Welcome to Day 1 of Sixth Mount Zion's 21 Days of Prayer and Fasting for 2021.
We are using "The 28-Day Prayer Journey" by Chrystal Evans Hurst. If you want to go through all 28 days, you can find her book at Barnes & Noble, Target, or Amazon. In the book, Chrystal gives three prompts a day-morning, afternoon, and evening.
She covers the basic tenets of prayer:
We'll also intentionally be praying for our families, friends, community, and world.
Today we are praising and thanking God for God's spiritual work in our hearts.
Sometimes when we go to God in prayer, we do it with a big laundry list of what we want God to do for us! (Not me, of course. Other people.) And thankfully, God is gracious to hear and receive our prayers for what we need and want.
But the first day of our prayer journey is dedicated to praising and thanking God. When we praise God, we adore God is for who God is. When we thank God, we express our gratitude for what God has done. Rather than beginning with ourselves, our prayers of praise begin with God. If God never did another thing for us, these are the reasons we would still love, admire, and honor God.
Here's the real deal: when you praise God, you don't need a bunch of religious fanfare. Just tell God what you think about God that's good. Compliment God like you would compliment a friend. Seriously, it's as simple as taking a moment–any moment during your day-and telling God what you know to be true about God.
And thanking God is pretty simple too.
Do you remember a few years back when it became "the thing" to keep a gratitude journal? Perhaps you've already discovered for yourself how powerful it can be to choose gratitude every day. Research has demonstrated that we can transform our attitudes-toward God, toward others, and even toward ourselves-when we practice gratitude. When we slow down to pay attention to our lives -spiritually, physically, relationally-we notice all that God has provided for us. And we have the opportunity to give God thanks.
Today, we're going to thank God for what God has done for us spiritually. And over the next several weeks, we'll thank God for what we've been given physically and socially. We'll even thank God for the challenges we face.
This morning, thank God for all that God has done, spiritually, in you.
Dear God, thank You for my salvation and my life with You.
Today you're thanking God for all that He's done for you and others spiritually. This morning you thanked God for your salvation, and this afternoon I want you to thank God for what He's done in the lives of others: loving and redeeming and guiding them.
One of the people whose faith I thank God for is my mom. Her faithful walk with Jesus not only shaped me but also formed faith in my sister and my brothers. As we watched her depend on God-in good times and in trying times -we learned what it looks like to trust God and walk with Him. God used my mother's spiritual life in our lives, and in the lives of so many others, and so I thank God for her faith in Him.
In his letter to the Romans, Paul addresses the hope of believers. They've received spiritual salvation, but they're waiting for the redemption of their bodies. He explains, "But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently" (Rom. 8:24–25).
Isn't the same true as we hope for the salvation of loved ones who don't yet know Christ? With confidence in God, we wait for what we don't yet see. Maybe it's the salvation of an older relative who's close to death. Or maybe we've prayed for years that a dear friend would come to know the Lord. Or maybe you're the parent of a wayward child, and you’re praying for God to take ahold of his life or her life in a powerful way.
Tonight, thank God for what you don't yet see! Offer Him the ones you love who don't yet know Him, and thank Him in advance for their salvation.