter challenges the churches of Asia Minor to look to a future blessing, the hope found in the resurrection of Jesus Christ and his triumph over death. Regardless of our circumstances, as followers of Christ, we know that one day all things will be made new. Although we pray for relief from COVID-19 and for our lives to return to normal, let us rightly put our hope in our life to come in eternity.
Praise God for the salvation he has given you and the saints of Open Door. In the midst of uncertainty pray that we do not turn to fear, but rest in knowing that our hope is in Christ's death and resurrection. Then because of our living hope we face the coming days with joy, gladness, and praise to our Heavenly Father.
Day 9 - April 9
Romans 6:5,6 – For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. (ESV)
Gardening is a task that comes with uncertainties. A seed buried in soil doesn’t always provide the promise of a fully blossomed, lifegiving plant.
How often have you planted seeds of desires in the soil of uncertainty only to be disappointed that those dreams didn’t come to fruition? What were you trusting in to bring about growth?
We think we know what’s best for our lives. However, God wants to be the gardener of your life and create a beautiful landscape that will ultimately bring glory to His name. There may be weeds and droughts along the way, but you can rest assured that He is always sowing and pruning. You were made to grow up into maturity and produce fruit that will bring glory to Him.
This growth is possible through the perfect seed. Jesus was planted in the grave, with a certainty that He would rise! There is no wishful thinking when our hope is in Him. “For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his.” We can trust Him with our lives. We can trust Him to produce fruit that will bring much glory to His name.
Lord, thank you for being the perfect Gardener. Thank you for working in our lives, convicting us of sin and changing our hearts to produce good fruit. You are always good even though we may not see the full picture yet. Change our desires to match yours. We trust you with our lives.
Day 10 - April 10
2 Corinthians 5:14-15 – “For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.” (NIV)
It is hard to imagine love without sacrifice. For some reason, they seem to go together. It would be even harder to imagine a sacrifice without suffering. Parents strive to make their children’s lives better before they are even born and continue to do so until their last breath. They protect, provide, nurture, and in many ways their practical love is demonstrated through selfless sacrifices over and over again.
How much more sacrificial is the love of Christ than that of a parent? Christ’s love was what led him to die for us. Because of his death on the cross, we are reconciled with God, and we are compelled to live in joyful obedience because of his loving sacrifice.
It is hard to imagine that something good could come out of a time of suffering, yet that is what God accomplished through the death of Christ; and it is what is promised to us in the Scriptures. Suffering produces perseverance, perseverance produces character, and character produces hope. We can live our lives faithfully in the face of suffering because Christ suffered and died for us.
Pray and thank God for the sacrificial love of Christ. Surrender your will to Him and pray for fruitfulness to live in response to His love.
Day 11 - April 11
1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 – “Brothers, we do not want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep, or to grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope. We believe that Jesus died and rose again and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. According to the Lord’s own word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left till the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage each other with these words.” (NIV)
Can you imagine the grief felt by those earliest followers of Christ who witnessed their close friend, their teacher, their Messiah executed in such a scandalous way? After hanging on the cross, he was placed in the tomb to fade into the annals of history, or so it was thought. But God’s glorious plan was for Christ to rise again. And so those earliest followers of Christ would soon find out that their relationship with death would no longer be the same. The sting of death was being removed because Christ was conquering death. Even better, his victory became their victory. And His victory has become our victory. We do not “grieve [death] like the rest of men, who have no hope.” Even as we are perishing in this life, we know that we will rise again with Christ and will be with him forever. These promises are a great source of comfort for us. Our resurrection is based on the resurrection of our King. He has overcome death and so will we.
The command to encourage each other is made to each of us. Yet these are unique times for us. Since we are unable to be together, we are learning to encourage each other with these words in strange and novel ways. And during this season, I hope you will make every effort to build up each other with the truth of Christ’s victory over death.
Thank God for the victory of Christ that we celebrate during the Easter season. He has overcome death, and He foreshadows our coming victory over death. Allow these truths to shape your prayer life.
Day 12 - April 12
Hebrews 13:20–21 – Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, equip you with everything good that you may do his will, working in us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen. (ESV)
All week we have been walking through the sufferings of Jesus, awaiting the good news. In some sense, the anticipation is over. Today we celebrate the resurrection of our Savior, Jesus Christ! He defeated sin and death and redeemed us so we could spend eternity with Him. His resurrection ensures that those who put their trust in Him will live forever. What an amazing God we have!
But that’s not all. Hebrews reminds us that the resurrection of Jesus also equips us to finish our time here on Earth with purpose. What is that purpose? To do His will. Believer, you have an assignment. Your purpose is to use the time, resources, and gifts He has given you to do His will.
As you celebrate today, be encouraged that nothing can stop the love of God. He cares for us as the Great Shepherd. He loves us with a sacrificial love. But there is more work to be done, and He has invited you to join Him in it.
Acknowledge God’s unmatched, supernatural power over everything in this world. Thank God for His immeasurable love displayed on the cross. And ask God to equip you to do the work He has called you to do.
Day 13- April 13
2 Corinthians 4:13-14 -Since we have the same spirit of faith according to what has been written, “I believed, and so I spoke,” we also believe, and so we also speak, knowing that he who raised the LordJesus will raise us also with Jesus and bring us with you into his presence. (ESV)
Have you been in a meeting where ideas on a topic are being talked about, and you can’t wait to share yours? None of us want to miss those opportunities when we think our idea is best.
That’s how it needs to be for us when we have a chance to share the hope we have in Christ. Paul told the Corinthian church that because we believe, we need to speak. Paul wanted to be in front of as many audiences as he could and was saddened at missed opportunities. Earlier in the chapter he made it simple: “…we do not use deception, nor do we distort the word of God. On the contrary, by setting forth the truth plainly we commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God. And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing.”
He has given us more free time now to share our reason for the hope that we have. Let’s agree to take this message to others who need it, and not to miss the opportunities that God gives us.
Lord, thank you for giving us a message of hope that we can share with others. Help us to use our mouths and your Word to speak this hope into the lives who need to hear it. Give us great faith today. In Christ’s name, Amen.
Day 14 - April 14
Matthew 11:28-29 – “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (NIV)
These words in Matthew 11 are some of my favorite words in the Bible. We are invited to “come” to Jesus. And as we come to him with our burdens and weakness, we find rest. I love these words because they point to the fact that the salvation we find in Christ is an offer of rest and peace with God. It is an offer that should appeal to those who are weary and burdened, not the moral self-righteous or the self-sufficient. There are other offers and commands for those individuals. This offer is for genuine rest that we cannot fabricate with the world’s tools. Only God can give genuine rest for our souls. And as followers of Christ, we must remember to continually come to Christ daily to find this rest that we so desperately need.
Thank God for providing eternal and immediate rest for your weary soul. And seek God’s wisdom and discernment for the areas of your life that are holding you back from resting in Christ.
Day 15 - April 15
Genesis 9:13-16 – “I have set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and the earth. When I bring clouds over the earth and the bow is seen in the clouds, I will remember my covenant that is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh. And the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all flesh. When the bow is in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is on earth.” (ESV)
The flood of Genesis 6-8 came in the wake of humanity growing in their sin to the point that “every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” God’s judgment came on the earth in the form of a flood that wiped out everything.
Even in the midst of such complete judgment, there are glimpses of mercy: the saving of Noah’s family and the covenant between God and Noah to never again destroy the earth by flood. The presence of a rainbow indicates the passing of clouds and storms, but also the fact that God’s promise has yet again been kept.
This Easter season, we can trust that God always fulfills his covenant promises. Though we face clouds and storms in our lives that threaten to be the end of us, the rainbow of his mercy reminds us that he faithfully fulfills his promises to us in Christ.
Thank God that he always keeps his promises. Ask God to remind you of his faithfulness through his Word and his work in your life. Pray and ask God to help you see the rainbow of his mercy in the clouds and storms you face.
Day 16 - April 16
Isaiah 41:10 –
fear not, for I am with you;
be not dismayed, for I am your God;
will strengthen you, I will help you,
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. (ESV)
As we experience this pandemic, we are reminded of the fear and uncertainty in life, but God promised through the prophet Isaiah to strengthen us. When the days of fear and uncertainty come, God gives his own strength and self-control so that we may persevere.
The strength that comes from God does not always look the way we expect. God may not change our circumstances, but he will give us the strength to endure them. The promise found in Isaiah illustrates God’s compassion towards His children. When fear overwhelms us, we can find rest in God’s strengthening presence. Through Jesus’s death, burial, and resurrection, the victory is already won, and while there is still suffering in this world, through God’s strength we can persevere until His return.
Think of your fears specifically and pray that God would give you strength to overcome them. Pray for boldness to do what is right, self-control, and wisdom to know how to conquer your fears. Thank God for his promises to uphold you even during times of fear and uncertainty. Rest in the knowledge that God has already won the victory and that we have an eternity in heaven to look forward to.
Day 17 - April 17
Revelation 3:5 – The one who conquers will be clothed thus in white garments, and I will never blot his name out of the book of life. I will confess his name before my Father and before his angels. (ESV)
“Perseverance” is such a versatile word isn’t it? Off the top of my head, I can think of several situations where the word “perseverance” might be used as a way to raise the spirits of a friend or loved one.
For example, we might encourage others to persevere:
- Through strenuous physical activity.
- When unemployment becomes an unfortunate reality.
- During the loss of a loved one.
- In financially stressful times.
- Through physical sickness, injury, or pain.
- While quarantined and socially distanced.
The Bible also encourages believers to persevere, but in a different way. In our passage for today, the church at Sardis is challenged to “remember what you received and heard; and keep it, and repent.” The sense is that the church needs to “keep on keeping on” in the faith and that, if they do so, Jesus will confess their names before the Father and angels.
Thank God today that your eternal destiny has been secured through the many promises of God and ask Him to give you the courage, humility, and strength to persevere in your faith no matter your circumstances.
Day 18 - April 18
1 Peter 3:13-15 – Now who is there to harm you if you are zealous for what is good? But even if you should suffer for righteousness' sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled, but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, (ESV)
One thing we can all agree on is that this world is broken. Nothing works right without eventually needing to be repaired. Rusted bicycle chains need oil. Air conditioners break down and have to be replaced. And I bet a lot of you reading this right now need to change the water filter in your refrigerator. You’re welcome. :)
This bondage to decay affects all of life. Sickness wears on our bodies while sin wears on our souls. We struggle internally when our hearts condemn us and we suffer externally when others seek our harm.
But there is a salve that brings healing to all this brokenness. God promises that we will be blessed when we speak of the hope that we have found in Him in the face of hardship and persecution. When we respond amicably in the face of adversity we honor Christ who is holy. We become a witness to the only One who can repair all that has been broken.
God, I thank You for the cross. I thank You for giving me an everlasting hope through Christ. Help me to rest in Your promise of healing and blessing. Give me words of gentleness and respect during difficult times. You alone can fix what is broken. I choose to praise and glorify You today. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Day 19 - April 19
2 Corinthians 7:1 – Since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God. (NIV)
Our lives are filled with many kinds of uncertainty. We tend to live with a general expectation of how things will go each day, yet we cannot know for certain many of the details of our lives. Most of those uncertainties do not have a profound effect on us, though some can cause us a heightened sense of anxiety. However, as children of God, we have been given his “precious and very great promises” (2 Peter 1:4). Promises bring certainty! Not about every detail of our lives, but about the things that matter most. As children of God, through our union with Christ, we are called “beloved” by our Heavenly Father. What a comforting thing that is! And our response should be one of gratitude and trust. Rather than trusting in the comforts of this life, let us find true rest in the precious promises of our Heavenly Father.
Give praise to our Heavenly Father for the many promises He has given us in His Word. Ask God to give you a bold faith as you take those promises to heart each day.
Day 20 - April 20
John 17:11 – I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them by your name that you have given me, so that they may be one as we are one. (CSB)
1 Corinthians 1:10 – Now I urge you, brothers and sisters, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree in what you say, that there be no divisions among you, and that you be united with the same understanding and the same conviction. (CSB)
Did you know that Tug-of-War is played across the world? Did you also know that versions of Tug-of-War date all the way back to Ancient Egypt? I learned these facts from the U.S.A. Tug-of-War Association website, a group I didn’t know existed. Tug-of war depicts people working in both unity and disunity. One of the keys to gaining leverage in Tug-of-War is to get everyone pulling together, working in the same rhythm. Creating this unity can lead to great success. However, Tug-of-War is also a picture of disunity as two groups of people work against one another with the goal to take down the other team.
Unity among believers is vital to our mission, which is why Christ asked God to protect and unify his children. Likewise, Paul urges the local church to be unified around common doctrinal convictions. Disunity will come mainly through two paths:
- Licentiousness – The desire to fulfill what your flesh wants or to promote your liberties in Christ above love for your brothers and sisters in Christ.
- Legalism – Elevating the restrictions you personally find helpful from the application of Scripture as a standard of righteousness for everyone else.
Let's be unified in Christ by pursuing the same convictions of core Scriptural doctrines.
Praise God that God the Father and God the Son, Jesus Christ, are one and are never out of step with each other. Ask God to protect His church by keeping us unified. Confess that at times your heart wants to go its own way through licentiousness or legalism. Ask God to give you, and your brothers and sisters in Christ, a unified heart that loves His Word. Pray that God will provide us not only spiritual unity, but also physical unity as His gathered saints.
Day 21 - April 21
Acts 2:46-47 – And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved. (ESV)
There is a stack of Baptism Testimonies sitting on my desk from March 15. There are two important things about that date. On that Sunday, we would have celebrated those public professions of faith in Christ. Second, it was the first Sunday we did not have a public gathering. Looking at those testimonies makes me long for community. I look forward to the day we can gather for the preaching of God’s Word and I long to meet with my CareGroup again.
In Acts 2, we see the faithfulness of the early church to gather for worship and fellowship. If we were to continue reading Acts, we would see God uniting them together. Our unity is rooted in the character of God and is a gift to the church as we live life together. Through this unity, we declare God’s glory to a watching world. In verse 47, we see that God added to their number daily. This year, we have been able to celebrate four baptisms. Those four people have declared Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. As I look forward to gathering with you again to hear God’s Word, I also eagerly anticipate seeing people come to faith in Christ as we share the gospel by making disciples in our community.
Thank God for the people that have placed faith in Christ Jesus as Lord and Savior this year. Pray that we will continue to be faithful in reaching out to our neighbors, friends, and co-workers during this time. Then finally, pray that God will continue to unite us as a church even during this time apart.
Day 22 - April 22
Hebrews 3:12-14 – Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God. But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. For we have come to share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original confidence firm to the end. As it is said, “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion.” (ESV)
These verses are a sobering reminder that we are to be very alert to the deceitfulness of sin, and the hardening of the heart that sin causes … so alert that we exhort each other constantly. This requires vigilant and frequent confession, compassion, communication, candor, and care. This is the kind of truth in love we are called to as the body of Christ. We are called to be faithful in both giving and receiving correction and encouragement. These daily, ongoing battles to persevere against sin are not fought alone.
Our God is holy and gave His Son that we might be cleansed of our sin. The Holy Spirit, by the truth of the gospel, empowers us to live lives of purity and holiness as a reflection of God’s character. As God’s children, we believe these truths; our conduct follows accordingly.
By God’s grace, with a holy vengeance, and with fierce, to-the-death loyalty to Him and to one another, may we fight sin with every ounce of strength God gives us - together.
He is worthy!
Pray for strength to fight sin, and for strength to encourage others in the battle. Tell a brother or sister at Open Door that you are praying for them in the battle and ask for them to pray for you.
Day 23 - April 23
1 Peter 2:4-5 – “As you come to him, the living Stone – rejected by humans but chosen by God and precious to him – you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.” (NIV)
1 Peter 2:9-10 – “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.” (NIV)
Our identity is unmistakably corporate. Each of us is part of a spiritual house and together we offer spiritual sacrifices to the Lord. Together, we are a holy priesthood. Like the priests of the Old Testament, we are called to enter into the presence of God and worship, and we are called to take the worship of our holy God to the world as we “declare the praises of him who called [us] out of darkness into his wonderful light.” We are priests to a lost and dying world. God’s glorious plan is that his redeemed image bearers, those who reflect his image on earth, would worship him and conduct themselves in such a way that they would be a light to the nations.
But we are also priests to one another. As believers, we are called to exhort one another, serve one another, love one another, and so forth. We are called to “use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms” (1 Peter 4:10). So within the church, we are to be faithful stewards of God’s grace! Stewarding God’s grace requires us to spend ample time in the presence of God and ample time with the people of God. Being a priest in God’s house is a joy! We get to bask in the presence of God, and we get to take the presence of God to one another, and even to the world!
Thank God for making you part of His priestly household. Seek His face and presence so you can know Him better. Seek wisdom to use your gifts in ministry to His church. Pray for boldness to declare His praises to the world. Thank God that Jesus perfectly authored and executed His role as our High Priest.
Day 24 - April 24
1 John 1:5-7 – This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin. (NIV)
John often uses themes in contrast to one another. His use of dualism (e.g., light and darkness, truth and lies, sin and forgiveness, life and death, love and hate, above and below) communicates crucial information for understanding the character and work of Christ as well as our need to believe in Him. We should not underestimate the weight of these contrasting themes because of their simplicity. The life of faith and following Christ is so often best understood as a life of contrast, like the difference between light and darkness.
“If we walk in the light … we have fellowship with one another [and are cleansed] by the blood of Jesus.” As believers, we are called to walk in the light. If you have ever been in an Open Door Christmas Eve Candlelight Service, you’ll remember candles being lit, one by one. These candles are symbols, representing the spread of the gospel from one person to another. But also, as we are surrounded by darkness and the glowing of the candles, we have the opportunity to reflect on the one true light that “shines in the darkness and darkness has not overcome it” (John 1:5). And in this light, we are not alone. There are many candles lit alongside our own.
Pray and thank God for the unity we have in Christ. And rejoice in the fact that we are not left alone.
Day 25 - April 25
Romans 12:4-8 – For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching; the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads, with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness. (ESV)
Open Door Church is all over this verse! Some of us are bold in how we share the love of Christ with others. Some thrive in their desire and ability to serve the church and others well. And we have teachers, encouragers, givers, leaders, and those who can’t help but be kind to others.
We are in an abnormal time, yet who we are as Christians has not changed. Each of us continues to hold onto these godly gifts even as we shelter in place. Let us be encouraged to find new ways to use the gifts that God has given us to have an impact on the lives of others.
Ask God to give you a new opportunity today or this week to use a gift He has given you to bless someone else. Pray that you will be content with the gifts He has given you and that you will no longer envy the gifts God has given others. Remember that using the gift He has given you honors Him! Have a blessed day.
Day 26 - April 26
Revelation 19:5-8 – And from the throne came a voice saying, “Praise our God, all you his servants, you who fear him, small and great.” Then I heard what seemed to be the voice of a great multitude, like the roar of many waters and like the sound of mighty peals of thunder, crying out, “Hallelujah! For the Lord our God the Almighty reigns. Let us rejoice and exult and give him the glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and his Bride has made herself ready; it was granted her to clothe herself with fine linen, bright and pure” – for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints. (ESV)
Home is typically described as the place where one lives as a member of a family or household. We often link heartfelt meaning and memories to a particular destination.
In this life, we all are seeking to call some place home. We long to be in the presence of people who makes us feel at home. It’s a place where you all speak the same language, you share the same commonalities, the same interests, and the same desires. Home becomes the place where a sense of belonging never fades, but forever remains.
What destinations are you using to define home? Who specifically fills the images of your mind when the peace-filled word of home rests on your heart? How can we bring long-lasting clarity to a word that is often defined by destinations and relationships that constantly change here on earth?
C.S. Lewis persuasively wrote, “If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world.” This heavenly home, this other world, this eternal family will last forever – all because of one Person, Jesus Christ the King. We will joyfully worship Him seated at the grand table of our forever home. The saints will be our forever people, and we’ll joyfully proclaim “Hallelujah!” to our forever Almighty God. We will finally be home.
Prayer: Lord, we long to be with You. We long to sit at Your table and feast with our heavenly family. We know that this world is not our home. We are sorry that we tend to value the things of this world like they will matter in Your kingdom. Lord, help us value eternal things. Help us see what truly will last and help that shape what we spend our time doing here and now. We love You. We pray You come back soon. In the meantime, we will praise You.
Day 27 - April 27
Romans 1:16-17 – For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.” (ESV)
The gospel is God’s sovereign plan and purpose to save and reconcile sinful humanity through the person and work of Jesus. Believing the gospel is nothing less than a total reorientation of everything about us. God’s rescuing grace saves us from sin and condemnation, and saves us to a life of unashamed, bold, mission-minded gospel proclamation. To believe the gospel is to know and live the saving power of God, and to be unashamedly eager to declare its saving power (Romans 1:15).
Fighting temptation? Believe the gospel. Timid in witnessing? Believe the gospel. Pursuing righteousness? Believe the gospel.
By faith in the gospel, we are set free from the entanglements of sin and apathy to live lives that reveal the righteousness of God. By faith in the gospel, we are set free from timidity and social pressure and sinful pride to be unashamed in our witness. As the moments of “faith for faith” bear fruit in our lives, the righteousness of God is revealed, and the fame and glory of His name is displayed and declared.
This is the heart-transforming, life-changing, eternity-shaping power of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Prayer: Thank you God for the power of your gospel. Please strengthen my faith to live in its power today. Please strengthen my witness – may I be bold and compassionate. Forgive me where I’ve been ashamed or timid or have otherwise minimized or ignored the power and truth of the gospel. Thank you Jesus for your life, death, resurrection, and ascension that makes the gospel a reality.
Day 28 - April 28
John 20:19–21 – When it was evening of that first day of the week, the disciples were gathered together with the doors locked because they feared the Jews. Jesus came, stood among them, and said to them, “Peace be with you.” Having said this, he showed them his hands and his side. So the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, I also send you.” (CSB)
I work in an old building and sometimes I have been in that building by myself late at night. Old buildings make unexplainable noises. It is as if the building itself comes alive when the light is fleeting, the hour is late, and you are the only occupant left. Your mind races with crazy thoughts and your feet race for the door. What causes this? Fear.
The Savior had been crucified and buried. The disciples hunkered down inside in fear. However, their fear melted away as the warmth of comforting words from the Savior settled their hearts, “Peace be with you.” Jesus didn’t want to simply move them from panic to peace, he wanted to move them from fear-filled inaction to faith-filled, gospel-sharing action.
It is not only the disciples who have been called to faith-filled action. Scripture calls all believers to be ambassadors of Christ. We should set aside fear and know that we are empowered by the Spirit to be Christ’s witnesses wherever we set our feet. These days many are confused, frustrated, and looking for answers. You have the words of life, the gospel. Do not slip into fear-filled inaction but pursue faith-filled action by sharing the hope that lives inside of you with a lost and dying world.
Prayer: Praise God for sending His Son to seek and save the lost. Thank Him for saving you. Thank the Lord for giving us His Spirit so that our hearts might be at peace rather than filled with fear. Confess that many times we shrink away from faithfully proclaiming the Word because of the fear of man. Ask the Spirit of God to set your feet to action so that you faithfully share the gospel with those who cross your path.
Day 29 - April 29
Luke 10:25-28 – And behold, a lawyer stood up to put him to the test, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life? He said to him, “What is written in the Law? How do you read it?” And he answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.” And he said to him, “You have answered correctly; do this, and you will live.” (ESV)
Over these past few weeks, I’ve been asked a lot of questions. Some have been related to work. Some have been about church. Others have been about lunch, or snack, or dinner, or legos, or “fairness,” or school schedules, or ... well, I think you get the point. Questions can be exhausting at times – especially during quarantine – but we all know that they are critical in helping us as human beings understand the world around us.
In today’s passage, Jesus is approached by a lawyer who asks the most important question that any man, woman, or child can ask: how can I be saved? In a surprising twist, Jesus turns the question around and asks the lawyer to explain what he knows. The lawyer responds with the correct answer: love God and love your neighbor. Knowing that he did neither of these, the lawyer continues the narrative in an attempt to trick Jesus rather than acknowledging his need for Jesus.
Jesus goes on to tell the story of the Good Samaritan which highlights the need for Christians to love others sacrificially – just as Jesus would do in His death on the cross. It is not enough to simply know the Word of God, though that is a great starting point. As followers of Christ, we must also – and most important – do the will of God.
As Christians, we are called to love God and love others more than we love ourselves. Simply put, this is what it means to be saved.
Prayer: Today, pray that God will give you clear eyes for loving Him and loving others – even during quarantine – so that the world will know what it means to be a follower of Christ.
Day 30 - April 30
Matthew 28:16-20: Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (NIV)
The German Reformer Martin Luther had a lot to say about prayer. He once said, “It is a good thing to let prayer be the first business of the morning and the last of the evening.” To those of you who have persisted in prayer throughout this month, we thank you for your faithfulness and confidence in the Lord. And to others who have joined in at various times, we hope you have been blessed and encouraged to fix your gaze on Christ. Prayer is such a vital practice for the Christian. There is no other activity like prayer that can keep us basking in the presence of God. These 30 Days of Prayer were designed to help our church maintain a God-glorifying posture in this season of uncertainty and fear. When so many were trembling or angry, we were praying. I hope this month of prayer has helped you create a rhythm for your prayer life.
With our final devotional, we are looking at the Great Commission. After His resurrection, Jesus concludes His earthly ministry by sending His followers into the world to make disciples. This mission comes right on the heels of Jesus’ victorious resurrection! I’m sure after such a unique experience as seeing Christ die on the cross and rise from the dead, some of the disciples were eager to enjoy rest and time with their Lord. And while they did enjoy rest and time with Jesus, they were shortly thereafter sent on a mission to evangelize the world. The message was too important, too global, to keep in their small communities. It was good news for the world.
The church is God’s instrument to take that message to the world. And all of us are called to participate in the mission. The good news message is too glorious to keep from our neighbors and friends. This is why, Sunday after Sunday, we enjoy worshipping the Lord and then close our worship service with, “Go with the gospel.” Our time together is where we find strength and boldness to go with the gospel.
Shortly after the disciples were sent on their mission to make disciples, they faced many hardships and even imprisonment. They gathered together and prayed for boldness to share the truth faithfully (Acts 4). So as we finish our month of prayer today, let’s pray together to the Lord for boldness and confidence to share the good news message with others. Thank you for your faithful prayers this month Open Door!